Rumors For Days with Amex and Capital One
Current Rumors in the Credit Card Game
This seems to be the season of rumors right now and since I haven’t done much to report on aside from a failed gift card liquidation at Hilton’s Buffalo Thunder Resort, I figured we can all hope and dream for a week.
Amex Green Card Refresh
There’s solid evidence over here at Doc of Credit that the bland and boring Amex Green Card, a card that you pay for the privilege of earning Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points, is undergoing a more attractive card refresh.
The main added benefits being 4x points on gas and 3x points on streaming. I would LOVE to see such benefits as I always use gas and we cut cable in favor of streaming. That would firmly place the Green Card as my go-to for gas and streaming since MR points are liquidatable at 1.25 cents per point with the Schwab Platinum card. Yes, cashback is a bad redemption rate, but I have more points than I can spend with the leave I have available and 1.25 is above industry standard for cashback.
The more rumored but much more beneficial add on is an Amazon Prime membership. Since we pay $119 for that membership annually as it is, an annual fee waived Green Card that gave it to us for free would be instant $119/year savings. Fingers crossed people.
The rumored release date was early 2019, then July, now Sep. That’s the problem with rumors I guess.
Amex Airport Restaurant Program
Another fantastic but more unfounded rumor on the Amex front is the future roll-out of an Amex restaurant program to replace the revocation of the restaurant credit on their Priority Pass memberships. DoC makes a lot of assumptions on his page for this but it would make sense for Amex to ditch the PP memberships and focus on their own lounge program. As it is, they best the other banks with their own line of Centurion lounges and Escape Lounge access in addition to their PP memberships. Perhaps an Amex specific lounge program would be a good way to wrap everything together.
Amex Airline Credit Changes
But of course, the most rumored of all the rumors is the one I want the most. I previously touched on this rumor of Amex changing their airline incidental credit to a blanket travel credit with less complicated steps and more ways to redeem in a past weekly update. I will keep repeating it so that more people repeat it and we gain a massive grassroots following to put the pressure on and get it done. Turns out I’m not the only one.
Over here at Little Miss Traveler’s (LMT) competing blog is a much more thought out article about why Amex is in a position to make this change happen. It stems from the recent change to airline gift card reimbursements, a sort of devaluation of benefits (more on this below), and how every other bank has blanket travel reimbursements. The argument is if Amex wants to stay relevant they need to match the value and effortlessness of the travel credits with their competitors. I, of course, agree and would love to see such a change. LMT also suggests that Amex is loosing out on transaction fees if the credit is redeemed all at once, but at the under $5 transaction fees they charge in conjunction with percentage fees I can’t see it making more than a $10 difference per card per year. Drop in the bucket.
Amex Gift Card Debacle
I want to take this moment to explain the whole Amex airline gift card debacle. Everyone seems to be confused about it, even LMT puts the blame on Amex, and this really isn’t the case. Here’s the deal: Amex NEVER said they would reimburse gift cards, in fact, they explicitly stated in T&Cs that they WOULD NOT reimburse gift cards. The airlines just happened to code their gift card purchases the same way as their incidentals that Amex did reimburse, so the automated system didn’t catch them and reimbursements went through. One day, the AIRLINES changed the way they coded their gift card purchases and the automated system Amex has now sees those purchases as gift cards. We enjoyed a loophole for a while, it closed, now we just need to wait for another. Now, if you want to speculate that Amex put pressure on the airline to recode their gift card purchases, that’s getting super deep into rumor territory and I haven’t seen anything to suggest it aside from the timing that all the airlines recoded.
Capital One Premium Card
Finally, Capital One seems to be planning to get in on the premium card market and is set to launch its own high annual fee card with the only attractive feature being a $300 annual travel credit. If all the details are correct then it will be a flop when put up against the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Plat, and Citi Prestige. If Capital One waives annual fees for the military crowd, it’s an excellent additional $300/per in our pockets. Fingers, once again crossed.