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Paying a high annual fee for a credit card generally isn’t worth it unless the benefits outweigh the cost. Although some folks enjoy the prestige of having certain credit cards — The Platinum Card® from American Express among them — I won’t keep a fancy, expensive card if I’m not getting more than the annual fee’s worth in perks.
Like many others, I opened my Platinum Card around this time last year when it was offering a limited-time welcome bonus. So I wasn’t surprised when the annual fee was posted to my account this month, but, given the holidays, it’s a pretty inconvenient time to have to shell out a wad of extra cash.
Read more: The Amex Platinum increased its annual fee to $695 — are the new benefits worth it?
Because I opened the card before Amex increased the annual fee to $695 (See Rates), I’m still grandfathered in for one more year at the old $550 rate. Even paying the lower amount up front was enough to give me pause, especially since it’s uncertain if my family will get to travel in the coming year.
However, after crunching some numbers and chatting with an Amex rep online, I’ve decided to keep the Platinum Card for another year — here’s why.
Why I considered canceling my Amex Platinum card
See Pay Over Time APR
100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership
While the Platinum Card has added a ton of new benefits over the last year, many of them aren’t of use to me — and some of the ones I’m using are credits for things I wouldn’t otherwise spend money on. So I can’t really count them as a “benefit” since they’re not actually saving me any cash.
Read more: Don’t let the Amex Platinum’s new ‘lifestyle’ benefits distract you from its true value — here’s what the card is worth to the average person
For instance, the benefits below have been highly touted as a way to offset the Platinum Card’s annual fee:
- Up to $300 in annual credits ($25 per month) to Equinox** (I live in a small town and had to Google what Equinox was when this credit came out)
- $300 in statement credits when you use your card to buy a SoulCycle at-home bike (same idea as above — I won’t use this credit)
- Up to $240 in annual digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month)** (I signed up for Peacock and NYT Cooking just to take advantage of the credit, but I wouldn’t miss either)
- Up to $155 in annual statement credits toward Walmart+ ($12.95 per month)** (again, not something I would normally use, but I signed up just to use the credit — maybe it will prove useful someday)
- $179 annual CLEAR credit** (my airport doesn’t offer CLEAR, but if I travel to an airport with CLEAR I might sign up just to try it)
- Up to $200 in annual credit toward prepaid Fine Hotels and Resorts or Hotel Collection bookings (with travel on hold and no qualifying hotels anywhere near where I live, this credit isn’t useful to me right now)
- Airport lounge access, including Priority Pass**, Delta Sky Clubs when you fly Delta, and Amex Centurion lounges (I already have Priority Pass membership through my Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, and I haven’t been traveling enough to get to airports with Centurion or other lounges)
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit (I already have Global Entry and recently renewed it using the credit from my United Quest℠ Card, so I’m good for another four years — and I don’t know anyone else who’s applying for these programs right now)
That’s a lot of credits that look good on paper but aren’t really a reason for me to keep the card. But there are some benefits that I do get good use from, and those are the perks I focused on to figure out if the Platinum Card was worth keeping another year.
Reasons to keep the Amex Platinum card
There are several core Platinum Card benefits that are easy for me to use, and I’ve been able to maximize them over the past year — so in figuring out if the card is worth keeping, I take these perks at face value.
Airline incidental fee credit — worth up to $200
I was actually able to max out the Platinum Card’s annual $200 airline incidental fee credit at the end of 2020 and again this year.
Read more: The Amex airline fee credit can save you up to $250 a year on extras like checked bags, but don’t assume all incidentals will trigger the reimbursement
My selected airline is United, and I’ll keep it that way for the fee credit in 2022. I expect to get the full $200 in value next year, too.
Uber Cash credit — worth up to $200
Each month, Platinum Card cardholders receive up to $15 in Uber Cash (plus an additional $20 in December) for a total of up to $200 in Uber Cash each year. I never use Uber for rides, but this credit also works for
Read more: Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $200 in Uber Cash credits every year — here’s how to use the benefit, even if you’re not traveling
This is actually my favorite Platinum Card credit! It’s worked out perfectly for times when I’m running my three kids around to sports and activities and just can’t get dinner on the table. It’s valid for Uber Eats pickup, so I’ve used it countless times for Chinese takeout on busy nights
Saks Fifth Avenue credit — worth up to $100
I know a lot of folks think the Platinum Card’s Saks Fifth Avenue credit is frilly or hard to use, but I’ve definitely gotten good value from it. Because it’s awarded as up to $50 from January to June and $50 from July to December, I’ve actually used this credit three times since opening the card.
Read more: The Amex Platinum card offers up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and you can ‘stack’ other discounts to save more on your purchases
Sure, you can buy lots of fancy things at Saks, but I kept it very practical, using the credits toward a pair of Sorel winter boots for my son and Converse and Fila sneakers for my daughters, all of which were close to $50 in price. These are purchases I would have made anyway — albeit likely not through Saks — so I feel good about how I used the credits.
Amex Offers and Amazon point promotions — value varies
I don’t use my Platinum Card for everyday spending much because it earns 1 point per dollar on most purchases, but I make exceptions to that rule if there’s a good deal to be found.
Read more: The best Amex Offers available right now
So far this year I’ve managed to save money by enrolling my card in Amex Offers** and making eligible purchases at certain merchants. I’ve also saved at Amazon when it’s run promotions for a certain percentage off a purchase by using at least 1 Amex Membership Rewards point at checkout.
I was still on the fence, but Amex sweetened the deal
After crunching the numbers, it was clear I was getting a value from the Platinum Card that was close to the annual fee. Still, spending $550 upfront for a card that would likely barely break even for me this year wasn’t terribly appealing, so I wanted to look at other options.
Read more: How to decide if a credit card annual fee is worth it
If you’re not sure about keeping a card or think you want to cancel (or downgrade it), it’s always best to call or chat with a bank representative to see if there are any retention offers or bonuses on your account.
Depending on your profile with the issuer, you might qualify for a statement credit (to help offset the annual fee) or bonus rewards for spending as an incentive to keep the card open. These retention offers are never guaranteed and vary by issuer, customer, and even specific cards — but it’s always worth asking.
Read more: Before you cancel your premium credit card, ask about a retention offer of bonus points or a reduced annual fee
Amex makes it super easy to discuss options with an account representative — you can do it via chat right in your online account. After chatting with a rep and reviewing some of the card’s features, I was offered a bonus of 55,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the next three months as a “thank you” for keeping the account open.
While this won’t directly offset my out-of-pocket cost for keeping the card, 55,000 Amex points can be worth far more than the annual fee. Insider values Amex points as worth 1.8 cents each, on average, so I expect to get around $990 or more in value from the 55,000-point retention bonus.
That, combined with credits I do use each year, tipped the scales for me — so I’ve gladly paid the Platinum Card’s annual fee for another year. And next year at this time, I’ll go through the same analysis to decide if it’s worth renewing again.
Good to Excellent
3 free nights (each valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases and 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories
Good to Excellent
$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Good to Excellent