Posted by William Charles on April 6, 2017
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Published on April 6th, 2017 | by William Charles


American Express Desperate To Keep Platinum Customers, Offering High Retention Bonuses (50,000 Points)

When you’re annual fee is due soon (or if it’s already posted, Read: Annual fee rules for each card issuer) we recommend calling retention to see if the card issuer will offer any sort of bonus for not cancelling the card. American Express recently increased the annual fee to $550 on the Personal Platinum card, in addition they have increased the standard sign up bonus on their Platinum cards and offered lucrative upgrade offers on both the Personal Platinum & Business Platinum cards.

If you’re an existing cardholder and have the annual fee due soon on the personal Platinum card, the retention specialist (or whatever they call themselves) will let you know that you’ll only be charged an annual fee of $450. Keep in mind that will happen regardless of whether you called retention or not, the rules for that are as follows:

  • Existing cardholders that have their annual fee due before August 31st, 2017 will get billed $450 for this year
  • Existing cardholders that have their annual fee due on or after September 1st, 2017 will be billed $550

Retention specialists have been offering extremely generous retention bonuses though. Some datapoints from this reddit thread & my readers on Twitter:

  • 50,000 points: 1, 2
  • 30,000 points: 1, 2, 3, 4
  • $300: 1, 2
  • $200 or 10,000 points: 1
  • 5,000 points + 15,000 points after $3,000 in spend within 3 months: 1
  • 20,000 points after $3,000 in spend: 1, 2

68 Responses to American Express Desperate To Keep Platinum Customers, Offering High Retention Bonuses (50,000 Points)

  1. Dima says:

    A friend of mine was offered 30k pts. Still closed the card…

  2. Lantean says:

    Amex has done this to themselves. Their cards are simply not as lucrative as Chase, they can’t have idiotic rules and still expect to have a growing business.
    The next desperate one is Citi…

    • Jey says:

      I actually think Citi has the best products and services for long term uses, despite the occasional IT breakdown and the fact that they may have less lucrative signup bonus than Chase does.

      • Dima says:

        Pretty hard to beat Chase if you have a good combo of UR cards, like CSR + Freedom + Freedom Unlimited. You’re earning at least 1.5 pt/$ and have pretty nice redemption / transfer options.

        • Jey says:

          Given that flying is becoming cheaper every year and that loyalty programs of hotels and airlines are devalued at a great rate, I don’t value UR points that much (any longer), but at most~1.3 cent/pt. Personally I think Citi Double Cash + Thank You Prestige (with a possible annual fee at $350) is the best combo if I were to choose only one bank to have credit cards from.

          • Mark O says:

            If you have a CSR they are worth at least 1.5 cents in cash bookings.

          • Julien says:

            1.5 cpp bookings are not that great because you are limited to booking through Chase travel. Lots of hotel rooms and flights are simply not available. And many that are available are not the best prices. CSR concierge refuses to help with missing options or price match.

            So really, those 1.5cpp bookings are more like 1.3 in my experience. Ie. 1.5 x .1.3 = 1.95 % rewards rate on CFU.

            Which is less than a flat Fidelity 2% cash back card.

            Both CFU and Fidelity VISA have FTF, though, and should never be used abroad.

            For non category spending without FTF for use abroad, I like my no-fee Capital 1 Quicksilver – 1.5% cash back.

        • Mser says:

          Amex blows everyone away thanks to sync offers. I’ve received more value from a single Amex offer than all other cards combined over last 5 years.

          Add in Biz Plat that gets 1.5x unlimited >$5K purchases and PRG that gets 2x at grocery unlimited. Killer combination for a MSer.

          It’s not even close if you do much MS.

          • rick b says:

            Enlighten us please, of this one magical offer that beats all other cards combined over 5 years.

            Most of those offers are routine $10-30 off on random shopping at places I never shop anyway.

          • cj says:

            @rick b

            Sam’s club sync offer

            20% (up to 250$) back on your sams club purchase. Synced to every single one of my 20 amex cards. case and point. always at least one really good offer a year.

          • DT says:

            Sam’s Club offer was available only on business cards. I doubt that many AVERAGE people whom MS have 20 Amex business cards.
            Well, I had 5 and it was one of my best Amex offers ever.

            I don’t have that much time to MS and I am trying to maximize my gains through a lot of reading and I think it is the most cost/effective way to succeed in this area. Information+Knowledge+Experience.

          • Julien says:

            If there is no local Sam’s Club, as there isn’t for me within 50 miles, then Amex is not so great. I shop Costco and they no longer take Amex.

            I can’t find ways to use my MR points to book the non-chain hotels I normally do at a decent redemption rate. We have almost 200k MR points between my account and my husband’s, and have yet to do any redemption/transfer of MR points at all. MR airline transfer options are fine, but hotels cost more . We have plenty of options for flights already with other card issuers.

