How Pharrell Might Impact Amex Platinum Card Members
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You've heard his voice on some of the biggest songs in recent pop history, and now, American Express is hoping that Pharrell can create an equally oversized impact in the credit card world. This week, Amex announced that the Grammy-winning mind behind hits like "Get Lucky" and "Blurred Lines" will serve as the creative director of the Platinum Card from American Express. The card already offers some insanely powerful perks for travelers — 5x points on airfare, a $200 credit for airline fees and access to over 1,000 airport lounges, to name a few — so how will Pharrell be involved in making those benefits even better?
The company didn't offer many details in the initial announcement, but bringing Pharrell onboard could push Amex deeper into the "experience" realm. Distinguishing between the top travel credit cards has become increasingly difficult; many offer the same (or similar) compelling benefits and discounts, so customers have to do quite a bit of credit card comparison to determine which pieces of plastic will best serve their wallets.
Rather than trying to add more bullet points to the list of benefits, Amex seems poised to beef up its By Invitation Only offerings with curation help from Pharrell. It's not the first time the company has worked with the music mogul. In 2014, the UNSTAGED series included a private Pharrell performance at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem for some lucky Amex members.
Are Experiences the New Rewards Currency?
It's no secret that the rewards landscape is getting very crowded. All those sign-up bonuses, fee credits and rewards points are costing some serious cash, too. In fact, credit card issuers are projected to dish out more than $22 billion worth of rewards this year, and Amex is at the top of the list with nearly $7 billion in rewards expenses. Earlier this month, Jamie Dimon announced that the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card will lower the company's fourth-quarter profits by somewhere between $200 million and $300 million. Most of us would love to see banks and card issuers continue to offer even more attractive sign-up offers, but that seems challenging. These numbers indicate that we may see them attempt to rein in their customer acquisition efforts in the near future.
While I don't know the details of Amex's contract with Pharrell, I'm guessing he's getting quite the payday for the role. That being said, if Amex can offer invitations that inspire members to shell out extra cash — many By Invitation Only events come with fairly hefty ticket prices — the company would be able to offset some of the billions it's paying out to members and carve out a niche as the ultimate card for consumers looking for exclusive access and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Would seats at concerts, high-profile cooking events and sporting contests entice your interest? Or are you looking for tried and true points to redeem as you please? Share your thoughts in the comments section, and as 2016 winds down, make sure you're making the most of your Platinum Card.