By now, most of us are aware of the big changes coming to Club Carlson credit cardholders, which I think is the single devaluation thus far in 2015. However, in the past week or so there have been other cuts to benefits for cardholders carrying the Chase Ink cards, Virgin Atlantic MasterCard, American Express Business Platinum card and Fairmont card. Here is a quick roundup of all the recent cuts in benefits.
1. Club Carlson Cardholders Lose Bonus Award Night – The big news of the week was the massive devaluation of the Club Carlson program when they chose to eliminate the Bonus Award Night feature for Club Carlson Visa Cardholders. To me, this basically cuts the value of Club Carlson points in half if you maximized the Bonus Award Night benefit properly. You can view this post when I expand upon my thoughts on losing this benefit. The CliffsNotes version is this rivals the Hilton Devaluation Massacre a few years ago.
To make up for this benefit, Club Carlson is offering members a 30,000 point bonus if you have a paid stay by August 31st and is adding a new benefit for cardholders of 1 free night for a US hotel annually if you spend $10,000 or more and pay the annual fee. I don’t think that benefit is worthwhile as the US footprint for Club Carlson hotels is not impressive and I will be cancelling both my card and my wife’s shortly.
2. Virgin Atlantic Cardholders Lose Regus Gold Membership – While probably not the most popular benefit, I recently received a letter from BofA stating Virgin Atlantic is ending its partnership with Regus effective May 22, 2015 and as a result cardholders will no longer have a complimentary Regus Businessword gold membership.
For those that don’t know, Regus is a network of lounges (not just airports) and offices around the world and having Gold membership, entitled to you complimentary access to any lounge or office which had free refreshments and wifi. This was a great benefit if you needed to get work done or need a space for a quick business meeting when you were away from your office. The listed price is $59/month for a Gold membership so if did use this benefit consistently, this could be a big loss for a few cardholders. You can still signup by May 22nd to get one last year of Regus membership.
3. American Express Business Platinum Cardholders Lose Pay with Points 20% Rebate – I don’t usually use my American Express Membership Rewards points this way but for a long time, Business Platinum cardholders could redeem their points directly for travel and get a 20% rebate for doing so. Starting July 1st, American Express is now removing this benefit for cardholders. This is an unsurprising move as Amex cut this benefit a while back from the personal Platinum card. You will still be able to redeem points for travel directly at a rate of a penny per point – it is just the 20% rebate that is going away after July 1st.
4. Chase Ink Cardholders Lose Lounge Club Membership – Continuing the trend this week, Chase has decided to cut Lounge Club membership as one of the benefits from the Chase Ink family of cards. The Lounge club is a network of 350 mostly independent airport lounges scattered across the world. LoungeBuddy does a good job detailing what Lounge Club is all about.
If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still do by April 30th, 2015 at this link using code CHASEINK to get a one year membership. You will receive the first two visits free to any lounge in the Lounge Club network and additional visits after that are $27.
5. Chase Fairmont Cardholders Lose Lounge Club Membership – Just like the Chase Ink cards above, Chase has also cut this benefit from the personal Fairmont credit card as well. You have until April 30th to enroll at this link here by using code fairmont. Once enrolled, the first two visits are free and are $27 each after that. (H/T to Doctor of Credit for notifying me on this change).
Let’s hope these changes above are the last negative ones for a while though based on recent history this probably won’t be the case.