Diversion, Amex

James Prashant Fonseka
3 min readFeb 18


I thought I’d have about an hour to write today, but I just found out I have closer to ten minutes. I was about to tackle a relatively lengthy and weighty subject, one not worth rushing, so I’ve decided instead to traverse a random musing. What first comes to mind is the Amex Platinum card I got this week, a seemingly unnecessary acquisition of an expensive piece of metal.

I love my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I’ve mentioned it multiple times in my writings as, beyond being a practical card with great perks and benefits that make it well worth its premium annual fee, it’s an iconic credit card that represents an entire demographic within the millennial generation. Almost without fail, if one sits down at dinner with a bunch of millennials in high flying careers in any major city, the dinner ends with everyone plopping down their dark blue-green Sapphire Reserve cards to split the check. That card is a signal, a subtler one than the Amex Platinum which typified the generation that preceded the Sapphire Reserve generation.

What I first noticed about the Amex Platinum is that it’s fancy. It’s really a very impressive piece of metal. It’s luxurious to hold in your hand, and one can’t help but smile and feel an ounce of pride in seeing ones name embellished in a dark brown, almost gold hue, on its polished surface. In general the well to do of the past were flashier than the well to do of today, and in that regard the Platinum feels very old school. That’s not bad, it’s timeless.

On one hand, Chase succeeded at a major coup with the Sapphire Reserve card. Many younger leaning people who would have otherwise eventually gotten an Amex Platinum are locked into their Chase rewards and benefits, and I presume many later in their careers when they meaningful assets will skew towards Chase for their banking and possibly even wealth management services. Amex has since surely been thinking of ways to win over the younger customers.

I suspect this is why Amex is now sponsoring just about every major music festival with premium viewing areas only accessible to their premium card holders. In case you’ve never been to a major music festival, the median age tends to be about 21. That’s not exactly who ones pictures with an Amex card, unless or mom or dad’s, but the strategy of aligning American Express with hip and cool makes plenty of sense. Who knows, maybe they’ll win over the well to do Gen-Zs, and the millennials will be the odd off generation with their blue-green, like those early/mid-20 somethings who the only ones on Snapchat, with those younger and older on other platforms.

For most, it would be hard to justify having an Amex Platinum and a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The benefits seem to overlap about 80%. I’m an outlier traveler and spender due to my business, so in crunching the numbers and found it made plenty of sense for me to have both, with the biggest benefit being the Centurion Lounges that I expect to use often. Practicality aside, holding this beautiful card in my hand, I’m starting to understand the aesthetic of a brand and product with timeless appeal.