My Amex Platinum Card Retention Offer

Last January I got approved for a short-lived American Express Platinum Card 100,000 Membership Rewards points sign up offer through creditcards.com. After completing the minimum spend, I had to fight to get my points from Amex.

With a hefty $450 annual fee due in the middle of this month I have a big decisions to make: Do I pay the fee for the year or do I cancel the card?

While I’d love to just cancel the card, I have a major obstacle in the way. What do I do with my Membership Rewards points.

I was hoping to come across a decent transfer bonus offer to make my decision easy but nothing exciting came up over the past couple of months.

I decided to give American Express Platinum customer service a call to see if they could help me out with the annual fee.

I mentioned that I was thinking about closing my card due to the high annual fee and loss of benefits like American Airlines & US Airways lounge access. I was placed on hold briefly before the rep came back on the phone and said that there was nothing she could do to lower the fee. Her only suggestion was to switch to a card with a lower fee.

I then asked if someone else could look into my options and was transferred to the Membership Services Department (800-452-3945).

The rep was friendly and asked how he could help. I went on to mention how the annual fee was very high and that benefits to the card were disappearing. When I said how I was disappointed that American Airlines & US Airways lounge access was going away, the rep mentioned how American Express were opening Centurion Lounges.

He then went on to look over my account and told me what I already received for the card- 100,000 Membership Rewards points earlier in the year, $200 incidental credit and more.

I was told that there wasn’t much he could do but he offered a couple of options if I kept my Platinum Card.

I was told that I could get either a $50 statement credit or 6,000 Membership Rewards points.

Prior to making my decision I had a couple of questions.

  1. What would happen if I paid the $450 fee and decided to cancel my card in 3 months from now? I was told the answer that I thought I knew- I would get a pro-rated refund of the fee.
  2. If I agree to the 6,000 Membership Rewards points bonus do I get to keep them if I close my card. This was asked as a hypothetical since when I close my account, my points will have already been transferred. The rep gave me a great answer: “You know we’re not the kind of company to take back the points.”
     

After thinking it over, I decided to accept the offer of 6,000 Membership Rewards points. I didn’t want to change my card to another Amex product and wanted some more time to see if a generous transfer bonus offer would come up in the future. (I also don’t want to cancel my card before I am done flying a couple of upcoming flights that I paid for with my card.)

I figure that 6,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $60+. By accepting the points, it pretty much covers a small portion of my card fee, around 2 months worth buying me a bit more time to see if a transfer bonus will be offered.

So what do you think- did I make the right decision in accepting the points and agreeing to pay the fee for now? Should I have went ahead and transferred my points and immediately closed the card? Or maybe I should’ve just switched to another Amex product with a lower annual fee.

Disclosure: I receive a commission if you apply & get approved for a credit card from the link in this post.

13 thoughts on “My Amex Platinum Card Retention Offer

  1. I called yesterday to cancel also. I told them losing the AA lounge access was big to me. He told me that with the $200 statement credit plus an extra $200 statement credit I would get in March 28th that I could use them both to purchase an annual pass. I told him no, I still wanted to cancel. He said fine, read me a disclosure about closing my account then asked if I would reconsider if he threw in 25,000 membership rewards miles. I agreed to stay.

  2. What if you call back and drop it to the Premier Rewards Gold? That way, you are only paying $175 and keeping your points alive. The only downside would be that now the clock for you getting the bonus on the PRG would be one year instead of just 90 days after closing your Plat. Tough call!

  3. I was in a similar situation as you. I got the Amex plat in January 2013. I also was offered the 6000 MR points which I did not take and canceled the card. It turns out they ARE a company to take back points. My MR points disappeared, and when I tried to redeem at Amazon, the transaction was denied. BTW I have two other AMEX cards in good standing.

