*This was originally published in January 2017. The fee for the American Express Platinum card has increased to $550. For more information see “Big Changes coming to American Express Platinum”
When Should You Cancel A Credit Card?
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 $450 fee to keep it open another year.
I originally applied for this card with a 100,000 point bonus. Since then I have gotten over $600 in benefits (a conservative estimate). My first year with this card has been very valuable and I have gotten my money’s worth from my first $450 annual fee. 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.
- 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, 2x points on other purchases through Amextravel.com and 1x points on everything else
- 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.
- 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 7 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 $250 card. So, can I get at least $250 in value out of this card in the coming year? The answer is probably yes, but the math is closer than I was expecting. When I look at the perks I really use – Centurion Lounge access, SPG/Hilton Gold Status and Amex Offers – I got about $300 in value last year. That’s great, but doesn’t make this as clear of a winner as I had hoped.
One other thing to consider is that if I don’t want to lose my points, I would either need to transfer them all out of the Amex program or open another Membership Rewards earning card before I close the Platinum card.
Surprisingly, I am actually leaning towards keeping the card. I really don’t want to lose my hotel status and I don’t have any other Membership Rewards earning cards that I want to get right now. It seems silly to pay $450 for a credit card that you don’t actually, you know, use…but it looks like that’s where I am headed.
What’s your take on the Amex Platinum – should I keep it or dump it?