American Express overhauls credit card frequent flyer points

American Express overhauls credit card frequent flyer points

American Express is set to make sweeping changes to earning rates across its entire card portfolio, with some transactions earning more points but most cards accruing fewer frequent flyer points per dollar spent than they do today.

Across the board, AMEX’s line-up of Qantas Points-earning credit cards will see a reduction of 0.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases once the new rates take effect on April 15 2019.

While these cards will continue to offer one extra Qantas Point per $1 spent on purchases directly with Qantas – such as booking Qantas flights or paying for lounge membership – those payments themselves will also receive fewer points, due to that decline in the base earning rate.

The card company's own Membership Rewards Ascent Premium, Ascent and Gateway programs will adopt a flat 2:1 conversion rate for points sent across to airline frequent flyer programs, impacting a range of popular cards including AMEX’s Explorer, Platinum Edge, Platinum Charge and Centurion Cards. 

American Express claims the cuts stem from a reduction in the fees charged to businesses for processing AMEX payments, which in turn have allowed AMEX to increase the number of companies that accept American Express cards so that cardholders can earn points in more places.

Will Thorne, AMEX Australia's Head of Airline Co-Brand Partnerships and Loyalty, shared with Australian Business Traveller at a briefing in Sydney that these reduced merchant rates have allowed it to sign up over 120,000 new Australian businesses since January 2017, ranging from corner cafes to mass-market retailers such as H&M.

"To ensure we're able to compete effectively, we've had to close the gap between our price and the merchant fees of competitors. This has accelerated our merchant acceptance growth and helped increase the number of merchants warmly welcoming our Card Members."

AMEX's revamped strategy follows the same basic principle as seen with the RBA’s mid-2017 cuts to credit card interchange fees which slashed the revenue banks collected from every credit card transaction, with the knock-on effect of reducing the amount of money banks could spend on rewards like frequent flyer points. 

Here’s how the AMEX cardscape will shift from April 15 2019.

Changes to Qantas Frequent Flyer American Express cards

For cardholders with Qantas-earning AMEX cards, here's how today's earning rates compare with what you'll get from next year.

[If you're reading this article on a smartphone, you might find it easier to turn your phone to 'landscape' mode to peruse the full tables.]

Card type
Qantas spend (today)
Qantas spend (from 15/4/19)
Government payments
All other purchases (today)
All other purchases (from 15/4/19)
Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card
2.5/$1 2.25/$1 Remains 0.5/$1 1.5/$1 1.25/$1
Qantas AMEX Premium Card
2.25/$1 2/$1 Remains 0.5/$1
1.25/$1 1/$1
Qantas AMEX Discovery Card
2/$1 1.75/$1 Remains 0.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1

There are no changes to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card, which continues to provide 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on most everyday purchases through the Qantas Business Rewards scheme.

Changes to Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer AMEX cards

In a similar style to AMEX’s Qantas-branded cards, direct Velocity-earning American Express cards will also have their ‘everyday’ earning rate lowered by 0.25 Velocity points per $1 spent, affecting both regular purchases and charges direct with Virgin Australia.

The changes look like this, again for purchases made from April 15 2019:

Card type
Virgin Australia spend (today)
Virgin Australia spend (from 15/4/19)
Government payments
All other purchases (today)
All other purchases (from 15/4/19)
AMEX Velocity Platinum Card
2.5/$1 2.25/$1 Remains 0.5/$1 1.5/$1 1.25/$1
AMEX Velocity Escape Card
2/$1 1.75/$1 Remains 0.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1

Changes to American Express Membership Rewards

Cardholders enrolled in the Membership Rewards Ascent Premium, Ascent and Gateway programs will face new frequent flyer conversion rates from April 15 2019, affecting a range of popular cards including AMEX’s Explorer, Platinum Edge, Platinum Charge and Centurion Cards.

Simply put, all conversion rates from Membership Rewards to airline frequent flyer programs will transition to a 2:1 ratio across the board, so whether you’re enrolled in Ascent Premium, Ascent or Gateway, converting your points from April 15 2019 will occur at a 2:1 rate.

For Ascent Premium members – such as Platinum Charge Card and Centurion cardholders – and Ascent members converting to most partners, that represents a 50% reduction in value, given these schemes currently offer conversions at a 1:1 rate.

The change is a little less significant for Gateway members – such as AMEX Explorer cardholders – who can currently convert points at a 4:3 rate, but still stands as a 33% drop in value.

Notably, there are no changes for David Jones Membership Rewards members, as airline conversions from this flavour of Membership Rewards already take place at a 2:1 rate, nor are there any changes to earning rates on David Jones cards.

Also, Ascent Premium members will continue to be able to convert their points directly to Qantas Frequent Flyer – an option not available to Ascent or Gateway members – while points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will continue to be unavailable to Gateway users.

Obviously, given the new conversion rates above take effect from mid-April 2019, points conversions made before this date will continue to be processed at the current, more generous rates.

As such, if you’re sitting on a mountain of Membership Rewards points, the best strategy would be to convert these into airline frequent flyer points in your preferred program before that date, so that they retain their current value.

(As an added bonus, points transfers from Membership Rewards to Velocity Frequent Flyer attract a 15% bonus throughout November 2018, so transferring your existing bounty this month not only escapes next year's devaluation but also gets you more points than you'd otherwise receive.)

Finally, transferring points to Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest will continue to take place at a 3:2 rate, as was revised earlier this year as part of the Starwood and Marriott merger, although transfers to Hilton Honors will switch from 1:1 to 2:1, a drop of 50% in value.

For clarity, here's how those new conversion rates sit across the board:

Transfer partner
Ascent Premium (today)
Ascent Premium (from 15/4/19)
Ascent (today)
Ascent (from 15/4/19)
Gateway (today)
Gateway (from 15/4/19)
Qantas
1:1 2:1 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Velocity
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
Emirates Skywards
1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1 4:3 2:1
Etihad Guest
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
Thai Royal Orchid Plus
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 4:3 2:1
AirNZ Airpoints
100:A$1 200:A$1 100:A$1 200:A$1 400:A$3 200:A$1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 N/A N/A
Hilton Honors
1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1 1:1 2:1
Marriott/SPG
3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2 3:2

New earning rates on AMEX Membership Rewards cards

Paired with the revised redemption rates from all tiers of Membership Rewards, the credit cards and charge cards attached to this program will also begin earning points at new rates from April 15 2019, as follows.

American Express Platinum Charge Card

Currently, AMEX’s top-of-the-line metal card provides the equivalent of 3 frequent flyer points per $1 spent at restaurants and cafes, and 2 frequent flyer points per $1 spent on travel-related charges like hotel, airline and overseas spend.

It also gives just 0.5 frequent flyer points per $1 spent on things like utility, insurance and government payments, and 1 frequent flyer point per $1 spent everywhere else.

From April, those higher earn rates for lifestyle and leisure spend will be removed, in favour of an improved ‘everyday’ earning rate across the board, equal to 1.125 frequent flyer points per $1 spent: a 12.5% improvement compared to today on regular charges.

(You’ll earn 2.25 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, equal to 1.125 frequent flyer points per $1 spent in your airline program of choice, following a 2:1 conversion.)

Additionally, payments to utility providers and insurance companies will no longer earn points at a reduced rate (currently 0.5/$1), so will more than double to provide 1.125 frequent flyer points per $1 spent.

Government spend remains at 0.5 frequent flyer points per $1 spent: to be provided as 1 Membership Rewards point, worth 0.5 airline miles following conversion.

Finally, the current $300,000/year tiering threshold – at which the card’s dining and travel bonus categories switch off until the next year – will be removed, so all transactions will earn points at the same rate regardless of how much you’ve spent every year.

Similar changes will apply to the Platinum Business Card, which does away with its bonus points rates on categories like dining and advertising in favour of the same 1.125 frequent flyer points per $1 spent earn rate as for the personal charge card, and an increase in points earned from utility and insurance payments.

American Express Explorer, AMEX Platinum Reserve credit cards

Positioned at more advanced frequent flyers, the popular AMEX Explorer credit card is arguably the hardest-hit, as is the Business Explorer card, with their ‘everyday’ earn rates slashed from 1.5 to 1.0 airline frequent flyer points per $1 spent.

