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Amex should respond to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with vigor.
ICYMI, Chase announced that they would debut their new premium card, The Chase Sapphire Reserve, next week. I wrote an article a while back that Amex should view the 5/24 as a huge opportunity. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is yet another example that the market is getting away from Amex. It used to be a given that the American Express Platinum card was THE premium card to carry in your wallet. Boy, things have changed and I believe that Amex should respond to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with vigor!!!
I have an Amex Platinum Business aka ‘bidness’.
As I look across the credit card universe, there are so many premium options to choose from now: The Citi Prestige, the new Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Aadvantage Executive, Chase Ritz Carlton Card, The Barclay Aviator Silver, and the Chase United Club card. Most of these cards offer very similar benefits.
I had a personal platinum a few years ago and let go of it. I didn’t need all of the benefits and the $450 value wasn’t worth keeping. Now, I still have an old Amex fidelity gold card that keeps my points alive and I have been lobbing most of my spend through Chase and their Ultimate Rewards program. I ended up re-acquiring an Amex Platinum Business when I was targeted for a 100k sign up. I do love the Centurion lounges, but it’s a real pain to make use of the $200 airline credit compared to the Citi Prestige and the new Chase Sapphire Reserve, and I haven’t made that much use of the FHR program. Yes, there are a slew of other benefits, but they don’t offset the fee in my opinion. I’ve resorted to now using Virtuoso or booking hotels through Citi Prestige to capitalize on the buy3get1. Why wouldn’t Amex match or beat some of these benefits, at least in the short term?
How do the 3 leading cards compare?
|Citi Prestige||Chase Sapphire Reserve||Amex Plat|
|Annual Fee||$450 ( $350 Citigold)||$450||$450|
|Travel Credit||$250 annually||$300 Annually||$200 on air incidentals|
|Global Entry||Fee credit||fee credit||fee credit|
|Priority Pass||Yes, plus 2 guests||Yes, guests?||Yes, cardholder|
|Other Lounge Access||Admirals plus 2 guests||Centurion lounges|
|Loyalty programs||none||none||Hilton Gold|
|Luxury Hotel programs||Mastercard World Elite Hotel program||Visa Signature Hotels||Amex Fine Hotel & Resorts|
|Other perks||buy3get1 hotel nights|
3 free rounds of golf
Rental Car coverage ( Primary outside US, secondary inside US)
|Primary Rental Car Coverage US and Abroad||Business and First buy1get1. |
Boingo free internet
Rental Car Coverage not primary
|Bonus points on dining||2x||3x||none|
|Bonus points on travel||3x||3x||non|
How does Amex respond to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with vvvigor?
Get rid of the Once in a Lifetime Clause for sign up bonuses
- Currently Amex only allows sign up bonuses once in a lifetime.
- Why on earth would they want to exclude consumers who have had the card in the past from applying again because they wouldn’t get a sign up bonus? Neither Chase nor Citi have such stringent rules. Makes no sense at all.
Match the public offer of 100,000 points with 4k spend
- why would anyone choose Amex over Chase with this large a disparity. When airlines drop fares, the competition responds with a matched price almost instantly.
Increase retention offers based off the original sign up bonus – no matter how long ago it was
- Got 50k for sign up…then get 50k with 4k spend for retention
Make it a flat $200 for travel
- none of this airline incidental mumbo jumbo – just make it flat
Make Centurion lounge access optional; access or an additional $100 for travel credit
- Lounges are already crowded
- choice is power and many cardholders don’t travel enough to make use of the lounges and would rather have the $100 credit. Others would value the lounge access in excess of $100 and would choose it.
Match the Priority pass guest policy and provide memberships with 2 guests
Make the 4th night free when booking through their Fine Hotels and Resorts program
Match 3x for Dining and Travel
I think the Amex Platinum program is still valuable. Competition is what provides value to consumers and the marketplace is excitingly competitive now. I’m not the only one that thinks they need to respond. In fact, I started writing this a few days ago and yesterday The Points Guy published a very similar article, although Zach Honig had some different suggestions, I agree with a lot of what was published. I just don’t think it’s enough. I have a more aggressive plan because I think that Amex is getting shoved around the space and is losing the battle. In the past 18 months they’ve lost Costco, and two new premium cards have entered the market place that beat Amex Plat. They now are far from having the most desired, prestigious, and benefit heavy card on the market. Amex needs to respond to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with vigor or face attrition at the hands of both Chase and Citi.
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