American Express has made a change overnight that sees the annual fee increase from $399 to $499. At first blush, this might be viewed as a negative change, however, there is a new added benefit to this change; full Priority Pass Select Membership.
Prior to the change, the American Express Platinum Business only provided you with membership to Priority Pass but you would pay $27 USD per person per entry. Now, you have what is known as Priority Pass Select, which provides you and a guest free access to Priority Pass Lounges. Additional guests are still subject to the $27 USD fee.
Priority Pass Select
For those that are not familiar with Priority Pass, I can tell you I swear by it. In the last 5 years, I have had one flight that I did not have Priority Pass, and thus no lounge access, and I can tell you that it wasn’t a fun experience. Perhaps I am just too jaded with my expectation of what travel should be but without lounge access, it simply isn’t as fun. I personally find my time in the lounge to be some of the most relaxing and productive time in my day. There’s a certain peace you get when the doors shut behind you and the chaos of the airport just melts away.
Unless you have status with a major airline that has lounges in all the airports you visit (doubtful), Priority Pass is the best option for you. With over 1,000 lounges worldwide, no other program has the reach that Priority Pass has, in fact, you can often get access to airline lounges as part of their network.
Having this level of lounge access, especially when you are traveling in economy, is an absolute godsend. For a look at which lounges are in the Priority Pass network, visit https://www.prioritypass.com/en/airport-lounges.
Don’t forget that you also get access to Centurion Lounges like the ones in Houston and Dallas.
The sign-up bonus remains the same at 40,000 Membership Rewards points through the public offer, however, if you use my referral link you would receive 75,000 Membership Rewards, a 62.5% bonus!!! The requirement of having $5,000 of spend in the first 3 months still applies but in my opinion, the huge tranche of MRs makes it worth the effort.
American Express has also snuck in a date of March 21st, 2018 in their terms and conditions as the date in which referrals are valid until. Historically, this has meant that there will be some sort of change to the sign-up bonus and with it already at a very lucrative 75,000 Membership Rewards, I would expect to see a reduction. Some have speculated that this might go down to 60,000 MRs but that’s pure speculation.
That being said, if you were ever on the fence about this card, now is the time to jump on the offer.
Insurances and Coverage
It seems as though all insurances and coverages remain the same for the American Express Platinum. For those that are not familiar, the family of Platinum cards from American Express offer some of the most comprehensive insurances in Canada. For a full listing of coverages, please refer to my post breaking down these coverages for all the major Canadian credit cards.
While an increase of $100 to any annual fee is unwelcomed, American Express has at least provided a tangible benefit for this increase. Previously, this card was really only good for the sign-up bonus but now with the improved Priority Pass access, it makes a lot of sense to have, especially if you want to cycle between the Personal Platinum Card and this card for lounge access.
What happens to those that have the Biz Plat already in terms of the PP Select? Are they grandfathered in our do they need to pay $100 for it?
I have been told by AMEX reps that you can update your Priority Pass to Priority Pass Select by calling into American Express and making the request with no additional charge. Cheers
Does one need to complete the minimum spend by the march 21 date or does it only matter that you applied before that date to make sure you get the 75k sign up bonus
Hi Rhinehart, as long as you apply by before the date you are fine. Again, I’m not trying to fear monger here but in my experience, setting a date often means a change in the sign up bonus and usually it’s for the worse. Cheers
Hi Jayce, any idea of best practice for those holding both Amex Biz Plat and BMO World Elite MC, as it relates to Priority Pass? Want to make sure to maximize benefits where possible.
The BMO World Elite only offers 4 passes a year so it really depends on how often you go to the lounge. Personally the BMO doesn’t work for me as I’m in lounge far more often than the passes allow so will cycle between the Personal and Biz Platinum. Hope that helps. Cheers
Wondering if you have found a card that covers you for trip delay or lost baggage on an awards flight booking when you only charge the taxes on a card? I have had difficulty finding one and just had a piece of luggage lost by an airline. Thanks!
Ho Stg, the only cards I know that offer this is the TD and CIBC Aeroplan cards and only when you book for Aeroplan awards and you use the card for taxes and fees. Outside of that, as far as I know, only US cards offer coverage on award tickets (Citi and Chase). Hope that helps. Cheers
How risky is getting a second Biz plat ? Cancelled my other one almost 1/2 year ago. Been ok churning Gold, because of limited risk. But now that I’d be on the hook for 500$ it’d be more important than before to get that 75k… I could also pick up a second Plat (which I haven’t had even longer) but it’s even more $ for less rewards (though 200$ x 2 would be in play). Thanks.
Fernand, a second Biz Platinum is easy and you are 99.99%% sure to get the bonus again. Just be sure to open up the account under another business name. Cheers
Had been debating about applying for the Platinum Business card but just noted there is a stipulation that states “This offer is not applicable to holders of an existing American Express Small Business Card product.” Do they overlook the cardholder name with an alternate business name as u suggest?
In my experience I gave had 100% success across 6 business cards. Others have reported the same. Hope that helps. Cheers
How does the lounge benefit compare to the personal platinum card?
Joe, the benefit is the same. Priority Pass Select which provides access to Priority Pass Lounges for the card holder and 1 guest. Additional guest are $27 but in my experience kids aren’t counted. Cheers
As one who has the personal plat this means nothing in terms of benefits only that the fee is increasing. I think if they do not add another benefit similar to the points earnings availability they offer on the US business plat. I will be canceling my 2 business plat cards and just sticking with the personal Plat.
BigG, I would agree with your assessment if and only if you already have the Personal Platinum. If you do not, this represents an excellent opportunity to cycle between the two cards for Priority Pass access. To me this is a good change especially if you consider that they could have raised the AF with no real benefit. Cheers
Does this mean a reduction in referral points for the Amex Gold Business . Currently if you have the Platinum card and you refer someone to the Amex Gold business you get 25K points. Is that going to be reduced as well?
No way to know that right now but if I were to guess, I would say that it probably gets reduced. Cheers
Got a quick question, I signed up for the AMEX business platinum card using the referral link and I am wondering if I buy gift cards or visa/mastercard gift cards if they count towards the $5000 spending limit to get the bonus offer or not? Reason I ask is I do a lot of my shopping at Superstore here in the praries and they do not accept AMEX.
Purchases of gift cards or pre-paid credit cards definitely count towards your minimum spend requirements. No issues at all to make your entire minimum spend that way if you like.