The Platinum Card from American Express.

Learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express at

Monday’s post about airline gift cards no longer (reliably) crediting back as part of Amex Platinum and Amex Gold airline incidentals wasn’t happy news for most people.

Some readers told us they plan to cancel their Amex Platinum cards. Others were confused as to what now exactly codes for credit and what doesn’t.

René mentioned several ways the airline incidental credit might still be useful to people and work.

Amex’s airline incidental credit is now fairly worthless to many of us. Thanks to elite status and airline credit cards, we rarely pay for checked luggage. We usually sit in cabins where adult beverages are complimentary. Beyond that, unlike some airlines, Delta / Amex does not require us to pay for tickets with our Delta Amex cards to get the free bag perk for us and those with us on the same reservation so many pay with cards that reward us with much higher points like the non-Delta Amex Platinum card that pay 5x Membership Rewards points (learn more here).

So what can Amex do to make us happy? (Or at least, placate us a bit?)

Create an Annual Travel Credit Similar to Chase Sapphire Reserve’s

American Express should extend the $200 credit to all travel purchases. Or at least, more travel categories.

You know, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve does. (Theirs is a $300 credit for a $450 annual fee).

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve at
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

This would cover purchases such as:

  • Airline
  • Hotel
  • Trains
  • Parking
  • Cruises
  • Ride-share (more on this in a minute)
  • Travel agencies
  • Tolls

Or, heck — just make it airlines and hotels.

Give us a reason to pay with our American Express cards!

I know Amex’s internal costs just reached a record high. But things won’t get better for them when people start canceling Platinum and Gold cards.

Could Blanket Travel Credit Benefit or Hurt Amex?

The only times I ever use my American Express Platinum personal (learn more) or business (learn more) cards are for airline purchases, credits such as Uber, the Saks offer on the personal card and Dell offer on the business brand, and Amex Offers for You.

That’s it.

The 1X earnings on all other purchases simply aren’t worth it.

However, if Amex created a blanket travel credit, there are times I’d use it in place of other cards.

On business trips, my hotel invoices are generally more than $200. I’d love to let Amex once cover $200 of that — instead of using a co-branded hotel card.

I think, though, that Amex relies on a number of people not understanding how to use the airline credit or spend a fraction of the perk. (I’ve met some cardholders who weren’t even aware of it.) Maybe Amex is afraid more people will actually start using the card for creditable purchases. (But, hey, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is always happy to get business…)

But on the same token, people who don’t read travel points and miles blogs will simply get in the habit of using their Platinum cards more frequently — or exclusively — for all their purchases. Some of my colleagues use only their Chase Sapphire Reserve even after they receive the $300 travel credit. I think they’re in the majority of most credit card or charge card users.

Would This Effect the Existing Uber Credit?

Because Amex already has a $200 annual Uber credit ($15 every month. Except December when it’s $35), I can see them getting weird about crediting Lyft. Frankly, I’d be fine with that. (And remember the Uber credit works for Uber Eats — you can even have ice cream delivered.)

What Do You Think?

Would a blanket travel credit entice you to keep your card? Would you use for another flight or hotel purchase? Tell us in the Comment section below!




  1. Amex intentionally makes their benefits difficult to use; Chase does not and therein lies the difference. I can’t envision this changing in the near future.

  2. Agree with Chris- this is part of the business model (breakage).

    I don’t think they will switch to a Travel category model. They don’t have to because of the unique lounge access this card provides.

    A more likely and reasonable change would be to make Amex Travel purchases eligible for reimbursement. This would keep the people who pay attention happy, and still leave room for some cost reduction from breakage.

  3. Linn Hammergren

    I am one of several thinking of ditching Amex Platinum and especially for the useless $200 (plus having lost maybe $100 on Uber, but that was Uber’s fault for not announcing the change in accessing Uber Cash). My main benefit is Priority Pass, and if that is cheaper, I will go there. The only time I used the $200 was when I moved to Europe for 6 months and had to ship extra luggage. Otherwise a gold card (United, and American) takes care of normal luggage). Maybe with another airline (Delta?) but again it is really Priority Pass and Uber that seal the deal and that is simply not enough savings.

  4. @Joachim: I don’t hate that idea. Especially because flights books through Amex Travel credit as cash fares with airlines and earn elite miles and redeemable miles.

  5. Barry Graham

    As Delta frequent fliers is there really no way you could spend the money on something other than a gift card – like… a flight maybe? That’s what I intended to do when I recently applied for my card.

  6. Barry Graham

    @Chris that’s exactly what I have in mind too! There shouldn’t be any doubt that that would qualiy.

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