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We’ve Had It: Amex Card Credits & Benefits Are Out of Control

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American Express is at it again and again (and again): Hiking annual fees under the cover of questionable benefits and additional use-them-or-lose-them statement credits. To come out ahead, you'll practically need a spreadsheet and monthly calendar reminders … and Amex is betting you won't even bother. 

It's been part of Amex's playbook for years with flagship cards like *amex platinum*, but it's spreading like a plague lately to nearly all the Delta Amex cards and the entire Hilton Honors portfolio, too. Take a look for yourself – here are the changes we've seen just within the past few months: 

 

credit cards fanned out in a wallet

 

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An Amex representative defended that approach after making changes to its Delta SkyMiles cards, telling the Star Tribune: “We try to create rewards that are meaningful and don't require cardholders to change behavior.”

… because everyone is already hopping in an Uber or Lyft for that once-a-month trip to Resy-participating restaurants, right? Oh, and don't forget to enroll online beforehand, either.

This won't be the last of it. Despite bumping its annual up to $695 (see rates & fees) a few years back while adding more monthly credits for streaming platforms and even Walmart+, Amex's own CEO has made clear it's only a matter of time before Amex Platinum cardholders see another hike, saying: “The reality is, it'll go as high as the value allows us to go.”

While there's undoubtedly value to be had with some of these benefits, keeping track of them has become a chore as the list has grown longer and the scope has spread to more Amex cards. It's becoming increasingly clear that if you want to get your money's worth out of your Amex card, you'll have to be willing to work for it – and pay more upfront, too.

All these new card benefits are a big win for Amex and bad news for cardholders. And we're sick of it.

 

Why Does Amex Keep Doing This?

In a word? Breakage. 

From the perspective of the banks, breakage basically means: “How can we make it harder to use these perks … so that fewer people actually use them?” And much to travelers' chagrin, Amex has turned maximizing breakage into an annoying art form.

On paper, it seems great that Amex and Delta recently gave both the *delta skymiles platinum card* and *delta reserve card* $120 a year to use on rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. That instantly outweighs the $100 annual fee increase on both cards.

But in practice, that's split into $10 monthly installments that you have to remember to use or lose every single month – and sorry, an Uber Eats order won't work. Forget to enroll online before charging your Lyft ride to your SkyMiles card? That $10 credit won't kick in, period.

 

uber rewards

 

That's the well Amex is repeatedly going back to: Touting hundreds of dollars in additional value with new benefits in order to justify raising annual fees, but making those benefits so cumbersome to use that cardholders are forced to simply swipe those cards constantly for fear of losing out – or just give up and let them go to waste. And by partnering with companies like Walmart for many of these sponsored benefits, Amex ensures those flashy benefits will cost them a fraction of the sticker price.

For a bank that's leaned heavily into travel, cross-selling its cards and offering eye-popping welcome bonuses to lure in consumers, many travelers have two, three, or even more Amex cards. So if you're a Delta loyalist who stays at Hiltons and you've got cards from both companies, you're now juggling a handful of monthly, quarterly, and annual statement credits. Add in the flagship Amex Platinum card for extra perks like lounge access and elite status and it gets even worse. 

How can the average consumer possibly make sense of it all? The answer is that they can't – and Amex knows it. The bank is playing a game of chicken with cardholders to see how far it can push annual fees before losing customers. So far, Amex is winning … because this strategy is working. 

Higher fees and conditioning cardholders to swipe Amex cards everywhere helped push Amex's profits to a record $8.3 billion (yes, billion with a B) last year. And while the laundry list of credits and benefits is likely just a pain to longtime cardholders, flashy new benefits have helped the company find its way into more consumers' wallets, driving those profits. 

Even after nearly $250 in hikes to its annual fee, American Express CEO Steve Squeri said in late 2022 that the numbers of Amex Platinum cardholders have doubled since the days of its $450 annual fee.

“Would it have doubled with a $695 fee if we hadn't valued the value? The answer is no. But we added the value,” Squeri said.

 

the platinum card from american express on a passport

 

No matter the reason, this theme of Amex adding new statement credits and benefits – all while raising the annual fee – has now spread to nearly every card in the bank's lineup. And there's no sign of it slowing down.

Squeri himself said it, telling investors that “doing product refreshes over time is non negotiable.”

