The American Express Business Platinum Card is one of the best cards in the industry for those who want travel perks. However, it is not the best card for most travelers. Because of the plethora of recent devaluations associated with the Business Platinum Card, I am questioning its value in my lineup. My $595 annual fee posted at the end of August 2019 and I called Amex to either cancel or get a retention offer. This post highlights my American Express Business Platinum Card retention call results.
Keep, Downgrade, or Cancel?
Cardholders are faced with a decision when an issuer bills them with an annual fee. The three options are either keep, downgrade, or cancel.
I have been feeling quite frustrated with American Express lately, especially with the new restrictions related to Membership Rewards (MR) points and perks. The annual fee increase to $595 also made keeping the card harder to justify.
The Business Platinum Card has some of the best perks in the industry. However, I am not using them enough to justify keeping the card. The $200 annual airline incidental credit has become tougher to use. I have also never used many of the lesser-known perks like the Amex Platinum Concierge and the Global Dining Collection.
Furthermore, some of the benefits I have on the Business Platinum Card I also have on my Chase Sapphire Reserve. Priority Pass is a great example. The difference between Chase and Amex is that the latter has removed access to Priority Pass Restaurants while the former has not.
The restrictions with the card’s earning structure and 5x bonus categories were the last straw for me. I learned the “hard way” that only the personal Platinum Card earns 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline and on amextravel.com. I do not book travel through amextravel.com because its more expensive than most other travel booking websites. And the increased cost is not worth earning an extra 4x MR points.
Downgrading Is Not an Option
Downgrading is not an option for the Business Platinum Card because there are no charge cards with no annual fees. The cheapest alternative is the Business Green Card ($95 per year and subpar rewards). Therefore, my only other option is to call American Express to try to cancel.
The call in which you attempt to cancel a card with an annual fee is called a retention call. That’s because most issuers present a retention offer that gives you incentive to keep the card for another year. You can then decide to accept or reject the retention offer.
I called American Express today and said to the customer service rep that I wanted to cancel my card. Thereafter, I was transferred to a retention specialist. I asked him in the beginning of the conversation if there were any retention offers available for me. He did not respond to my question. Instead, he asked me the questions about what I was using the card for and if I had any trip plans within the next six months. I responded by paraphrasing the contents of this post while politely expressing my frustrations.
Unfortunately, I did not receive any retention offers for my Business Platinum Card. Instead, the specialist offered to downgrade me to the Business Gold and Green Cards. I objected to both stating that I wish that the Blue Business Plus was available as a downgrade option.
After I objected to the downgrade options, my retention specialist simply went ahead and read me the terms and conditions to cancel the card. I accepted and the card was closed.
My Business Platinum Card retention call was a tough one for me as the specialist fought hard to retain me as a customer. I was annoyed about the amount of questions that were asked. Also, the fact that the cancellation process was not as smooth as I thought was annoying.
Nonetheless, I am feeling bittersweet about seeing the Business Platinum Card go. But I know that I can always apply for the personal or Charles Schwab versions in the future. And I have my Chase Sapphire Reserve to fall on.
Furthermore, I also still have my Blue Cash Everyday Card, which still makes me an American Express cardmember. I will be keeping my Blue Cash Everyday because it has no annual fee and I use it as my grocery store card.
Remember that your mileage may vary. Just because the Business Platinum Card was not for me does not mean that it is not for you. Some travelers cannot live without their Platinum Card as they take full advantage of its benefits.