The cards will still earn 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent as of April, but the drop in value here is due to the change in the Membership Rewards Gateway conversion rate, which worsens from 4:3 to 2:1, without a higher earning rate being introduced to compensate.

Payments to government bodies will become slightly more rewarding, set to earn 1 MR point per $1 spent, equal to 0.5 frequent flyer points, as opposed to 0.5 MR Gateway points today, worth 0.375 frequent flyer points.

Additionally, the AMEX Platinum Reserve credit card – a free companion to the AMEX Platinum Charge Card – will also no longer earn points at the same rate as the charge card: its earn rate will instead mirror the Explorer card, at 2 MR points per $1 spent, worth 1 frequent flyer point, with government spend continuing to give 0.5 frequent flyer points.

Realistically, this now pegs the earning rates for both the Explorer and Platinum Reserve cards as being no better than some top-of the-line Visa credit cards, in terms of everyday spend.

For example, Virgin Money's Velocity High Flyer Visa card provides 1 Velocity point per $1 spent up to $8,000 per month (0.5/$1 thereafter), and ANZ's Rewards Black Visa card gives the equivalent of 1 Velocity point per $1 spent up to $5,000 per month (0.5/$1 beyond).

While the AMEX Explorer and Platinum Reserve cards have no monthly (or yearly) tiering threshold, awarding points at the full rate regardless of how much is spent, for the majority of cardholders, these Visa options could be just as rewarding and with the broader acceptance of Visa.

American Express Platinum Edge credit card

A favourite with those who spend big at supermarkets and petrol stations, the American Express Platinum Edge credit card will undergo its own transformation, but continue to offer a higher earning rate on these purchases than regular transactions.

Payments at major supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles will still earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent from April, although with the program’s new 2:1 conversion rate in play, the ‘value’ of those points drops from 3 to 1.5 airline frequent flyer points per $1 spent.

Purchases at petrol stations currently provide 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent, equal to 2 frequent flyer points. As of April, the headline rate will climb to 3 MR points per $1 spent on these payments, but be worth a reduced 1.5 frequent flyer points per $1 spent after conversion.

Additionally, international transactions will begin earning 2 Membership Rewards points (still one frequent flyer point) per $1 spent, so those payments are safe from a ‘value cut’, although all other transactions will receive just 1 MR point per $1 spent, worth 0.5 frequent flyer points: half as many as today.

American Express Essential credit card

This no-annual-fee card currently delivers 1 Membership Rewards Gateway point per $1 spent on everyday purchases, equal to 0.75 frequent flyer points in programs like Velocity.

From April when the new Membership Rewards conversion rates take effect, the card’s earning rate will climb on paper from 1 to 1.25 MR points per $1 spent, although with the new 2:1 conversion, those points will be worth less, giving you 0.625 frequent flyer points per $1 spent, to be precise.

Government transactions, however, will become marginally more rewarding, climbing from 0.375 frequent flyer points per $1 spent (0.5 Gateway points with a 4:3 conversion) to 0.5 frequent flyer points per $1 spent (1 MR point with a 2:1 conversion).

Membership Rewards cards head-to-head

Given the complexity and significance of the changes being made across the entire Membership Rewards card base, here's how they'll alter how many actual airline frequent flyer points you can earn per $1 spent on your card, across a range of industries.

You can see how the earning rates on each particular card will change in each column:

Card / Spend Type
AMEX Platinum Charge Card
AMEX Platinum Reserve
AMEX Explorer
AMEX Platinum Edge
AMEX Essential
Restaurants (today)
3/$1 3/$1 1.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1
Restaurants (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1
0.5/$1 0.625/$1
Flights, hotels (today)
2/$1 2/$1 1.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1
Flights, hotels (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 0.5/$1 0.625/$1
Int'l spend (today)
2/$1 2/$1 1.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1
Int'l spend (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 1/$1 0.625/$1
Supermarkets (today)
1/$1 1/$1 1.5/$1 3/$1 0.75/$1
Supermarkets (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 1.5/$1 0.625/$1
Petrol stations (today)
1/$1 1/$1 1.5/$1 2/$1 0.75/$1
Petrol stations (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 1.5/$1 0.625/$1
Insurance, utilities (today)
0.5/$1 0.5/$1 1.5/$1 0.5/$1 0.375/$1
Insurance, utilities (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 0.5/$1 0.625/$1
Gov't spend (today)
0.5/$1 0.5/$1 0.375/$1 0.5/$1 0.375/$1
Gov't spend (15/4-)
0.5/$1 0.5/$1 0.5/$1 0.5/$1 0.5/$1
All other spend (today)
1/$1 1/$1 1.5/$1 1/$1 0.75/$1
All other spend (15/4-)
1.125/$1 1/$1 1/$1 0.5/$1 0.625/$1

For example, an AMEX Platinum Charge Card holder can currently earn the equivalent of three Virgin Australia Velocity points (or three KrisFlyer miles, etc.) per dollar spent on restaurant charges.

From April 15 2019, due to the change in both earn and conversion rates, the same spend would instead deliver 1.125 Velocity points, or 1.125 KrisFlyer miles, and so on.

On this card and all others, there are no changes to annual fees, international transaction fees or other card benefits like insurance, lounge access or Travel Credits, where provided: the changes being made are limited only to frequent flyer points and Membership Rewards points across AMEX’s range of credit cards and charge cards.

American Express will begin notifying affected cardholders of these changes from November 19 2018.

Chris Chamberlin travelled from Brisbane to Sydney to attend a briefing on the changes as a guest of American Express.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

139 comments

  • Ace

    Ace

    15 Nov, 2018 03:46 am

    Platinun charge: increase in annual fee but slashing conversion rates with 50% and earn rates in restaurants by about 60%?!! I was happy to keep up with Amex' terrible customer service ("this time we'll really really really call you back I promise sir...") because of the points earn potential and transfer rates in ascent premium, but this does it.
    Members who gave thanks

    Realist, BigH, sillytraveller

  • Andrew McNicol

    ACM

    15 Nov, 2018 03:59 am

    After 34 years as an Amex Member I really now wonder why continue? The same points conversion as my Mastercard and Visa. Way back Amex offered higher credit limits but now the others are the same. From a marketing perspective if Amex lowered the conversion from 1.25/1 to say 1.10/1 they would at least have a point of difference but now it is just another card!
    Member who gave thanks

    sillytraveller

  • OWT

    OWT

    15 Nov, 2018 06:11 am

    The drastic reduction in earn rates on the $1450 per year Platinum Charge Card means this card no longer makes any economic sense regardless of what your spending patterns are. The 3 percent charge on foreign exchange conversions, for example, will be much greater than the value of the points earned on foreign transactions and the overall earn rate (even when you include the other benefits which in the end don’t amount to much for frequent flyers) makes the card look ridiculously expensive for what you receive in return. I don’t understand why anyone would want to hold this card after the changes. Am I missing something?
    Member who gave thanks

    sillytraveller

  • OWT

    OWT

    15 Nov, 2018 06:31 am

    These changes mean that the Qantas Money Card makes much more economic sense than the Platinum Amex Charge Card for overseas spend and I suspect, but need to check it,
    the Qantas Credit Card for local spend. I wonder what attrition rate the Amex modelling spat out. It’s hard to imagine such a material reduction in benefits will not make even the least attentive Platinum Charge Card Holders cancel their cards at the end of the membership year.
    Member who gave thanks

    kpkazzie

  • Angelo Zanatta

    zanaange

    18 Nov, 2018 01:22 pm

    Pay due diligence on the QANTAS credit card thru Citi bank. If you're accustomed to downloading "csv" file of your credit card statement. So you can do your own categorising/summarise your transactions or import into a finance application. You'll be disappointed. They offer the standard "pdf" of your statement.
    No member give thanks

  • John Harley

    jch

    15 Nov, 2018 06:58 am

    Was thinking last week how long the 1.5 points per dollar would continue on the Velocity Platinum card.

