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American Express offering 20,000 point retention bonuses to Platinum cardholders – but not to me

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American Express Platinum has begun offering 20,000 Membership Rewards points to some people who ring up and threaten to cancel their card.

I say ‘some’ because when I called up myself I didn’t receive any offer.  It is definitely happening though – here is a screenshot from a reader who was given 20,000 points on Thursday:

American Express Platinum 20,000 point retention bonuses

There is no pattern here, it seems.

American Express Platinum retention offers – Case 1

Reader 1 called up on Wednesday to ask if there was anything better to stop him cancelling than the ‘double points on spending’ offer.

The agent looked into his system and found an offer which he told the caller he thought had just been added.  He then read out from his screen, to paraphrase:

“To thank you for your loyalty and to acknowledge the loss of benefits in the current situation, we would like to offer you 20,000 points which will be added to your account immediately. With the current promotion, this has a value of £180 which in turn is 1/3 of your annual fee. “

The next day, the points were there as you can see from the screenshot above.

American Express Platinum retention offers – Case 2

Reader 2 called up on Thursday.  With no flights now booked, and with no immediate use for the card benefits except for the travel insurance (now not needed) he called to cancel.

The reader was also offered 20,000 Membership Rewards points.  However, he would not receive these until a week after the annual fee was paid, which is due in two months.  The agent kindly reminded him that nothing stops him cancelling immediately after the points appear for a pro-rata fee refund.

It is worth noting that Reader 1 has a card which renews in August, which may be why he was offered the points immediately.

American Express Platinum retention offers – Case 3

Reader 3 is me.  Emboldened by these cases, I thought I’d call up.

I thought I was on solid ground, to be honest.

I have held Amex cards for 20 years, with my Platinum for probably 17-18 years

I very rarely spend on the card, holding it primarily for the travel benefits and because I get my British Airways Premium Plus American Express for free (this is a grandfathered benefit for anyone who held a Platinum card on the day the BA Amex cards launched).

And yet ….. nothing.

The only option I was given was to downgrade to the Gold card and to have the annual fee waived for the first year.  This is the usual response judging from other readers who have cancelled recently.  I pushed harder and was put on hold for a couple of minutes, but the agent came back to say that there was no other option.  I could cancel or I could downgrade to Gold and get a free year.  I made my excuses and left.

I’m not sure what we should conclude from this.  On Monday there will be some interesting news which has a bearing on this case, as they say.  If you have nothing better to do for 10 minutes over the next few weeks (do NOT all ring today because you can be pretty sure you’ll be marked out as a HfP reader) you might want to give it a go.  There’s nothing to lose, except a little bit of your dignity.

UPDATE, Saturday lunchtime:  It appears that UK Amex call centre agents are all working from home at the moment.  The 20,000 point offer IS, I am told, “in the system” but not all agents know it exists or how to apply it.  There is a online discussion group for the call centre agents which includes an explanation of how to find it and apply it.  My own failure to get the bonus appears to be down to the fact that I called at 6pm and so was diverted to a US call centre (the woman I spoke with did have a US accent) who did know about offers for UK cardholders.


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Comments (289)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Riccatti says:

    We can conclude, Rob that you didn’t spend enough on your Amex Platinum! (said in good spirits)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Same conclusion I came to when I was offered nothing a month ago and it’s fair I used my Gold or my Bonvoy far more.

      Tbh I knew I’d be spending near enough nothing for the next few weeks (stash of 10% off Morrison’s/Waitrose/M&S GCs to work through) and no travel so 2 free lounge pass will do fine for a while.

    • Phat Git says:

      As I am case 2, I can confirm low spend is not a criteria. Most of my spend goes on my BA card, and I only use the Platinum for deals etc that don’t appear on that. Not spent anything on the Platinum for around 9 months. That definitely won’t change over the next few weeks as I’ve just had a couple of thousand returned to the BA card from a cancelled trip, so focus is on the 2-4-1 voucher

      There was also a suggestion that there will be new, non-travel based benefits in the next few weeks, so I’m holding off to see what they are, but will most likely drop to Gold

  • dominic pearce says:

    I rang Amex on Sunday and asked to cancel my Platinum card explaining that the benefits were not of use at present
    I specifically asked if there were any incentives current or planned to keep my card ,other than the double points promotion nothing was offered
    Because of my accumulated points I decided to downgrade to the Gold Card and everything transferred across

  • Rum says:

    Amex and every other card company will have their own criteria for who they want to retain.
    I got offered the downgrade to Gold a few months back and took it. I knew my travel this year would be non existent so I had no choice. Nothing stopping me from upgrading to Platinum again though.
    Likewise I am not seen as a potential good customer to creation so they rejected me for their IHG cards. So be it then. Their loss, someone else’s gain. It’s just business.

  • Richard says:

    Just worked for me!
    20+ years member spend £5/£10k per month

  • Nick_C says:

    “I’m not sure what we should conclude from this.”

    That Amex customer service is inconsistent?

    Maybe depends which call centre you happen to get through to?

    • David says:

      All Platinum and Centurion are dealt with by the same Premium Team. In normal office hours, there are some dedicated Centurion call handlers.

      • Nick_C says:

        Thanks!

      • MT says:

        I have always found a dedicated team handle the Centurion calls and they are far better than the Platinum or any other team. It may well be that when the Centurion team are quiet they pickup some Platinum calls but it is generally a dedicated team for Centurion with a far higher customer service level. That has been the same in my experience over the last decade and also applies outside the standard hour, although unsure about the middle of the night.

    • Hunter says:

      Not necessarily inconsistent, depends on if they (probably) are adopting a policy to inform their decision. Not attempting to retain a customer, who doesn’t spend on their card, and also receives a BAPP card for free (normally £195pa), isn’t at all surprising to me?!

      • John says:

        Yeah I thought that could possibly affect Amex’s decision not to give him anything. Would Rob have to start paying for his BAPP if he cancelled his Plat?

      • Rob says:

        Would the agent have seen that I get a free BA card? Not sure.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          if retention offers are via a system it might know that.

          Or could always be a note on your account that you get it free

        • Judge says:

          Rob – I thought you announced a while back that the grandfathered rights to a free BAPP card had come to an end?

          • Rob says:

            There was some talk but it never happened. Amex may have decided they would loose a lot of people.

  • Gtellez says:

    I called 3 or 4 days ago to ask about retention offers and the agent offered me 15k points (my renewal day is at the beginning of July); however, she told me to wait few weeks before my fee is due, so the offer could improve.

  • Jonathan says:

    Is anything going to be offered to business platinum customers do you think, after all we pay the same Annual fee as the personal card holders and Amex make more money on every usage from us than personal?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Personally, I would try one more time with Amex CS at a different time of the day. I called up recently at 6pm and got put through to a U.S call agent who was pretty awful for Amex TBH.

      • Rob says:

        I think my agent was American. This was around 6pm yesterday.

  • DJB says:

    I called Amex 2 weeks ago requesting a downgrade and was offered a £180 statement credit on condition that I spend at least £1 on the card. This was on my business platinum charge card. My annual fee isn’t due for another 5 months, and I can still cancel my card at any time.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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