            Basically, it looks like we might be stuck with cash MR redemptions with Amex which are very low (0.5 to 0.6cpp, I think). At that point, it’s really not worth spending on any Amex card vs a cash back card.

            Lack of trip cancellation coverage on the Amex Platinum also make the card a big no-no for any travel booking for us.

    • Darv says:

      The Amex Plat/SPG combo for premium benefits and everyday spend is awfully good. I don’t have a Prestige, just got the Chase CSP. Also have the Chase Freedom and FU, so interested to see how Chase’s ecosystem compares to Amex. But SPG points are awfully valuable to me, more than 2 cpp, and as a Delta hub customer, Amex is gonna be hard to beat around here.

      People like to say the SPG program will go away with the Marriott merger, but the SPG program is by far the best rewards program out there. It doesn’t make sense for Marriott to kill it. If anything, keeping things as they are makes the most sense for them, since the 1:3 and 3:1 transfers seem to work well. I bet the SPG Amex card and its program will stay around for at least a couple more years to give them time to evaluate a long-term strategy.

      Each issuer has its issues but overall I think Amex and Chase are the best. I also have a Citi DoubleCash and that is hard to beat too for everyday spend, but Citi doesn’t have a good ecosystem. The Amex PRG is also a really good card.

      • Mark O says:

        You forgot about the EDP from Amex which is probably the single best card out there for most people since it hits the grocery and gas spend with great bonuses.

        • Mser says:

          Meh. EDP is small ball

          • Darv says:

            Probably small ball but if not meeting minimum spend, Amex has a great ecosystem that accommodates almost everybody. Truth be told, I was only into churning for cash until 2016 and Amex pulled me in with a 100k Plat offer. But looking at things long-term, I’m probably going to keep their Plat or PRG, ED/EDP, and SPG and do almost all my spend on their cards. That is, unless my Chase experience beats it, I only just got the CSP to go with my Freedom/FU.

            Long-term, I’d like to lock into one issuer when not meeting minimum spend. This game is constantly evolving but with all the available data and software evolution, I suspect it will be much tougher to churn even five years from now. Sooner or later, these firms will identify customer profitability.

            Amex has been great to me, not just with bonuses. I certainly can’t say the same thing about either Citi or BofA, and nobody else but Chase is even close for what I want/need out of credit cards long-term.

          • Mark O says:

            1.5 everywhere is not small ball imo. Depends on if you value MR points or not.

      • Mser says:

        Wishful thinking. SPG is almost sure to die. Marriott wants it’s own brand to prosper – how could they allow SPG to continue to offer the equvalent 3x while their shitty Marriott cards only earn 1x?

        • Darv says:

          Yeah, who knows. To me it does not make sense to throw away the somewhat measurable goodwill accumulated by the SPG program just for sake of consolidating brands. This would require a lot of evaluation, one I’m not qualified to make, but I don’t think others are here either. Ultimately it’s about making money and how they want to maximize it. Maybe the SPG program is too generous, maybe they integrate the programs somehow, unsure. But the SPG program stands out, truly, among many many programs. Stands way out. If this were a combination of the Marriott and Hilton programs, I’d say yeah no doubt one will be absorbed. The SPG program is unique.

  3. Stephen says:

    somewhat related, but the other day i was offered 10,000 spg points to renew my spg personal card. needless to say, i took the offer. i’d put a decent amount of organic spend on the card, though; to the tune of about $1-2k for the past six or so months. so it doesn’t seem as though amex’s desperation is limited to just the platinum card…

    • mark says:

      My annual fee is almost due on SPG so I called Amex on Sunday. I, too, was offered 10K in advance of the fee posting to keep the card. I took the offer. Other than cash, SPG points are by far my favorite currency.

      • Adam says:

        When exactly is your fee due, are talking a few days out, a few weeks out or a cpl months away?

        And did you just call the number on the back of your card or a special retention dept?

  4. Great news. Thanks for sharing. This will definitely help offset the additional fee on the card.

  5. Win says:

    I was recently approved for an American Express Platinum for Charles Schwab card (and earned a new account bonus) but Amex refused to cut me any slack on a Green Card annual fee (vintage account, kept for average account age), The Senior Green Card is discontinued. Even when asked about a MR point/spend offer…”No offers available.”

    It will be very interesting to see what happens when the Starwood / Amex agreement comes up for renewal.

  6. Jim says:

    Amex has such a bad reputation. No matter how many points amex will offer. I will close the personal platinum card.

  7. Brandon Stone says:

    Just accepted the 30,000 MR points! Thank you Will!

  8. John says:

    How early prior to your annual fee posting can you start testing the waters? I got my card last May.

