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The Amex Platinum changes … one year on

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16th July 2012 was the day when American Express made big changes to the benefits package attached to the American Express Platinum Card.

One year on, the Platinum card is in a strange position. Many, many, many people have made it clear via Head for Points, Flyertalk and other forums that they have chopped up their cards, with Amex generally making no attempt to keep them.

At the same time, due to hugely generous sign-up offers – such as the current 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – the Platinum card has never been more popular.

How many of these new members keep the card after triggering the sign-up bonus is debatable, of course, especially as Amex refunds your annual fee pro-rata when you cancel.

Let’s remind ourselves what changed a year ago:

The annual fee was raised from £300 to £450

The travel insurance, which used to be fully comprehensive in almost every respect, was been downgraded sharply. Travellers over 70 are no longer covered, which is a blow for people who used to give their parents supplementary cards for the free cover.

Many of the insurance benefits now require you to have paid for your flights and hotel with a qualifying American Express card (a ‘qualifying card’ is basically an Amex-issued Amex), unless the establishment does not accept Amex. This was especially annoying for people who have a ‘no FX fees’ credit card, since using an Amex effectively adds 2.99% to the cost of their travel.

Since July 2012, there have been two other dilutions of the Platinum card:

Hilton HHonors Gold was removed as a benefit, although this was only allowed as a one-year one-off in any event

Jumeirah Sirius announced that it is leaving Membership Rewards at the end of July 2013

Some new benefits were brought in, of course.

The main one, which was actually introduced quietly late in 2011, was one year of free Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold membership. This is very, very useful if you do not have British Airways status, since Cathay Pacific is a oneworld alliance member like BA.

Cathay Gold is equivalent to BA Silver, and gets you many of the same benefits when flying BA – most importantly, access to British Airways lounges for you and a guest whatever your class of travel. You also get free seating on BA, use of business class check-in and priority waitlisting. Just about the only benefit of BA Silver that you don’t get with a Cathay Gold is access to fast-track security lanes at Heathrow Terminal 5 and the extra baggage allowance.

This is not a permanent benefit, however. To date, most (not all) have had their Cathay Gold card renewed but you should not expect this to continue. The recent edition of Departures Magazine (the Amex Platinum magazine) said that the card would continue to be offered to new Amex Platinum cardholders until 31st March 2014.

The other improvement were:

1 free guest when using your Priority Pass to enter an airline lounge. This means that a family of 4 can now access Priority Pass lounges for free, assuming that one parent is the Amex Plat main cardholder and the 2nd parent is the supplementary cardholder, as both receive a Priority Pass.

The Platinum supplementary cardholder can also now apply for the hotel and car rental status benefits. These are Starwood Preferred Guest Gold, Club Carlson Gold, Hertz No 1 Club Gold and Avis Preferred

Le Club Accorhotels membership was introduced, at Platinum level. However, this status is easily obtainable via regular promotions run by Accor, with no Amex Platinum card needed.

There have also been a number of other interesting benefits over the last year, including:

A £70 voucher for fashion retailer Matches (no minimum spend required) from which I got an Orlebar Brown t-shirt!

A free night at a luxury Melia hotel (still available if you apply for the card today)

A free wine tasting at Berry Bros in Mayfair

A free ‘champagne and canapes’ party at MontBlanc on Bond Street, scheduled for November 2013

Did I keep my Amex Platinum card?

Yes, I did. However, my position is not the same as most. As a long-term Platinum, I get my British Airways Premium Plus American Express card for free, saving me £150 per year.

The net cost for me of the Platinum card is therefore only £300. I have also been quite impressed with the treatment of the two insurance claims I have submitted – see here for the story behind the last one I put in.

The real deal breaker for me, ironically, would be if MBNA was successful in its bid to take over the British Airways credit card contract! Without the £150 of ‘free’ BA Amex, I’m not sure that I could justify my Amex Plat anymore. My Mum also turned 70 this year, so she is no longer covered by the Amex travel insurance on her supplementary card on my account.

If you want to learn more about the American Express Platinum Card and the 30,000 Avios / 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus, my full Amex Platinum review is hereThe official Amex website page is here.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update

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In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

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5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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Comments (102)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Thomas says:

    Hello all,

    Has anyone heard if AMEX have changed the Priority Pass rules – I travelled last week and had a guest with me in the lounge and I got charged for the 1 guest. I have contacted AMEX today and they have refunded me this but they quoted that “I confirm that the Platinum Basic and the 1st Platinum Supplementary Card are eligible for complimentary Priority Pass membership only. A charge of £15 is assessed for lounge access usage fees for your accompanying guests, when received per visit.”

