Over the last few weeks, Amex made a major splash with some really enticing welcome bonuses. Firstly, we saw a whopping 100,000 points welcome bonus on the consumer version of the Platinum card. Secondly, Amex followed up by offering 110,000 points as a welcome bonus on the business version of the Platinum card as well.
During Amex’s most recent earning’s call, we got deeper insight into their focus for 2021. Here are a few snippets. You can read the entire transcript here.
Will Amex ramp up welcome bonuses in 2021?
During the earnings call, Amex’s CEO hinted that the firm continues to focus on retaining existing customers, acquiring new ones and constantly refreshing their products to provide customers with value as they spend on things other than travel.
In our consumer and commercial businesses, we plan to continue to ramp up our Card Member acquisition activities, inject additional value into targeted products and continue our strategy of periodic refreshes of our premium products.
This comes as no surprise, as Amex is soon going to make an announcement about adding temporary benefits to their co-branded cards as well.
We will look to ramp up our Card acquisition. We will look at value injection early on in the year. We’ll look at value proposition refreshes throughout the year.
Temporary Card Benefits
Amex’s CEO Steve Squeri shared some interesting insights on Amex’s product refreshes and how they worked well both for customers as well as the company.
But when we look at sort of value injection, I think because people couldn’t travel, what we tried to do was to do two things, to not only provide them value in the short-term, but to sort of shift their mindset on how they use the card. And so when you look at what we did with platinum and with open-platinum and centurion, by putting in things like streaming credits and wireless credits and some shipping credits, we had 78% of our U.S. platinum Card Members take advantage of those – of that value injection. We had about 50% of our small business customers take advantage of that.
But the really interesting point in consumer platinum, 17% of our base was not putting wireless on their card. They are now. So we had a uptick of 17%. Now this is something that any of you who have embedded your card in a payment stream to try and get it out is very difficult. Recurring billing is probably the stickiest thing you have. And so for the first time, 17% of our platinum card base actually put wireless on the card, which is, you might think surprising, but people put spending in compartments. And 10% put streaming on the card.
If you look at the card acquisition numbers discussed during the call, they depict how their strategy to offer these temporary benefits succeeded.
We were really pleased in the fourth quarter to see in the U.S. consumer business, our platinum and gold new Card Member acquisition numbers were essentially at 2019 levels. That’s a really good sign to us.
The Pundit’s Mantra
Overall, I hope that Amex’s continued focus will mean better welcome bonuses and new benefits in 2021. On the other hand, Amex’s CEO hinted once again that he expects their co-branded cards to pick up steam by the end of the year. He determined that there is significant pent up demand for travel. Therefore, customers are still putting spend on co-branded cards so that they can earn points in order to use for travel as soon as travel restrictions are relaxed.
Amex is already offering increased welcome bonuses on their co-branded Hilton credit cards. In my opinion, we could well see increased welcome bonuses on the co-branded Delta credit cards later during this year. In the meanwhile, I expect Amex to continue offering temporary benefits and retention bonuses in order to keep existing customers engaged and satisfied with the brand.
What do you think about Amex’s card acquisition strategy? In 2021, is there a particular card that you’re looking to get with an increased bonus? Tell us in the comments section.
The American Express Gold Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points. You’ll earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months after you’re approved for the card.
Moreover, the card offers lucrative bonus earning categories, benefits and credits.
- 4x points on dining (including takeout and delivery) and grocery spend
- 3x points on flights
- $120 dining credit annually
- $120 Uber Eats/Uber credit annually
- $100 airline credit (ends on December 31, 2021)
- No foreign transaction fees
Please note that American Express may not approve you for the welcome bonus on this card if you currently have the card or have had the card in the past and received a welcome bonus for the same. This may also include any upgrade or downgrade offers that you may have signed up for.
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