Wednesday, October 08, 2008

American Express Cuts Platinum Card Benefit

American Express sent out a notice to its Platinum Card holders informing them that a major benefit of holding the card -- which costs $450 a year -- is being cut.

Effective Nov. 15, the "domestic companion airfare program" disappears. That's the perk that allowed card holders to book free companion tickets four times a year, based on availability (which was always very limited, but still...).

The card still offers rewards points (as do other, cheaper airline and travel-loyalty credit cards), free access to participating airline clubs for ticketed passengers of said "participating" airline on day of travel, and various concierge services.

Lookit the intelligence-insulting, disingenuous way American Express words its notification that a key benefit of the card is being slashed: The first sentence of the letter speaks of "a change to one of your Platinum Card benefits."

A "change?" What, the corporate spell-check can't handle the word "elimination?"

What, they think card holders who pay $450 a year won't read on through the palaver and ascertain that they're getting stiffed?

"We evaluate the benefits offered on the Platinum Card regularly to ensure we are delivering services that Card members want, value and that meet their needs," the letter says, explaining why the card is ... well, no longer as valuable.

Its corporate mind-set tuned to Goodspeak, there is no explanation from American Express of why this perk has been cut, but I gather they want card holders to believe it's ... in their best interests.



John C said...

I'm glad they are cutting this benefit. Every time I tried to use it, I was told I couldn't. Supposedly, there were a ton of rules that were constantly changing and no one could point me to them so I could know how to play the game. Advertising this benefit was like bait and switch, so I am glad that they are getting rid of it all together.

emceemk said...

I just got the AmExp letter yesterday, and I was both understandably upset, and understanding. They have made no attempt to offer any sort of replacement service as of this writing, and thought I appreciate the urge to curb in these ncertain economic times, I don't appreciate being "curbed" by, of all companies, American Express.
BTW, oil is cheaper now, not more costly, so the timing of this announcement is galling.