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My Amex Platinum Retention Call: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The $550 primary cardholder annual and $175 authorized users fees were both due this month for my Platinum Card from American Express.

This was the first premium Amex card. My dad has had one forever and that was my introduction to Amex. So there was a little sentimentality involved. But I had to put emotion aside in the name of good economics.

My Reasons for Wanting to Keep the Amex Platinum

Despite the card’s $550 annual fee, I pretty much make back that amount in benefits and perks.

I use the $200 Uber credit for rides or, usually, Uber Eats. I prefer to cook my own meals, though, so I wonder if I’d really miss the credit all that much.

The Platinum Card from American Express.
The Platinum Card from American Express

Even though it’s more difficult than in the past, I should be able to spend the $200 airline incidental credit (we’ll discuss that in a minute). And I make the $100 Saks credit work (especially when first going through Rakuten!).

The remaining $50 is just about recouped with Amex Offers — but even those have become far less interesting in the past few years.

My Reasons for Wanting to Cancel My Amex Platinum

Several factors played into my decision to cancel my Amex Platinum card. During my call to Amex, I cited many of the same reasons during my Business Platinum card retention call:

Too Many Annual Fees

I hold several premium Amex cards, in addition to the personal Platinum:

It’s time to trim some expenses.

Overlapping Benefits

I get Delta Sky Club access with my not just my Platinum Card from American Express — but also the Business Platinum Card, Delta Reserve for Business American Express Card, and personal Delta Reserve American Express.

A guest bedroom at The Westin Tokyo, then a Starwood / SPG hotel. © Chris Carley / PointsLounge
Guest bedroom at The Westin Tokyo.

The Business Platinum Card gives cardholders complimentary gold status with both Marriott and Hilton — as does the Amex Platinum.

I have Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credit through no less than seven travel benefit cards — including the IHG Rewards Club Premier MasterCard, which runs only $89 a year. We’ve gifted Global Entry to five friends or family members.

Airline Incidental Credit Harder to Use

We know gift cards no longer count against the annual $200 airline incidental credit, so that benefit is somewhat harder to use. (Though not impossible. Remember, too, that cash balances on Pay with Miles tickets trigger the credit.)

Devalued Lounge Access

Amex is making it harder to use the Centurion Lounges — and thus devaluing theIr own benefit.

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse

Plus, my Chase Sapphire Reserve gives me a much better Priority Pass Select membership that either Platinum card.

On that note:

I Don’t Need the Authorized User Cards Anymore

I originally added my wife, father-in-law, and mother-in-law as authorized users several years ago. (The personal Amex Platinum allows up to three additional cardholders for a total price of $175 each year. If you max out the benefits, that’s a very reasonable price for three cards.)

They all used their cards to visit Delta Sky Clubs. But then my wife got her personal Delta Reserve American Express, which comes with complimentary Sky Club access.

My in-laws don’t travel nearly as much as in years past. And now that both the Delta Reserve for Business American Express Card and Delta Reserve American Express include two complimentary Sky Club guest passes each year, we can use those for my daughter and in-laws. (When they fly Delta, it’s usually with my wife and me, anyway.)

When my wife travels, I’m usually in tow. So she can get into Centurion Lounges as one of my guests on Business Platinum Card..

Here’s What Amex Said

The Amex rep said he was sorry to see me go. I asked if he could do anything for the annual fee.

He said no.

Then I asked about any retention offers.

He politely pointed out I received a 30,000 Membership Reward spend challenge last year.

Then said no.

(Plus, I didn’t put a ton of money on the card in the year since. So I understood Amex’s reasoning for telling me to take a hike.)

Just for the heck of it, I asked if he could waive the authorized user cards’ user fees.

Nope.

He read the cancellation disclosure. Just before I gave permission to cancel the account, I decided to downgrade the authorized user cards to fee-free Gold cards just in case we may need them at some point. I held on to the primary card.

So the Amex Platinum card lives — minus three paid additional cardholders — for another year.

— Chris

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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7 Comments

  1. Wondering if you have looked closely into the medical evacuation coverage and just how realistic it is to count on that?

  2. But, aren’t the travel insurance companies all making it known that, unless you are actually ill, or the government of the place you are visiting closes, you cannot use the insurance? So, is the benefit just in case you actually get ill?

  3. But is it any good if your goal is to recoup the costs of a planned trip you choose to cancel because of the risk (i.e., my upcoming March cruise or April trip to Paris) or helpful if you are stuck on a ship in quarantine? It just feels like most of the things I’m concerned about are not helped by travel insurance. Unfortunately, I paid for the insurance on a plane ticket before I read about travel insurance not working for pandemics. Live and learn.

  4. Pingback: Retention Offer Gone Bad, Best Value Hotel In London, If You Have Some $$$ Or Minutes, (Kinda) New Airport To (Maybe) Open, & More! - Your Mileage May Vary

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