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:
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.
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!