Credit Cards

If Amex decided to improve Platinum Card, what would you suggest?

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  • Feb 28th, 2018 9:29 pm
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Member
Jun 11, 2015
449 posts
464 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
I think what they really need is a more aggressive marketing campaign. Brand awareness of the platinum card is low in Canada and so it doesn't really confer status.

If I was on the Amex marketing team, I'd make three changes:

1) Change to a metal card. This isn't that expensive and it would create waves in the Canadian market where these cards are not common. This makes wayyyy more sense than huge signup bonuses.

2) Add in a restaurant bonus, similar to Cobalt.

3) Make the card FX free. This is something many people fixate on and I think people often overvalue.

I'd want people dropping metal platinum cards in front of their friends at restaurants. The no FX thing would give their friends an excuse to signup. This dynamic was going on with Chase Sapphire cards in the US and it helped Chase Sapphire become the standard in the premium card market - stealing Amex's market there. If I were Amex, I'd want to recreate the same atmosphere in Canada.



A 20% discount on the higher trims of Uber (Select, Black, etc) would also be much appreciated and I think it would fit nicely with the premium image Amex wants.




I have a platinum card I don't really use. But the reasons I don't use it are harder for Amex to fix:

1) Aeroplan miles aren't that useful (to me) due to a combination of poor availability and high fuel surcharges. This will likely get worse as AP and AC split. Perhaps add Westjet as a transfer partner?

2) Amex isn't accepted and/or tap doesn't work properly with Amex at half the places I use my card.

3) Canadian airports are generally okay, so I don't care that much about lounge access. If I lived in Philadelphia my view would be different.
Last edited by TWELVES on Feb 27th, 2018 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dec 20, 2017
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TWELVES wrote: I think what they really need is a more aggressive marketing campaign. Brand awareness of the platinum card is low in Canada and so it doesn't really confer status.

If I was on the Amex marketing team, I'd make three changes:

1) Change to a metal card. This isn't that expensive and it would create waves in the Canadian market where these cards are not common. This makes wayyyy more sense than huge signup bonuses.

2) Add in a restaurant bonus, similar to Cobalt.

3) Make the card FX free. This is something many people fixate on and I think people often overvalue.

I'd want people dropping metal platinum cards in front of their friends at restaurants. The no FX thing would give their friends an excuse to signup. This dynamic was going on with Chase Sapphire cards in the US and it helped Chase become the standard in the premium card market. If I were Amex, I'd want to recreate the same atmosphere in Canada.







I have a platinum card I don't really use. But the reasons I don't use it are harder for Amex to fix:

1) Aeroplan miles aren't that useful (to me) due to a combination of poor availability and high fuel surcharges. This will likely get worse as AP and AC split. Perhaps add Westjet as a transfer partner?

2) Amex isn't accepted and/or tap doesn't work properly with Amex at half the places I use my card.

3) Canadian airports are generally okay, so I don't care that much about lounge access. If I lived in Philadelphia my view would be different.
Agree on restaurant bonus. It's a bit annoying having to carry 3 Amex cards (Personal, Biz Plat, Cobalt) when it could be reduced to 2. Would defeat the purpose of Cobalt though for those that dine out a lot.

Amex has a few dining programs with a few restaurants. The fine print says reservations must be made with Concierge and paid on the Platinum card. Not sure how Amex verifies if the transaction happens on the plat, but I would much rather put the transaction on the Cobalt for 5x MR. For US restaurants, the wording just says must be made on an Amex card. I wonder why?
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Feb 26, 2006
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I have no idea why people get so hyped up over fx.. How much do people spend while traveling on their cards... My hotels are all booked. Airfare etc. 2k..is 50 bucks... They want to carry a whole other card for that?
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shylok wrote: I have no idea why people get so hyped up over fx.. How much do people spend while traveling on their cards... My hotels are all booked. Airfare etc. 2k..is 50 bucks... They want to carry a whole other card for that?
You obviously have never booked a Walt Disney World vacation for a large family... ;)
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Feb 26, 2006
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efrant wrote: You obviously have never booked a Walt Disney World vacation for a large family... ;)
No.. But I'm afraid now lol.. How much does that cost? Can't you prebook most stuff...
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Jan 17, 2018
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What I would like to see is what the US card has 5MR points on hotel and flights booked directly through the retailers, so no expedia etc, but if I book through Aircanada.com, I get 5x MR points.

I would also like to see no ForEX fee like the US card has.