    Any point holding these long term or just hold onto for three months for the signup bonus then move onto the next.
    No member give thanks

  • Alan Su

    alansu

    15 Nov, 2018 07:24 am

    So am I understanding this correctly.. following the devaluation of membership ascent premium on the Platinum Charge, your existing points balance will be devalued by 50% (from 1:1 to 2:1), but the actual earning rate will change from 1:1 to 2.25:1 for everyday purchases?

    Apart from axing the dining/travel bonuses, it just seems like they’re trying to get people to burn their stash of points.. good thing QF have a targeted transfer bonus on right now for 15%-45% bonus!
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 08:54 am

    Yes, points devalued by 50% unless converted prior to the changes. Increase in the ‘everyday’ earn rate delivers 12.5% more points on regular transactions, taking into account the new ‘earn and burn’ rates.
    No member give thanks

  • flytoomuch

    flytoomuch

    18 Nov, 2018 12:18 am

    Chris - I spoke to amex about this and at least for my card I was told that on the conversion date they would multiply the existing number of points on deposit by the new rate (2) and thus no points lost. I am yet to receive my letter though
    No member give thanks

  • Flying High

    Flying High

    19 Nov, 2018 08:23 am

    That would make sense from a customer relationship perspective. Do you believe them?
    No member give thanks

  • flytoomuch

    flytoomuch

    19 Nov, 2018 08:25 am

    Yes I believe them - unless they have gotten it wrong of course. As you said it makes so much sense...
    No member give thanks

  • Zolan

    Zolan

    15 Nov, 2018 08:16 am

    Chris, any news about the AMEX Business Accelerator card?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 08:52 am

    This product will stop accepting applications from new customers from early December. Existing customers can keep their cards, but the 2/$1 earn rate will become less valuable when Ascent moves from 1:1 (or 4:3 for Skywards) to a flat 2:1.
    No member give thanks

  • 346

    346

    15 Nov, 2018 08:22 am

    Wait, does that mean my Ascent Premium points balance will basically half post April 2019?

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 08:49 am

    The balance won’t halve in number, but it’ll halve in value: for example, today, 100,000 MR AP points = 100,000 KrisFlyer miles. From mid-April, the same 100k starting balance would only be worth 50,000 KrisFlyer miles.
    No member give thanks

  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    15 Nov, 2018 09:02 am

    As a loyal CENTURION card holder this is extremely disappointing. In the USA, and I know different market. AMEX has just increased the earn rate to 5 points per$. With these changes very little difference between the CENTURION card and Platinum Charge card except the fee! AMEX has halved the points value for airline transfer. Come my renewal at best I will move to the Platinum card at least I get a travel credit however even then I dare say AMEX will not be in my wallet after 17 years. As for increased merchants this may be correct however many merchants use this as a revenue earner and charge at least 2.5% surcharge or more. Even hotel chains such as SPG have an excessive surcharge over 2.5%. t. AMEX has now removed a key reason why the products they have exceeded any bank.
    Member who gave thanks

    sillytraveller

  • lvtravel01

    lvtravel01

    15 Nov, 2018 11:52 am

    lack of competition in AU. Visa and Master will have to compete in the premium space, otherwise amex will compete with current Visa/MC offerings and amex will be driving its volume based earning. my thoughts. So it will not justify the premium price, even if amex offers members with travel perks, which all ff gold already have.
    No member give thanks

  • daft009

    daft009

    15 Nov, 2018 09:08 am

    It was only a matter of time before such changes got announced. Look at the positive, we have 5 months to go silly and earn as much as we can
    No member give thanks

  • MissBasset

    MissBasset

    15 Nov, 2018 09:10 am

    Keeping the same rate for Government spend? AMEX can afford to do this as practically all arms of government do not accept AMEX anyway. Those few that do have been charging a surcharge up to 4%; enough incentive to forego using it.
    No member give thanks

  • clarkysdonga

    clarkysdonga

    15 Nov, 2018 09:28 am

    I still dont know the best way to use my Explorer points. SPG was the reason why I joined up with AMEX but that rate has changed dramatically. I feel maybe points to Emirates or Hilton will have to do before this change.
    No member give thanks

  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    15 Nov, 2018 09:32 am

    Adjusting points earn rate seems expected. But I do not expect that my hard earned points over the years will also get devaluaed as well because they ALSO devaluaes the transfer rate. I think we all should call Amex and express our anger and threaten to cancel the card. But looks like majority of the people will cancel the card anyways.
    No member give thanks

  • Bevan garth Foot

    Garthie 5

    15 Nov, 2018 09:33 am

    Very disappointed to hear Amex is devaluing the points on their cards .Always considered them the best but now it's time to reconsider them to..
    No member give thanks

  • Nazri Rahim

    Mokuni

    15 Nov, 2018 09:34 am

    Will be closing my amex in march. 100%.
    No member give thanks

  • Nicho Kiu

    Nichokiu

    15 Nov, 2018 09:43 am

    WOW and here I was planning to bite the bullet and apply for the Platinum Charge card this month. Even at AMA rates of $1200 per annum subscription, with these changes, 101% not applying for it. Rather keep my measly Qantas platinum card and pay the $200+ annual fee...
    No member give thanks

  • anonymous

    anonymous

    15 Nov, 2018 09:57 am

    I will need to decide if I want to keep my Amex purely for the various cashback offers.
    No member give thanks

  • downdata

    downdata

    15 Nov, 2018 10:07 am

    Great. Now the plat charge is just a visa with a $1450 annual fee!
    No member give thanks

  • vbarberini

    vbarberini

    15 Nov, 2018 10:09 am

    Crickey! After almost 25 years with AMEX this could be the last straw. I remember the good old days of excellent service and accrual at 1.5 per $ on almost everything. I have had both Centurion and Platinum over the years (ditched Cent because it became more about show than value return). Indeed, they’ve slowly whittled away the value of their points scheme while increasing card fees. Now slashing the value of points by half... what reason is there to stay?
    No member give thanks

  • iameric

    iameric

    15 Nov, 2018 10:19 am

    Well, I'm out. This is sorely disappointing. I won't be renewing next year. I'll switch to a Visa with a cheaper annual fee and wider acceptance.
    No member give thanks

  • RyanK

    RyanK

    15 Nov, 2018 10:24 am

    I hope 1 in 2 people cancel their Amex, just like myself and many of us will.
    Member who gave thanks

    captainmax

  • Perthguy

    Perthguy

    15 Nov, 2018 10:55 am

    OMG! Really? I just looked at my Platinum charge card that says member since 92. I cancelled my Centurion a few months ago because I was getting nothing for my $5000 a year, Now I will be getting nothing for my $1200 a year! I will stick with my visa card thanks and pay no annual fee and get the same points for spend!
    No member give thanks

  • Nate Webster

    Concorde1990

    15 Nov, 2018 11:07 am

    As a B2B business, we HAVE to charge 2% for MC and Visa and 2.9% for AMEX. Why so high? Because a certain large Australian bank charges US that much. Our Amex rep said they have no real control on merchant fees. Why not include the surcharge in the price of our goods & services? We are not a coffee shop that can hide these fees in our product prices - Our products and services cost a hell of a lot more than a $4 coffee. Furthermore, the majority of our trusted customers pay 30 days EOM via EFT.
    We do use the Qantas Business Rewards AMEX for many of our everyday purchases and previously worked out that it is useful up to about 2.25% surcharge. We also personally hold our own Amex cards. This February we will be doing the math (once again) to see if it is worth the annual fee and the surcharges to continue being a loyal customer of AMEX. The only reason we are loyal to AMEX is the points. Drop our points and expect to be dropped in return.
    If we drop AMEX, that's 30+ years of membership down the toilet.
    Loyalty? HA! Banks, Airlines... they taught us the true meaning of loyalty.
    No member give thanks

  • jubbing

    jubbing

    15 Nov, 2018 11:16 am

    This is ridiculous, why would I pay $1,450 a year now with these awful changes. Meanwhile in the US, the Amex's are just getting better and better with some spends netting them $1 to 5 points, while in Australia Amex has literally just given a big FU to users.

