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[UK] Centurion changes coming July 2015 & January 2017.

[UK] Centurion changes coming July 2015 & January 2017.

Old Jun 8, 15, 9:23 am
  #1  
JK
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold / OnBusiness, SPG Lifetime Plat 100, AmEx Centurion & BAPP, Superking Westin Heavenly Bed :)
Posts: 1,112
[UK] Centurion changes coming July 2015 & January 2017.

Just received a call from my CRM saying there were changes coming to the Centurion card in July 2015, but they wanted to let me know before I got the letter...

The bad news:
  • Annual fee will increase by £400 to £2,200 (from your next renewal)
  • There will be no partner bonuses for MR. It will become 1 MR per £1 (pathetic!)

The "good" news:
  • Highest tier at Shangri-La
  • Highest tier at Melia

You will be able to pay the annual fee with you MR points, should you choose. Not sure if this is new or not, or what the £/MR value would be, but they mentioned it, so passing on.

Suspect there will be no next renewal for me... The good news doesn't bother me a jot, and the bad news are both very bad...
JK is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 12:48 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Programs: Centurion Amex, IHG Plat Ambassador, Virgin Au, Quantas Gold, Etihad Gold, Ba amex, Emirates , SPG
Posts: 5
After 18 years as an Amex Customer and about 10 as a Centurion and having always sung the praises of this card, However I am seriously considering ditching it now. Opinions would be appreciated. Over the past year my main Centurion card was "accidentally" cancelled when my new cards were due. This set of a chain reaction that has resulted in a nightmare. In the space of 9 months I have been reissued new cards with new numbers, now on 3 occasions. Each time I had to change all the associated direct debits and services. I had never asked for this but Centurion kept making mistakes with the reissues, that meant they kept being replaced automatically ( I have been advised this is cause they kept putting in the wrong coding for my cards) I have always had 2 Titanium cards one main and one account but was only ever charged the one fee. With all the re issues I was eventually advised that I cannot have 2 Titanium cards with only one fee, despite the fact that this has always been the case since Ti cards were launched. I advised them I was happy for just the main to be Titanium and would accept the other as plastic. However despite repeated requests for this to be done , I was repeatedly sent replacement Titanium cards for my account card, so much so that I eventually complained and was advised that they would accept it was their fault and not charge me for the second Ti card.( which btw they immediately did) They did eventually remove the charge and said they would send out a plastic card. Low and behold the next week I received another Ti card. I phoned up to say that as it was their mistake yet again I was going to keep the card and expected not to be charged. I was then told that I could keep the two Ti cards and only be charged for one. Then I was contacted by Amex to say I had asked for too many supplementary cards and that the whole account had to be reissued again. This was the 3d time in a year and I had not requested any of these reissues, it was all done by Amex. I was furious but was told I had no choice. They also then backtracked and said they couldn't find a note that they had agreed to give me the second TI card for free so they were going to send me out a plastic Ti card this time. Within a week I received my new cards. Not only did they again send me two TI cards, but also TI cards for all of my supplementary members who were platinum ( 4 in total) I phoned them and alerted them to the fact that despite them saying they cannot possibly have been at fault, here they had done exactly the same thing again, but worse this time and at what must be a huge cost to them. I managed to get them to agree to leaving all my supplementary cards in Ti with no extra charges, for the remainder of the card's life. I advised them that I was annoyed at the implication that it was my fault that these cards had come in Ti, that I had asked for all these reissues, and that according to them they had not agreed to give me the second Ti with no charge ( which they had) 6 months of investigation followed only to conclude that all the issues had in fact been caused by themselves not me and that I had not "lied" as they implied. In addition during the investigation they realised that I was getting two MR points on all my spend. This was agreed by a senior exec 3 years ago. The offer was made for life as I had threatened to leave because of poor service and because I pointed out that I got two points per £ on my MBNA card ( 4 with virgin) This had always been honoured, but now they have advised me that this benefit will no longer continue. I am furious. I have been a loyal card member for 18 years and in the past year I have had nothing but trouble, including not having a working account card for that time. Now that the other issues finally seem to have been sorted, they are talking away the only benefit I feel is still worth having. I understand there will be a fee hike as well this year and I am seriously wondering whether I should still remain loyal to a company that treats their customers with such contempt, implies that mistakes are the customers fault when it clearly wasn't, implying that their loyal customers would lie just to get an extra Ti card, and to top it off take away the only benefit the customer appreciates, despite this having been offered for the life of the card. I wrote to them in February of this year asking what is going on at Amex. The service levels have dropped, the benefits are being eroded every year ( Cathay?, possibly Virgin, more) and yet they feel they can also increase the fee. I feel it is becoming a joke. Apparently the double MR points for several members are being withdrawn, I would appreciate it if other Centurion members can let me know on here if they have had similar issues so we can write to the CEO. Thanks
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Old Jun 10, 15, 1:39 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ealing
Programs: Usual Amex Cent. BA Au.
Posts: 1,244
I had similar but not as bad. My Ti strip wore out when I was in Canada so I requested a reissue. They reissued ALL of my cards inc supps and shipped them to Canada where I was at the time. As none of my supps were at the address the cards were returned to Amex. They then repeated the exercise before finally issuing one of my plat supps as a Ti. In total I think we counted 6 Ti cards being issued.

