American Express Cancels Fairmont Benefit
Well I guess this comes as no surprise given the recent announcement that Le Club AccorHotels will be replacing the Fairmont President’s Club as of July 2, 2018, but American Express has now sent official notice that the accelerated status benefit offered by The American Express Platinum Card and The American Express Business Platinum Card will no longer be offered effective January 1, 2018.
Here are the full details sent by American Express:
Essentially what this is saying is that anyone who has re-qualified for Platinum status for the 2018 calendar year will still receive their certificates as usual, and anyone who has certificates leftover from 2017 can still use them by the end of February as normal. However, as of January 1st, 2018, there will be no accelerated status offered, and no indication that Amex will offer a similar benefit with Le Club AccorHotels for 2018 (not that anyone would really want it).
While I’m grateful I’ll get one more year of certificates out of the program, I am a bit disappointed Amex isn’t offering anything to replace the benefit. The annual fees on these cards are high, and losing this benefit slightly devalues the Platinum card family. I’ve held both of these cards for a number of years and have paid the annual fees knowing I was getting a disproportionate amount of value back, largely in part from the accelerated Fairmont Platinum Status. Just last July I was able to use a 3rd night free certificate and suite upgrade and The Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai which more than justified the fees on these cards.
Currently American Express still offers automatic Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest on both the Platinum cards, which in turn also grants reciprocal Gold status with Marriott. While not as rewarding as top-tier Platinum status with Fairmont, these programs still provide quite a bit of added value, especially with Marriott where lounge access is guaranteed at most city centre Marriott, JW Marriott, and Renaissance Hotels. It will be interesting to see what happens to this benefit as the SPG and Marriott Reward programs merge in the near future. The cards will be really difficult to justify keeping if Amex drops the SPG benefit without a similar offering from Marriott.
I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the Fairmont President’s Club is being discontinued, but it still hurts a little bit. Now it feels like I’m paying more for less on my Platinum cards, and really thought Amex could have done a better job at replacing the benefit with some other feature.
American Express has a tough time marketing their cards in Canada and taking away benefits isn’t going to help them gain any new customers. I really hope we see a reduction in the annual fee for the lost benefit, but realistically I don’t see that happening. At least we still have Gold status with SPG and Marriott (for now), which is where I’ll be directing most of my hotel stays once I burn through the last of my Fairmont certificates.
What are your thoughts on the cancellation of the Fairmont Platinum Benefit? Would it make you reconsider keeping your American Express Platinum Card?