    I'm going to convert and cancel, there's absolutely no benefit to keeping this card anymore. The nerve of them to increase the fee as well then do this..
    No member give thanks

  • ttiger

    ttiger

    16 Nov, 2018 04:06 pm

    Last August, I accepted a job offer and moved to USA. Many asked me why. I told them RBA cut the interchange fee and that would end the credit card game in Australia. I know it sounds crazy, but it was a real factor. Earning points is one of my few hobbies.

    I cancelled my (AU) Platinum charge card, but didn't get a US one. Why? Many other cards here suit my needs better. I'm very happy with the new (US) AMEX Gold - 4x supermarket & dining, $10 per month food delivery credit, $100 per year travel credit, no foreign exchange fee, and a nice looking metal card in rose gold color. For travel, I use Chase Sapphire Reserve - Priority Pass, $300 annual travel credit, 3x travel (airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, tolls, and parking) & dining, no foreign exchange fee for $450. For everything else, I use Bank of America Premium Rewards for 2.625% cash back. Yes, it has a $95 annual fee I you get reimbursed $100 per annum on airline fees (and AA gift card triggers the rebate).

    Unfortunately, the competition in Australia is...
    Members who gave thanks

    Frank, sillytraveller

  • antkleve

    antkleve

    17 Nov, 2018 07:22 pm

    Ttiger I'm in the same situation as you. Luckily I signed up to switch my Australian platinum card to a US card a few years ago. The US card benefist just keep getting better and better. Apart from the $500 annual fee, the 1:1 points conversion to a lot more frequent flyer programs, the 50% points bonus for spends above $5k and the $200 airline fee credit, the slam dunk for me is the 35% points rebate on any business class bookings paid with points. It's all about competition!
    No member give thanks

  • lvtravel01

    lvtravel01

    15 Nov, 2018 11:31 am

    Read this article, and the one from Pointhacks.

    Rang Amex platinum, expressed disappointment.

    If the strategy is to compete with Visa/Master card by increasing merchant acceptance, Well amex will not win. In contrary, it will lose value due to diminishing value proposition to plat. members (p.ascent). I am suspecting amex's main aim is to maintain and increasing its own margins. Doubt it will work over a longer term. Because it will lose valued members.

    Amex cust. service feedback is that amex is aware of the impact and is collating responses from card members for feedback.

    Not sure what amex will do but members should voice our concerns with amex directly.
    Members who gave thanks

    oxy, sillytraveller

  • Greg84

    Greg84

    15 Nov, 2018 12:01 pm

    Chris, was their any talk of annual fee adjustments with the changes? $1,450 is pretty steep & in the end I'll probably come out about even with the increase in everyday earn rate, but does leave a bit of a sour taste. At least there is a decent amount of time to move points before they're devalued...now to decide which program to credit them to!
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 12:07 pm

    Those questions were certainly asked, and the response was along the lines of "no current plans" for such changes, and no hints of any future changes.

    Member who gave thanks

    Greg84

  • Dean

    deanr

    15 Nov, 2018 12:03 pm

    There's so much that could be said here, so I'll just say what annoys me the most.

    AMEX's excuse for cutting points is that they're lowering merchant fees in Australia to increase acceptance. That's not the case overseas though, yet at the same time, AMEX is cutting the points earned on overseas transactions pretty significantly: for me, from 2 SQ miles per $1 spent to 1.125 on my Plat charge, a cut of around 44%. That wouldn't be so bad if AMEX also dropped its darn 3% international transaction fee by the same percentage, from 3% to about 1.7%, but they're not, and this year they've also hiked the annual fee up to a ridiculous $1450.

    If they think I'll be paying hundreds of dollars more every year for the privilege of earning fewer points and being gouged by even more fees when I travel (which is the whole point of that card: you wouldn't have it if you just sat at home all year), AMEX is delusional and clearly has lost touch with its member base. Heck, even the $99/year Coles Mastercard has no overseas transaction fees: might go apply for that one soon and send the Plat charge to the bin (or whatever it is you do to destroy a metal card!).

    If you're smart enough to apply for an AMEX in the first place, and good enough with numbers to justify the cost of the current annual fees that come with them, then you're smart enough to shop around, and from next year, all the AMEX membership rewards cards will become a giant waste of time.
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  • Medon Loupis

    Sibelius

    15 Nov, 2018 12:11 pm

    I really do wonder whether AmEx has some tricks up its sleeve in the form of increased perks, offers etc. Hopefully they're intelligent enough to realise that they can't simply reduce the points earn without giving something back in return.
    No member give thanks

  • Will Dutton

    Kinkade

    15 Nov, 2018 12:13 pm

    did I read correctly that transfers to QFF are still 1:1?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 12:26 pm

    No. From the article: "All conversion rates from Membership Rewards to airline frequent flyer programs will transition to a 2:1 ratio across the board."

    While the option to manually transfer points to Qantas Frequent Flyer will remain available exclusively for Ascent Premium members, the conversion rate will become 2:1, as for all other airline partners.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 01:50 pm

    Hi again, just an update: we've added tables into the article to make the changes to conversion rates a little clearer, and also to highlight how the new 'frequent flyer points earned per dollar spent' rates will change across the Membership Rewards card line-up.
    Members who gave thanks

    AT, luckylorks

  • Will Dutton

    Kinkade

    16 Nov, 2018 09:43 am

    that's great thank you, I misread the fact that QFF transfers are still limited to ascent premium as they are generally unaffected. My bad!
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  • vitorsyd

    vitorsyd

    15 Nov, 2018 12:29 pm

    It’s disappointing indeed to see the earning rates reduced from April/2019. One thing to also bear in mind is the lack of clarity around eligibility to get the Qantas lounge vouchers. The T&C state that the purchase needs to be directly from Qantas or selected travel agencies, but falls short of listing the relevant agencIes details. One would expect that the AMEX travel agency is accredited, since it’s the only means to use the $450 credit voucher in the first place. However, that’s not the case and it took me a few phone calls with the offshore (rather unhelpful) customer service centre to then eventually get a call from an Australia-based manager who apologised and offered points as a compensation for the inconvenience. The bottom line is: if you want to use your $450 travel credit and access the lounge as part of the same trip, you’re out of luck as you will need two separate transactions to achieve that (One with Amex travel and another directly with Qantas).
    No member give thanks

  • Oliver

    oliver_adl

    15 Nov, 2018 12:47 pm

    This is pretty disappointing. As a charge card user putting 6 figures through their cards each month these changes and recent annual fee increase are making it look like there is minimal value left here. Will review carefully but on current information seems most sensible to just cancel all accounts when these changes take place and take all the business elsewhere.
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  • Blake

    Blake

    15 Nov, 2018 01:27 pm

    Every cloud has a silver lining. My platinum edge has been a keeper due to its excellent earn rate. Now I see greater value in cancelleing it, waiting 18 months and then collect a sign up bonus again. Rinse, repeat. play the game.
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  • Blake

    Blake

    15 Nov, 2018 01:28 pm

    and if the signup bonuses fizzle out, I can just adapt again. Nothing stays the same forever.
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  • JakeDrake

    JakeDrake

    15 Nov, 2018 02:38 pm

    Yes, signup bonuses are definitely the way to earn points these days for relatively small spenders like myself. Leaving aside the possible impact on my credit record of churning through new credit cards, the signup bonus usually far outweighs any degradation of points received from the day to day spend when changes like these Amex ones are made.
    Member who gave thanks

    jch

  • Adam T

    AT

    15 Nov, 2018 02:43 pm

    As a Plat Charge card holder since 2005 on a short o/s break using my (free) 28 Degree MasterCard enjoying zero fx fees, reading this article and thread, yeah I have really mixed views. I get the card is more than the FF points BUT it just feels like for the $1400ish fee, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Feels like Amex wants to push us to using MR points through AMEX rather than transfer to airline program.
    I’m no sure right now what I’ll do, but as I’m really enjoying my FX fee free short break, looks like a lot to consider and timely to do a full card audit over Xmas break.
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  • banker

    banker

    15 Nov, 2018 04:14 pm

    Unless something changes, I'm cancelling both of my Amex cards comes April. SGB Visa with birthday bonus makes much more sense, it's accepted in more places and accepted without fees.
    Have say I'm sad to part with Amex after 20 years but it just doesn't make a sense to keep the cards anymore after comparing costs and benefits.
    Member who gave thanks

    AT

  • Pcoder

    Pcoder

    15 Nov, 2018 04:35 pm

    With a mostly 50% reduction in benefits, the excuse that they are expanding acceptance is a bit weak.

