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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My Priority Pass card was also canceled.
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.
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