They've always refused to issue my AC as a Ti - saying it costs them £650 a time.

As I only save MR points for airline conversions it seems it will now be pointless to spend on the Cent. May as well just keep using my BA Amex which still converts at 1.5 per £ or 3 for airline spend.

PS My RM told me the fee hike was from October but that the letter would be coming out in July. Can't say I'm impressed by the new hotels though it sounds as though there's a double bubble on Priority Pass.
Deckard is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 2:18 am
  #4  
JK
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold / OnBusiness, SPG Lifetime Plat 100, AmEx Centurion & BAPP, Superking Westin Heavenly Bed :)
Posts: 1,112
Welcome to FT WacFlyer! Good to have another UK Cent on here to share stories with. I'm sorry to hear about the issues you've faced (as has Deckard). Can't say I've had that specific problem (yet).

On my account, I have a bunch of Supplementary's too. My card and my wifes are both Ti. My 3rd supp is also Ti, for which I pay £650 a year. Other supps are on the free Platinum. My AC is black plastic. It would be a nightmare if they started reissuing all those cards, so I can imagine the drama you're going through. Hopefully though, it's a semi one-off issue, and to the degree you can, you shouldn't let it taint your overall view on what value you ascribe to retaining your Cent.

I'm somewhat with Deckard on the announced changes. I just don't care about Melia or Shangri-La. I've earned Lifetime Platinum with SPG, and Gold with BA (both the hard way), and those are the brands I will remain loyal too where possible. Once they remove any partner MR bonuses (which have never worked properly anyway), the earning rate will be worse than ridiculous for a card with such a high fee. I'd rather shift down to either Platinum, or stick to BAPP and SPG cards.

I just don't see how they can justify the £400 increase. I also can't help but feel there will be some other "surprises/enhancements" in the official letter that follows next month, but we'll have to see about that.

Unless something dramatic happens, I'm prepared for this to be my last year as a Cent, and will cancel prior to the next renewal. I find it outrageous and insulting that it's possible to earn more MRs on their lower-fee cards, and so I'll do just that.
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Old Jun 10, 15, 4:07 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ealing
Programs: Usual Amex Cent. BA Au.
Posts: 1,244
Sorry just got clarification from my RM... "The letter will drop as planned in July, which is when the enhanced benefits apply. You’ll have to enrol on the Centurion website. The double Membership Rewards will cease effective 01 October 2015, and the new fee will apply on your renewal date"

JK the justification was "we haven't had a fee rise for 7 years". If that's true the increase should be £430 (See this calculator)
Deckard is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 5:03 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Programs: Centurion Amex, IHG Plat Ambassador, Virgin Au, Quantas Gold, Etihad Gold, Ba amex, Emirates , SPG
Posts: 5
Centurion

