Home Credit Cards Why I Cancelled My American Express Platinum Card

Why I Cancelled My American Express Platinum Card

by joeheg

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 to cancel the card. Five Hundred and Fifty Dollars.

It’s been over a year since I canceled my American Express Platinum card and I don’t miss it.

The annual fee for the American Express Platinum Card is $550. I read over and over how the card was 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.

Here’s my review of the card that shows all the reasons you should keep the card.

What changed between 2017 and 2018 that caused me to cancel the card?

Annual Fee Increase

My annual fee in 2017 was grandfathered at $450 for one additional year. When it was time for me to cough up $550 for renewal, my calculations changed.

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I Have Multiple High Annual Fee Cards

I currently have the Citi Prestige ($495) and Sapphire Reserve ($450). Spending an additional $550 for the AMEX Platinum didn’t make sense since 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.

One thing you have to do is to stop saying these credits are like getting cash. They’re not and stop pretending that they are.

Many Cards Offer Priority Pass Membership

We have multiple 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. The problem was that I wasn’t booking a bunch of paid airfare. If I did, I was using the Sapphire Reserve, which pays 3x points per dollar and provides 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.

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The problem is, we don’t visit them enough. I spent time in a Centurion Lounge twice in 2018. 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? We finally got to enter a SkyClub when traveling on an international Delta One ticket and while it was nice, it wasn’t fabulous and definitely not worth paying the money to keep a Platinum AMEX.

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 of good quality, but I could still buy them from Sears or JCPenney and be just as happy.

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I Don’t Value Status

AMEX Platinum provides an elevated status with Marriott and Hilton as well as National Car Rental. Sharon’s was already a Platinum member with Marriott through 2020 and Hilton Gold doesn’t give much more than a “free” breakfast (and we’ve seen how well that works at some hotels. Not.).

I Cancelled My Card

Based on all of these things, I called AMEX to cancel my card. It didn’t take very long for AMEX to let me know I was no longer special.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.01.29 PMScreen Shot 2018-09-19 at 11.01.19 PMMy Priority Pass card was also canceled.

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I Have No Remorse

The one reason I’m not worried about canceling 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 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 of the value of this card changed over time. In retrospect, I am happy with the decision I made. Where before I felt the benefits were well worth the cost, I now argue that those same benefits are 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 even using them.

Final Thoughts

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

45 comments

A Year Of Retention Offers - Your Mileage May Vary November 2, 2018 - 7:00 pm

[…] spend too much time talking about this one, as I’ve already written a whole article about how I cancelled the card this year. One thing I didn’t mention was that AMEX offered me absolutely nothing to keep the card, […]

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Ravi December 29, 2019 - 10:03 am

I did the same thing. I got approved for Prestige card and much better benefits. Now that you can’t buy Gift Cards with your airline credit, I decided to cancel. I tried for a retention offer but was declined. The card needs a serious refresh.

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Charles December 29, 2019 - 6:09 pm

Citi Prestige card is a joke

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Richard December 31, 2019 - 2:27 pm

Why would you get a Prestige card. With all the recent devaluations the card is a joke.

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Chris January 5, 2020 - 1:23 pm

I am dumping for the same reasons. I will say, milking the Fine Hotels and Resorts program for one night stays including a worthwhile perk(say $100 food and bev credit) will be missed. We just stayed at The Arts hotel in Denver. $100 food and bev credit, $60 breakfast credit, and room upgrade to mountain view. All the prices on AMEX travel portal are higher, so you have to do the math. Using these credits brings our room rate to $100 or less. I generally find the spa credits useless, unless you are used to paying $200 for a massage at a hotel. It’s still ends up being a $100 massage. At the end of the day, it’s too hard to find the sweet spots in this program for us, and the 5x dining on the Gold card makes a lot more sense.

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Jim December 29, 2019 - 10:31 am

Did the same with my AMEX gold card I had since 1982 by cancelling In 2017 and the reaction from AMEX was they don’t really care.

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Ron January 4, 2020 - 3:09 pm

Huh? Gold card is a forever card with 4x at grocery. Easiest 100K MRs you’ll ever get via spend.

