My annual fee on my American Express Premier Rewards Gold card recently came due, and I was reluctant to see the $175 fee post on my account.
I do enjoy using this card for the 3x points it provides on airfare, 2x on gas and 2x on groceries. I’ve used it religiously this year, and have gone well above the spending threshold to receive the 15,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, which are now going away.
Seeing as how I’ll no longer be able to receive the 15,000 point bonus for next year, it didn’t make much sense to keep a card with a $195 annual fee, free for the first year, since I also have an Amex Everyday Preferred card which earns 3x the points on grocery store purchases, 2x on gas stations and receives a 50% point bonus on all purchases when I make 30 or more transactions a month, and only has a $95 annual fee.
I called American Express, and was transferred to their “loyalty department,” which I think is just a fancy way of saying their retention department. I told the representative I wasn’t pleased that they had removed the 15K bonus, but she told me that many cardmembers weren’t using it, so it wasn’t beneficial. It seems silly to me they would remove such a benefit if people weren’t using it; in my opinion, I think too many people were using it, and thats why it was removed.
In any event, I asked her about canceling my card, in anticipating she’d come back with some sort of retention offer. She did.
- I could receive a $150 statement credit: $75 instantly, and another $75 after spending $1,000 in the next month.
- I could receive a 25,000 Membership Rewards points bonus, but would need to pay the annual fee.
Admittedly, I did try to bargain them to pay no annual fee, and also receive the points bonus, but upon repeated calls and no one willing to do it, I “succumbed” and took the 25,000 points bonus.
Here’s why I took it:
- 25,000 points more than offsets the annual fee, if I were to transfer it to cash back (which I won’t, and I don’t recommend anyone doing).
- 25,000 points, when used advantageously, could be worth several thousands of dollars. Take for example a one-way Aer Lingus business class flight from Boston to Dublin.
I was told the point bonus would only be for this year, and I’d have to call back again next year to see if there would be another bonus. In addition, it appears that 25,000 points is the highest retention offer they’ll give on this card, and it is primarily determined by how much you spent on the Premier Rewards Gold card. The bonus is targeted at those who used the 15,000 point bonus each year, with the extra 10,000 being offered as the true “retention offer.”
So, I’ll have to pay my annual fee of $175, free for the first year, but in return, I’ll receive a nice hefty 25,000 point bonus. So, this begs the question of whether I should continue my spending patter on this card for this year, and whether this bonus will come again next year.
Here are the major benefits of the Premier Rewards Gold, over the Amex Everyday Preferred:
- You earn 3x the points on airfare.
- There is no points earning cap (where there is a cap of spend go $6,000 on groceries for the Everyday Preferred).
- It’s a charge card, so there’s no credit limit, and no spending utilization is reported to the credit bureaus.
While there are more lucrative every day spending cards out there, I want to keep my go-to running errands, food shopping, etc., card to an American Express, since I value their customer service, and I think they stand behind their product enough where it is worthwhile.
Have you received a retention offer on your American Express Premier Rewards Gold card?
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