    Major retailers such as Aldi, Ikea and Costco (who used to be) are still not accepted, so to take away half the benefit and yet not add these retailers is a poor excuse.
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  • peteshep

    peteshep

    15 Nov, 2018 05:49 pm

    Totally agree. I said to them in my complaint I’d rather they charge higher merchant fees and go back to having less acceptance, and I use Visa as a backup. I’d still earn a tonne more points that way. My spend on Amex previously was about 80% of total cards, now maybe it’s 85% with extra retailers but that’s certainly not going to be enough to offset the devaluation.

    Plus the excuse doesn’t even apply to overseas transactions as there has been no change to merchant fees or increase in acceptance there (in fact on my recent trip to China and Hong Kong the acceptance of the card has actually dropped compared to previous trips!)
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  • Michael63

    Metoo

    15 Nov, 2018 05:06 pm

    Thanks for the heads up. Will transfer sooner than later. Do you have a link for the current best CC's for accruing points to be converted to FF programs?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 05:11 pm

    Hi Metoo, not one that's up-to-date, as many of the current 'best' cards would be those affected by these changes, which will now present a different value than they did before (or, at least, will be different once the April changes kick in).
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  • peteshep

    peteshep

    15 Nov, 2018 05:44 pm

    Do you have any info on Centurion?

    I emailed and Amex are refusing to provide anything in writing but my RM is on leave and I want to wait for her before I start the argument (she has actually been very helpful in the past).

    They were quick to say they never publish anything on Centurion, but you definitely mention it in the article that it is part of the changes. Given the rates are same as Platinum today, I’m wondering if it’s the same change by default, or if maybe Centurion becomes more favourable again - the email seemed to hint that maybe that’s the case but they won’t send the letter out until Monday.

    If the changes are the same, it will mean even the “lowly” Ultimate card will earn more Qantas points than Centurion at 10% the annual fee!!
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 06:12 pm

    Hi peteshep, you're right that AMEX generally 'doesn't talk about' Centurion.

    The information I've been given from contacts of mine who have the card (but must stress that this has not been independently confirmed, thus, not included in the article), is that the base earn rate on everyday purchases will become 2.5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent (1.25 airline frequent flyer points with a 2:1 conversion), so a 25% increase on points value for regular spend, with insurance and utility payments moving to that rate as well. Government spend will apparently continue to earn 0.5/$1 in frequent flyer points (so 1 MR point per $1 spent under the new scheme), while the bonus categories for dining and travel will apparently be removed, as is happening with Platinum. The current $500,000/year ceiling at which the earn rate currently levels off at 1/$1 will also be removed, but realistically, that ceiling only impacts a cardholder's ability to earn bonus points above the normal everyday earning rate, which will no longer be a feature of the card (apparently), but at least means the 1.25/$1 frequent flyer earn rate on everyday transactions should be uncapped.

    The change we have been able to confirm with AMEX, which has been included in the article as a result, is the change for Ascent Premium conversions (the loyalty program of Centurion and the Platinum Charge), which moves from 1:1 to 2:1 - so Centurion members who don't convert their existing points before the changes kick in stand to lose up to 50% of the value of their points.

    Of course, do speak with your Relationship Manager.

    No member give thanks

  • peteshep

    peteshep

    15 Nov, 2018 06:33 pm

    Thanks for the update Chris.

    I guess the silver lining (albeit a very tarnished silver) is that finally Centurion will earn at least a little more than Platinum for the higher fee, although it will take a lot of spending at 0.125 points extra to recoup the additional annual fee! Especially when Platinum also gets a $450 travel voucher that they do not give to Centurion effectively making a $4k difference in annual fees.

    Still disappointing that effectively this rate is the same as the Qantas Ultimate card.
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  • James Zhang

    pkjames

    15 Nov, 2018 05:49 pm

    amex is really destroying its entire program, massive spg / marriott transfer reduction and now ff transfer reduction.

    No member give thanks

  • RyanK

    RyanK

    15 Nov, 2018 05:51 pm

    Everyone who reads the article and comment, please set a reminder for March 2019 to use your points, even if its transferring to Krisflyer with 36 months expiry.

    More so a reminder to cancel all of your Amex cards. I think we need a massive revolt from all savvy Amex cardholders. This will ought to get Amex AU to rethink their strategy in the future.
    Member who gave thanks

    peteshep

  • Rkwm

    Rkwm

    15 Nov, 2018 06:03 pm

    After 30+ years of loyal support to Amex both Centurion and Platinum no matter the country of residence this MR benefit reduction will now destroy that loyalty . No longer will I continue supporting Amex . I thought twice following the excessive annual fee increase but that thought has now solidified given the points changes. Interesting they decided to penalize their loyal base as a means to increase the number of merchants that previously dismissed Amex .
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  • IFlyFirst

    IFlyFirst

    15 Nov, 2018 06:24 pm

    I can kind of understand where Amex is coming from here... if it was hard enough to convince businesses to accept the card before when the cost was maybe double some Visa cards, it'd be even harder to convince businesses now if Amex's cost stayed the same after the whole RBA thing, where the processing cost of Amex could even be triple that of Visa (if Amex kept its fees at the same rate).

    Having said that, if I'm going to be earning less points to pay by Amex, they'd better well make sure that I can actually use the card in more places and not be paying more (or much more) than for Visa, and currently, that's not the case.

    JB Hifi still charges nearly 3% for Amex, Vodafone charges 2.15% for Amex yet only about 0.5-1% for other cards, TPG charges over 3% for Amex and 0% for Visa, B2BPAY basically charges double for Amex compared to other cards, and so on. If Amex expects me to cop a cut on points, then I expect these ridiculous surcharges to stop.

    If they don't, I may as well throw out the Amex and just use Visa, to get a similar number of points at a much lower surcharge or with none at all.
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  • peteshep

    peteshep

    15 Nov, 2018 06:39 pm

    From what I’ve noticed, the majority of new businesses accepting Amex seem to be smaller businesses - things like coffee shops etc that never accepted before. In these cases it seems they are not charging card fees or those that are they are equal to other card types. But it will take a lot of spending at these kind of places to get back the points I’m now losing.

    The bigger stores either are still charging greater differences (although perhaps they could be reported to the ACCC given the rules are now they can only pass on the charge incurred, especially if they have received discounts now from Amex?)

    And there are still notable exceptions to acceptance of the card - Costco for one.
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  • Ryan

    ryantbr

    15 Nov, 2018 09:55 pm

    Ikea is another notable exception. A lot of the Shell and Caltex petrol stations in my area don't accept Amex either.
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  • Greg84

    Greg84

    15 Nov, 2018 10:41 pm

    Pretty sure Caltex surcharges at 2.3% - there’s no way they’re paying Amex that so potentially they’re in breach of the rules introduced recently in relation to surcharging which also doesn’t help
    No member give thanks

  • Dale

    hakkinen5

    15 Nov, 2018 06:32 pm

    So given the devaluation, I need to convert my Gateway points to FF points prior to April. Question is, do I use the current 15% transfer bonus to Velocity or wait for the one that normally comes early in the year? If I recall, they had quite a good bonus offered earlier in the year? I wonder if that will be repeated?
    No member give thanks

  • peteshep

    peteshep

    15 Nov, 2018 06:43 pm

    It’s a tough call - these bonuses have been pretty regular lately. However given everyone with an Amex now needs to burn their points by April, that would actually be a disincentive for the airlines to offer a bonus in many ways, because they will be getting them transferred anyway with or without. It’s only really for Ascent Premium where people can also transfer to Qantas that there is much competition for Virgin - I would imagine other programs like KrisFlyer would only be used with a small percentage of the market of frequent overseas flyers.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Nov, 2018 06:51 pm

    Velocity tends to run a '15% bonus on transfers' promotion every May and November, but the transfer partners included in each bonus offer can vary from one deal to the next (not every partner is included in every promotion). Anything out of that pattern is less predictable.
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  • BJ01

    BJ01

    15 Nov, 2018 06:45 pm

    Bye Felicia!

