Why I don't Plan to Keep my Business Platinum - Running with Miles
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Why I don’t Plan to Keep my Business Platinum

Written by Dustin

I have had my Business Platinum for 4 months, but have already decided it is not worth it.

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A few short months ago, I during my card opening spree I opened an American Express Business Platinum. I had a plan for all the points and even felt the fee was worth it. After changes with benefits and personal experiences, I’m 99.99% sure I’ll cancel my American Express Business Platinum when the fee is due. Is there anyway for American Express to keep me from doing that?

Why I don’t Plan to Keep my Business Platinum

The Reason for Opening the Card:

When I decided to open the Business Platinum, I was going to receive a nice 75,000 point bonus. Using the “amazing” 50% rebate on my selected airline of Delta would yield me about $1500 in Delta travel funds.

A $200 airline credit, which I’ll receive twice.

We have a couple of trips planned to Europe this year, Italy in the fall, and waiting on vacation approval for Reykjavik and Norway (or Amsterdam, not sure which one yet). The benefit of the wifi passes were a great benefit, especially for a longer flight.

Although I don’t need lounge access, it was a nice benefit of the card, which I fully expect to use a handful of times later this year.

I don’t really care about the hotel status. That said I have Hilton Diamond through this year, thanks to them giving it away last year. Currently, I am a Hyatt Explorist, but I have been shifting many of my stays this year to Airbnb. These benefits don’t really add any real value to the card for me. Either way, they were nice “extras” for having the card.

I’m pretty sure anyone can see why I really opened the card. The bonus was too good to pass up and even if the card didn’t have the 50% rebate offer, I would still be ahead on it.

Being Approved and Initial Issues:

At the time I was opening this card, I was actually preparing for my trip to Barcelona. At that time I was stuck between the CSR and the Business Platinum. I was still hopeful for the Chase Sapphire Reserve due to the pre-approval loophole. That loophole was shut down just few days before my trip. That made it pretty easy to decide which card to apply for.

Once I applied and was approved, I immediately was on the phone with American Express seeing if the card could be expedited (possibly overnight shipped) to me. I would think when you spend $450 on a card from a bank, they would make sure you receive the card ASAP. Even my fee free Merrill Lynch card reached me within 2 days of being approved.

As I was on the phone with American Express, they told me it would be 3 to 5 days before I could receive my card. That was their expedited service. I was actually shocked by this, because other banks (with less fees) have been able to accommodate that request.

Although the representative, told me I could have a family member check my mail and send me the card overnight to Barcelona to have for my trip back. What a great response…

Needless to say, the card was not here when I left for my trip to Barcelona and I had some layovers in airports with Delta lounges.

Lounge Issues:

As things would work out, my Business Platinum would arrived the day I left for my trip (in the evening). This was 4 days after being approved for the card. I was able to add the card to my mobile wallet to start working toward my minimum spend.

When we were at JFK waiting, I tried to access the lounge with my card in my virtual wallet. In a land where people are actually using phones for everything, the lounge required the physical card (American Express policy I was told). I understand if that’s their policy, but I would think being able to use a mobile wallet would be an acceptable method.

When I called the Platinum line to see if there was anyway I could pay for the access and be reimbursed since you know, that is one of the benefits of the $450 annual fee. I was told I had a $200 airline credit I could use. Again, my mind was ready to explode. Not only did I just spend $450 on the card, but now I was told to use part of my airline credit to pay for the lounge access that comes with the card?

Chase will reimburse you twice if you paid for your lounge access and not make you use your travel credit. American Express, not so much. Maybe I am being a big baby about it, but at the cost of the card, I felt it could have been handled differently.

I thought it was a keeper:

Even after my initial disappointment with my Business Platinum, I actually thought keeping this card long term. I was racking up a good amount of Membership Rewards with my American Express Blue for Business. I am earning 2.3x on all purchases this year (up to $50k) and 10x at restaurants for 6 months.

The real factor for me was the 50% rebate. Since I am pretty must held hostage to Delta, this would actually give me a solid value for my bookings, since we fly coach.

After I made my first booking through Amex Travel, I came to the realization it’s not worth it.

