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.
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!
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.
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.
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.