With it looking like many months before we start to travel again, you may be wondering whether it is worth keeping your current portfolio of miles earning credit cards. I am personally considering cancelling my Platinum American Express card. Before you do so, here are some things worth considering.
American Express Platinum charge card
With the fees now an eye-watering £575 a year, you may want to consider “furloughing” your card for a while if your renewal is due soon.
Things to consider:
- If you do cancel, you will get a pro-rata refund of the fee.
- Before you cancel you need to consider whether you will want to apply for this or another credit card again in the near future. It is predicted that credit will be harder to come by as criteria become more stringent due to the current situation.
- Many of the benefits you get with Amex Platinum are not of use if you can’t travel. These include hotel statuses like Hilton, a Priority Pass and FHR hotel benefits.
- You can still earn Membership Reward points which are much more useful than miles at the moment. The fact you can convert them into many different things including miles, hotel points and even cash off shopping means there is less risk.
- However, if you have Membership Rewards on your account you need to have another account that earns Membership Rewards open before you close your Platinum account. Otherwise, you would lose them all. Alternatively, you could transfer them all into one of the airline or hotel schemes or redeem them against something else. You can get a free Membership Rewards card that earns 1 MR for every £1 spent which is called the American Express Rewards Credit Card.
- You do still get offers on the American Express Platinum card which for me usually negate the fee. Nevertheless, with the current situation, you are likely to be spending far less, so it’s unlikely to offset the cost in terms of offers.
- You do still get the Addison Lee £10 a month credit which, if you are a user, will offset £120 of the fee once we are out of lockdown.
- The included travel insurance also needs to be considered. Are there trips that you may need to claim for outstanding? Will you be able to get travel insurance that is suitable for your needs if you cancel the card and take out a new policy? Most new policies are excluding cover for COVID-19.
British Airways Premium Plus Credit Card
This card carries a £195 fee but offers 1.5 Avios for virtually every £1 spent and a companion voucher when you spend £10,000 in a year. Obviously, with a long period of not travelling, you may be wondering if it is worth earning another companion voucher.
Things to consider
- At the moment Amex has offered a six-month extension to both existing and new vouchers which gives you some breathing room.
- Even if you don’t want to earn another voucher, the card still offers the best-earning rate for Avios credit cards.
- You will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee if you cancel.
- A lot will depend on where you are in your voucher earning year and how close you are to the voucher.
- If you are close to the end of your year and near to earning your voucher, I would leave reaching the bonus as late as possible but still try to make it through your natural spending. You will then have 2½ years to use the voucher.
- If you are coming up to the end of the year and face renewal fees, I would be considering how many vouchers I already have to use and whether my spending has reduced to the point that getting a new voucher would be more difficult.
- If you decide that you do not want to earn a voucher this year, there is an alternative to cancelling. You could downgrade to the free BA Amex card to keep earning and switch back to the more costly BAPP at a later date. This is probably a better option than cancelling since you have nothing to lose unless you want to switch to a different credit card altogether. The earning rate is not as good at 1 Avios for every £1 spent, but it is still not a bad rate.
- You can pay the taxes and fees for the companion flights on any American Express card – but obviously, you need to make sure you still have an Amex if you are cancelling the BA one and have a voucher to use. However, the terms and conditions say you must use the original card, but in practice, they don’t enforce this.
- Your flights should not be cancelled if you cancel your BA Amex card after making your companion voucher booking. Again the T&C say “Cardmembers must remain eligible for this promotion at the time of travel. British Airways and Amex reserve the right to refuse to issue or honour any Companion Voucher in the event that the Cardmember is in breach of the terms of the British Airways American Express Card or the British Airways Executive Club Membership”. Again in practice, I have never heard of this happening and other blogs agree. If you don’t want to risk it, just downgrade to the free card.
- You also don’t lose the voucher if you cancel your card after you have earned it, but it is the same situation as the previous point.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card carries a £140 fee after the first year but offers 1 Membership Reward or more for virtually every £1 spent. There are also several perks including lounge visits and Travel Inconvenience and Travel Accident protection. Obviously, with a long period of not travelling, you may be wondering if it is worth paying the money for benefits you are not using.
- You will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee if you cancel.
- If you are planning to just transfer any Membership Rewards into Avios, then you may be better with the free BA card. However, having flexibility with points is a good thing at the moment.
- However, if you have Membership Rewards on your account, you need to have another account that earns Membership Rewards open before you close your Gold account. Otherwise, you would lose them all. Alternatively, you could transfer them all into one of the airline or hotel schemes or redeem them against something else. You can get a free Membership Rewards card that earns 1 MR for every £1 spent, which is called the American Express Rewards Credit Card.
- Even if you don’t have an MR balance, if you will not get much benefit out of the travel perks for the remainder of your year, it may also be worth considering the free American Express Rewards Credit Card to keep the flexibility of earning MR points.
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Disclaimer: TLFL does not feature all offers, credit cards etc. and readers should do their own due diligence. Any credit cards featured are discussed solely in terms of the travel benefits to the reader and should not be construed as financial advice.
I had an Costco American Express card which had no fee + gave cash back. Amex has now stopped this.
I have a Tesco Credit card, no fee + you can convert the points to Avios points
Hi. Re BAPP card & booking using the companion voucher. ‘However, the terms and conditions say you must use the original card, but in practice, they don’t enforce this’.
I’ve just booked flights for Feb by phone (due coming back from a different airport) and the lady specifically asked for the card with which the voucher was issued. That’s the first time I remember that happening, though I’ve often booked online where I think you can use any card? Wonder what she’d have said if I didn’t have that card anymore…..
Interesting. BA seems to be using the opportunity to enforce rules, where you have, are having to call to book/cancel to enforce the rules. Although would the BA woman have known if you had given her another Amex?
You’ll have to wait 2 years if you want the bonus again on a new card.
That’s also a very good point although you are no worse off cancelling the card and getting it back without the bonus and will have saved some money.
Unless you travel regularly (when CV19 is sorted) the fee for platinum is not worth it. I closed my platinum down a few months ago and switched to gold rewards credit card. Got a high limit, no fee for 1st year and when the fee kicks in its nothing compared to the platinum fee! I kept with Amex to build up reward points, mainly for flying, any points you have built up already get transferred to the gold card and you build up the same miles as you did with platinum. Also under the current situation a good credit limit doesn’t hurt, platinum is a charge only account.
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