While there's definitely value to be had with some of these new benefits, keeping track of it all has become a major pain point for cardholders. And what started off as a fair trade – and maybe even a good deal – has become nothing more than a burden for many cardholders. 

 

How We Got Here

This didn't happen overnight. 

Some will say it started with the addition of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits to Amex's line of top travel cards. Others will argue that it began with hotel and resort credits on the Hilton Aspire and an old Starwood Preferred Guest card now known as the *bonvoy brilliant*. But if you ask me, Amex's entire strategy with these credits ties back to arguably its best card: the *amex gold*.

Previously known as the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, the Amex Gold Card got its new name and a major facelift way back in 2018. The card got a better returning on spending, a $10 monthly dining credit, a fairly difficult-to-use annual $100 airline credit (which is no longer available), and, yes, an increased annual fee.

At the time, it seemed like a win: Paying a slightly higher fee in exchange for up to $220 each year in statement credits and earning more points on your everyday spending. 

 

amex rose gold

 

After a pandemic pause, the trend hit Amex's ultra-premium *amex platinum* again in 2021. While pushing the annual fee up from $550 to its current $695 price point, the bank also added a slew of additional money-saving credits – mostly sponsored by third-party companies. They've added even more since, including a monthly credit for Walmart+: The ultimate premium travel benefit…

The list has grown over the years with a similar strategy deployed to Membership Rewards-earning cards like the American Express® Green Card and the *biz gold*, as well as co-branded cards from the likes of Delta, Hilton, and Marriott.  

 

Tallying All the Credits Amex Currently Offers

It doesn't matter whether you carry one of Amex's own Membership Rewards-earning cards or a co-branded card with an airline or hotel chain: If it's got an annual fee, odds are it comes with some of these statement credits. 

Depending on which card you have, keeping track of all these offsetting statement credits can be a real challenge: Some reset yearly or twice a year, others follow financial quarters, and many reset each and every month. And if you've got multiple Amex travel cards, making sure you use all your credits before they expire has become a nearly full-time job. Small business owners with multiple Amex cards might literally need to pay someone to handle it all. 

And that's the whole point: Amex doesn't want you to get your money's worth. They're hoping you'll forget to use the credits – or just find it all too difficult and not even try in the first place. 

Take a look at the list of credits you'll currently find on Amex cards and you'll quickly see why many cardholders are ready to wave the white flag. 

 

Airline Credits

Incidental airline fee credits were one of the OG benefits offered by American Express to help justify paying for a card with a high annual fee.

Depending on which card you had, you'd get up to $250 each year to cover the cost of checked bags, seat assignments, and more. Now, you'll only find these $200-a-year credits on *amex platinum* and *biz platinum*.

Other cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card now come with a new flight credit that's far simpler to use … but in typical Amex fashion, it's broken up into quarterly chunks instead of one lump sum. Hello, more breakage! 

Read more: 9 Great Ways to Maximize Your Amex Airline Credits

 

Rideshare Credits

Amex Platinum and Gold cardholders are used to getting monthly Uber Cash as a means to justifying their card's annual fees.

  • Platinum cardholders get $15 a month (and $35 in December to round out the year) for a total of $200 each year toward Uber
  • The Gold Card gets a flat $10 each month

Both credits work toward Uber rides as well as Uber Eats orders. But now there's a new (and slightly different) rideshare credit to keep track of on a pair of co-branded Delta cards as well. 

 

Delta Rideshare Credit Enrollment Screen

 

Both *delta skymiles platinum card* and *delta reserve card* cardholders get up to $120 in rideshare credits each year, doled out in monthly installments. That means each month, cardholders can get up to $10 back as a statement credit on any eligible rideshare purchases with Uber, Lyft, Curb, Revel, or Alto. Uber Eats does not work for these Delta credits.

Just like the monthly Uber Cash that comes with the Amex Platinum and Gold, unused rideshare credits don't roll over to the next month. These are all use-it-or-lose-it benefit so it's important to ensure you use up these credits in full each month. 

 

Hotel Credits

When the Amex Platinum's annual fee jumped to $695 a few years back it came with a whole slew of new credits – some much better than others.

One of the best, at least on paper, is the annual credit of up to $200 to use on hotel bookings through Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection. There's a classic Amex caveat: The Hotel Collection bookings require a minimum two-night stay. 

 

Amex Platinum FHR Credit

 

This $200 credit on the Platinum Card resets each calendar year.

