Skift Take

Those in the habit of cyclically signing up for credit cards solely for the points may soon be out of luck thanks to a new strategy coming from American Express.


The practice of signing up for a credit card solely for the loyalty points might be going out of style if American Express has its way. Locked in a battle with Chase for premium credit card products, the bank is apparently concerned with the volume of freeloaders signing up for cards simply for the points — and then closing their accounts.

As a result of the so-called churners, American Express is raising annual fees (though it is including new perks), and states it plans to “surgically remove gaming and reinvest in higher-quality, more loyal new customers.”

Points churners will no doubt find greener pastures after American Express turns its back, but the question remains: What was the company expecting when it offered such healthy signup bonuses?


Love my American Express Platinum card, but now they want a $550 annual membership fee!? No longer a good value proposition… #AmexPlatinum

– @dewjr87 | D. White, owner of Westvilla Music


Emirates President Calls Etihad Merger Rumors ‘Nonsense,’ Hints At His Own Exit: Emirates President Tim Clark said he’s bracing for a “gathering storm” as low-cost airlines encroach on the intercontinental routes around which the biggest long-haul carrier has built its business. Read more at Skift

New Airlines Rush to Cater to Emerging Indian Air Market — Again: The increase in local air passenger traffic — estimated to reach half a billion in a decade — has outpaced all other markets for 22 straight months. Read more at Skift

What’s the Next Step for Airline Premium Economy? In recent months, Skift has been asking airline executives about premium economy. We’ve wanted to know why it has taken so long for some airlines to offer the product, and how the cabin may evolve. Here’s what we learned. Read more at Skift

Qatar Air Unveils Double-Bed Seats That Turn Into Meeting Areas: Qatar Airways unveiled a new aircraft seat that can be docked with one next to it to create what the Gulf carrier says will be the industry’s first double bed in a business-class cabin. Read more at Skift


CEO of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Wants $10 Billion for Upgrades: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport needs up to $10 billion in improvements to runways, taxiways and other parts of the airfield, its chief executive says. Read more at Skift

President Trump Wants to Cut TSA Budget to Help Fund His Border Wall: If you traveled last summer, you may have been stuck in a ridiculously long security line at your local airport. Fortunately, the problem was short-lived as legislators voted to better fund overtime pay of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers. The long lines could be back soon, however, and may stick around for years to come, if a new proposal by the White House comes to fruition. Read more at Skift

American Airlines Answers United With New Flights in Chicago: American Airlines Group Inc. is adding new flight destinations from its Chicago hub less than two weeks after United Continental Holdings Inc. announced a similar expansion. Read more at Skift

Frankfurt Airport Doubles the Size of Its VIP Lounge to Meet Demand: The lounge, about the size of three basketball courts, is a tranquil oasis of custom-made couches and hand-woven carpets. Original Warhols, Christos, and 19th-century ink drawings from Japan line the walls. Read more at Skift


American Express Will Weed Out Points-Chasing Credit-Card Churners: American Express Co. is looking to weed out customers who jump from credit card to credit card just for the sign-on bonus. Read more at Skift

Employers Are Still Wary About Business Travel Under Trump’s New Ban: Airports didn’t turn into massive protest zones on Monday, and travelers with valid visas were not suddenly detained at borders. But the latest version of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from six countries is still making employers concerned about business travel. Read more at Skift

Hertz’s Latest Twist Is Adding Private Driver Services From Blacklane: Hertz is enabling its rental car customers in 250 cities and 500 airports worldwide to book professional drivers as an add-on option. The drivers are vetted and supplied by black-car service Blacklane. Read more at Skift



AccorHotels Invests in Turkey-Based Rixos Hotels: Earlier this week, AccorHotels announced yet another investment, marking the company’s second major deal for 2017, following its intended purchase of Travel Keys. The Paris-based hotel company said that, in an effort to expand its growth in the upper upscale and luxury market, it would enter into a long-term joint venture with Antalya, Turkey-based Rixos Hotels. Read more at Skift

TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport: By the Numbers: There’s some new construction at New York’s JFK Airport but, for once, it’s not adding to traffic on the roads. Instead, travelers flying out of Terminal 5 will notice two new buildings and a slew of activity around the landmarked TWA Flight Center, which served passengers until 2001. Read more at Condé Nast Traveler

Marriott’s New European Push Puts Moxy at the Forefront: Marriott International is looking to win over millennials and conquer the upscale market as part of a plan to grow its European business. Read more at Skift


Anthony Bourdain is apparently working on a mobile app built off of his CNN TV show. Read more about the launch at Eater.


Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

The Travel Industry's Leading Event Is Headed to Dubai
Join Us December 13-15, 2022
See the Event

Tags: airlines, american express, skift business newsletter, skift business traveler

Photo credit: American Express is raising annual fees to discourage points churners. This October 4, 2016 photo shows a mockup of an American Express Platinum Card provided by the company. Patrick Sison / (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Up Next

Loading next stories