I would have dumped the Plat card too, but they offered a 50K MR retention bonus if I paid the $550 annual fee, so I’ll keep it until mid year when second Saks credit is available, then downgrade to Gold. So I’ll get $200 airline credit (which is wo2rth cash if you know what you’re doing), $100 Saks, 6 x $15 Ubereats, plus 50K MRs (worth $625 since I’ll cash out via Schwab). Essentially $1K value. And since I’ll downgrade tto Gold (which I like a lot better than the current version of the Plat), should get partial annual fee refund refund. So should be a net positive around $700 by keeping the card. Thanks Amex.

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Guillermo January 13, 2020 - 8:00 pm

Any details into how the airline credit can still be worth cash if you know what you’re doing? Know they cancelled the gift card credit so I haven’t been able to find a way to make it work. Whether or not I can get cash for the airline credit will probably determine if I keep the card or not.

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Human Being December 29, 2019 - 10:32 am

I too have found the Platinum to be an incredibly disappointing card.

I struggle to use all the credits. I probably am screwed on the $200 airline credit (long story but Delta and KLM told us wrong, so I wasn’t able to pay for baggage via Delta to use the credit) which is already pretty useless to me as I don’t normally check bags, pay for seat upgrades, pay for drinks/food on flights, or pay for in-flight entertainment, so I’m literally just buying stuff for the sake of using the credit, not because I actually need any of it or would pay for it otherwise. The Uber credit is useful some months and others not (we just end up taking an Uber or ordering UberEats sometimes just to use it, not because we needed to, and UberEats is overpriced so we don’t even get that much for the credit), although frankly Lyft almost always beats Uber on price so I would just as soon as take a Lyft than an Uber anyways. It was my preference before I got this card. The Saks Fifth Ave credit is a freaking joke. Good luck finding ANYTHING that isn’t garbage for under $50. I had never shopped at Saks before I got this card. This credit is useless to me. I have managed to use it once and am struggling to find something now before the end of the year to use that credit.

My CSR gives me GE credit, although I will probably just gift both my Plat and CSR credits to someone else because my Nexus pass is more useful to me than GE and half the cost but is not covered by any of the credits. CSR gives me the Priority Pass access, better than Plat’s PP. The only thing Amex gives me that CSR doesn’t, the only true value add for me, is the lounge access to Centurion lounges and Delta Skyclub. But I have the same complaints about those as you. My home airport has a Centurion lounge but I almost always have to wait 30+ minutes to get access. Delta Skyclub isn’t useful if I’m traveling with anyone else because we aren’t going to pay $29 for a lounge pass for the additional people.

So all in I don’t consider this card to be worth the fee. Combo that with the fact MR points are so much less valuable that CSR – I have yet to find a situation in which transferring points to any airline but Southwest has been worth it to me, because I book cheap cheap cheap cash flights through the Chase Portal for a fraction of the points it would take to pay for an award flight, not to mention the fees are always outrageous on award flights so I can’t even pay entirely with points on them anyways. Amex’s point value is abysmal if you aren’t transferring. I got the 100k bonus and managed to book three nights at a hotel with it. That would have paid for 3 roundtrip flights for me to Europe or Asia easily if they were UR points.

At the end of the day, the credits aren’t useful because they’re money spent I wouldn’t spend normally, the MR points are way less valuable, and even though Amex now has better trip insurance than the CSR and 5x points, I still don’t think it is worth it to book flights on my Amex.

I am fine with paying the fee for this first year since I got the 100k bonus, but I most certainly won’t be keeping the card when renewal comes around.

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Morris December 31, 2019 - 3:58 am

It sounds like you hate the card, but you’re looking at it through your slim prism of reality, which does not apply to everyone. And from what you’ve wrote, it clearly is not the right card for you or your lifestyle, so no clue why you even got one to begin with?

The Amex Platinum is truly intended for people that could care less about the credits and look at them as “gravy” (or otherwise, to entice people that probably shouldn’t have the card to get one in hopes of using the credits). A “traditional” Platinum holder finds true value in the IAP program, FHR, 5X points on flights (not bargain basement flights that you prefer to book via the Chase portal), and the various statuses and lounge options. One IAP booking alone can easily offset the entire fee before any credits even come into play, the same goes for FHR. It’s all a function of your personal wealth and travel preferences: the more expensive your taste, the more value you extract from the card vs. other issuers.

