| NEW YORK, March 2
NEW YORK, March 2 American Express Co
will begin to offer this month $200 a year in Uber rides, plus
other new perks, on its Platinum charge cards as it fights to
protect its high-end market from JPMorgan Chase & Co and
The new Platinum benefits will include richer credits for
spending, access to more airport lounges, special dining and
entertainment options and free use by family members of an
American Express Gold card, according to Janey Whiteside,
general manager of Global Charge Products, Benefits & Services
for American Express.
The changes, which will start on March 30, will also raise
the annual account fee for card holders to $550 from $450.
Both JPMorgan and Citigroup, which has a $450-per-year
Prestige card with its own mix of spending credits and perks,
are using cards to try to eat away at American Express profit
margins, which have long been higher than their own. The banks
have also acted because banking regulations imposed after the
financial crisis generally favor investing in card businesses
over capital markets.
In August, JPMorgan stirred up the high-end card market when
it introduced its $450-per-year Chase Sapphire Reserve card with
an initial sign-up bonus worth as much as $1,500, plus $300 in
annual travel credits and high credits for spending. The bank
started making the cards out of metal to give them a luxurious
American Express will now start using metal for its Platinum
cards. Since 1999 it has been using metal for its Centurion card
which carries an annual fee of $2,500 on top of an initiation
fee of $7,500.
The new Platinum benefits include up to $200 of payments for
Uber rides within the United States. The card already offers
$200 in annual credits for airline fees.
The increased competition has been a boon to websites such
as NerdWallet.com and ThePointsGuy.com, which compare card costs
and benefits from a consumer viewpoint.
American Express began working on the changes in the
Platinum card before JPMorgan brought out its Sapphire Reserve
card, Whiteside said in an interview on Wednesday.
"This is a response to listening to our customers," she
said. "We are always looking at ways to bring value to our card
American Express kicked off the premium card market in 1966
when it introduced its Gold card, Whiteside said. It brought out
the Platinum card in 1984.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)