Posted by William Charles on September 27, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on September 27th, 2016 | by William Charles

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Rumor: American Express To Compete With Chase Sapphire Reserve, As Early As Q4

I’ll preface this by saying that this is nothing more than a rumor at this stage, I believe it to be true but can’t go into specifics and I’m less sure of this than I was of the Chase 5/24 rule and Chase Sapphire Reserve leaks. Apparently they want to introduce new product(s) to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and plan to introduce these as early as Q4 of 2016. Some people have been throwing around a date of October 5th, but I suspect that will be for a different promotion/offering.

The big thing I got out of what I’ve heard is that they want to compete with the one size fits all nature of the Reserve card. In that it offers travel benefits, premium protections/insurance, category bonuses and cash back.

[Read: Premium Cards Compared: Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum & Citi Prestige]

I’m interested to see if American Express launch a new card or they make adjustments to the American Express Platinum card they already offer. I could see the value in launching a new card, as that would put less pressure on the Platinum lounge network they offer. Personally I’m very much hoping for new cards, because that means I’ll be able to get the sign up bonus again (as American Express is once per lifetime).

Feel free to speculate in the comments, but for now I’m filing this one away as ‘wait and see’.



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Glenn
Glenn

Well the obvious problem with Platinum is that it doesn’t have ANY category bonuses, which means none of us put any spend on it at all. Whether that matters to Amex, I don’t know.

Elias
Elias

This is very true. Citi Prestige and CSR are much better than the platinum in term of spending with the card. I was targeted for 2x MR on my amex platinum and I have been using it for everything now.

Harold
Harold

Me too – back in (I think) July or early August I got a targeted bonus of 2X everywhere on my Platinum card (runs through 10/30). I’ve been using it pretty heavily. Once that deal expires though…not so much.

dbeach
dbeach

Wow, here’s hoping that was a marketing test run. 2x on everything would be awesome.

losingtrader
losingtrader

I got that on the BGR card, up to 25k doubled, so used it to pay taxes.
I think I’ll figure out how to get less than 1 cent in value………….

Maybe spend $5000 at Mc Donalds using my MR’s, all in one visit.

Dan
Dan

I am just happy I got my 100k MR. Our esteemed bloggers ^^ is there much difference between Amex lounge and Priority Pass lounge? Do PP lounges have food like Amex lounge does?

AdamH
AdamH

The Plat and CSR are very similar cards on the benefits side. I would almost tip the hat towards Plat as the superior card as I think the Centurion lounges are truly unmatched (and they are in places I can make use of). The only real difference is the Plat doesn’t have primary rental car coverage and you get an extra $100 travel credit with CSR. Other than that, I have found FHR to be really great and easy to use, I have had good successes with Amex liability protections on the card when I have had to use them and Amex Offers are always a nice little bonus. With that said, there is no reason to put any spend on the card at 1x. The transfer partners are weak compared to UR as well.

If they want to “fix” the Plat make the spend bonuses at least as good as the Gold.

Elias
Elias

Completely agree with you. My Amex plat is a card to have and not to use. I use FHR twice a year (I prefer WE hotels and 4th night free with citi prestige when possible) and the amex offers. I save around $150 a year on amex offers and value the FHR $100, the centurion lounges I value at $200. Thankfully I ve been getting for 2 years straight 200 statement credits as retention bonuses.

Red
Red

The CSR’s $300 travel credit is much, much more flexible than the Amex Plat $200 airline fee credit and is therefore worth more than the $100 difference. It counts for any travel expense (even a parking meter) while the Plat only works for “fees” specific to an airline you choose once per year. I’ve been using the MPX loophole with Amex- I don’t think I’d be able to reach $200 in fees organically without resorting to gift cards.

I find Delta Skyclub access good but I find Centurion access worthless. A few days ago I was in MIA but my AA gate was so far away from the Centurion lounge that I decided to go to the Admirals club instead. Unless they open one in the DC area, I may not ever be able to go a Centurion lounge. None of my home airports (WAS), usual domestic destinations, and the international gateways I use have them- LAX, ORD, JFK, EWR.

Mser
Mser

Yep, Centurion lounges are nice but there are so few of them, it’s more marketing hype than a useful perk. I’d have rather have had them save the $ and put it into category spend bonuses and improving CS.

Elias
Elias

Thats very specific to each one’s circumstances. I happen to live in an area where my airport MIA has a really nice centurion lounge and I use it all the times I travel

TG
TG

You mention primary rental car coverage but ignore the fact that Amex cards don’t include any form of flight delay/cancellation or baggage insurance?

Dima
Dima

Not being able to bring guests for free to PP lounges is a big downside who often travel with family / friends.

kk
kk

This is exciting news as a consumer. I believe Amex can do much better rather than relying on their image. Can I ask how this rumor originated?

Nick
Nick

They need to do something as Chase is now King. They have lost Costco and Jet Blue. If they lose Starwood, they are done.

The key is Chase makes it well worth it to keep their cards with easy to use travel credits and free hotel stays. I can justify the annual fee but not with AmEelx.

Peter
Peter

Amex customer service has gone downhill and they have poor reward tracking and it takes multiple months for rewards to post. The value of points is lower and Chase has a better ecosystem.