Since they have so many different brand options, and no one is competing atm with these two areas above, I doubt they will add anything. Chase leaving Canada was really a move in the wrong direction. I had hoped one day we would have the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards and its benefits. Oh well.
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Handcake wrote: Since they have so many different brand options, and no one is competing atm with these two areas above, I doubt they will add anything. Chase leaving Canada was really a move in the wrong direction. I had hoped one day we would have the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards and its benefits. Oh well.
Amex seem to be a bit slow in a lot of markets right now, wouldn't surprise if another Canadian bank launches a similar product to the Reserve and steals Amex's thunder. I do sometimes feel like Amex has given up a bit.
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HermanH wrote: With the success of Amex's Cobalt Card for the under 30 crowd,
How do you measure the success?
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Jan 14, 2017
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shylok wrote: I have no idea why people get so hyped up over fx.. How much do people spend while traveling on their cards... My hotels are all booked. Airfare etc. 2k..is 50 bucks... They want to carry a whole other card for that?
Amazon Visa and Rogers MC saved me around $4K in 2017, FYI.
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iamthebest wrote: How do you measure the success?
Ranked No.1 everywhere. Loads of applications daily. People are extremely happy using it.
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Vasyllaw wrote: Amazon Visa and Rogers MC saved me around $4K in 2017, FYI.
160k in what?
Member
Jan 14, 2017
444 posts
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shylok wrote: 160k in what?
I hope you forgive me if I prefer to keep this info to myself. Your math is slightly off though. Amazon gives you 3.5% ROR - 1%+2.5%. Rogers used to be 1.75% + 2.5% ROR.
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Vasyllaw wrote: I hope you forgive me if I prefer to keep this info to myself. Your math is slightly off though. Amazon gives you 3.5% ROR - 1%+2.5%. Rogers used to be 1.75% + 2.5% ROR.
All good, none of my business really just seems unusual lol. I was like.. That's alot of p0rn subscriptions... Lol
[OP]
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Apr 23, 2017
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The FX fee is 2.5%
A no FX fee card saves one, on foreign spend:

$2.50 per $100
$25.00 per $1k.
$250.00 per $10k.
$2,500 per $100k.

How much one values a no FX fee card often depends on how much one will save with the feature.
I spend about $10k per year in foreign spend, so my savings if my card had no FX would be roughly $250.
Some, like Vasyllaw, spend more and can save $4k in a year with no FX fees. Some might only spend $1k a year and save $25.
Member
Jan 14, 2017
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shylok wrote: All good, none of my business really just seems unusual lol. I was like.. That's alot of p0rn subscriptions... Lol
Hm, I do not share your hobby, sorry. :facepalm:
[OP]
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CanadianSpruce wrote: Amex seem to be a bit slow in a lot of markets right now, wouldn't surprise if another Canadian bank launches a similar product to the Reserve and steals Amex's thunder. I do sometimes feel like Amex has given up a bit.
Well, they did launch Cobalt, which is an exciting card and is doing well.

Amex (Canada)...well, I see your point that they aren't too dynamic these days (other than Cobalt). They launched Aeroplan Reserve Card not too many years ago, and it didn't really do as well as they hoped in terms of numbers.

They basically invented the universal charge card in 1958 (Diner's Club was first, in 1950, but it was literally a diner's club - members got a booklet of restaurants that accepted it and didn't require one to pay with cash but would accept the paper member card, giving one country club-style monthly statements for meals one could write one cheque to pay for). Amex allowed one to use one card at many different places - hotels, gas stations, restaurants, airlines, trains, stores, etc. Visa and MasterCard came later, and usually copied whatever new idea Amex came up with. Amex cards were in Canada many years before Visa and MasterCard. I think Visa (under a previous name) first came to Canada in 1968, and MasterCard (under the MasterCharge name) came to Canada in 1972. I believe CIBC actually was the first bank to issue Visa cards in Canada in 1968, followed quickly by RBC.

Amex launched Gold Card in 1966 to identify their high spenders. In the early 1980s Visa and MasterCard did the same and both launched gold cards.

Amex launched Platinum Card in 1984 as a Centurion-like invitation only product offered to Gold Card members who were their best customers. The card, like Centurion today, had a mythical sense to it and was rarely encountered in retail the first few years until about 1990 when Amex decided to relax the difficulty required to get one. The banks copied this too, and by the mid-1990s all had 'platinum cards' of their own as their top cards.

Amex decided in 1999 to launch Centurion as a black card (Visa and MasterCards were not using this color much). They had moved through gold and platinum, so it was either go to Diamond, ruby or sapphire - or call it a name, and they picked 'Centurion' and made it black. To try to stop the banks all copying them again (come on banks - don't you have an originality?) they trademarked the name, so banks can't call their cards "Centurion" cards. The banks did start making all their premium cards black in color though, to copy Amex as best they could. They are not allowed to call their cards "black cards" though even if they are black in color as Amex claims copyright of that term too.

