Your Money

Amex revamps Platinum card with new bonuses ... and fees

Amex makes a Platinum push
Amex makes a Platinum push

American Express' premium Platinum card is getting a makeover.

The new plastic provides fancy perks such as a $200 credit toward Uber rides each year, an invite to an exclusive pop-up restaurant in the Hamptons and another $200 for airline fees.

"For some, platinum is a color. For us, it is a commitment," said Janey Whiteside, who leads American Express's Platinum card business. "We created the premium card category 33 years ago and now we are reimagining it."

Source: American Express

The card's facelift doesn't come cheap. American Express is raising its annual fee for the card from $450 to $550. It is the first annual fee increase for the card in more than a decade, and the card would have the highest fee among similar cards offered by other issuers.

The move comes after JPMorgan Chase blitzed the market with its Chase Sapphire Reserve card and a huge sign-up bonus last year, only to cut that bonus in half this month. The revamped Platinum card will feel metallic, like ones provided by Chase Sapphire Reserve.

"American Express is still in there swinging when it comes to high-end credit cards," said Matt Schulz, senior credit card analyst at

Schulz said that the Uber offer is likely to attract millennial cardholders who may not have otherwise considered a card with such a hefty annual fee.

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A large and growing portion of Platinum cardholders use Uber regularly, said an American Express spokeswoman. American Express has been working with Uber since June 2014. Platinum cardholders can automatically access their Uber perks without signing up for the credits.

Uber itself has faced challenges in the past few weeks: A recently released video showed CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with one of the company's drivers; a former employer publicized a sexual harassment complaint; and Alphabet's self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, sued the company over trade secrets.

American Express isn't the only card issuers with an Uber partnership. Capital One has an Uber promotion for its Quicksilver cardholders.

What to know before signing up

Rewards cards are typically not the lowest-rate cards people with great credit can find.

It's important to make sure the rewards the card offers fit with your lifestyle, Schulz said. For example, rewards cards that offer you credits for travel won't make financial sense if you're a homebody.

Finally, any of the perks from a fancy credit card are quickly negated if you carry a monthly balance.