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.
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.