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Jack December 29, 2019 - 11:04 am

Return protection

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Mike daley December 29, 2019 - 5:14 pm

Return protection is a lousy $300. Big deal.

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Scott Salmon December 29, 2019 - 11:10 am

I downgraded to the Gold card this year and haven’t regretted my decision one bit. AMEX crossed the value threshold when they raised the annual fee.

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Bill n DC December 29, 2019 - 12:32 pm

I’m canceling mine next month, hopefully after using Saks $50 for wash cloths and hand towels – although I like my Armani boxer briefs 🙂
Also may be able to use the AA credits to by 500 mile upgrade certs

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Arlington Traveler December 29, 2019 - 12:57 pm

Did they offer you a retention bonus. I was about to do exactly what you did and upgrade my CSP to a CSR (I’m way over 5/24) but when I called to cancel, they offered me 20K MR in for return 3k in spending if I kept the card opened. I live in a urban area and use Uber every month, so that was enough for me to keep the card.

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Krishna December 29, 2019 - 2:10 pm

All above reasons and biggest key trigger to put the card in trash “
You Can’t Bring A Guest Into Delta SkyClubs” I have switched to United Club from Chase Sapphire and finding it more beneficial than having AMEX Platinum.

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Darryl December 30, 2019 - 8:55 am

It’s very easy to redeem the airline credit for the cost of a flight. You have to buy gift cards first. Then buy a flight a pay a portion with the gift cards, and the remainder with your card. The remainder will be coded in a way that triggers the credit. I think the remainder has to be under $250 for it to work, I forget, but this info is readily available online.

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Mixed Money Arts February 26, 2020 - 10:07 pm

You guys know you can just use the $200 annual airline fee credit on Delta SkyClubs right? At $29 per guest, that’s almost 7 free guest visits.

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Lu December 29, 2019 - 2:15 pm

Very honest assessment for AMEXP users or people who are thinking about it. I have two AMEXP cards. My special situation afforded me to avoid the A.T. free three time in the past, but for the new year I’m canceling one of them. Due the “work” to use the credits, I can only maximize one AMEXP.

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Frank December 29, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Agree with everything. Especially the recent change where airline gift cards can no longer be counted under the $200 airline credit… effectively making that quite useless. Uber ($200) and Saksfifth ($100) is quite nice, and all the other perks such a Global Entry and priority pass overlap. Centurion lounge is the only real extra benefit.

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Michael Davis December 29, 2019 - 2:55 pm

Keep your eye open for upgrade bonuses for your business card. After a year of perfect payments on my Business Gold, I was offered 50K MR points to upgrade to Platinum. Took it because it’s my first premium travel card. I order inventory on over $5K lots, so the 1.5x points are nice.

Flying the wife and I to Paris on rewards points. Well worth it for purchases I’d already be making.

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Mike December 29, 2019 - 6:44 pm

But don’t you get 4x points with business gold in your top categories?

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Diane taylor December 29, 2019 - 4:23 pm

I worked for Amex. I’m not a bitter ex-employee. I have worked in customer and as a travel agent. You right I wouldn’t pay 550 for benefits i barely use. If your not frequently traveler , then the platinum card is not for you. The card has some fabulous benefits for frequent traveler.

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Will December 30, 2019 - 2:00 pm

Frequent travelers will have status with Airlines and hotels. With status, they don’t need to pay the incidental fees most of the time. Therefore, AMEX should offer the credits like Chase or Citi. AMEX credits requires too much works.

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Ali December 29, 2019 - 4:37 pm

Please white out the 5150 of the card in the shredder. That’s the security code for AMEX cards. If anyone got a hold of your info, they could then use it to make unauthorized purchases.

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Bryan January 2, 2020 - 3:06 am

It’s hard to make purchases on a card that’s been canceled.