But the Amex Platinum isn't the only card that comes with a credit for hotel bookings. From the entry-level *delta skymiles gold card* to the top-tier *delta reserve card*, Delta's co-branded cards now carry up to $250 in annual credits that can be used with Delta Stays. But you have to book through the airline's hotel booking platform:

Business versions of each card get an extra $50 apiece.

Go figure a hotel chain like Hilton offers hotel credits on its Amex cards, too. 

With the *Hilton Surpass* and the *hilton honors business card* you get a $50 and $60 credit, rescpectively, to use on Hilton hotel stays each quarter. The pricier Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with up to $400 in annual credits, too – however, it's broken up into twice-a-year chunks of $200 and can only be used at qualifying Hilton resorts. 

Did I mention the hoops you have to jump through to use some of these credits?

 

Dining Credits

We've all got to eat, right? You'd think a dining credit would be as good as cash back – but just like most of these other credits, it's rarely that simple. 

The American Express Gold Card was one of the first to offer a statement credit for dining. Each month you get up to $10 to use at a select few restaurants or through GrubHub. Like many other Amex statement credits, this benefit is use-it-or-lose-it and doesn't roll over.

 

Amex Gold Dining Credit

 

The *biz gold* card also comes with a monthly flexible business credit that can be used at GrubHub, among other options. 

After a recent refresh and an annual fee increase, the *bonvoy brilliant* now comes with up to $25 in dining credit each month. This credit is at least far easier to use than on Amex Gold cards, as it can be used at any restaurant. 

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve cards (and their business versions) also include a dining credit now – but it only works at select restaurants that partner with Amex's reservation platform, Resy. Just like all the other dining credits, this is also a monthly benefit that doesn't rollover from one month to the next. And you have to enroll online before you use it. 

 

Business Credits

Business cards aren't immune to Amex's statement credit scheme – in fact, some of these cards have more credits than their personal counterparts. 

*biz platinum* comes with up to $400 each year in credit for purchases with Dell – but, of course, it's split up into two $200 chunks. You'll also get up to $90 each quarter to use with hiring platform, Indeed, and $150 for select Adobe purchases.

Amex has signaled that this particular batch of statement credits could be coming to an end later this year. It's anyone's guess what they'd be replaced with but for a card with a $695 annual fee (see rates & fees), you can be sure they'll come up with something. 

Finally, the Business Platinum Card comes with up to $120 each year in credit for your cell phone bill … doled out in $10 monthly increments. 

The Business Gold's flexible business credit that covers GrubHub purchases can also be used at office supply stores and FedEx. 

 

Miscellaneous Credits

But wait, there's more!

The Amex Platinum Card also includes up to $20 per month in digital entertainment credit that can be used on subscription services like Hulu and the New York Times. You'll also get up to $50 every six months to spend with Saks Fifth Avenue and a monthly statement credit for Walmart+ … because what top-paying traveler doesn't already shop at both of those stores?

 

Saks statement credit

 

Several Amex cards also include a statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, although this is only available every four to five years. Finally, a growing number of Amex cards cover the cost of an annual CLEAR Plus membership.

 

Bottom Line

Enough is enough. 

Nowadays, almost every card in Amex's lineup has some kind of monthly, quarterly, or annual credit to keep track of – or all of the above. It's starting to feel like a full-time job.

Amex fancies itself a premier financial institution. The “Extreme Couponing” mindset required to hold one of their cards feels far from it. 

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

64 Responses

  • Thank you so much for this critical, consumer-friendly expose article — which, frankly, I rarely see on any travel sites or blogs. I was considering the Amex Platinum card because of its many perks, but now that you’ve broken them all down here, it sure seems WAY less appealing, especially for the extraordinary high yearly fee.

  • What if everyone who owns or read this article agreed to not using any of their AE cards for one week of every month of the year -or any other stop usage plan. That would out a big dent in their income.
    The only way to really change things is to stop using their product.

    • I’m down! Looking to find a new premium card anyway. I was just about to get the platinum. Now looking at the Chase Reserve, Capital one Venture X, or even Built!

  • I’m already moving away from Amex because of this nonsense. I once had the Platinum, Gold, Green, and EveryDay Preferred, but am now essentially down to the Hilton Surpass, Delta Platinum, and Blue Business Plus. Those credits are easy to maximize, keep my annual fees reasonable, and deliver the perks that I want. I lean on Chase and US Bank Altitude Reserve/Connect for a majority of my spending, as they don’t require a part-time job.

