Why the Amex Platinum’s digital entertainment credit is its most disappointing new perk
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Four statement credits. $900 in potential value.
Earlier this year, The Platinum Card® from American Express saw a major refresh which included a plethora of new perks — and an increase to the card’s annual fee to $695 (see rates and fees). However, upon taking a closer look at some of these new benefits, it’s pretty easy to see they’re not designed with every cardmember in mind.
One of the least useful — and most disappointing — new credits is Amex’s digital entertainment credit (enrollment required).
From limited eligible merchants to the constraints of a monthly subscription, here is why Amex should consider restructuring its new credit for Amex Platinum members.
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My expectations were too high
When I first heard rumblings that the Amex Platinum might add a “digital entertainment credit” earlier this year, I was excited about this permanent benefit.
For context, from May through December 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Amex offered a temporary streaming credit of up to $20 per month (since expired) with the Amex Platinum Card. That particular streaming credit offered up to $20 per month for eight months, worth up to $160. The eligible services included:
Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T TV Now, Audible, CBS All Access, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Max, HBO Now, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Kindle Unlimited, Luminary, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, Netflix, NHL.TV, Pandora, Peacock, Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite, Spotify, Stitcher, TIDAL Music, YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Premium, YouTube TV
Unfortunately, as we now know, this year’s permanent digital entertainment credit is much more limited.
Limited eligible merchants
By its very nature, a digital entertainment credit should be, well, open to all forms of personal digital entertainment. But Amex restricts this credit to just four merchants:
- The New York Times
Not only is it extremely restrictive to offer a mere four eligible partners, but these also aren’t even very popular services in the overall digital entertainment sphere. That alone probably limits their usefulness for many cardmembers.
Constraints of a monthly credit
The other main issue is that a monthly credit may not align with how some of these subscription services operate and charge their customers.
Here’s an example. Amex provides this credit on a monthly cadence which means annual subscriptions — with pricing that is often cheaper — do not qualify.
A SiriusXM subscription is much more affordable when purchased at the annual rate, compared to month-to-month. While it still may make sense to go for the monthly rate to utilize the Platinum entertainment credit, this isn’t helpful for someone that is already locked into an annual (or even bi-annual) contract.
In addition, a monthly statement credit may not align with how a company, such as The New York Times, bills customers. Since the Times bills subscribers every 28 days, this could mean two purchases falling within the same month.
Tip: Try to avoid getting a new Times subscription at the end of the month if you’re trying to use the entertainment credit. For instance, if your first Times subscription hits your Amex Platinum account on October 1, you’ll be billed for the next subscription on October 29.
‘Bundled’ subscriptions don’t count
Many consumers don’t have the time or bandwidth to manage multiple subscriptions.
Therefore, they may purchase a bundled subscription to make things easier (or more affordable). Unfortunately, these don’t count as part of the Amex Platinum’s digital entertainment credit.
For Peacock, “eligible purchases do not include subscriptions bundled with cable services or other bundles.” For SiriusXM, “eligible purchases do not include any transactions involving SiriusXM’s Stitcher or Pandora services.”
But the card’s digital entertainment credit could certainly use a revamp to be more useful for the average consumer. Besides the obvious lack of eligible services, there are some notable downsides to having a monthly credit. At the end of the day, I had expectations that were simply too high based on what Amex offered last year (temporarily). Let’s hope Amex does more with this perk, which has so much potential to expand and improve.
Featured photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing/Getty Images.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
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