The 50% Rebate:

This was definitely one of the most talked about benefits of this card, when American Express made their enhancements.

I’m sure by now you all have read countless reports of them reducing this benefit, so I won’t go into that. What I have found interesting (and extremely frustrating) is the 6 to 10 week period for American Express to redeposit your points. Just a couple of weeks ago, people were still reporting their rebate was posting in 24 to 48 hours.

This is their way to increase the limitations of redemption and restrict the number of bookings you can make. Unless you have millions of Membership Reward points, then this probably doesn’t affect you.

Currently, I have been waiting over 2 weeks for my points to be redeposited. I have a couple of bookings I need to make and those points are important to make that happen.

Asking about the points:

Since I actually had some trips to book and people were still reporting the points be redeposited very quickly, I reached out.

The first person I spoke to(CSR for American Express) apparently didn’t understand the 50% rebate, as I was told I redeemed 117k Membership Reward points and still had 60k in my account. When I mentioned I was still due ~58k points, I was again told I have 60k points in my account. I decided to call back, this time to that magical Platinum line.

When I called back on the Platinum line, I was given a quick stern answer of 6 to 10 weeks. When I mentioned that I’ve heard of points posting in a few days, I was told that was false and it will be 6 to 10 weeks.

Although American Express is “grandfathering” everyone who opened their Business Platinum by May 31, 2017. For some reason, my gut tells me American Express is going to make those wait times of 6 to 10 weeks a reality. This will reduce the number of points in circulation and bookings made by people. It’s not a great perk if you can’t use it!

 Other Considerations:

The earning rate is atrocious on this card. Earning 1x on all purchase is garbage, because there are better options for less money.

To earn 1.5x on a purchase, the purchase must be $5,000 or more. You can easily year that with a card for less of an annual fee.

Sure you can earn 5x if booking through Amex Travel, unless I am buying airfare with my Membership Reward points. There are better ways to search for hotel stays and save more on them.

I have been absolutely unimpressed by the Platinum line. They haven’t been very helpful and abrasive on the phone. I don’t expect miracle to happen, but I do think they should have been able to overnight the card (I’m still salty about that). Which would have completely eliminated my first issue with them.

The 50% rebate is going away to 35% which makes it less attractive of an option, especially when I can earn 2.5% cash back with my USAA Limitless.

Add in the fact I am have already waited a couple of weeks for my points and it just increases my frustration.

Imploding:

The recent changes with American Express over the last year, have been very puzzling to me. They can’t seem to get out of their own way and make sub-par enhancements that are just bad. They are cannibalizing themselves and I am not sure why. Maybe they are trying to get out of the premium credit card market? It sure seems that way.

With new cards coming out all the time, they just keep free falling face first towards the ground. They know what the people want and yet they try to avoid it. In reality all they had to do was essentially copy a few things from the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Jeeze, even US Bank added a bonus category that people were foaming at the mouth for.

After raising the personal Platinum card an extra $100, restricting Centurion lounge access, reducing the Business Platinum rebate from 50% rebate to 35%, etc. It seems American Express is just giving people reasons to cancel their cards.

Conclusion:

Overall, I haven’t been very impressed with the American Express Business Platinum. When you add up all the little things, they amount to someone keeping a card or not. American Express isn’t doing the little things, let alone staying competitive with other banks.

Add in the fact they are reducing the “big benefit” they introduced less than a year ago. It seems American Express doesn’t know the direction they want to go.

The customer service (or lack of?) makes it easy to want to give up the card too. I have received better service from banks on cards that don’t have nearly as high a fee. So, I’ll gladly speak with my wallet and remove it from my wallet when the time comes.

Do you plan to keep your Platinum/Business Platinum cards? Am I overreacting here?

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About the author

Dustin

After completing 6 years of pharmacy school, I finally had the time to travel. I started investigating ways to travel for less and when I redeemed my first award flight for my honeymoon, I knew I was hooked! Fast forward a couple of years and places I had never dreamed of visiting like Budapest, Honolulu, Bermuda and many other places where all within my reach, and for little to no money out of my pocket. Now, I have collected well over a million points and miles, and try to help people travel for less on their wallet.

