Well, the time had finally come for my American Express Platinum to be renewed. I had been very adamant about closing my American Express Business Platinum. Was there anything American Express could do to sway me?
Bye Bye American Express Business Platinum?
Last January, I opened the American Express Business Platinum when it had a 100,000 point bonus. The bonus alone was worth the $450 fee and it had some great perks I would take advantage of during my 2017 travels.
At one point, I even wrote, why I would absolutely cancel my American Express Business Platinum. As I do with every single card that has a fee, I call looking for a retention offer. You never know what offer is out there and if you don’t ask, you won’t get one.
Reasons to Cancel:
American Express definitely didn’t help themselves when they changes some of the benefits on this card.
The 50% Rebate:
This was the one benefit that actually made me consider keeping this card long term. Since I typically travel with my wife, this pretty much made it a “Buy one get one” deal each time I used this benefit.
Part way through 2017, this was reduced to 35%, but if you had opened the Business Platinum by a certain time you’d receive the 50% rebate for the year. Luckily, I was in that group of people.
Once the year was over though, the 35% rebate wasn’t as appealing and since I don’t redeem for premium cabins, I actually come out ahead using other cards.
Rebate Time to Post:
There was a time, after you would redeem your 50% rebate your point would be back in your account in a few days. Then American Express changes their terms and they would take 6 to 10 weeks for the points to post.
From my experience, they definitely went on the side of 10 weeks and not 6 weeks. By making this change they further restricted how you could redeem, beyond the 500,000 point limit per year.
Unless you have a boatload of Membership Reward points in your account, they pretty much restricted you to 5 to 8 redemptions per year, maxing out the rebate at 500,000 points. Since I fly coach, I don’t mind the 500,000 point limit, but I do hate waiting 10 weeks for my points to make another booking.
But this is American Express’s world, and I play by their rules to earn my travel.
Cumbersome Airline Credit:
While many of the other “premium” travel cards have a travel credit, which gives customers more options. American Express loves to stick with the outdated Airline Credit, which reduces options.
While I used my Delta credits, it would be great if American Express would finally enter the world where it is a travel credit.
Also, the airline credit was the same airline as the airline you would choose for the 50% rebate. What if I wanted them to be different? I was out of luck.
I also believe the airline credit is prepaying your travel and for those who subtract it from their annual fee, I think that is wrong.
Mediocre Customer Service:
I had to contact American Express a few times regarding my Business Platinum card and was completely underwhelmed.
While banks like Chase, or even Citi were more positive, American Express didn’t have that same attitude. For a card that cost me $450, I would have hoped for a better interaction when I had to deal with any representatives.
Benefits from Other Cards:
Some of the benefits I used most often with my Business Platinum:
- Lounge Access
- GoGo Wifi Passes.
I have been staying at Airbnb more frequently and while I used my SPG Gold membership once, it wasn’t a “must have” benefit for me.
Back to lounge access…
I applied for the Hilton Surpass last year, which is now the American Express Ascend. This card comes with 10 Priority Pass lounge passes. I am still in my waived annual fee year, and I have a free night coming after the fee is due. So for the next 2ish years, I’ll have access to lounges for about $95 total.
The 10 free passes is the equivalent of the Priority Pass Standard Plus package which is $249, for the year. I will be paying $95 for 20 passes. This also won’t restrict me to 1 free guest (before charging me) like the Business Platinum did. Once I use my 10 free passes per year, then it starts to charge me
This made the American Express card expendable, since it wasn’t the only card I had with lounge access, and it being a fraction of the cost.
I liked the Delta SkyLounge, but it wasn’t worth $450, in my opinion.
Onto GoGo Wifi Passes:
Last week, I told you about my experience applying for a US Bank Card. The other day, my Flexperks Travel Rewards card came in the mail (I always get excited to see a new credit card in my mailbox).
The US Bank Flexperk Travel Rewards Credit Card comes with 12 GoGo Wifi passes, which is 2 more than the Business Platinum.
The annual fee on my Flexperks credit card is also waived for the first year. The annual fee is $49 per year and that might be worth paying just for the Wifi Passes alone.
A 24 hour GoGo WiFi pass is $16 per pass. I have 12 of them, which would cost $192 if I were to pay for them. Once the annual fee hits, I am paying about $3.75 per pass.
For a total of $144 per year (after my fee free years are through) I get similar benefits to the overpriced Business Platinum. And this saves me about $300 a year in the annual fee department, which I like.
Retention Offer Call:
Like I do with all cards with fees, I called to see what offers could be on my account.
After going through the reasons I was looking to cancel, the representative told me there was one offer on my account, but it wasn’t a cash offer. I’m sure many of you would be happy with point, just I would be.
The amazing retention offer was 5,000 Membership Reward points. After a quick laugh and said I was all set and to close the account.
I used the card for the benefits, not to put real spending on. I have better cards for real spending.
After being read the disclosure my account was closed.
In January, I was looking to use my 50% rebate one more time before I cancelled the card. I used my benefits to book 2 tickets to Athens (which in total cost 56k points).
American Express told me that even if I canceled my card, I would still receive my rebate. I was worried at first, but I had it in writing.
The same day I closed my Business Platinum, I was checking my American Express accounts and I saw my 50% rebate posted the same day I closed my account.
I had made my booking about 30 days before I closed my account, so this was faster than their 6 to 10 week period. Could it have been coincidence? Sure, but I have a feeling the second I canceled my account, American Express released the points back to my account.
I am wondering if this has happened to others as well. Please let me know in the comments if it has.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, American Express has fallen behind their competitors when it comes to their credit cards. American Express made some large negative changes which caused that benefit vs fee scale to tip, causing the fee to outweigh the benefits for me.
Another card has come and gone in my arsenal, but you have to make sure all your cards are working for you.