    • I shifted away as well. I down shifted from Plat to Gold and cancelled the others. Opened a United Club with Chase. Sad they’ve been raising the costs so high and it’s just not worth it.

    • Hello how do you like US Bank Altitude Reserve? Do you feel like it offers great premium benefits. I’m officially looking to get rid of the business platinum amex. It’s just not worth it especially when you consider the points per dollar ratio

  • I get Hulu, ESPN+, Walmart, Priority Club lounges, 100 off Saks, 50 every 6 months, 15.00 Uber credit monthly, double in Dec. 200.00 in baggage or drinks an food on my chosen airline. I also have Disney plus. There are others os well. I have never had a credit card that protects me like AX. Do the math if you use these services. I have been with them for 43 years.

    • You missed the point of the article entirely, if you even read it.

      By the way; you no longer get Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ any longer since Disney upped the price to over $20 for that package.

        • The point of the article is that you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get notable value so Dave is right. Can you get value beyond what the annual fee runs you? You bet, it’ll just take a great deal of effort and organization and as the author stated that’s just becoming much less worthwhile because Amex doesn’t want easy redemptions.

        • Its not for you if you have to work for it. Sounds like he did many of those things ANYWAY, so its no work.

      • Bravo! This is so true! Capital One Venture X is much better. Unfortunately, still need points from AmEx to transfer to certain award programs that don’t accept Capital One.

  • Yes! It is a full-time job keeping up with all these “perks” to justify my Platinum Amex. I pulled the trigger to get it (unfortunately) just after the hike in 2022 to take advantage of the extremely high welcome offer, at a time I planned to remodel so that it was money I was going to spend anyway. While those points have paid for my upcoming RT Business class trip to Madrid, I have it calendared on my anniversary date this year to re-evaluate keeping it. The way I approach it is if I can take advantage of Amex offers on things I would have paid for if I didn’t have the card, and it comes close to the $695 annual fee, then I will hold on to it, but it is not my go-to card for purchases to earn additional reward points beyond the initial sign-up.

    I did recently find a new perk buried in the Amex requirement-quagmire that makes me lean toward continuing my membership this year; if you sign up for the $12.95/mo Walmart+ membership (which I do not use and do not count in my calculus), through your Walmart+ membership, you can get Paramount+ and Showtime for free. So, I get an additional $144 per year value out of my Platinum Membership! I may hold on to my card for one more year….

    • It is the ad free plan – I like Paramount+ Plus as well as Hulu ( we have several Plats – mainly for the FHR credit which we get great value from as well as Airline credits). But you can pay $6.50 to upgrade the Walmart to ad free. I had Ads – life is to short to waste on commercials. We get a subsized Netflix from T-mo I think we pay $6-7 for two screens ( we were paying a similar amount for 4 Screens and 4K – which we needed during C19/WFH and when we had 5 family members living at home – but Alas this last price increase was more than I was willing to pay for 4K/4Screens).

      Paramount used to offer a free month promo code and also they would often offer a free month if you went to cancel – only recently have I seen them not offer it on last cancellation. Years ago I would churn accounts ( when I had more time than money.) but now I want to keep my watchlist and programs that I watch – and be notified when a new season/episode is released.

      • Both the author and the comments offer great insight into making hard decisions on what is of most value to you. It certainly has made me more alert about the use of my credit cards of which one is Amex platinum. Thank you for that . Let see how long I remain with these guys.

    • I work for American Express and to be honest with you they go above and beyond to ensure that you don’t know about half the benefits on your card The Platinum card actually has about 30 different benefits that nobody knows about including insurance benefits etc

  • You forgot to mention that they, have also removed the priority plus lounge access privileges.
    What a loss

    • Nothing espouses wealth, class, and prestige more than an American Express Platinum card when it’s holder has to coupon cut and set reminder notifications to use the cards benefits.

  • You are right on about how the loyal customers are being treated by Delta and Amex!! We get less and less for our $$$$every 6 months to a year! Too bad we don’t do a class action suit of some kind.