    I've limped along with a Platinum card for years and put up with the lack of places that will accept it in Australia, paying the 3% surcharge for places that will accept it and paid a hefty annual fee just for the points earn. Now that's gone, I'm out.

    What are they smoking at AMEX? Can't believe it...
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  • M S

    Strange

    15 Nov, 2018 07:13 pm

    "American Express claims the cuts stem from a reduction in the fees charged to businesses for processing AMEX payments, which in turn have allowed AMEX to increase the number of companies that accept American Express cards so that cardholders can earn points in more places."

    Yeah! So I can now get 5 points for my coffee instead of 3.... I have noticed a few more places take it, like all the ones where I spend petty cash!!! I'd rather have the less merchants and more points thanks.

    Bye bye amex after nearly 20 years.
    No member give thanks

  • Ross

    Ross

    15 Nov, 2018 09:27 pm

    Astounded, amazed, disappointed, gobsmacked, flabbergasted...

    Just don't know what to say really. Join with many others in having been an AMEX customer for years across both Centurion and Plat Charge.

    I have a current bonus points transfer offer from QF valid until the end of November, perhaps I shall use it.

    After the AN failure the great benefit of AMEX MR was a place to earn and store points and transfer them as and if needed. No more obviously.
    No member give thanks

  • Greg Johnson

    senorgreg

    15 Nov, 2018 09:36 pm

    Announcing the cuts with no improvements and no change to annual fees is pretty bad. Unless they counter this with a improvement in other benefits, I will probably be our next March.
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  • CT

    CT

    15 Nov, 2018 09:48 pm

    I have been saving my reward points to be used when I retire in about 6 years!
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  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    15 Nov, 2018 10:50 pm

    I wonder if we all email Amex to express our anger will they listen and modified this devaluation? all the comments above all seem to make sense. I think this the least we can do right?
    Amex customer service email: customercareaunz@aexp.com

    Member who gave thanks

    Amp-qld

  • MR1961

    MR1961

    16 Nov, 2018 05:24 pm

    I just spoke with Amex Platinum card account staff, and they said that I had to write a letter to "American Express Executive Correspondence, G.P.O. Box 1582, Sydney, NSW 2001." I asked about an email address and was told "That is something we're working on."
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  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    16 Nov, 2018 07:18 pm

    Thanks for the update. That’s the email I got from Amex awhile back for customer service
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  • chk

    chk

    17 Nov, 2018 07:53 pm

    same address was shared with me, you would think a company in the premium credit card segment would have emails in 2018?
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  • Tim Tran

    n_4_ninja

    15 Nov, 2018 11:12 pm

    any news on the business ascent program, which transfers at a rate of 3mr:2ff?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 Nov, 2018 10:40 am

    Hi n_4_ninja, Business Ascent isn't a scheme we cover at AusBT: it's more of an 'older' program as none of the AMEX cards currently for sale online are linked to it (e.g. Business Accelerator is attached to Ascent, rather than Business Ascent, etc., even though it's a business card), so for this, your best bet is to contact AMEX.
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  • Zapz

    Zapz

    15 Nov, 2018 11:40 pm

    Near future,

    Amex: Yeah! now we're accepted everywhere in Australia hip hip............... ...............................................................................................................................Wait a second....... where's all the card members gone.. ....................................Oh,

    No member give thanks

  • aggie57

    aggie57

    16 Nov, 2018 12:46 am

    I'm in the same boat as others here, have been with Amex for over 20 years and Centurion for a good few of those. Currently I'm sitting on a swag of points which it I only really ever use for travel. What I save there more than covers the cost of the annual fee but this will definitely make me look again.
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  • slabs

    slabs

    16 Nov, 2018 12:47 am

    These changes are very disappointing.

    ChrisCh, did Amex mention any changes to the MR Corporate Spirit program? Is it right to assume that the redemption ratio from MR to QF will become 2:1 from 15 April 2019?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 Nov, 2018 10:50 am

    Hi slabs, we don't cover corporate cards in editorial, but just quickly, I can see from the internal briefing documents that have been shared with us by AMEX, transfers to Qantas for Membership Rewards Spirit members (attached to the AMEX Qantas Corporate Card, the AMEX Qantas Corporate Gold Card and the AMEX Qantas Corporate Platinum Card) do indeed move to 2:1, effective April 15 2019.
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  • Differs

    Differs

    16 Nov, 2018 09:27 am

    Love my Amex Platinum Charge since 2004. Clearly now uneconomical. Wondering how to cut it up as it's now metal...?!
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  • Siddharth Raja

    sid

    16 Nov, 2018 09:28 am

    Hi Differs,
    You'll be getting 12.5% more airline points on daily spend. Is it the loss of extra points on Airline and Restaurant spend that concerning you?

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  • Differs

    Differs

    16 Nov, 2018 09:37 am

    I think so, for me anyway. The value in the points is using them for J and F flights. That value will be halved come April.
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  • lvtravel01

    lvtravel01

    16 Nov, 2018 11:01 am

    where do you get your 12.5% increase on airline points?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 Nov, 2018 11:05 am

    Hi lvtravel01, the Platinum Charge currently provides the equivalent of 1 frequent flyer point per $1 spent on most everyday purchases. From April 15, it'll instead provide an increased 1.125/$1 in programs like Velocity, KrisFlyer etc. on everyday spend under the new earning and conversion rates (but the higher earn rates for restaurant and travel spend will be removed).

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  • samliew

    samliew

    16 Nov, 2018 01:16 pm

    Those tables are not fully viewable on mobile, and are cut-off.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 Nov, 2018 02:02 pm

    Hi samliew, have you tried turning your phone to the side (landscape orientation), rather than holding it upright?
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  • SQ318

    SQ318

    16 Nov, 2018 03:26 pm

    Lucky I've just signed up for an ANZ card then! My platinum reserve card that I use for SQ/VA will devalue by 63%! Thanks for the heads-up Chris, I can't see the value in this after April.
    No member give thanks

  • Mark_S

    Mark_S

    16 Nov, 2018 03:31 pm

    AMEX is doing everything to drive customers away in the last few years. Why pay so much for the card, when its value is lowered every year.
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  • Lindsay Wilson

    QF WP

    16 Nov, 2018 03:36 pm

    How to dis-incentivise loyal cardholders. Looks life there will be massive transfers to points program on 14 April 2019.
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  • Mark Ross-Smith

    doot

    16 Nov, 2018 04:15 pm

    +1 for cancelling Amex
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  • thelongroad

    thelongroad

    16 Nov, 2018 04:21 pm

    Does anybody else think it's shocking that they devalued everybody's point balances? They could have compensated for reduced merchant fees by reducing earn rates going forward. Reduced redemption rates achieve the same effect, but with the added effect of also effectively halving the value of everybody's balance of points. I'd say Amex have bet, probably correctly, that from a psychological point of view more people would react negatively to being told their earning rate is <1 point per dollar than would to being told instead that those points are worth less.

    Total slap in the face and unreasonable, I've got several years worth of points saved up, the point of a transferable points currency is flexibility over time as different airline programs wax and wane. Now, even with a few months notice, I still have to commit to a program.

    Incidentally, this is precisely what North Korea does every few years - abolishes its currency and starts a new one at a reduced value, to make everyone's savings valueless.

    It's is a shame, after 18 years with Amex, I'm seriously considering leaving, the card offers little value proposition over a Visa or Mastercard, and is not accepted in so many places.

    I could complain at the call centre, but I don't think it would reach anyone serious. Same goes for anything I submit on their website. Does anybody have an avenue by which to make a serious complaint that will be heard by somebody that will listen and have the power to act?
    Member who gave thanks

    johnnyw

  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    16 Nov, 2018 04:24 pm

    Everyone should complain, so they know we are angry at them! I totally agree how they halved the existing point balance too. That’s the worst part for people who have been earning points for many years...
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  • MR1961

    MR1961

    16 Nov, 2018 05:27 pm

    I was told to write a letter to: American Express Executive Correspondence, G.P.O. 1582, Sydney, NSW, 2001.

