Why I’m using points to pay my AMEX Platinum Charge’s annual fee (and you should too)

155,636 points for an AMEX Platinum Charge annual fee waiver? It's not cheap- but still worth it in my book.

Back in April, American Express launched a special “double rewards” promotion for Centurion and Platinum Charge cardholders. Members received 2X the usual points for spending, and 2X the usual value when redeeming points for statement credit. They could also use Membership Rewards points to offset their annual fee at a special rate of S$11= 1,000 points.

Although the double points/double statement credit promotion ended on 20 July 2020, American Express has confirmed that they’re extending the offer for those who want to pay their annual fee with Membership Rewards points. This is now available until 31 December 2020.

Why pay your annual fee with Membership Rewards points?

Now, whether you decide to renew your AMEX Platinum Charge in the first place is a separate question, and one you’ll need to carefully weigh. But assuming you’ve decided to renew, and have adequate points on hand, I think it makes sense to use them for your annual fee.

To fully offset the S$1,712 annual fee, you’d need ~155,636 points. That’s no small chunk of change, to be sure, but put it another way: those 155,636 points are worth 97,273 miles. By redeeming them for your annual fee, you’re getting just shy of 1.8 cents per mile in value, about the threshold I’d deem acceptable in the current climate. 

When the time comes round, you’ll see the option appear in your AMEX app:

Screenshot credit: James

There’s no need to have the full 155,636 points handy. Even if your balance falls short, you can still offset part of the annual fee using whatever you have on hand. 

💳 A similar offer is available to Centurion cardholders as well, but with an annual fee of S$7,490, you’re looking at a hefty 680,909 points to offset your fee

Renewals using Membership Rewards points are treated the same as those paid with cash, in the sense that you’ll still get the same renewal gifts and vouchers, e.g 1 free hotel night, $800 in air and hotel credit, dining vouchers etc. 

What about retention offers?

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders have received anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 Membership Rewards points as a retention bonus, depending on their spend in the previous membership year.

This isn’t offered automatically- you’ll have to request it over the phone, and it’s more of a negotiation game than anything (I received 20K points last year, but then again I’m a pushover). 

There are mixed reports about retention offers when using points to pay the annual fee. Some customers have been told that renewal points are only offered if you use cash to pay. Others have reported success to varying degrees. It doesn’t hurt to call up to ask, especially if you’ve spent a healthy sum with American Express over the past 12 months. 

Am I renewing my card?

Short answer: yes, and I’ll be using my points to offset the annual fee.

Thanks to the current situation, I’ve got a surplus of points to burn, and I’d much rather conserve cash if the right opportunity comes along. A rate of S$11= 1,000 points is a “right opportunity” in my book, and since I was intending to renew anyway, that’s S$1,712 of savings. 

My renewal window is coming up at the end of September, and I’ll be sure to pen a second  “year in review” article– all the more important now, given the current COVID-19 situation. 

Conclusion

If your annual fee is coming up in the next few months, give some serious thought to paying for it with your points- the rate on offer is more than fair (certainly better than what you’d get with a lot of other banks!).

For those of you who have received retention offers when paying for your annual fee, do share them below! 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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WeiLin

Hi Aaron,

I being offering 30k MR points for paying the Platinum Reserve annual fee. Is it worth it to proceed?

Regards,

Kster

Think of what you will be doing with the points . If no real need to use the points, whats the value that you will assign. Its very subjective..

Robs

I paid the fee in full first, then got my 20k points (I tried to negotiate but I also admit/recognize that I didn’t use my card that much, so fair enough). Then once the points came in, I redeemed the fee against the points with the $11=1,000 points promotion. So not too bad actually!

Last edited 4 months ago by Robs
Lee

Sorry but once the fee has been paid, how would you redeem it again with the points earned?

Lee

the fee is posted and there is an option to redeem using points. But Robs mentioned to pay the fee first in cash to get extra 20k MR points then redeem these points against the fee. Not sure how that can be done since the fee has to be paid before the additional points will be credited ..

Lee

Yes, called and they said they would do so and points will be credited in the next statement upon payment of the fees. Hence not possible to use the points given for paying AF in cash, to actually redeem the AF since the AF amount would have been paid.

Remko

I got 20k renewal points where my spend was in the 50-60k SGD range.

Val

I agree that we should take the 1.76 cpm offer for fee payment. It wasn’t so long ago that 1.9 cpm was assessed as fair value but it’s certainly less now. Like Aaron, I now have a surplus of points beyond my usual burn rate – bad news for a non-appreciating currency. Watching Sam Chui videos now is pretty amazing but I’m not sure I would bother doing any leisure flights with all the hurdles even a star traveller like him has to go through (who else films in the cockpit?). He flies and generates 500K+ views per video so… Read more »

Syok

I aldy did this, not only the annual fee, I actually redeemed a lot points given that I have some many miles aldy, soi en-cashed the points, well 7-8K cash is nice anyway!

doug

I just called in and was offered 50k pts for paying the annual fee on the plat charge, and also got a waiver for my Amex pps renewal.. annual spend I’m not sure but definitely less than 100k all in for these 2 cards

Ratna

hemmm they told me the max is 40k points when I asked. My spending is similar to yours. I will call and ask again.

Caleb

My spending is about 150k and I was offered 40k points too. Tried requesting for more but they couldn’t.. despite accumulating 900k of points in a year..

Phil

I understand the logic of paying the fee with points, and I’ll probably do it, but when the cost is almost all the points I earned in the previous 12 months it just doesn’t feel right!

KKCC

Hi Aaron! Is it worth getting the platinum charge card now? Or should I hold off till later?

Ylin96

If I cancel my current card and sign up again later, say next year, do I still get the sign up bonus?

Pikachu

Amex tnc says at least 24 months

Phil

I phoned up customer care and they offered me 20k points to renew using points so it worked out to 135k on balance.

standard bonus

the 20k points is pretty standard whether renewing with cash or points

Rei

Sorry to horn in on a 4 month old post… any idea if this exchange rate for card annual fee payment extends into 2021?

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