Why We Are Canceling the AMEX Platinum Card

After almost reaching the one-year anniversary of having the American Express Platinum card, we have decided to cancel the card. The card is ideal for a frequent traveler. There are many great travel benefits that come with carrying the Platinum card. The greatest features include being upgraded to Gold status with hotels, airport lounge access, and concierge service. These and other travel-related benefits make this card your best investment in annual fees. In our case, however, my job will require less travel this year. In addition, as a family, we expect to take fewer trips in 2019 in anticipation of traveling in 2020. 

Canceling the card was not an easy decision, emotionally. Some of the benefits, like the concierge service, are nice when you need something done and lack the time. There is an added sense of security when you travel with the AMEX Platinum card. It’s like you have a team of people working in the background to help you get the most out of your travel. This is not completely lost, as we downgraded the card to the newly revamped American Express Gold Card. It lacks some of the benefits of the Platinum. However, the Gold card retains the same backing from the company that the Platinum card does. So, we are not out in the cold. 

Having said that, the decision to cancel Platinum was easy based on the numbers. Having fewer opportunities to take advantage of the benefits of the American Express Platinum card make it less of a good value considering the annual fee. The TWM family has additional users on the account, which brings the annual fees up to $725. We would need to realize a savings of $725 to offset the cost. With limited travel in the coming year, we simply would not. 

As mentioned earlier, we did not outright cancel the card. There is some benefit to keeping the account active, which is related to credit and cash flow. By downgrading from Platinum to Gold, we maintain the account open. Part of your credit score considers the total amount of credit accounts you have. We like charge cards because the balances do not reflect on our credit utilization. The drawback is that we now have two $250 annual fees for the two Gold card accounts. These annual fees are much easier to offset with our everyday spending. Having the two Gold card accounts also allows us to play with payment dates if needed. We currently have both account closing dates separated by 15 days. So, we can leapfrog our spending on the two cards if necessary.

Other benefits of downgrading from Platinum to Gold cards include retaining the same card numbers and giving us a path to upgrade the account back to Platinum in the future when our travel picks up again. As mentioned, we do intend to travel in 2020. In that instance, it might make sense to upgrade the account to Platinum once more. 

In terms of Membership Rewards points, the American Express Platinum is not well-suited for daily spending. You only get 1 point per dollar on most spending. The Gold card is better suited for day to day expenses. Although we would be just as well served with one Gold card, we are willing to keep the second account open for future use.