  • Just got the Amex Platinum because of a 125k bonus points. I asked about a credit limit and they surprised me because they said “there isn’t one”. We’ll, guess what. There is one but they just won’t tell you what it is. I started to use the card for materials for my house and they jumped on me, suspended the card until they did a “financial review”. It took two weeks, they indeed put a limit on my spending. In the meantime, some auto pay and subscriptions I put on the card bounced back at me. Finally I straightened this out but the aggravation was tremendous. It’s pretty much bait and switch. Wouldn’t do it again. I’ll probably use my points as much as I can. Learned my lesson well.

    • I got a Gold card to pay six figures in taxes. Despite being a 20 year Amex customer and having cash in the bank I hit the limit. I wanted the points. I already have two Chase cards. I was so annoyed at Amex that I closed all three Amex cards.

  • Relative to the Delta AMEX platinum card, the one overriding benefit was the free companion fare. But in recent years, Delta has made it nearly impossible to claim this by limiting the availability of the fare class you can use this on.

  • Thank you! One of your competitors is so smitten with Amex Platinum, that I quit reading his articles. It’s a rip off! To pay $700 and then put so much time and energy just to come close to getting the annual fee pay off is just insane. The green card is the best value for frequent travelers, imo, but I will question that if Amex “platinumizes” it (I know…not a real word). I’m sure you all understand what I’m saying. Thank you again for an honest look. In this economy, I think Amex is going to have plenty of card downgrades if not outright cancellations.

  • This article hits home for me. My husband is the main cardholder for our account and a fair amount of the benefits only apply to his card number. Additionally, the offers differ between our cards, which is frustrating. Meanwhile, he predominantly uses his Delta SkyMiles Am Ex, which has its own perks, that he doesn’t bother utilizing. I was flabbergasted when I learned that the Platinum card fee had increased to $695! So, I take an annoyingly large chunk of my time, bi-weekly, to check both cards’ benefits and offers, then badger my husband to comply. It’s quite frustrating and doesn’t feel like a Platinum experience.

  • Have vainilla Platinum and preferred cash back one ($95 a year starting second year).

    I disagree with a lot the author states regarding the vainilla platinun.

    I have Hulu live so the monthly credit is great.

    The Uber eats credit is basically a free meal once a month if I pick it up.

    I just used the $200 fin hotels collection last weekend at a great Hilton hotel and got my room upgraded because platinum gives me hilton honors gold.

    Author does not mention any of the recurring offers, which vary greatly. Which provide nice unexpected value.

    I live in Alaska so the Walmart+ is super awesome. The Paramount+ addition is another great value.

    If you don’t take advantage of these then it is not the card for you. But if you enjoy maximizing the value you CAN get then it is a great card.

    Full disclosure I am an AMEX shareholder.

  • I just ditched Platinum for Green after getting turned away from bringing my sister into a Centurion Lounge because I didn’t have my Amex card on me to pay the $50 guest fee. SFO is my home airport, and I can rarely get in the lounge there without a 30 minute wait. The only reason for me to have the Platinum card was for lounge access. That’s not much of a perk anymore, and certainly not worth that annual fee

  • Yes the fee is high, but the benfits are known. If you don’t take advantage of what they offer don’t renew the card. Very whiny. I’ve had this card for four years. I parlay the points into 15 days of all inclusive vacations per year while covering the annual fee with the saks, Uber, streaming, hotel benefit, car rental, hotel upgrades, Walmart, paramount etc. Use it or lose it, don’t cry about it.

  • I can tell US Amex Platinum members that in comparison the annual fee is €780 in Finland, which equals $823, with todays exchange rate. And we get only a fraction of perks and frills compared to what you get in the US. The extensive travel insurance is in my case the reason for my membership. I get also a second Platinum card for myself and an pararell Platinum card for my wife. In addition four Gold cards for other family members, included in the annual fee, + a Priority Pass (for me and wife) with unlimited lounge visits is aldo included. A restaurant benefit six times a year, dinner for two, including main course and choice of appetizer or dessert. We can aldo use a express line at security check at some airports. No other frills. Amex member since 1991.

  • Will be canceling my platinum card shortly other provider’s now offer most of what they do for less..good bye amex!

  • I too have reached the end of my rope and will be cancelling the AmEx Business Platinum. Since it is a business card, I do not use most of the perks (streaming, UberEats, Walmart+, etc.) and I signed up for the new CapitalOne card which I hope will be a satisfactory substitute.

    This is a classic example of using “dark patterns” to design consumer products – something people in my field of behavioral science worry about all the time.