  4. Your article makes no mention of the additional $200 or so that everyone is getting this year, which in essence makes the reimbursements $400 at least for this year? That alone makes it worthwhile to keep the card another year for a net $50 fee. Are you not getting any money at all after 3/22? By the way my offer was only $20 or 1,500 points. Took the credit since I have 400,000 points.

  5. To the blogger: as you can see from the comments, the retention offers can vary widely for holders of this card, and that’s because the users’ annual spend on the card plays a large role in how much AmEx wants to retain them.
    You should provide context in your post about how much you spent on the card last year. Many cardholders put very little spend on this card after they have met the minimum spend requirement, because it doesn’t offer any bonus point categories.

    1. After the spend to get the bonus miles, I doubt I spent $5000 the rest of the year. I found it odd too that I was offered 25k miles. I’ll post my email from AE as soon as I get it. As I mentioned earlier, I got all the way to him reading me the disclosure before he offered the 25k.

  6. Mike- It sounds like you got a pretty solid offer to keep the card. Nice job! When you had them reading the disclosure, before you got the 25K offer- did you have any points left in your account?

    Charlie- Not a bad idea! I debating switching cards but I’d rather not take on another product. The rep pointed out how many cards I’ve already had and I don’t want to hurt my chances for Amex cards in the future.

    Steve- If you closed your card before using up your points, you lose them. Prior to cancelling you need to liquidate. I think you made a huge mistake by closing your account while still having some points.

    FreeTravelGuys- I was not told anything about an additional $200 credit although I have heard of many saying they are getting it. I will call back to find out for sure! I am guessing that you put very little spend on your card which is why you got the low offer.

    BrazilFlyer- You are right, the offers can greatly vary. I put very little spend on my card, I’d say around $7K.

    1. Last year I Moved all if my miles to British Airlines as there was a 100% match and when I cancelled my card I had 3500 miles in the account.

  7. Not everyone is getting $200… I was told I’d get $100. And since I’m based in CLT and a Delta Medallion, the US/AA Club access for use at CLT and the Delta club access for self and spouse for at connections truly were the main reasons I got the card… 🙁

  8. The extra $200 /year was not offered to me despite what FreeTravelGuys said. After they removed the American and Delta lounge access I called to see what they could do for me and/or cancel. The max they offered was 10,000 pts or $50 statement credit, and wouldn’t budge a penny more an anything else. No extra airline reimbursement. No more pts above 10k, nothing. They just kept talking about their 2 damn centurion lounges that no one cares about unless you happen to be in one of those 2 airports with a lot of time to kill. I took the points but will likely cancel in the future. Just got Chase Sapphire Preferred and loving it. Earn 3-5 extra pts by going through bonus mall (which Amex also got rid of). Amex just keeps taking away while other card companies are offering more and more for far less. Amex Plat is not sustainable in its current form without major changes.

  9. I received 25K MR plus $200 AA credit for personal plat – had $24K spend. Recd 50K MR plus $200 AA for biz plat with $36K spend. All was MS.

    You gotta put some spend on these cards to get decent retention bonuses. And with so many ways of doing so, it’s a criminal waste not to.

  10. Mike- That’s an awesome xfer bonus that you got! I am surprised that Amex offered you such a high retention offer due to your low spend. Good for u!

    Eric- I believe some (like me initially) were offered $0! I called back and got $100. I wrote a post about it today.

    RG- I agree with you. Unless Centrurion Lounges start popping up everywhere or other valuable perks are added, I can’t see why many would pay the high annual fee for a Platinum card.

    Paul- Those are some awesome retention offers! However, I’m not sure that I would put a ton of spend on my Platinum card just to hope for a big retention offer.

  11. I got the card recently, mostly for the Delta Sky Club access. Now I can’t bring a guest for free anymore.
    I called and they explained me why that doesn’t mean I now get fewer benefits (?) and that it wasn’t their decision.
    I got nothing.

    Also, I had to contact them 4 times to get reimbursed for a lounge access which should have been free.

    I may cancel it. I was expecting a different kind of service from a premium card.

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