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Luke Vader December 29, 2019 - 5:33 pm

Got the Amex Platinum in 2016 when it was $450/year and had the 100K-point signup bonus. Then got the CSR at the beginning of 2017 and loved it. Given that Amex has no/zero Centurion lounges at any airport(s) in D.C., when Amex announced the [Platinum card] annual fee hike to $550, it took me maybe a few seconds to decide that renewing it wouldn’t be worthwhile, as the CSR is (generally) a better card with more simpler but useful benefits.

The fact that Amex tries to offer a hodge podge grab bag of trinket benefits to justify the $550 annual fee is unfortunate.

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Robert Dyer December 29, 2019 - 8:24 pm

I canceled my Amex Business Platinum. I travel a lot, and the Centurion Lounge was my misty favored benefit. I’m non-rev on United since my brother is a pilot.

I cancelled when they changed the Lounge policy to restrict access only to members with a boarding pass. That effectively meant I’d never again be in a lounge.

BTW, the Corporate Card doesn’t include the Uber credit.

After one year, I don’t miss the Platinum Card. And I don’t miss the annual fee.

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David December 29, 2019 - 5:37 pm

It sounds as if you all put too much stock in these cards to begin with. I didn’t or I didn’t use, etc. Those benefits provided started from nothing and had evolved overtime. All of those providers are trying to add value while trying to make money and not be gamed. If you don’t value status you shouldn’t have any of these cards, but the truth is you do. Amex knows it prices their card and products accordingly as do all of them.

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Mike December 29, 2019 - 6:44 pm

I have a Platinum personal card and a Gold business card. The only benefit I’ve used of the ones you’ve mentioned is the Uber credit. But it’s still very valuable to me for the following reason:

It’s the Platinum Schwab card. I get to convert the points into cash and stash them in my Schwab account. That wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that my business earns 4x points on my biggest spending categories with the business gold. All those points get pooled with my personal points and converted into cash. Every month I get several hundred dollars bonus cash.

Sure, I could convert those points to miles, but deals on int’l travel are cheap these days so I’d rather have the cash.

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Mike December 29, 2019 - 6:49 pm

I think you are missing 2 of the biggest benefits of the card:

1. It isn’t a Visa. If you travel a lot, you’ll eventually run into a situation where your Visa cards won’t work, for a myriad of different reasons. So an AmEx is essential for the frequent traveler. I’d never put all my eggs into one basket, especially traveling internationally.

2. AmEx Platinum has staff that you can call on the phone 24/7. Again, if you travel frequently, you’ll eventually run into a situation that warrants needing help getting out of a bad situation, typically a result of theft or needing cash ASAP. AmEx can help. Good luck getting anyone from Chase to even pick up the phone…

Other than that I agree this card isn’t the best deal out there, but it fills a lot of boxes.

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James Oberman December 30, 2019 - 3:58 am

Totally agree.
I’d cancel my Amex Platinum, because I’m severely miffed by their miserly move cutting the Priority Pass restaurant credit (especially given that their lounges generally are overcrowded and, in some airports, nonexistent).
But Amex customer service is second to none. And, if you spend a lot of time overseas, Amex can be a lifeline in crunch situations.
But Dear Amex: Do NOT test our patience. It has its limits. I, for one, am hedging my bets by applying for CSR.

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Joe December 29, 2019 - 7:58 pm

I probably would cancel ours as well, except for the fact that my wife is Active Duty military, and they waive the $550 annual fee. Instantly makes the card worth it, especially for the status upgrades and credits. I can completely understand how if you had to pay the fee, it would be much less valuable.

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Kev December 29, 2019 - 8:25 pm

Appreciate the post! And am curious as to your thoughts on the Citi Presitge. Why do you keep it? Thanks again!

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Daniel December 29, 2019 - 9:50 pm

I ordered some 275$ cologne from Saks that somebody had returned and switched with some hair gel. I tried to return it and the would accept it. I am.

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Bobby December 29, 2019 - 11:48 pm

Thank God. One less person in the centurion lounge

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WR2 December 30, 2019 - 2:31 am

Finally a blogger who doesn’t claim the AF is “Net $50”. No, it’s not, especially the way the credits are structured. I’d value them at 50% of face value. I’ll ho for SUBs of other flavors, and decent upgrade offers, but I would never pay a 2nd year AF for this card without minimum 30k retention offer.

