“To be eligible for this referral bonus, your friend must apply for the Card by March 21st, 2018. We can still accept applications after this date but you1 may or may not be eligible for a bonus.”
Remember that deadline? Well, March 21, 2018 has come and gone and I hate to say it but the Amex Business Platinum is pretty much dead.
In my recent blog post I also said that “these recent changes could have been worse. A lot worse.”
Well, it certainly has gotten worse. A whole lot worse.
Let’s have a look at all the changes to date to the Amex Business Platinum card.
Increase in the Annual Fee
Priority Pass Changes
*New* Decreased Welcome Bonus
*New* Decreased Referral Bonus
*New* Increased Minimum Spend
Bells & Whistles:
Looking back to a month ago, Amex released word of a few changes to the card for new applications.
First off, and most negative change, was the 25% increase to the annual fee from $399 to $499. That being said, they also included an upgraded Priority Pass Select membership which now grants you free access to the lounge network compared to having to pay the entry fee every time you visited. This membership is now comparable to the membership you receive with the Amex Personal Platinum card.
Fast forward to present day and we’ve now been crushed with the three new changes.
I’m not going to sugar coat it and truth be told, it’s extremely hard to find the silver lining in this blow from Amex. Here we go.
- Decreased Welcome Bonus: The Welcome Bonus on the Business Platinum card through a referral has dropped from 75,000 MR points to 60,000 MR points.
- Decreased Referral Bonus: The Referral Bonus has also dropped from 25,000 MR points to 15,000 points.
- Increased Minimum Spend: The Minimum Spend has increased from $5,000 to $7,000 within the first three months.
Most of us anticipated a change to the referral bonus because of the March 21st expiration date and as for the welcome bonus, it was bound to happen since it used to be 60,000 MR in prior years. But, I don’t think anyone was expecting the increased minimum spend requirement.
Tying up $7,000 worth of spending for one card is extremely hard to justify, especially when you consider the recent changes as well as the fact that you could use that spend towards 2 or 3 other cards and extract more value than what the Business Platinum now has to offer.
The strategy for churning Amex MR Family cards has taken a 180 degree turn. Starting with the Business Platinum in the past, to take advantage of the referral power, was the best course of action. Now, it’s probably going to be seen as a last resort. Instead, your best bet would be to work through the Business Gold and Personal Platinum cards.
Cycling through the Business Gold and Platinum card through self-referrals will net you over 120,000 MR points for an effective Annual Fee of $299 (assuming you take advantage of the $200 annual travel credits twice).
Keep in mind we also have the SPG lineup as well which offers tremendous value. Speaking of which, to make matters worse, there has been an April deadline put in place by Amex. A deadline for what? We don’t know exactly but if we had to guess it’s probably going to impact a combination of the following: Welcome Bonus, Minimum Spend, Referral Bonus, or worst case, the removal of the card entirely.
You can read all about the details for the Amex SPG Card and Business SPG Card in the below links but to recap, for an effective cost of $270 you can obtain over 45,000 Starpoints. And don’t forget those Starpoints can be transferred to Marriott Rewards netting you 135,000 points.
Without a doubt, this recent news caused a landslide across the Miles and Points landscape. What was once considered the best card out there, the Business Platinum is now pretty much a second thought, a last resort if you will. As with anything in the Miles and Points game, anything and everything can happen in an instant and without warning. And although we knew changes were pending, no one would have guessed them to be this extreme. In the meantime, focusing on the Business Gold and Personal Platinum should be a strong one as well as the SPG cards – Amex SPG and Amex Business SPG – since big changes will not only be coming by the end of the year with the SPG / Marriott changes but as well as the fast-approaching April deadline on the SPG cards.