  • Been a 20+ yr card Delta AMEX cardholder…I’m done. Switching to a UAL card with Chase as we commute out of Denver now…..The AMEX product just is too much of hassle. It feels like WAY to much work for pennies…REC: Drop the Card, go with a lower fee card(s), but continue to be Long AMEX stock….The pay off is far greater in the stock than spending time wrangling penny benefits from a card program…My 2 cents…..

  • There are some real Amex apologists on here. Not even sure they read the full article. Thanks for taking the time to put in writing something many card holders are thinking.

  • Something else Amex did to their Hilton cards this year – bonus points accrued from spending no longer count towards Diamond qualification. In the last few years it was pretty trivial (with the substantial bonus points earned on dining grocery, and Hilton spending) to get Diamond with the Surpass card. Now you have to put $40K on the card annually to qualify, and with the way Diamond has been neutered in the US (no complementary breakfast, many executive lounges closed, virtually impossible to receive upgrades) it’s not worth upgrading to the Aspire card which costs $550/year.

    If I spent more time in Europe, where they still treat Diamond members like they used to here, I’d think about it.

    • I think the Aspire is one of the few Ultra Premium cards (AF over $295) that have a great ROI – we have two ATM and added Surpass after refresh to PC to a 3rd Aspire to maximize the Resort credits. Its easy to cover AF with just the FNC vs taxes/junk fees/room rate – if you travel to major cities every year – but add the $200 Airline credit and $400 Resort credit and you more than breaking even. We have to fly at least 2 hours to closest resort on the West coast. SW flies to all locations on West Coast/Hawai’i with Hilton resorts.

      We are adding third Aspire so we can do two weekend trips to a resort each year – we will use 2 FNC and then use $600 resort credits on F&B or Spa – occasionally we pair with Amex FHR and do late check-out and evening flight for three day weekend. I digress – then we will book the 3rd FNC and use the $600 resort credits toward a room for the other 6 months (most likely will do the one night after receiving the FNC each year as it is easier to find a reward for a single night – this is the plan at least).

      I look the Aspires like a super-flexible timeshare that includes some airfare -but without maintenance fees, purchase, etc. We have 8 cards with varying point levels that offer FNC/FNA – with fees from $95~$650 but they all deliver far more value than the AF for us. We have flexible travel schedule an 8 weeks PTO a year. Again for everyone it YMMV. Years ago we used cash out PTO – now we use it for experiences, adventure and making memories.

      Does it take some work to use them for maximum value every year – yes – but points from SUBs get more difficult the longer your in the game.

      But it does take an investment of time to get a great ROI from the card benefits. One card we got rid of was the Delta Plat as the CP – became almost impossible to use.

  • Once again, Thrifty Traveler comes through with a fair and objective look at the benefits and pitfalls of a credit card. This is precisely why I pay for the Premium membership. Thank you for doing the research and providing an in-depth and thorough analysis. It is much appreciated.

  • Thank you for this post. I too was getting extremely frustrated with the “extreme couponing” feel of Amex Platinum. Searching for and signing up for each individual benefit was anything but luxury and not worthy of a premium annual fee. I transferred my remaining points and canceled. Your post has helped me vent my frustrations with Amex, in addition to validating that my sentiments were not unreasonable

  • Dropped my Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card at renewal this year. Told the agent on the phone that it was because of the price hike. The reply was, “okay, have a nice day.”

  • The past six months – my issue with AMEX has been more with monthly/QTR/Yearly credits posting in a timely manner – they either post right away (2-3 days) or not at all. We have four Plats – I am waiting for Walmart+ for 12 weeks to contact, same with Peacock, and Hulu and now a FHR credit to post.

    I guess I have a different view – I love the Game (esp against banks an after the Great recession). I know we are not a profitable customer – I also think that with AI will change the game – and while they (banks) have tolerated the less than 1% (IMHO) that are churners/travel hackers/gamers – as it was too expensive to weed us out. We may have a few more years to really “game” the system. But that said I also wonder how Gen Z/Y will impact the “game”. But Inflation has had a crazy impact on everything as well – Uber/Eats & GrubHub credits (pickup) have been harder to get good value.

    I look at this way – yes it takes effort/time to maximize value, but I also look at how many hours I would have to work then after taxes – how much I would have to work to pay for the same experiences.

