Amex Platinum appears to have dropped Hilton Gold as a benefit!

The American Express Platinum charge card has a lot to offer the regular traveller. Yes, there is a fairly bonkers £450 annual fee, but you can get 50,000 Avios for signing up and the benefits are not bad. (I will write more on this in a couple of days.)

Cardholders will know that Amex did a big relaunch for the card in mid 2012. This followed a) an increase in the annual fee from £300 to £450 and b) a cut-back in the value of the travel insurance benefit.

However, we all got a big glossy brochure in the post which aimed to reassure us about the great value that Platinum offers. This brochure attracted a lot of criticism because it implied that the Cathay Pacific Gold card (which gives you most of the benefits of a British Airways Silver card, including lounge access) was a permanent benefit. It isn’t. It is meant to be a one-off for 1 year, although Cathay is currently rolling over memberships for people.

Amex Platinum

The brochure also implied that the Hilton HHonors Gold card offered to American Express Platinum cardholders was a permanent benefit. We all knew that was not true – it was a ‘one off’ for a year.

Now, the free Hilton HHonors Gold card has disappeared from the Amex website.

It has gone from the main promotional site from the card.

It has gone from the private Amex Platinum website.

It has gone from the online application form for the hotel and Cathay cards.

Gone, with no notice. Which is very poor form (again). This is especially poor form because – as the Hilton card was a genuine ‘one year only’ deal – a lot of people had delayed signing up for it until they knew they would have a Hilton stay coming up. If Amex had given a few weeks notice, everyone who had not had this offer yet could have signed up.

This is especially annoying as Hilton Gold is the best mid-tier hotel status to have. You get a guaranteed upgrade, free breakfast (except at Waldorf-Astoria’s) and free internet, plus a 50% points bonus. For the leisure traveller, these are all benefits that offer real value.

There is a way of getting Hilton Gold status with just four Hilton stays, which I will post about in a few days. That is still nowhere near as good as getting the card just for filling in a form, though – especially if you only wanted it for a couple of stays.

Great new card offer! 40,000 Avios with the Amex BUSINESS Gold Card
Club Carlson announces its very generous Quarter 1 promotion
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Comments

  1. Britbronco says:

    I was waiting to sign up for this so I’m particularly peeved. I think it’s worth sending a secure message to complain, as this was part of the reason i paid my annual fee!

    • Definitely – this is shocking behaviour on Amex’s part – I’d be interested to hear what they say.

    • Britbronco says:

      Reply from Amex, confirmed last date for applications was 31st December. No reason given yet why this wasn’t advertised. Offered 5k mr points compo

  2. Yes, HHonors treats award and paid stays the same re benefits. Other programmes such as Priority Club could do well to learn from them!

  3. The bigger question, surely, is whether those of us who are existing Plat members should bother renewing at £450, and with much restricted travel insurance. As it happens, I get my Hilton Gold more permanently by putting some expenditure on my Hilton visa card. I also happen to be BA Gold, and will be next year as well, so don’t need the Cathay perk…. With the major deflation in the insurance offer, I’m really not sure why I am bothering with the Plat card any more…

    • Feel free, anyone, to tweet a link to this post to @amexuk and see if you can get a response out of them!

      • They will tell you about their “valuable” golf package and “best” fare guarantee…

        • Flashware says:

          Absolute crooks! Very angry right now as I was going to need to trigger it just before my honeymoon.

        • has anyone had use of best fare garuntee, i looked up b class to bali with cp £3225, yet on amex website the same flights were £5995

  4. It was dropped months ago. I got the card in October and applied for Hilton Gold back then. No response. Tried again in December. No response. Card Cancelled! Starwood Gold may be next to go as I had the same experience applying for that!!

    • It was still on the website and the application form was still there. Whether they quietly started ignoring applications a few months ago is a different question.

      This may be linked to Hilton’s increased credit card range in the US, which also give Gold automatically. In the UK, you only get Silver automatically and need to spend a pretty chunky amount to get Gold.

  5. I think what amex has done has been reflected in the jobs cuts they have just announced http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20980486 maybe someone might see some sense

    • As part of American Express’ 5,400 jobs cuts it’s said the majority of the job losses would be in its travel business, which is being “fundamentally reinvented as a result of the digital revolution”.

      It’s highly likely you’ll see more changes to Membershi Rwards over the next 12 to 18 months – Amext took $600m (£370m) in after-tax charges in the fourth quarter of 2012 which includes restructuring costs of $212m for Membership Rewards.

  6. Talking about bad service. I’ve applied for the gold card in November and been rejected. Made an appeal and got the card in December. Called up to activate in January and they’ve put the account under review. 3days later they’ve cancelled the account.