    They did refund the £15 this time, but if the above is right, have they removed the free guest? I have gone back to them to ask for clarification and will update here when I get an update – they also mention “Platinum Basic” and I have asked for clarification what this is as well….


    • Alan says:

      There’s been no notification of any change and this would be a big reduction in one of the few benefits they mentioned with the increased fee. I suspect the rep has just been poorly informed – if the reply is inadequate then please escalate it further as a formal complaint to Exec Complaints.

      Platinum ‘Basic’ is a slightly reduced fee card they offer sometimes to some folk as a retention offer – reduced benefits, reduced fee, but personally I don’t think that’s worth it!

      • Thomas says:

        Hi Alan

        I am thinking the same, i.e. rep is not correct – I am waiting for feedback and will update as soon as I hear back and fully agreed this would be a bad downgrade. I had not heard of the Platinum Basic and considering they have just taken the full amount for a new year, I wouldnt be happy if they call me Basic now 🙂

        Kind regards

        • Alan says:

          Don’t worry you’d definitely know if you were Basic! Glad to see website hasn’t changed – I think they’re sadly just not as well-trained as those of us here on HfP 😀

          • Thomas says:

            Good news in the end;

            “I confirm that you and the Supplementary Card holder can still take a guest to a Priority Pass Lounge free of cost. This facility has not been changed by us and I assure you that we will always inform you before making any such changes to your account.

            It appears that due to an error in the Priority Pass server they charged your account with the charge of £15.”

            So after a bit of confusion, all is well again!

            Kind regards

          • Alan says:

            Interesting, I’d always assumed the free guest was deducted at the Amex rather than PP end. Glad they’ve confirmed no change, but their tone seems slightly inappropriate given it was their own rep giving out incorrect info!

    • Thomas says:

      The T&Cs on the Platinum Sites still state;

      “Priority PassTM
      Present your Priority Pass membership card and boarding pass for access to over 600 lounges in their programme. The main and Platinum Supplmentary Cardmember are automatically enrolled into Priority Pass.
      Terms and Conditions
      In order to access Priority Pass lounges, the Cardmember must present a valid Priority Pass card in his or her name, along with boarding pass for same day travel and passport. The main and the Platinum Supplementary Cardmember may bring up to 1 guest into the lounge at no cost. Any additional guests will be charged a fee at the prevailing rate – currently £15 per person, per visit, to his or her American Express Platinum Card. Subsequent years’ renewal terms and conditions are at the discretion of Priority Pass. For complete conditions of use visit He or she agrees to abide by the conditions of use as contained in the Lounge Listing.”

      I am waiting for AMEX feedback 🙂

  • Jus says:

    Please can someone let me know what on earth is the platinum basic card? I have never heard of it.

  • Jus says:

    Hi there, I also have a BA premium card and have just been told by amex if i cancel the card my companion voucher (which i have already earned and transfered to BA) becomes invalid unless i have a valid BA amex card. Is this true? I have been told the only way round this is to downgrade my amex ba card.

    • Rob says:

      Probably untrue. However, why not downgrade to the free card?

      It is NOT true that you need to pay the taxes on a BA Amex when you redeem, despite what they say. It MUST be an Amex, but not necessarily BA.

      • Jus says:

        Thanks Raffles, I thought as much. I have downgraded the card although i dont like to keep cards for the sake of it and also i quite like the option of when my wife is near her 10k for the comp voucher, she recommends me etc for a new prem card and i get a new welcome bonus… surely that is the way to do it?

      • Jus says:

        Just read this on the t&c’s. I will need to keep the downgraded card in order to use the companion voucher

        Rules and Restrictions
        All British Airways American Express Credit Cards

        The Member is responsible for paying any Taxes, Fees & Charges relating to their Companion Voucher booking. All Taxes, Fees & Charges must be paid for using the Member’s British Airways American Express Credit Card.

        • Rob says:

          No you don’t!

          This clause is a lie as I posted earlier. It MUST be an Amex as all other payment options are blocked, but not necessarily a BA Amex.

  • Jus says:

    Also do you rate the offers from Foursquare, does anyone have any experience with that linked to their amex?

    • Rob says:

      Works fine, and if you get the full 5 supplementary cards on the Plat you have 6 different card numbers for Foursquare use

  • Nick says:

    How does the travel insurance work for parents? Must I give them a supplementary card? Can they be living outside the uk?

    Thanks raffles

    • Louie says:

      One parent needs a supplementary card and yes they can be living outside the UK

    • Rob says:

      You must give them a Supp card. They must be under 70.

      Not sure about residence requirements. You can download the insurance documents from the Amex website – look at the Platinum card home page at, click ‘View Important Information’ at the bottom and you get an option to download the docs.

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