    You can always earn more money, but Time is finite, and making memories and experiences is truly hard to put a price on. So if you have the PTO and can afford the AF and breakeven or maximize value – use it.

    One could say that investing the time to learn the system ( and keep up with the changes is a full time job) as well as time spent searching for awards and options and planning travel. I think this is much more time consuming than than using the credits.

    For example we have four Amex Plats – we typically try to visit a city with a B&M locations since Portland hasn’t had a store in years. We bank our credits for Black Friday – for the past several years Saks has offered $75 GC/credit that could be used for 10 days in December if you spent $125 during BF/CyberMonday – Rakuten has also typically had 8-16% at Saks during this time – so while the Saks credit has been hard to get $50 in value from the credit it is easier with the stacking.

    Their are other ways to game Amex to actually get a nice ROI on the AF – YMMV if you travel enough and can get value from FHR/Airline credits.

  • If you live in New York City, grocery shop and eat at restaurants, and go around town, you don’t need to keep track with the gold card. Membership rewards earn on each dollar of spend is enough to cover the annual fee within three months. All the other benefits are pretty much bonus. There’s almost always going to be breakage with the credits, but it doesn’t matter if the membership rewards earn already cover the fee. Points don’t expire. Even if you die, your next of kin / beneficiary will inherit the points together with the membership.

  • I’ve been thinking of getting rid of a few of my American Express cards for just this exact reason. All of this juggling gives me a headache. I haven’t sat down to do it but now you’ve given me the cow I needed! Thank you.

  • This article is definitely not a lie. I’ve been feeling like this over the last 5 years. I remember when working for the company was fun and great and you really felt like you were helping card members. I’m going to let you know that this article is definitely not a lie. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have to listen to after the fact where the customer was truly upset that they didn’t know they had to enroll because it’s not made obvious. It’s buried in a bunch of terms and conditions that nobody reads. The annual fee increases are absolutely ridiculous. Instead of giving you a $100 Apple credit which every single person would use they would give you a $400 bill credit.. who the f uses Dell. I kid you not the only reason I’m still with this dead end company who actively prevents you from growing with the company unless you pretty much want to do more work for no pay increase., is because of a personal situation that I’m fortunately working to resolve. They even took down the employee site that listed every single one of our benefits in a simple place and spread them out so ridiculously you wouldn’t even know what benefits you have except health benefits if you didn’t go digging for it and asking around. When I tell you this company has changed their systems to the point where every single person there is having so many system issues I am not lying. Is absolutely ridiculous, 100%. It’s it’s even gotten to the point where you can literally view the screen recording of them trying to figure out how to help the customer and their systems are not working. They have change system multiple times to lesser performing systems to save cost but at the sacrifice of the employees. Imagine being trapped talking to nasty people who are pissed off and you literally can’t help them. Then they force the employees to sell these horrible products and don’t allow them to disclose the benefits of the customers would actually want to use on the back end like insurance and things like that. I’m glad somebody finally figured out what was going on because it is getting ridiculous. I’ve heard employees complaining about the new so-called bonus structure for people selling. They put a cap on it and then made it harder to reach the higher bonus tiers. Essentially they make changes, piss off the customers, then pit the representatives against a customers, and put them against each other to get to the top tier to get a bonus that’s capped anyway. In other words now you have to sell as much as you can to stay in the top so you get somewhat of a reasonable check. If not then you won’t be able to pay your bills. I was a guest in one of the meetings and heard how they presented it lol it was absolutely hilarious how they presented the changes. And the crazy part is the newer employees have no idea what they’ve been doing. And I happen to know for a fact that the upper levels have not taken a pay cut yet they have cut funding on systems, they’ve cut what they’ve been doing. And I happen to know for a fact that the upper levels have not taken a pay cut yet they have cut funding on systems, they’ve cut what they’ve been doing. And I happen to know for a fact that the upper levels have not taken a pay cut yet they have cut funding on on servicing systems, phone systems, and they’re literally s******* all over the Hilton card when to be honest that was the best card in their portfolio and definitely did not need any changes. It was rare that I actually heard someone request to cancel a Hilton card.

  • I have to agree with totality of this post. It should not be work to use the benefits of the Platinum card. I plan to keep it one more year and then downgrade to either Gold or Green cards. The FHR was very easy to use for the last 5 years. But now, hotels that are FHR or HC are considerably more expensive than they used to be. Being retired we just don’t get value from the Platinum card.