27 Comments

  • Well let us know if they give you some kind of retention offer. I got approved for mine a day before they made the change to that 50% and I called them last week complaining but hey didn’t even offer anything even when I said I am thinking of canceling.

    • Hey P,

      I’ll keep you posted on a retention offer. I’m not even sure I’d keep it even if there was an offer extended to me. It would have to be really good :-).

      Thanks for reading, I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • I have 2 Platinum cards. I used to love this card. Now, not so much. I’m ditching the Mercedes Benz Plat card when renewal comes up ($550, you’ve got to be kidding me), and the business card; the only reason I’ve hung on so long are the Amex offers. They keep dropping the benefits. I also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred; so far liking that one a lot more. The offers on the Amex Plat haven’t been very spectacular lately. Oh well, I’m still deciding whether the Delta & Centurian lounge benefits are worth the effort, plus the SPG gold membership… I still have a couple months to decide. At least they didn’t raise the price on the Business platinum.

    • oh, and as far as the 50% back benefit is concerned, now that it’s going to 35%, not as big a whoop. I never seem to have the right airline assigned to take advantage of this…

    • Hey Farsighted,

      The Amex Offers are something to consider, they are definitely my favorite perk of any Amex card! I have read reports of people converting their Platinum cards to the fee free SimplyPlus Cash. This would eliminate a fee, yet keep Amex offers available.

      Yeah it seems you aren’t alone in having that issue with the 50% rebate. The cheaper airline tickets become, the better cash back seems!

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • Amen. Every now and then the phone service from AMEX is quite good. However, often the agent on the phone is in a foreign call center and is empowered to do almost nothing above their script. They’re very nice, just not overly helpful. And forget about the chat function from their site. All in New Delhi, utterly frustrating.
    And as we all know, the Chase phone agents, at least in my numerous experiences, answer on the first or second and all are in the US. On top of that their card benefits are better(more generous point accumulation, travel reimbursement much easier to use, primary rental car coverage. etc…) in most cases than AMEX. The CSR is a very good card. I keep it and use if often as part of the Chase ecosystem.
    AMEX Plat cards? Nope, almost never after the bonus. One point for everything, except air(OK, that’s fine…now add travel protection….).
    Dustin, like you said, AMEX is tripping over themselves by reducing benes and making their premium cards cumbersome and somewhat unrewarding to use.
    Thanks for the Membership Rewards, but I’l be cutting up at least one, if not both, Platinum cards.

    • Hey Geoff,

      I have to agree, Chase reps are much better (or they have been in my experience!) and they aren’t as ridiculous as Amex for point posting and use.

      I have used my Amex Platinum once after the bonus was met. Other than that, it’s a card that is only good for the diminishing perks. At least some of the competitors have bonus categories worth using!

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • Used to have 4 AmEX cards. Now I’m down to one (SPG) as I received no retention offer for my Delta Platinum card . Poor customer service, most of the attractive offers don’t show up on my card and the fees keep going up, up, up. Not surprisingly I have very little spend on Amex now. Perhaps that’s why they don’t treat me well? They should as I have over 100K spend per year just not on Amex anymore. I got shut out of the Chase SR because of 5/24 in March. Keep Citi Prestige or go for CSR?

    • Hey Rjb,

      I have many Amex cards and I’ll be cancelling all but 3 (maybe 2). I wish the Amex offers could be tailored to once card. How nice would that be! I think Amex has just started treating many poorly. You have to speak with your wallet!

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • I agree with you 100%. That 50% rebate was suppose to be a game changer and now they made it not as great. having to wait 6-10 weeks for 35% rebate when with CSR, I don’t have to wait to redeem at 1.5 cents. I too will cancel when my year is up unless they offer a awesome retention offer.

    • Hey Jeremy,

      That 50% rebate was their shining benefit, only for them to rip it away. Seems a bit deceptive on their part. They will see that when many people cancel their cards. The CSR just beats the Biz Plat in just about every way possible.

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • Well I have had my Bus PLT since 2002 and it suits our purpose as a corporate CC. We’re not hacking or looking for short term gain, if your using the card as it was originally intended it works well. My average monthly burn is 35K to 50K. Loyalty has it’s rewards.

