The fact that the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card has taken off like wildfire has not gone unnoticed in the halls of American Express. (My Reserve card just arrived and I’m eagerly anticipating the 100K sign up bonus!)
It’s taken a few weeks, but the credit card giant is finally responding to the Chase onslaught with some nice perks designed to prevent defection.
This new competition should be music to the ears of those of us who travel a lot, spend a lot, and carry super-premium credit cards such as American Express Platinum, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige.
These cards all have steep annual fees ($450), but are generally worth it to frequent travelers because they are so packed with bonuses, perks and benefits that we value most, such as airport lounge access, automatic elite status in hotel & car rental programs, airline spending credits, primary car rental insurance and reimbursement for PreCheck or Global Entry, among others.
Here’s our previous take on the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card: The 100,000 points question
So what’s Amex doing?
First, if you are already a Platinum card member, you’ll now earn FIVE points per dollar spent on airlines. That’s a serious upgrade considering the card has been offering one measly point per dollar spent until today. While that’s nice, it’s still only good for airline purchases. The new Chase Reserve card offers three points per dollar spent on airline tickets and restaurant tabs. Increased earnings per dollar spent are perfectly timed as we approach the time of year when we spend heavily for everything, such as gifts, fancy meals and trips home for the holidays.
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Second, Amex is also sweetening the pot for its existing Business Platinum Card Members who will now get 50 percent rebate when redeeming their Membership Rewards points to book flights through American Express Travel They will also receive this benefit when booking first or business class tickets with any airline. In addition, Business Platinum Card Members now earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on any purchase of $5,000 or more. That’s definitely helpful, especially for big spenders.
Third, just today Amex announced a significant new sign up bonus — potentially 100,000 points-– for its Business Platinum card. But you have to be a BIG spender to get it:
Amex denies that any of these moves are designed to counter the impact of the Reserve card (yeah, right!). I expect we’ll see even more competition, to our benefit, as these banks continue to fight over the highly lucrative frequent business traveler.
Do you carry a premium credit card? Which one, and why? I have an AMEX Platinum card, which I value most for access to Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion lounges. And now, I also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which I value most for that 100,ooo point bonus I’ll get. Not sure what I’ll do the next time I get hit with a $450 fee… pondering now if having both is really worth it at this point. But we shall see!
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