Many of the best rewards credit cards available have annual fees, and some of these fees can be quite hefty. Sometimes the benefits the card offers far outweigh the annual fee. Other times, it can be a toss up. That’s the situation I am in right now. The annual fee on my American Express Platinum card is coming up next month, and I need to decide if I should cancel it or pay the $550 fee to keep it open another year.
When Should You Cancel A Credit Card?
I’ve had the American Express Platinum card for 2 years. I originally applied with a 100,000 point bonus. Since then I have gotten about $1,000 in benefits (a conservative estimate not including any bonus points) and have paid $900 in annual fees. My first 2 years with this card have been valuable (hello 100,000 point bonus) and I have gotten my money’s worth from my the 2 annual fees I have paid. Now it’s time to decide if I keep it in my wallet or bid it a sweet farewell. I don’t actually use this card much at all. If I keep it, it’s for the benefits alone, not the points earning potential. Let’s break it down.
American Express Platinum Card Benefits
- $200 airline fee credit. This can be used for incidental fees such as checked bag fees or in flight meals. (Gift Cards work in practice, but they are technically excluded in the fine print)
- Priority Pass membership; access to The Centurion Lounge network and Delta Sky Clubs (if you are flying Delta)
- Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85) Fee Credit
- 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or at AmexTravel.com, 5x points on pre-paid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com, 2x points on other purchases through Amextravel.com
- Access to the Fine Resorts & Hotels program which offers perks such as daily breakfast for two, room upgrade when available, $100 amenity, guaranteed 4PM late check-out, noon check-in when available.
- Monthly Uber $15 credit ($35 credit in December)
- SPG and Hilton Gold status
- Platinum Travel Service
- Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance
- Premium Global Assist Hotline
- Baggage Insurance and Travel Accident Insurance
- Amex Offers
Here’s My Take
- Priority Pass/Centurion Lounge – I already have another Priority Pass membership through the Chase Sapphire Reserve so Centurion Lounge access is the only benefit here. Centurion lounges are wonderful, but there are only 8 of them across the country.
- 5x points on Airline Tickets – This is definitely a great way to rack up points, but I can get 3x points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve and I like Chase points more…and frankly, I want to be paying for airline tickets with points, not $$!
- SPG and Hilton Gold Status – This is a huge perk, especially since Marriott status is now automatically matched to SPG status, this is like getting Gold status at 3 hotel chains without staying 1 night.
- Amex Offers – I have saved a lot with Amex offers, but they are offered on other cards so this isn’t a Platinum exclusive perk
- Global Entry/Pre-Check credit – I already used this so I won’t get any additional benefit right now
- Fine Hotels & Resorts – I haven’t been able to use this benefit at all. I find that the hotels they offer are very expensive and I can either find better prices elsewhere or I would rather use points
- Car Rental, Baggage, Travel Insurance – All are nice to have but these benefits are matched or exceeded with the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Platinum Travel Service – I have never found a need for this…to be honest, it just feels a little “hoity toity”.
To Cancel or Not To Cancel
Once you take the airline fee credit out of the equation you are looking at a $350 card. So, can I get at least $350 in value out of this card in the coming year? I actually don’t think so. When I look at the perks I really use – Centurion Lounge access, SPG/Hilton Gold Status and Amex Offers – I only got about $100 in value last year. That’s significantly lower than the value I got out of this card the first year I had it. I’m actually pretty surprised the dollar value is so low.
Because of this and the increased annual fee, I’m saying bye bye to my Amex Platinum. It’s been real.