If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, should you keep or cancel the AMEX Platinum? TravelSort reader Jeff writes “I recently got the 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve, and am trying to decide whether to keep or cancel my AMEX Platinum card. On the one hand it seems like a lot of money to be paying $900 in annual fees for just those two cards, not to mention a few more credit cards I have. I love though the easy $300 travel statement credit with the Sapphire Reserve, so it's basically a $150 per year card, and I also like that AMEX has added 5X per dollar for airfare. I have my own business and typically spend about $8000 per year on airfare to see clients. Your thoughts?”
It's a great question, and one that many of us with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and an AMEX Platinum or AMEX Business Platinum are weighing or will be, when our cards come up for renewal (note that there are No More Prorated Refunds of AMEX Annual Fee). There is no one size fits all answer, as it really comes down to whether the benefits you get from the card compensate for (and hopefully exceed) the annual fee you pay. Here are the various aspects I recommend focusing on when making your decision:
Annual Fee: How Much of It is Essentially a Cash Rebate?
Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the AMEX Platinum have a $450 annual fee, including the first year. The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides a $300 travel statement credit that is rebated back to you on your statement after $300 travel spend, including airfare, hotels, train, taxi, car rental, subway/metro, and even Uber and Lyft. I think it's safe to say that most people (and probably 100% of those reading this site who are eligible for the card) will easily get that $300 statement credit, making it effectively a card with a $150 annual fee.
Things are different for the AMEX Platinum, however, where the $200 airline incidental credit is harder to get value out of:
- You must first choose a single U.S. airline that the credit will apply to
- It's an incidental credit, so it applies to things such as food and drink purchases (if billed by the airline), checked baggage fees, seat assignment fees, change fees but NOT airfare, mileage purchases, taxes on award tickets, upgrades–you know, the things that would be most useful. While it can be possible to get gift cards reimbursed for certain airlines, it's not an official use of the credit, so you have no recourse if you don't get reimbursed. See Maximizing the AMEX Platinum Fee Credit.
The Upshot: In Jeff's case, I think his $8000 annual airfare spend argues for keeping both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the AMEX Platinum, especially if he also gets value from the airline incidental credit and the Centurion Lounge benefit. For someone with low airfare spend, it's harder to make the case to keep the AMEX Platinum card beyond the first year, unless they derive significant benefit from the Centurion Lounge access.
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