Posted by Chuck on December 19, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on December 19th, 2018 | by Chuck

69

Closing out my American Express Schwab Platinum Card

Just over a year ago, I blogged about opening a Schwab brokerage, checking account, and Amex Schwab Platinum credit card with the goal of maximizing the number of $200 airline credit on the American Express Platinum card which runs on a calendar year schedule.

My December statement just closed and it’s showing the $550 renewal fee for the card. Time to close this baby out. I was hoping for a bit more maneuvering time, but it should be sufficient since you always get 30 days to cancel and get an annual fee refund. So long as I close out the card by January 16th, the fee will get refunded. Reports are that you can close out an Amex card via chat; that makes it simple.

Cancelling the card is not for everyone: some value the 1.25% redemption benefit enough that – alongside all the other Platinum benefits – it’s worth keeping this card long term. But for me, I think that value won’t meet the cost of the annual fee.

Readers recently let me know that the Amex Schwab card can’t be downgraded to anything else. That was news to me – I’d vaguely been planning on downgrading the card to a Green card; apparently, that’s not possible with the Schwab Platinum card since it’s a co-brand.

The downgrade factor is important because cards which are downgraded get their annual fee prorated even after the 30 day mark. Since the Schwab Platinum card can’t be downgraded, you have just 30 days to decide if you want to cancel or to swallow the full $500 fee.

To-do list before closing out the card:

For those who never had the Schwab Platinum card, see this post Opening a Schwab Brokerage, Checking, and Amex Platinum Credit Card before Year’s End. It’s similarly a good time for many of the other cards which have an airline credit, see Year-End Credit Card Checklist for 2018: Travel Credits, Spend Reset, Application Strategy & More.



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Ben
Ben

Chuck have you considered fishing around for a retention offer? The personal Platinum tends to have some pretty lucrative ones, not too sure about the Schwab Plat

Chucks
Chucks

Retention offers can be reasonably decent. My experience and other accounts suggest that retention offers for the plat usually can nab you 5k-20k+MR, not enough to wholly cover the annual fee, but enough to sweeten the situation a little bit. Deal is probably tied to annual spend. If you spend a lot on your plat they may outright wave the fee, but it takes a decent chunk of change.

Melon Gain
Melon Gain

I tried when my annual fee came up awhile back and the agent very brusky listed all of the benefits I’ve taken advantage of and said I am NOT eligible for any sort of retention offer.

Zalmy

I’ve had similar experiences with Amex. I must not be a highly valued customer. Oh, well…

aubergine
aubergine

What did the agent highlight?

Alex
Alex

I can confirm that you can close AmEx cards via chat. Never had Charles Schwab one specifically, but was able to close four different SPG cards (two business and two personal) for my wife and I via chat. One time encountered minor pushback/invitation to call Customer Retention department since “it looked like I qualified for special offers if I decided to keep the card”, but I chose not to do that.

Justin
Justin

Yep true. We were hoping to downgrade the Ameriprise to the rose gold, but it’s not possible.

JT
JT

I plan to keep my Schwab long term. Although I keep getting retention offers on the other cards including just now on my Vanilla plat so I’ll have that for the foreseeable future too.

Chicagoan33
Chicagoan33

Hi what retention offer did you get for the vanilla plat and do you put a lot of spend on it? Thanks.

JT
JT

20k MR / $3k spend

$13k annual spend

elegua
elegua

Nice post as always but this card is a keep for me, have several MR cards and all i do is cash those MR out.

S Nack
S Nack

If you start the cancellation process via chat, one of the automated message will say “we would love to keep doing business with you, please call 8xx-xxx-xxxx”. if you get this message that usually means their retention department has an offer for you.

chris
chris

i just tried this and got the prompt and called but was not offered a retention. but i did just receive a retention offer last year and the rep i spoke to did mention that so that could be the reason. but just wanted to give a dp. thanks.

MSer
MSer

Yeah, can’t get a retention offer every year. Amex requires 13 months between retention offers.

R Johnson
R Johnson

Do you know if it matters if you have different platinum cards? Ex: I got a retention on my personal platinum in September, 2018. I have a business platinum due in January, 2019. Can I get retention on the business platinum even with the personal platinum retention?

MSer
MSer

Yes, can get retention offers on different cards (biz vs personal)

parrothead
parrothead

Damn glad you posted this, I thought it was still 60 days and had a different platinum I was holding open til January but that would put me past the 30 day window

Sparky
Sparky

I had a business platinum card that they prorated the annual fee for me. I accidentally canceled at the 31 day mark since the previous month had 30 days in it.

AKSF
AKSF

Could probably open another one now if you want to keep 1.25 option available!

Triple dip would essentially cover the AF.

Zalmy

Is this true? It’s completely churnable, with no lifetime or current cardholder restrictions?

AKSF
AKSF

To be clear you wouldn’t get the signup bonus. But could be approved for it presumably (and depending on amount of MR that one wants to cash out with 1.25X, it might make sense even without bonus). In the past, I’ve gotten cards with Amex that I already was holding at the time of application.

Zalmy

You know something, you might actually be onto something. It IS a risk of a hard pull (although it’s usually a soft pull from amex for me) without too much benefit.

Still, it’ll console me when I close this card out in January, and lose the 1.25 cash out, that I can always get it again next December.

Thanks! 🙂

AKSF
AKSF

My point was you could get it right now (if you want), to not have a year gap.

Also, lock your reports before you apply. Then if they attempt to do a pull you can choose whether to continue with the application.

ZipZapKaZoom

The .0125 cash out rate combined with the 4X categories on the Gold card makes it a keeper.

David
David

This card is a keeper for me. Between the Gold and Blue Biz Plus I get at least 2.5% back and up to 5% if I choose to redeem for cash! That plus all the perks is too good to give up!

Alex
Alex

Agree that this is a good long term combo. Gotta hope for retention offers with the gold and Schwab plat though, as the fees eat into those percents.

Tim
Tim

Can you expand on this? I have neither, this is a new strat for me. I was planning on bulking up my MRs sufficiently before cashing them all out at the 1.25, but this strategy sounds superior.

Floyd
Floyd

+1

Bzzz
Bzzz

when does the 30-day countdown begin for how long you have to close the card? Is it when the statement w/the annual fee closes?

iahphx
iahphx

The Schwab card still doesn’t give any free additional card members, right? Frustrating to me because I have some family members who I like to get lounge access for. The Ameriprise card gives you 3 additional free cards, so I get that one. But I have to keep gaming that one every year (my wife and I flip) since the renewal fee is very high. On the other hand, I am a real Schwab customer, so I’d automatically get a decent discount on that card. I would just keep a Schwab card open and stop playing games if they also gave me the additional free cards. But AMEX doesn’t want me to pay them a couple hundred bucks and have us both be happy. 🙂

miafll
miafll

This!

David
David

Since this is a Platinum card, the chat agent will most likely ask you to call in to close the account.

Darv
Darv

You can decline and reiterate request to close, they will close the Plat.

Josh
Josh

Do you have to pay the annual fee when your 12th statement posts even if you intend to cancel? Would it then be refunded? I think you usually get only 20 something days until you have to pay after the statement posts so there might be a few days between the due date and the 30 day grace period…

miafll
miafll

Exactly, unless you pay the AF on DUE date than get a refund when you still cancel it within the 30 days from Billed Date window.

Downgrade has better treatment. When you downgrade, the AF would be refunded pro rated even you passed the 30 days, but of course you would have to pay it first.

Hence losing the downgrade option is quite meaningful to many people.

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