Hi JK, thanks for the welcome and yes it's nice to be able to connect with other Centurion members. I agree that the issues I've had this year is probably a one off, my concern though is the indifference by Amex to my plight and the fact that the loyalty I've shown them through the years seem to count for nothing. I used to love my card and now I'm starting to question why I remain loyal to a company that keeps devaluing its product ( Cathay diamond gone, double MR points going despite other cheaper cards retaining them, IHG down to Gold Elite, rumours that they will no longer issue Virgin Gold, free night hotel stays completely dropped etc etc) but decides to again increase their fee. I think it is time all Centurion members club together and voice their dissatisfaction. Safe travels!
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Old Jun 10, 15, 5:06 am
  #7  
JK
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold / OnBusiness, SPG Lifetime Plat 100, AmEx Centurion & BAPP, Superking Westin Heavenly Bed :)
Posts: 1,112
Originally Posted by Deckard View Post
Sorry just got clarification from my RM... "The letter will drop as planned in July, which is when the enhanced benefits apply. You’ll have to enrol on the Centurion website. The double Membership Rewards will cease effective 01 October 2015, and the new fee will apply on your renewal date"

JK the justification was "we haven't had a fee rise for 7 years". If that's true the increase should be £430 (See this calculator)
Thanks for getting the clarification! Regarding the rise - that may well be the case. Sadly however, the utility or value-proposition of the card has not risen (for me) over that period, and hence the increase is not justified in my case.

What's your view? Likely to renew, or get rid of it? I'm very much waiting and seeing, and likely will forget to cancel out of laziness - but sitting here with my current logic-driven hat on, I'd have to say I'm inclined to cancel at renewal.
JK is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 5:11 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: SPG-Plat, Hilton-Diamond, Club Carlson-Silver, Cathay-Diamond, Virgin-Gold
Posts: 1,970
Originally Posted by WacFlyer View Post
Hi JK, thanks for the welcome and yes it's nice to be able to connect with other Centurion members. I agree that the issues I've had this year is probably a one off, my concern though is the indifference by Amex to my plight and the fact that the loyalty I've shown them through the years seem to count for nothing. I used to love my card and now I'm starting to question why I remain loyal to a company that keeps devaluing its product ( Cathay diamond gone, double MR points going despite other cheaper cards retaining them, IHG down to Gold Elite, rumours that they will no longer issue Virgin Gold, free night hotel stays completely dropped etc etc) but decides to again increase their fee. I think it is time all Centurion members club together and voice their dissatisfaction. Safe travels!
Hi

I am another Cent UK based holder and have to say the plans seem pretty poor to me! While I know they recently added Emirates to the list it is pretty useless unless you travel with them. To me the big loss was Diamond on CX and without that the current fee for what they offer is to much let alone an increase!

If they drop the double MR points then they can count me out if the additions are just what the list above there is no real value in those!

Also I have noticed the Card Member Offers are usually not great if they list at all for the Cent card I get better ones on my BA Prem Plus Amex and my friend with a Platinum always gets the best ones! Seems they just see the Cent card as a way to rip us off these days!
UKTraveller4Fun is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 5:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Programs: Centurion Amex, IHG Plat Ambassador, Virgin Au, Quantas Gold, Etihad Gold, Ba amex, Emirates , SPG
Posts: 5
Just confirmed with my PRM, increase to £2200, double MR stops 1 October, despite the fact that double MR is still a benefit of Gold cards, IHG will now be Gold Elite not platinum. I have been advised by Amex that these changes were brought in after feedback from their customers? I wonder who as I have never been asked!. Melia and Shangri la will be added. No other new benefits. Toddml, I agree with you on the card member offers, my partner also has gold and gets much better offers. I really feel its time that we all band together and write to the CEO the only alternative for me is to drop them.
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Old Jun 10, 15, 5:44 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ealing
Programs: Usual Amex Cent. BA Au.
Posts: 1,244
Originally Posted by JK View Post
What's your view? Likely to renew, or get rid of it? I'm very much waiting and seeing, and likely will forget to cancel out of laziness - but sitting here with my current logic-driven hat on, I'd have to say I'm inclined to cancel at renewal.
I'm likely to renew as the supps cover all of the staff members I want covered for insurance etc and I get great use out of the events team. So I can just about justify on accrued benefits. Then things like the Centurion Suite are the icing on the cake. I tend to use that every couple of months.