I also HATE how they have acted towards customers that signed up via a 100K MR Platinum sign up link. Points claw backs and attempting to state that once per lifetime means all Platinum variants count as one (can’t get regular and Mercedes bonus for example).

The only thing I like about Amex is the contactless credit card feature and Amex Offers. They don’t do themselves any favors with overly restrictive categories (like some grocery stores not counting for Blu Cash cards and excluding wholesale club gas as well when Chase includes it…)

Ed
Ed

Amex lost a lot of business owners when they clawed back points in the last 5 months. Chase reps were giddy at all the new customers they received because of the way Amex treated long time customers. They’ll never fully recover because people will be afraid to sign up for any new Amex products tied to Membership Rewards.

farsighted99
farsighted99

I don’t know about you, but I got the 75K Mercedes Plat Bonus. And I have the regular Plat card bonus for awhile (got it when it was 100K once; several years ago). I guess YMMV. I’d check that out again though (unless you got the regular AX Plat card bonus recently). I read they didn’t count it as the same product, so I applied for it. Got the bonus as soon as I hit $3K.

Was considering leasing a Benz for 3 years so that was the main reason I got the card (but the points are nice). However not convinced about it after reading about more of the stipulations, so may not keep this card after I get my two airline credits, but we will see. In the meantime, it’s another Plat card. I can use it for Amex bonuses; though lately they have been a bit disappointing; most of the offers aren’t as good as they used to be.

Bill W.
Bill W.

Do you think the entry of CSR in the premium card market will prompt Citi Prestige to re-evaluate their decision to diminish the fourth night benefit by using an average rather than the actual cost, the elimination of the golf benefit, etc.?

I fell for the hype surrounding the Black Card issued by Barclay and have found it to be all sizzle and no substance. They breached their contract and at nearly $500 their annual fee does not hold up in a cost vs. benefit analysis nor does it compete with the benefits offered by other premium cards. So I liquidated my points for a statement credit and I am planning to transfer the credit limit to another Barclay issued card and dump it… I will be in the market for a replacement and open to your suggestions…

Thanks!

Mike
Mike

I think Citi is kicking themselves right now. The Prestige really laid the groundwork for mainstreaming a premium travel card, and their downgrade gave Chase the perfect opportunity.

Still, the changes are more of a mixed bag. The free golf was a truly niche benefit. The 4th night changes hurt if you made sure the 4th night was the most expensive, but now you’ll get more savings if the 4th night is the cheapest. The drop in travel redemption rates is the real killer.

Ivan X

The removal of AA lounge is also a meaningful bummer. But 4th night free will keep me holding that card forever, especially since I have it at $350/year.

Bill W.
Bill W.

I have been an AmEx member for 35 years and I am paying $450 for my Plat card… How is it you are only paying $350?

Mike
Mike

He’s talking about Cit Prestige. If you apply in branch you can sometimes get a reduced AF, probably means he has a bank account with them.

LM
LM

Im only paying $250 for my Amex Plat. I called to cancel on my annual renewal and they knocked $200 off. So, with the airline credit it’s only $50 to hold on to….

Mike
Mike

yeah, the AA lounges are a big loss.

But even with the changes to 4th night, you can still save 4 figures every year. Crediting back based on the nightly average makes it far more flexible. but I bet some people religously timed their stays so that the 4th night was the most expensive.

Laura
Laura

Off topic but why do you downplay your site as being about consumer credit information? It’s obviously a churner’s treasure trove. Not complaining or anything, just curious

Mser
Mser

Amex Plat has disappeared from my travel wallet. If I was eligible for CSR I would have grabbed one. But I use Citi Prestige instead. Amex has made huge missteps in the last 5 years. Gone from clear leader of high income big spenders to muddling along with uncompetitive offerings. They desperately need to step up their game with category spend bonuses in more areas. They need something to replace the SPG’s flexible points currency.

And ffs, bring back secure email!

Caleb Kurtz

I’ve only had the Ameriprise and Mercedes Benz Platinum in card, in theory I should qualify for the standard personal Plat card bonus?

James
James

Do you have more reliable sources than that Redditor who posted about drinking with some Amex marketing girls?

Robert
Robert
Dan
Dan

Way better card for the down under.

Jags4186
Jags4186

That card sucks. AMEX Australia has an extremely convoluted MR system with multiple levels and transfer partners. Depending on the level of MR program you’re in you’re limited to how many programs you can transfer to as well as given poorer redemption ratios.

1 US MR point is worth more than 2 Aus “gateway” MR points IMO.

JP
JP

Good news. axed my plat last week and everyone else’s in my household…ready for some real amex product against chase. their paltry 1x on purchases didn’t cut for me and their lack of centurion lounge in DC was always negative for me.

Dave
Dave

As a DCA based Plat holder I have my fingers crossed that when the Terminal B/C modifications end (moving National Hall behind security, building a new RJ terminal) Amex will look to open a lounge in DC. Currently AA has two Admirals Clubs at DCA due to the split nature of their terminals. They should consolidate to one after the modifications (the old US Air Club is pretty big).

O’Hare is also a major hole in the Centurion network.

PSL
PSL

When it comes to flexibility in travel credits, earnings per dollar, and point redemption value, Sapphire Reserve is so far superior to AMEX Platinum that AMEX had better sweeten the pot or they will see a wave of cancellations.

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