Amex realized that they couldn't keep bringing out a new ultra-premium card every 15-18 years to replace the last one, so they decided with Centurion to keep it exclusive and not give in to all the Platinum Card members who did not qualify for Centurion but wanted it anyway and were willing to pay the extremely high AF. By keeping it exclusive so that it was rarely encountered (like Platinum Card was in the 1980s) they could avoid having to come up with something better. Indeed, it has been 18 years since Centurion launched in the US (Canada didn't launch a Centurion Card until 2008, so 10 years here) and the prestige and exclusivity is still holding with no need to launch a Diamond Card.

Amex hasn't always approached the Canadian market as well as it could. There basic idea in the mid-1980s was basic card = Green Card, upscale card = Gold Card, exclusive card = Platinum. Then a credit card sideline for those who didn't want a charge card (remember Amex Optima?). It was simple and effective. However the market developed into points and charge cards waned in popularity to the point where Amex Canada withdrew Green Card from the market as it was uncompetitive. A basic card with $85 fee and no real perks didn't make sense when banks started giving away free cards that earned 1% in points. Green was the starter card that Amex would give to all university grads. If one earned more one could upgrade to Gold, and if one became affluent one could upgrade to Platinum. It was a lifestyle brand progression much like BMW 3-series, 5-series and 7-series. The market kind of changed and Amex adjusted to it with Blue, Simply Cash, Aeroplan cards, and Cobalt. I heard they issue far more credit cards then they do charge cards these days.

I did an informal survey last year at the local mall at a slow time of day. I went into 8 different shops (only customer) and asked the two salesgirls at the register in each shop (early 20s mostly) what cars that their customers used at the store did they think were the most prestigious. While one was funny in saying "I think the dark colored ones are supposed to be better than the lighter colored ones" the overall answer was the metallic Amex cards - gold and platinum. They all knew about the Amex black card but none had ever seen one used in their store. A couple thought Amex Gold was the more prestigious card of the two, and the silver card (Platinum) slightly less so, but most got the pecking order right. I asked what Visa and MasterCards were most prestigious and they didn't know (other than the one who answered the darker the color the better it is supposed to be). When I asked why the Amex gold and platinum cards were most prestigious, they answered pretty much the same way - because rich people use them, because you have to pay off the whole balance every month and can't roll it over. Most people, they said, can't pay their card balance every month and make a partial payment. If a customer buys a lot of stuff in store with an Amex gold or platinum, it means they have the money to pay for all that stuff right away, thus the Amex cards are more prestigious than Visa and MasterCard cards. While I know many people who pay off their MasterCard in full every month (including me), the fact that Amex gold & platinum don't allow a roll over is what, to many younger people, gives it that 'no preset spending limit' cachet. From a marketing perspective I found that interesting.

Also, I did work for Amex once decades ago - newly out of uni and it was for less than a year before I moved on to other things. This was in the 1980s at their Markham HQ they since moved out of, around the time they launched Platinum Card (I was not in that department). I enjoyed my time there even though I had no responsibility at all lol. So yes, I hope they improve and refresh Platinum Card to make it more attractive for cardmembers. I think it is resting on its laurels a bit and could adopt some of the suggestions here to be much better.
[OP]
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Apr 23, 2017
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jerryhung wrote: Well, honestly I know AMEX will never do any of those in OP
so I just want 75K welcome points AND 25K per referral too then - for Personal Platinum :)
lol. Yes, Amex sign up bonuses are great!
Jr. Member
Feb 6, 2018
148 posts
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Toronto-ish
shylok wrote: I have no idea why people get so hyped up over fx.. How much do people spend while traveling on their cards... My hotels are all booked. Airfare etc. 2k..is 50 bucks... They want to carry a whole other card for that?
All the Canadian FX-free cards I know of award at least 1% cash back on foreign purchases, making their use a net 3.5% benefit (removal of fee plus additional cash back). Of course the higher your spend, the higher your return, but I think it's quite easy to justify wanting a no-fee FX-free card even with relatively low spend. I like knowing that I'm saving money in foreign currency weather I'm buying a small coffee or a large appliance, because saving money, even in small amounts, is always worth it. Personally, I need to have a 0% FX option in my card rotation (and a card with comprehensive flight insurance), but it's understandable that others might not care about this feature (or some other feature) enough to sign up for an additional card. People have different priorities when shopping for credit cards.

Regardless, removing this fee from the Amex Platinum wouldn't be earth shattering news, but it would certainly be nice, and it's been long overdue in my opinion.
Sr. Member
Dec 8, 2010
636 posts
263 upvotes
Markham, Ontario
I would add to really improve AMEX'stravel booking (although it's not Platinum specific) so we can track the upcoming bookings and easy to cancel, without making a phone call.

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