Personally I'd prefer they dropped the VS Au. It costs them a chunk of change and if you actually fly VS it's easy to keep Au. By my reckoning if they dropped the VS card they'd save enough not to have to increase the prices AND have money left over to enhance the service.
Deckard is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 6:19 am
  #11  
JK
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold / OnBusiness, SPG Lifetime Plat 100, AmEx Centurion & BAPP, Superking Westin Heavenly Bed :)
Posts: 1,112
Makes sense, thanks Deckard.

On the point of supps - if they're Ti supps, apparently that fee is going from £650 to £1,100! (I suspect/hope the first supp remains free).

Agree on the events and events team - I'd miss that, and one of the few reasons I'd consider keeping the card. As you mention, I'm not bothered about Virgin Gold either.
JK is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 6:31 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ealing
Programs: Usual Amex Cent. BA Au.
Posts: 1,244
The Primary Supp (or TitSupp as I like to refer to him) remains free but a major hike on any other Tis yes. I do dislike it when they dissemble about having consulted with their users. If they did it must have been leading questions like "Would you like to see more hotels added to the roster?" (even if it is for chains you never use and results in a lessening of other hotel statuses).
Deckard is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 7:42 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Posts: 372
just renewed at £1800,and a quick math for the past year:
-£750 amex travel credits cross all cards linked to the main account.
-managed to use the 500 USD Oriental express credit.
-about £450 worth of other gift/gift card
-200K hh points due the hh diamond membership (OH and myself)
-£400-£600 online fashion shopping credits
-took advantage of the VS gold offer EDI-LHR rtn for 2.5k miles - mult. times.
- CX diamond, PP card used heavily.

stopped using the card since losing the 2x MR offer.
ysb41 is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 8:05 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: SPG-Plat, Hilton-Diamond, Club Carlson-Silver, Cathay-Diamond, Virgin-Gold
Posts: 1,970
[QUOTE=Deckard;24947527]I'm likely to renew as the supps cover all of the staff members I want covered for insurance etc and I get great use out of the events team. So I can just about justify on accrued benefits. Then things like the Centurion Suite are the icing on the cake. I tend to use that every couple of months.

QUOTE]

Centurion Suite?

Events Team?

Not sure I know about these, would you fill me in please?
UKTraveller4Fun is offline  
Old Jun 10, 15, 8:09 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LHR
Programs: Centurion, VS Gold, LH FTL, CX Diamond, BA Silver, SPG Plat, Hilton Diamond, Jumeirah Gold
Posts: 129
Originally Posted by ysb41 View Post
just renewed at £1800,and a quick math for the past year:
-£750 amex travel credits cross all cards linked to the main account.
-managed to use the 500 USD Oriental express credit.
-about £450 worth of other gift/gift card
-200K hh points due the hh diamond membership (OH and myself)
-£400-£600 online fashion shopping credits
-took advantage of the VS gold offer EDI-LHR rtn for 2.5k miles - mult. times.
- CX diamond, PP card used heavily.

stopped using the card since losing the 2x MR offer.
Amex....if you re reading this thread: -

1. The withdrawal of double MRs - this SUCKS....big time. I'd respectfully request you reconsider this and as it will p**s off a load of your Cent card members (see above).
2. Melia & Shangri La - ok, but if you added something like SPG Plat, you would get serious kudos (ie. free breakfast, no 2 4 1 brekkie nonsense)
3. VS Au - this is a decent benefit (for me anyway!), so please retain
4. CX Diamond - a big loss and something of value to most card members. The fee hike should be accompanied with a similar value/level proposition.
5. EK Gold - is not an on par replacement for CX Diamond.
6. Insurance - don't F around with this, as I suspect it gives added value to many members.
7. Your card members have given feedback to reduce to 1 MR/£1. C'mon...get real!

c55
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