    • Hey Ghostrider,

      I’m not sure what you mean by “use the card as it was originally intended.” I think many would agree the Biz Plat is pretty much for the benefits, as 1x is below the floor level now of points earning. You are leaving a lot of points on the table if you are only earning 1x across the board.

      I would probably disagree with the rewards of loyalty. Loyalty is a one way road for companies. I stay loyal to myself and what works best.

      If the biz plat fits your needs then that is great, but I would still challenge you to find a better card that earns more than 1x. You can definitely earn more.

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

      • The card was originally intended for small business purchases. You get 1.5x on purchases over $5000. I’ve made a lot of points on things like large building material purchases that wouldn’t earn more than 1x anyways. Upwards of 50k organic spend across my American Express cards over the past year. I actually applied for a regular AMEX card on Tuesday and got a UPS My Choice notification that my card is arriving today (Thursday), didn’t even have to ask for overnight shipping. I would argue loyalty is not a one way street. Remember that little piece of news recently that AMEX is trying to weed out churners? If you can be profitable for AMEX, you can still take advantage of their rewards and they’ll also provide you with excellent service.

        • Hey Blue,

          I can agree the card was meant for small biz purchases, but the “enhancements” were meant to keep pace with other premium cards, like CSR (funny Amex uses a biz card to keep pace with a personal card). You can also earn 1.5x with no annual fee (Freedom Unlimited) or even $95 (Everyday Preferred). No spend min is required. So, paying $450 for 1.5x seems silly, the reason to potentially keep are the benefits.

          I remember Amex trying to weed out churners, and I wrote something a while ago thinking that looking at keepers vs bonus is going to be very important in the future. They make the rules and we play by them. I still think when you pay $450 for a card, you shouldn’t have to request overnight delivery.

          Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
          Dustin

  • My mother got approved for an AMEX Business card yesterday. She called and asked to expedite, and the think-accented CSR just kept saying, nobody can do anything. She asked to speak to his supervisor and he wouldn’t transfer her, just kept saying nothing could be done. My mother hung up and called back immediately, asked the next CSR to expedite it, and she said ‘sure’, worked on it for a minute, then said it would be there in 24-72 hours.

    • Hey Mike,

      That would be great if they could actually deliver on 24-72 hours! Please let me know if it reaches her in that time frame. I don’t understand why we have to jump thru hoops for a card to be expedited. Especially when it cost $450! Overnight shipping should be standard 🙂

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • Same thing for me. I needed my card before I had some big purchases for my business. It took 7 days to get the card, and this is after contacting them through twitter, chat, and calling them. They simply did not have the ability to expedite a card that was already approved. Honestly a card with a $450 AF should automatically be expedited for everyone. If your card was still pending and you called in and had it approved on that call they would expedite it. Stupid policies like these are why I will in no way pay another AF for at least the Biz Platinum card.

    • Hey Ken,

      You would think they would do that, right? The sooner you get it, the quicker you start spending on it. Especially one as expensive at the Biz Plat.

      I agree with you, I don’t see myself paying another $450+ for an Amex card.

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • Considering I get anywhere from $900. – $1200.00 a year as OBC for the cruises I do this card pays for itself many times over. I just called and threatened to xl and got 20k MR points to keep it. Using that for a ticket before the 50% goes to 35%. That and getting $500.00 OBC on a cruise in December makes this card valuable to me,

    • Hey Gilly,

      I haven’t looked at the cruise benefits, since we don’t cruise (often). It seems you are getting your monies worth though!

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!
      Dustin

  • I thought it would be a keeper even after the 50% rebate was reduced to 35% rebate, but after doing some calculation, it looks like you have to be redeeming relatively plenty of points to just break even with the annual fee (even taking into account the $200 annual airline credit) – at least you need to redeem more than the standard sign up bonus for each of their MR-earning cards. I was initially planning to keep it for at least two more years after this year but now I’m going to cancel it before the annual fee is due next year.

    • Hey P,

      I agree. There are better options after the benefit is reduced. Not to mention that airline credit is more restrictive than a travel credit too.

      Thanks for reading!
      Dustin

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