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  • Andrew

    andyf

    17 Nov, 2018 04:07 pm

    It is a joke .... but at least there is 5 months notice (unlike Citibank when they pulled a similar trick!)
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  • Amp-qld

    Amp-qld

    16 Nov, 2018 04:44 pm

    I'm only small fry with a Platinum Edge credit card but I have had it for 30 years. However, with these changes, I can't see the point in having/using the Amex card.
    I think I'll use the Virgin bonus transfer to use up most of my points. Thanks to johnnyw for the email address, which Amex wouldn't give me. I'll be sending an e-mail suggesting that they reduce the reduction to make it worth people keeping Amex.

    No member give thanks

  • Vicki  Trotter

    Vicki668

    16 Nov, 2018 04:44 pm

    I was recently invited to join a small group of card members for a Centurion Research Dinner to 'establish current needs and ensure value is delivered to our cardholders'. The feedback given at that dinner was most certainly not what is reflected in these proposed changes. Then again, considering how recently I attended this discussion these changes were already made and ready to be communicated. That was a waste of time...
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  • lvtravel01

    lvtravel01

    16 Nov, 2018 05:01 pm

    Got a call back from Amex supervisor, who acknowledged it is a massive change and my disappointment because of it. Amex re-emphasised the value of its plat. card still is the best in the Australian market (cent. excluded). There is a letter on the way to specific members, it will be up to me to take it.
    My take away from this experience is:
    - Amex competes in au card market, the competitiveness from its siblings e.g. US is irrelevant. What relevant is Visa/MC's competitiveness here - which I find they are disappointing anyways (look at Citi prestige)
    - Amex will offer members with some form of 'compensation' but if members do not wish to take it, amex is prepared to let those go
    - Amex would have done the math and has an estimate of the impact from their changes, they may be prepared to loose selective members, unless the loss is greater than what they have modelled. Otherwise its a win for them.
    - There is no loyalty, there is negotiation and game playing. It is called business.

    I recall a very few years ago amex plat. costs less than $1000 a year with effective earning rate of 1.5 per $1? The benefits were almost on par?
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  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    16 Nov, 2018 07:25 pm

    To me that sounds BS what they do in America isn’t relevant. So why don’t they change their business name to Australian express then. As a global wise company you share the same reputation as long you operate under that brand. Clearly Amex Au doesn’t care about customers here.
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  • Rkwm

    Rkwm

    17 Nov, 2018 04:13 pm

    Correct Ivtravel01. I also received correspondence after I expressed my disgust .They simply indicated "Take it or move on"! Customer retention is of no interest obviously even regardless of the relentless loyalty over the many years. Very disappointing.
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  • MR1961

    MR1961

    16 Nov, 2018 05:37 pm

    Amex Platinum Charge Card fee $1,450
    travel credit ($450)
    Platinum Reserve travel credit ($400)
    Net annual fee: $600

    My Key Benefits: Shangri-la Jade. Accor free night/silver status. AFR subscription. Targeted card offers and Shop Small rebates. 55 day cash flow. High borrowing limit. Travel concierge. Points accrual, simplicity and flexibility of rewards program.

    Hmm, strike out that last one.
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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    16 Nov, 2018 06:16 pm

    I think mr1961 is a good point maker and include the free travel insurance which I see as valuable as I'm overseas 7 mths a year. It's not only the points aspect, which albeit is very important. I think it's tough to compare with overseas markets eg a friend in the UK doesn't get the travel credit on her card. If anyone has the email why not make it public here? Also, anyone know about next transfer bonus for Qantas?
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  • BJ01

    BJ01

    18 Nov, 2018 12:20 pm

    The included AMEX travel insurance is extremely limited and doesn't stack up against other policies. I still buy an annual Worldwide Policy regardless
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  • peteshep

    peteshep

    18 Nov, 2018 02:21 pm

    On which card are you referring to? The insurance on Platinum and Centurion is better than virtually every other policy I’ve looked at including annual multi trip. I still haven’t found one that covers $50k of luggage etc, or anywhere near the $125k/$150k rental car cover (the next best I’ve seen is about $5k). They also don’t charge more for things like snow cover.
    No member give thanks

  • flytoomuch

    flytoomuch

    19 Nov, 2018 08:28 am

    Agree with you peteshep.
    No member give thanks

  • Howard

    BigH

    16 Nov, 2018 06:23 pm

    Extremely disappointing indeed! Most card holders would have transferred their MR points to their favourite airlines at some point during their membership and having them halved from April next year will really devalue the worth of the card, especially those who have to shell out $1000's for the membership. Unless some good news come along in the next 5 months, its bye bye AMEX for me.
    No member give thanks

  • Dung Dinh

    betazoid

    16 Nov, 2018 06:28 pm

    Wow interesting forum going on here and in summary everyone disappointed with the points.
    Looks like I will be cancelling my charge card as well.

    Moving forward, do any of you have any recommendation? I would like access to the lounges, high rewards points program etc?

    Thanks for sending the email address. I have expressed my disappointment and told them I’m leaving in April 2019. It’s a good time for it because my charge card expires in July.
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    16 Nov, 2018 06:46 pm

    Follow up... What is amex going to do with merchants who insist on the rate so customers are not stung there as well? That is very relevant too. Could I please get the email address that has been mentioned please? Thanks
    No member give thanks

  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    16 Nov, 2018 07:22 pm

    customercareaunz@aexp.com
    But at the same time MR1961 was told to write a letter to: American Express Executive Correspondence, G.P.O. 1582, Sydney, NSW, 2001.
    No member give thanks

  • Ross

    Ross

    17 Nov, 2018 01:25 am

    I have posted upstream and have not had any communication from Amex to date.

    I have over 1million MR points which I will transfer into QF before the end of November with the bonus offer I have from Qf as I will net a swag of points instead of the 50% devaluation next year, bird in the hand and all that.

    I will have to have a big think about renewing the Amex come anniversary date next year, sad; member since 1982.
    No member give thanks

  • Trogdor

    Trogdor

    17 Nov, 2018 07:48 am

    As a not-so-frequent-flyer, here I was thinking "oh well, I can always keep using my Amex points to convert to gift cards and similar items rather than FF points", but it looks like those programs are being slashed too. Might be time to start looking around at other cards.
    No member give thanks

  • Jeffrey FRANCIS

    jeff.francis

    17 Nov, 2018 09:20 am

    We currently have 2 Platinum cards, at a cost of over $3k per year, but they won't be renewed!!

    I don't know who the genius who came up with the strategy of increasing the merchants and decreasing the member benefits was, but after reading the feedback there will be a massive exit from American Express.

    We pay much higher charges for a reason, now that reason has been removed, so will we!!!


    No member give thanks

  • Siddharth Raja

    sid

    17 Nov, 2018 09:29 am

    Speaking purely from a personal perspective, this change towards getting more merchants doesn't make sense to me. I don't care if the local bakery accepts Amex for my $10 lunch order. I care more about the acceptance for a $7000 business class airfare, which is already happening. Supermarkets, PayPal, major retailers are all accepting Amex. Why go after the small crap? Amex will never beat Visa and MC so why not remain the premium option?
    Members who gave thanks

    Vicki668, jeff.francis

  • bl812

    bl812

    17 Nov, 2018 10:22 am

    was one of the weakest card to start with-most small businesses still won't accept it than the much higher charge for using it-now it became a laughing stock among the cards-amex get lost will wipe it somewhere where the sun never shines and it's not an ATM either!
    No member give thanks

  • Mark_S

    Mark_S

    17 Nov, 2018 10:26 am

    Good to see the Members making "Sweeping Changes"and sweeping the floor with AMEX. I have a hunch, they are in emergency meetings and there will be a backflip. Looks like they picked the wrong focus group panels to substantiate their changes.
    Member who gave thanks

    jeff.francis

  • Brianb

    Brianb

    17 Nov, 2018 10:26 am

    Likely preaching to the converted-despite what's happened, suggest do not cancel your card. Just keep it as an emergency card. Oz banks, and others too, will cancel a card at the slightest hint of trouble. Protecting your interests they say-Wrong-protecting theirs. With several weeks wait for a new card, cancellatons inevitibly occur at the worst times. All cards are getting harder to get-keep as many from different banks as possible. Fees? Just suck it up, sorry
    No member give thanks

  • Howard

    BigH

    17 Nov, 2018 11:04 am

    Unfortunately I just cannot justify a $1500pa card as an emergency card
    Member who gave thanks

    Mark_S

  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    17 Nov, 2018 10:26 am

    So the only question for me is 475k points to SIA or Cathay...