    Also, The View from The Wing, had a similar post about Amex cards. At $550, there was still some value, if you used only some of the benefits. But at $695, one has to use every benny to get the value out of Amex platinum.

  • What Amex doesn’t mention in its higher numbers for Platinum cards is there are 10s if not 100s of thousands of members not paying that annual fee anyway. My wife is Active Duty military, so no fee for us. Most of the military people we know (particularly officers and senior NCOs), have an Amex Platinum and a Chase Sapphire Reserve, specifically because we don’t pay the annual fee, but get all the benefits.

  • I have had the Delta Platinum AMX card since its inception but now having retired and no longer traveling for work, the new fee and lack of usable benefits is forcing me to drop it. Have not decided yet to drop to Gold or just drop it entirely. Delta and AMX no longer seem to care at all about their past customers.

  • This has been my first yr as a Amex Plat holder.
    I got the 150,000 credit sign up bonus.
    I use the uber eats $15 credit every month.
    I’ve already used the $200 hotel credit (got a $100 hotel credit to spend on hotel activities/spa/minibar as well.
    I use the streaming credit for Disney +/Hulu combo
    I think it will he hard to use the airplane incidental $200 credit bc luggage check is free everywhere I look and I’ve taken 1 flight this year with a trip to Spain coming up in June where luggage is free too.
    I have accessed the Lounge once already.
    Someone I know informed me of the Walmart + Paramount + combo, but like a user above said, it’s hard to find and I never found the perk in the details and I don’t use Walmart so I didn’t sign up. Perhaps I will now.

    And i still need to find a way to use the 150,000 bonus credits I got. Kind of overwhelming but I’m hoping I’m getting my annual fee worth out of the card.
    I don’t even know what trip to take where next to use the points and to continue getting my worth out of it.
    I’ll reaccess at the renewal point to see how I did and if it’s worth it.

    OH! I also take advantage of the cellphone insurance and travel insurance. This is my first travel credit card and this is my first international trip this year so I’m mor3so feeling the pressure to keep this regimen up. Not sure how I’ll take to traveling. Hoping I get the bug. But if I’m not motivated to travel more than once a year I’m not sure it’s worth it. Just got back from new york for the first time and definitely enjoyed the perks. And the trip.

  • Try having an Amex Platinum card in Australia. $1450 a year and they have just made concierge non existent. Atleast you get some transactional benefits. We now have an experiences app that is useless and we can’t tell if we have enrolled in services easily. It’s shocking.

  • I have the Amex Platinum and Gold cards along with a CSR and affinity cards from Amex with Hilton (2 of them) and Delta. In addition, I have 4 other Chase cards along with a handful of cards from other companies. I do have a spreadsheet that lists not only the best value across my portfolio of cards for each category of spending but also has a list of all the recurring benefits I need to charge monthly, quarterly, semi-annually (Saks credit for example) or annually. I don’t include things like the Amex Platinum streaming credit or cell phone insurance since those are set to charge to the card automatically. On the 15th of the month I have a reminder to check the spreadsheet for that month and ensure I’m using all the credits. Personally I get value from them. If not I’d cancel the cards like I have done for a couple in the past.

    Yes this makes it more difficult on people and many don’t want to put in the time or effort but I have no problem justifying the AF on all my cards strictly on the credits provided (even the Amex Platinum and CSR) then the points earned, travel benefits (lounges/insurance) and other benefits are all free.

  • I loss the $200 hotel rebate last year because I thought it was good for a year to the date I started, not calendar year!
    My biggest issue is that Amex is not accepted in numerous places; otherwise it’s the best for lounges.

  • Have had Hilton Amex cards for several years. Upgraded to mid-tier Hilton Gold but at $150 per year, not justified. I can’t be bothered to track stuff monthly. They lost a loe maintenance couple with 2 cards. Switched to Chase Marriott card because bonuses were good for upcoming trip where there’s a designated preferred Marriott hotel. Got $300 gift card in return +75K points after spending.

  • It’s not glamorous, but depending on spend category and lifestyle, sometimes a cash back card really offers the best returns…4% gas+groceries is hard to beat

  • I removed all of mine authorized users with their absurd new fees. For now I’m keeping it but I don’t know how much longer. I also have United card with lounge access and is a lot cheaper.

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