Amex is offering double points to Platinum cardholders around the world — Is the U.S. next?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
With travel indefinitely paused due to a global pandemic, many perks of premium travel rewards cards simply can't be used, such as Centurion Lounge access from The Platinum Card® from American Express. Fee credits with Uber and Saks are much more practical during this crisis, but the Platinum still isn't at the front of most people's wallets right now.
Now, Amex appears to be responding in select markets around the world with a double points offer to entice customers to spend more on the card.
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Double points, double redemption value
The benefits, bonus categories, and perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express vary significantly from market to market. However, in recent days, we've seen a common trend emerging for personal Amex Platinum cards across multiple countries. Amex is now offering double Membership Rewards points and double cash redemption value in the following markets:
There are also reports of this promotion appearing in Australia and France. Note that this only appears to apply to personal Platinum cards and is limited from now through July 20, 2020.
What makes this offer even better is that you'll also earn double points on bonus categories. For instance, Amex Platinum cardholders in Canada normally earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel and 1x points on everything else. Now through July 20, those same cardholders will get 6x points on dining, 4x points on travel, and 2x points for everything else.
Finally, if you choose to pay with points, Amex's new promotion allows you to receive double the redemption value. For example, in the United Kingdom, you can redeem 1,000 Membership Rewards towards a £9 statement credit. Previously, 1,000 points were only worth £4.50.
Related reading: The ultimate guide to Amex Pay With Points
Centurion Card bonus
Some Centurion cardholders globally, including those in Singapore and Canada, are getting the same 2x offer for both earning and redeeming points. This is an email we received from a TPG reader who has a Canada-issued Amex Platinum card:
Will Amex bring the bonus here?
This offer has not yet been extended to U.S. cardholders. We've reached out to American Express for comment and will update this post as soon as we have more information.
With some existing cardholders either downgrading or canceling their cards, Amex is making the right move in offering a relevant incentive on its premium travel card product. While a 2x bonus might not entice someone that was already intent on canceling the card to keep it open, it could encourage an existing cardholder to take it out of the sock drawer.
Remember, Chase is offering a $100 statement credit to some Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, specifically citing the unprecedented coronavirus situation. By introducing a 2x bonus, Amex is likely hoping to encourage existing cardholders to spend more rather than downgrade or cancel.
Related reading: Maximizing benefits on the Amex Platinum card
Why this offer matters
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2.0 cents each, earning a 4% return on non-bonus category spending and 10% on airfare. If Amex were to introduce double Membership Rewards earning and redemption in the U.S., I know I'd use my Platinum card more, especially for non-bonus categories where I could earn 2x points. And if I have the opportunity to earn a whopping 10x Membership Rewards points on airfare (normally 5x*), that would absolutely be a game-changer. *Starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
As for statement credits, usually, there is more value in transferring points to Amex's travel partners. However, this starts to get a little interesting if the same 2x bonus were to be offered in the U.S.
If the value for erasing charges using points was also to double, that would mean going from a miserly 0.6 cents per point to a respectable 1.2 cents per point. This is a decent value, especially if you are sitting on a stockpile of Membership Rewards points and planned on redeeming them for cash anyway.
Related reading: 10 things to do when you get an Amex Platinum
While American Express is implementing new Platinum card offers in several countries around the world, we don't yet know if the U.S. is next on their list. For many people, this is the most expensive card in their wallet, and it's certainly not the most useful right now.
In recent weeks, we've seen generous retention offers from Amex to encourage people to keep their cards. Amex is even giving new cardholders more time to reach their welcome offer spending requirements after paying the card's $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
It makes sense for Amex to extend the double points and redemption rate in the U.S., too. Travel isn't happening anytime in the near future, and Amex needs to have a plan to get people to spend money on their Platinum cards. This might be the way to do it.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.