There are so many reasons to keep the American Express Platinum card. The $200 yearly airline fee credit. The $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre-Check credit. The $200 yearly UBER credits ($15 per month and an additional $20 in December). Centurion Lounge access. Saks Fifth Avenue credit. Priority Pass.
There’s just one reason the cancel the card. Five Hundred and Fifty Dollars.
The annual fee for the American Express Platinum Card is $550. I read over and over how the card is worth it because of all the perks you get. I mean, after all of the rebates you receive, the card costs significantly less than $550 and is a no brainer to keep. In fact, I did the calculations when I reviewed the card last year and decided to keep it.
What changed between this year and last year?
Annual Fee Increase
My annual fee on renewal last year was grandfathered at $450 for one additional year. That additional $100 wasn’t the entire difference, but it did factor into the calculations.
I Have Multiple High Annual Fee Cards
I currently have the AMEX Platinum ($550), Citi Prestige ($450) and Sapphire Reserve ($450). That’s $1450 in fees for those three cards alone. I know I get value back from those cards but I needed to look at if that money could be better spent somewhere else. Many benefits of these cards overlap and I needed to ask if I had to keep them all.
AMEX’s Airline Fee Credit Is Hard To Use
The $200 credit on the AMEX platinum is only good to reimburse airline fees, not airline tickets. You also have to pick which airline you want to use the credit on at the beginning of the year and you can’t change it once it’s selected. That’s not a good thing for me, since I’m not loyal to any particular travel brand, airline or otherwise.
Now there are ways to get the credit for other things but you’re still having to use a sneaky workaround and you’re stuck to one airline. It doesn’t matter that I have a $200 Southwest Gift Card if I really need to book a flight on Delta.
Many Cards Offer Priority Pass Membership
We have three Priority Pass memberships in the household. Since Sharon and I are the only ones traveling, we only need one of these memberships. The other ones have no additional value.
Even More Cards Offer Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credits
I thought I was going to use my AMEX Platinum credit to pay for my Global Entry renewal. Instead, I used my United Explorer card to cover the bill. That card only has a $95 annual fee and has the same reimbursement as the AMEX Platinum. There are now many cards that provide credits for these fees.
The UBER Credits Don’t Roll Over Monthly
The $15 monthly UBER credit is exactly that. Monthly. If you don’t use it, it’s gone. We don’t travel monthly where we’re using UBER. We did find it worked for UBER Eats but we then just ordered delivery food or planned to take an UBER when we wouldn’t have otherwise, just to use the credit. Is that useful or wasteful? Hmmmmm.
I Wasn’t Using The 5x Airfare Category
The AMEX Platinum card offers 5X Membership Rewards points for airfare booked with the card and for hotels booked through the AMEX travel portal. Problem was that I wasn’t booking a bunch of paid airfare. If I did, I was using the Citi Prestige or Sapphire Reserve, which both pay 3x points per dollar and provide much better trip protection insurance than the Platinum card. I value the insurance more than the extra 2x points. Your Mileage May Vary.
We Don’t Visit Centurion Lounges That Often
AMEX Centurion Lounges are awesome.
The problem is, we don’t visit them enough. I spent time in a Centurion Lounge twice this year. It was a great place to hang out, get some food, have a drink and get some work done. With the crowding problems the lounges are having, restrictions on when you can enter, limiting guests and such, it’s not worth all that much to me. I also don’t have any trips planned for the next 6 months where we’d be able to use one.
You Can’t Bring A Guest Into Delta SkyClubs
This is a huge thorn for me. If I pay $550 a year for a card and I’m traveling with my spouse, why can’t we both enter a SkyClub? It’s for this reason we’ve not been in one this year except for My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day (With A Happy Ending)
I Don’t Shop At Saks Fifth Avenue
I give AMEX credit for trying to add some value to the Platinum card. The $50 credit you get twice a year for Saks purchases is nice, but I give it no value. The swim trunks and underwear I purchased were nice, but I could still buy them from Sears or JCPenney and be just as happy.
I Didn’t Get A Retention Offer
Last year, I called American Express when my renewal was due. I explained that I didn’t think I was getting value from the $450 annual fee the Platinum card charged. I was offered 15,000 Membership Rewards points to keep the card and spend a certain amount in the next 3 months.
I called again this year. The fee was higher and there’s more competition in the premium card space. AMEX told me that they don’t offer bonuses on consecutive years. I could use my miles to pay for the fee but I would rather use those to go on a trip than keep a credit card.
I Don’t Value Status
AMEX Platinum provides an elevated status with Starwood and Hilton as well as National Car Rental. Sharon’s a Platinum member with Marriott through 2020 and Hilton Gold doesn’t give much more than a “free” breakfast (and we’ve seen how that works at some hotels).
I Cancelled My Card
After not getting an offer to keep the card, I said I would think it over. After several days, I decided I didn’t need to keep it. For the $550 I’d spend, I can pick and choose where to spend my money.
It didn’t take very long for AMEX to let me know I was no longer special.
I’m hoping they mean I no longer have status and not that they cancelled my accounts.
My Priority Pass card was also cancelled.
I Have No Remorse
The one reason I’m not worried about cancelling the Platinum card is that I can upgrade to one whenever I want. Sharon’s never had a Personal Platinum card so she could sign up and even be eligible for a sign up bonus (often worth up to 100,000 Membership Rewards). I could also upgrade my business card to Platinum. I won’t get a sign up bonus but I will get all the perks back (except the 5x on airfare I wasn’t using anyway).
As I read over this article, I can see how my own perception about the value of this card has changed in the course of a year. Where I felt the benefits were well worth the cost just a year ago, I now argued that those same benefits were no longer useful. Paying for benefits you MIGHT use sounds good but it’s not as appealing when you eventually realize you’re paying for them and aren’t ever using them.
I’m not telling you to shred your Amex Platinum card (and please don’t try if you have one of the new metal Platinum cards). I’m just showing how I reconsidered the value I was getting from the card. I could see how the card would pay for itself if I lived where there’s a Centurion Club or if I took UBER rides regularly. I don’t and I don’t so it’s hard for me to justify paying the $550 annual fee of this card anymore.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary