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.
- 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.
- 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.
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