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G. Willis December 30, 2019 - 10:59 am

Thanks all for this invaluable data on Amex. It was definitely worth reading. Although just a gold member and my traveling reduced significantly, I enjoy the card tremendously. Over a 20 year member and Upgrades offered but never changed because of additional fees. I kept my smile with the Gold.

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Reuben Zuazua (@AHPZuazua) December 30, 2019 - 2:12 pm

I find the comments laughable. All of you made the decision to cancel because you dont find value. So why do you get upset when they cancel as per your request. Use the card, show them you have a value because you use the card.

Recycling an old post for clicks is bad writing. Come up with a better strategy

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Island Miler December 30, 2019 - 4:52 pm

I did the same earlier this year and have no regrets either. The CSR is definitely more worth the money. Heck, I already blew through my 2020 travel credits lol. Amex really needs to do more to justify the $550 AF or at least make their credits more useful.

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Maxime Laurent December 31, 2019 - 12:05 am

Great reasons to cancel your AmEx Platinum. It’s good for people to periodically assess whether a particular credit card fits their needs. I happen to have the AmEx Platinum as well as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and enjoy the benefits of both cards.

While the platinum card may no longer serve your needs, I’m sure it continues to be of value to thousands (or maybe hundreds of thousands or millions??) of cardholders. And I’m sure AmEx will change those benefits from time to time based on consumer feedback and/or the number of platinum accounts being closed/opened.

On a side note, it’s interesting to see people complain about how crowded airport lounges are. And yet no one is willing to think that they part of the problem. It’s always someone else lol. As long as credit cards like AmEx, Sapphire, Prestige, Mileage Plus, etc. continue to offer this exclusivity at a reasonable price point, it makes luxury more accessible to a lot of people. Exclusivity is no longer exclusive if it’s easy to get (accessible). Maybe if AmEx raised the annual fee for its platinum card to $700 or $800, the Centurion Lounges would actually feel more exclusive.

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John January 4, 2020 - 2:48 am

I had CSR and exhausted my 5/24 with chase. Made the jump to AX to try it out with bonus. Flight crew & have been able to travel the world in the past 10 years in J & F mostly on points and non revving on creative routes. Liked CSR and was in the fence with AX but once they dropped the priority pass dinning benefit I decided to go back to CSR. AX isn’t worth all the hype. The travel benefit reimbursement is not easy and many establishments don’t take the card in Asia, it’s annoying AF & Costco! CSR is just so dam simple they have my business.

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George January 5, 2020 - 6:41 pm

Other than AMEX, are there any other “charge” cards with no pre-set spending limits? That’s the main reason I keep mine.

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John January 8, 2020 - 5:27 am

It’s regrettable that the $200 annual airline credit can no longer be used for Delta gift cards. That really dents the value for me.

I’m going to stick with it because of the other benefits, especially for lounges. I like knowing that with this card I have the highest probability of getting access to a lounge in any airport. The platinum customer service is also second to none, I have much more confidence in AmEx when it comes to resolving issues than any other card. Finally I will likely have the need to book premium economy/business class tickets over the next couple of years, and just one booking can easily justify the annual fee.

The people who are getting the most value from the card are the ones using the international airline program to book expensive flight, and/or are using the FHR benefits.

I know that AmEx had a big marketing push around 2 years ago to get people to sign up for the card. I’m guessing that many of those who signed up are marginal users who really aren’t getting the value and will cancel due to the airline credit issue or overcrowded domestic priority pass lounges. I’m guessing many of those folks will downgrade to Gold or Green. I wonder how much of AmEx’s strategy was predicated on the assumption that lots of people would sign up and then cancel and downgrade to another card.

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Keep, Cancel or Convert? American Express Business Platinum Charge Card ($595 Annual Fee) January 9, 2020 - 1:25 pm

[…] recent blog posts about whether to keep or cancel the AMEX Platinum Card (from Frequent Miler and Your Mileage May Vary), so I wanted to share my view on this […]

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