With all the changes happening with AMEX lately, I’ve been trying to rethink my card strategy with AMEX. I still don’t think I’ve perfected it yet, but I’ll just shotgun this until I get it right. Anyway, my Plat card’s annual fee is due in September. For some background, I also have the Biz Plat, which I plan on keeping for the lounge benefit. I really don’t care about the 5X on the personal plat and the Uber thing isn’t that worthwhile to me. So it’s pointless to pay $1,000 of annual fees for these 2 cards. So the personal Plat had to go!
Downgrade to green?
I didn’t want to CANCEL the card because it’s a charge card and doesn’t use up one of my 5 (or 6 slots.) Plus I get A LOT of value from the AMEX offers, so I still wanted a charge card. I called AMEX to complain about the annual fee increase, hoping to get some kind of retention MR love. She shot me down pretty quickly. As she was reading my Miranda rights, I blurted out, “WAIT! Can I downgrade the card?” She then happily changed her tone and asked if I had another MR card so that I wouldn’t lose my points. She found my old school Blue card and so was going to downgrade me to Green until she told me that each Green’s AU would be $35. Since I have 5 of them, that’d be $175 of fees.
Downgrade to gold
The rep then told me why not downgrade to the Premier Rewards Gold? That has an annual fee of $195, but there is a $100 travel credit each year, which makes it equal to the Green’s $95 annual fee. Plus it comes with 5 free AU’s [and $35 for each thereafter.] She muttered stuff about 2X at grocery blah blah blah. Then I asked her if I had gotten the card in the past, and surprisingly she couldn’t see it, but my own records show I got it back in 2011. She told me the signup bonus would be better, but I wasn’t going to take that risk. Thus, I had her downgrade me to the PRG card. If you’re in my situation, you shouldn’t downgrade to the PRG unless you’ve gotten that signup bonus already.
Annual fee logistics
Since I have 3 months of the Plat left, I’d be prorated $450 / 12 = $37.50/month * 3 = $112.50. I would then be charged $195 / 12 = $16.25 * 3 = $48.75. Then when my card anniversary was up, I’d be charged the full $195. She also said since I used the $200 travel credit on the Plat already, I won’t be able to get the $100 travel credit this year, but would qualify next calendar year.
Doing this saves me about $20 a month in unnecessary fees. Sure I could have waited until September, but why? Since the AF is prorated, may as well save money NOW. If you’re in my same boat (pers Plat + biz Plat,) you should look into downgrading to the PRG card. The Gold card is $160 AF, so you may as well pay the $195 for the PRG to get the $100 travel credit. And remember the PRG is a CHARGE card, so won’t use up your AMEX card limit.
Going into next year, instead of paying $350 of AF post travel credit for the Plat, I’m only paying $95 post travel credit for the PRG. There’s no benefit of the personal Plat that is incremental to the Business Plat to warrant paying an extra $260 in annual fees to me.