  9. Darv says:

    I called a couple weeks ago, they gave me 20,000 MR for 3k spend. My fee won’t post until July they said, and confirmed for me that this retention would not affect an ability to offset the AF when it posts, if I want to ask for help at that time.

  10. TG says:

    My AF won’t hit for more than 2 months. Anyone able to get 30k without their AF coming very soon or already posted?

  11. Billy bob says:

    My AF will post in May. Will it be $450 or $550?

  12. Harley Kesselman says:

    I got a 10k star point bonus offer on the SPG personal card to retain it this year. Accepted.

  13. Eugene says:

    I just called and was offered $300 statement credit or 30,000 points. Rep said it would take 6-8 weeks, officially, but in his experience only about 10 days to hit account.

  14. bob says:

    any retention for biz plat?

  15. rick b says:

    This isn’t a Platinum datapoint but probably indicative of whatever AMEX is planning to do in the near future:

    I cancelled a BRG card in September after 1 year and 75k offer, and in the past month have seen in my AMEX online acct same exact offer again with no Lifetime limit language, and then it even arrived by mail. I don’t have much use for MR points but took it anyway. Paid my IRS tax for the minimum spend to avoid MSing 🙂

    We’ll be seeing more agressive marketing going forward

  16. Ben says:

    I didn’t get any retention offer at all. Have the Biz Platinum, so that’s probably why. Makes sense and I likely wouldn’t have accepted a retention bonus if they had offered one.

  17. AC says:

    Got nada when called and cancelled my Benz Platinum card two weeks ago.

  18. SJ says:

    Too little too late. I paid the AF for many (over 8 in last 10) years and then got fed up of reduced benefits and worsening CS and cancelled. I was telling the retention specialist about my only dispute filed with amex in 3 years about a $250 charge that they did not rule in my favor and how disappointed I was and he kept talking about all the benefits of the card.

  19. Sean Cooper says:

    DP – On the phone now, now dice. 8K spent since May 2016 when I opened the card. Called my bluff on moving forward to cancel even though I never clearly stated I wanted to cancel.

    Annual fee is due in June…. guess I’ll try back in May. By then 30k offers might not be given out like candy anymore.

  20. italdesign says:

    Nada on SPG card. The automated system was ready to cancel the card. Hung up and spoke to CSR, no dice.

  21. Jags4186 says:

    Chat rep asked me to call in to see if they could continue doing business with me on my SPG card.

    I called and told the CSR that the chat rep suggested calling to see what my options are.

    CSR simply said “I see the fee just posted, let me help you close the card”.

    I closed the card.

  22. Daniel says:

    Have held the Platinum card for 2 years, and paid annual fees. No offer. Said they were sorry to see me go.

  23. Luke Vader says:

    For Amex Platinum to remain an all-purpose premium card, Amex needs to improve ts meager and restrictive $200 airline (incidentals) travel credit. The CSR’s $300 annual travel credit is usable on airlines, hotels, Uber/Lyft, electronic highway toll passes, subway fare cards, etc. Which make it a no-brainer to use,unlike for Amex, where Platinum holders have to read Reddit threads to learn how to get reimbursed by buying Amazon gift cards after installing the United Mileage Plus shopping app on their smartphone. Amex = complicated and restrictive. CSR = easy and simple. If the premium credit card market is a Venn diagram with two (mostly overlapping) circles, CSR covers the shaded middle (majority) area, while Amex covers the outlying areas on the far left and far right.

  24. HiYoSilver says:

    Called with 7 weeks left until AF, asking for spend bonus. Said I have not been using card, but would use it with a bonus for spend. Rep said no offer now, due to previous 10,000 MR points they gave me last year (I think on Platinum biz card, now closed). I’ll call back in late June…

  25. Allisondbl says:

    Any chance anyone get anything to stay with the GOLD American Express card? Thanks Alley

  26. AdamH says:

    Just got a 10k MR or $300 offer. Tried to press them to do 30k points but no dice. Took the money. I would now say this card is a wash for two years annual fee net of benefits.

  27. Daniel M says:

    I got offered $150 credit, 10000 pts, or 5,000 points + 15,000 points after $3,000 in spend within 3 months. I took the $150 credit.

  28. Rob says:

    Called in. Account special proceeded to tell me things about the card that were not true — like that lounge access wasn’t recently degraded and then no offer. So I closed the card. I encouraged them to look at their competitors and try to match or beat their benefits 🙂

  29. CJ says:

    Just got 30k point off w/ no spend. First offered me 10k, but I said I don’t think that’s enough and the rep increased it to 30k.
    Side note related to your recent post on Amex Platinum user cards – while the rep was going over all the benefits trying to convince me to keep the card, she did say that the free gold card authorized users will get global entry/pre-check reimbursed.

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