    No member give thanks

  • Paul Whelan

    AussieintheUSA

    17 Nov, 2018 11:15 am

    1. Don’t most V/MC issued by the banks have their points earn capped (5k per month etc). Won’t Amex continue to earn above these spend limits?

    2. This is all about ALL businesses continuing to accept Amex also. Not just small newer ones.

    Every business in Australia knows that EVERY Australian has a V/MC in their wallet.

    While Amex can command a premium fee over V/MC, and pass that to card holders through rewards, there is a breaking point. Any business would do cost benefit analysis on that price difference and does that add value to them. Why would any business accept Amex if they know your goimg to pull out another card? If Woolies, Coles or even Qantas stopped accepting Amex, you would still shop or fly there, you have almost no choice.
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew

    andyf

    18 Nov, 2018 05:41 pm

    My ANZ Visa has a $5000 per month 'cap' - below that I earn 1pt:$1, past that I earn 0.5pt:$1. So there is no 'hard cap' where I stop earning points.

    As for the question: "Why would any business accept Amex if they know you're going to pull out another card?" The answer is because some Amex customers will prefer merchants that offer Amex, especially if its a regular shop for them (e.g. supermarket) or large item; to maximise their point earn.

    Let me ask: "Why would any customer pay an annual fee for an Amex, when they get exactly the same points earn/value proposition from a Visa or Mastercard?"
    No member give thanks

  • Dung Dinh

    betazoid

    17 Nov, 2018 11:36 am

    Mark S, how do you know they are in an emergency meeting?
    And what card do you own?
    No member give thanks

  • Mark_S

    Mark_S

    17 Nov, 2018 12:33 pm

    Cause they will have seen the comments here, had the phone calls yesterday (mentioned above) and be in a panic, before the mainstream media picks it up. I can guarantee they will be in a panic. I know someone in there high up and alerted them yesterday to the firestorm and they already knew!! I have a platinum.

    They lost members several years ago when they reduced points for utilities and Government agencies. They also saw a wholesale reduction of AMEX spend with those items with reduced points.
    No member give thanks

  • Dung Dinh

    betazoid

    17 Nov, 2018 01:03 pm

    Thanks Mark S. I also own a platinum charge card.
    I contacted Amex and expressed my disappointment and actually told them I will be leaving when my anniversary is up. I also told them there are a lot of card holders who have been with AMex for 20+ years (based on this forum) considering cancelling. So it’s a great thing they are looking at this. They need to pull their heads in if they want to keep customers.
    Unless something changes, I’m leaving like everyone else.
    No member give thanks

  • Jeffrey FRANCIS

    jeff.francis

    17 Nov, 2018 02:19 pm

    American Express is now just another credit card!!!
    It is now competing with Visa and master-card,
    No member give thanks

  • Zapz

    Zapz

    17 Nov, 2018 03:05 pm

    I get it. reduced earn rates, it's not something that hard to digest (even with a lot of pain). We all knew, we had something coming. But slashing the transfer rates in half is just pathetic. You've just lost me Amex... by the way, its 6 cards including two platinums from my household...Hmm
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew

    andyf

    17 Nov, 2018 04:13 pm

    Their one major point of difference was the higher earning rates ... which meant people put up with the smaller number of merchants.

    Surely virtually everyone with an Amex card also has a Visa or Mastercard? My Visa still earns 1:1 points for the first $5000 spent. My Amex no longer will (except at a small subset of merchants).

    So what is Amex's value proposition given, despite trying, they are still not as widely accepted?
    Member who gave thanks

    tpgfornow

  • Ben Hamilton

    benzqn

    18 Nov, 2018 11:30 am

    I spend $100K+ a month on Amex. I too will be cancelling my card unless there is a positive statement from Amex.
    No member give thanks

  • Zapz

    Zapz

    18 Nov, 2018 06:15 pm

    I'm not sure anyone already noticed this, its official now :-(

     
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    18 Nov, 2018 10:29 pm

    I tried using that email address ( customercareaunz@aexp.com) provided in one of the forum messages above to voice annoyance and got this

    This inbox is not monitored or serviced. We’re unable to respond to any incoming emails.

    To contact us anytime, please use one of the following options:

    • Chat Online with one of our Customer Care professionals. Simply log into your Online account and click on “Contact us.”
    • Call us on 1300 882 538 or if overseas +612 9271 8298

    Regards,

    American Express Customer Care

    No member give thanks

  • Taylor

    Taylor

    19 Nov, 2018 12:25 am

    Thanks Chris for the update. Sadly it will happen and I for one don't believe that meetings are being held or that the company will have any backlash that they are not expecting or costed into the change. Again for Amex to hear about the changes via Ausbt.com.au is a tad sad and misjudges the loyalty and what individual card holders have for the product. If I was going to complain to Amex I would suggest Rachel Stocks who is the GM for Aus/NZ.

    No member give thanks

  • lvtravel01

    lvtravel01

    19 Nov, 2018 08:33 pm

    lol Taylor, Rachel is promoted few months ago and no longer the anz boss.. now it is Corrine Davison and its been few months coming back from US. Sadly, US card features such as no forex fee and lower annual fees (plats. charge e.g.) are not brought along...
    No member give thanks

  • Dung Dinh

    betazoid

    28 Nov, 2018 01:24 am

    Hello everyone,
    I received a letter from Amex in relation to its changes.
    As a platinum charge card member, the letter stated if I have 100,000 points as of 19 April 2019, they will double it. As you can see Amex is doing this to keep its customers. what happens after 19 April 2019, I’m sure they won’t be doubling it.
    My card anniversary expires in July next year.
    I’ll be cancelling it unless they double my points permanently.
    Just a note to all Amex card holders, when you cancel they will try and offer you more points to stay.
    If you think it’s worth it by all means stay with them.
    They’ve lost a lot of loyalty customers.

    To all card holders cancelling, can you all please share what offers Amex is offering you to stay?
    No member give thanks

  • Israel Henriques

    israelhenriques

    3 Dec, 2018 11:13 am

    Are platinum charge card holders getting their points doubled come the date next year?
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    3 Dec, 2018 12:49 pm

    Ha! Doubling points, not a chance. There are halving them.
    No member give thanks

  • peteshep

    peteshep

    3 Dec, 2018 01:27 pm

    Actually yes they are - Platinum Charge and Centurion card holders on the Ascent Premium program will all have their existing points balance doubled on the date the program changes to protect the value (the letter indicates it could be a few weeks for it to be processed in the system). Not sure if they’re applying it to any other cards (the letter for my associated Platinum Reserve card did not mention doubling the points, but then again that credits to the Ascent Premium program anyway).
    No member give thanks

  • OWT

    OWT

    3 Dec, 2018 01:37 pm

    Crosscourt: the letter I received after this article was posted says AMEX will double the number of points I hold at the time that the changes kick in which effectively preserves the value of them for the time being. However, the way the changes were communicated was interesting. It trumpets the fact that the average points earned per dollar have increased and demonstrates this in a comparison table. Below that is another table showing the new conversion rates without comparing the new rates with the old. In my view, if you hadnt read articles such as this one and you couldn’t remember the existing conversion rates you could miss the overall impact of the changes and not understand that it is in fact a devaluation.
    No member give thanks

  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    3 Dec, 2018 01:50 pm

    That was mentioned to me as well but it's a one time offer only.
    No member give thanks

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23 Jan, 2019 07:06 pm

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