The Platinum Card from American Express has one of the most extensive and luxurious travel benefits currently available. Most frequent travelers usually prefer the Amex Platinum Card because it offers unbeatable rewards and is usually associated with luxury. Thus, Platinum cardholders pride themselves on having a card that best fits their travel needs, including offering exclusive benefits.
However, the Platinum Card comes with a high annual fee of $695, which is quite expensive to many. Additionally, a cardholder's needs might change, and the Platinum Card may not meet the desired needs.
Instead of canceling the Platinum Card from American Express, you can choose to downgrade to a card that best suits you. Usually, there are two Amex cards options for downgrading: American Express Gold Card and American Express Green Card. American Express only offers downgrade options for Amex cards in the same card family since the three are all charge cards from American Express.
Additionally, you cannot downgrade and switch from a personal card to a business card, such as the Amex Business Platinum Card. Stick around to understand more about downgrading the Amex Platinum Card and which options are the best alternative to the Platinum Card.
· The Platinum Card from American Express is considered a high-value premium card due to its vast and unique perks, rewards, and benefits
· Cardholders of the Platinum Card can choose to downgrade their Platinum Card without closing their Amex account
· American Express offers two options for downgrading: the Amex Gold Card and Amex Green Card, since they belong to the same card family
What to Know Before Downgrading an American Express Platinum Card
Before downgrading your Amex Platinum Card, there are several things that cardholders must understand. American Express has several pre-set conditions that cardholders must follow before they start their downgrade process. First, cardholders can only downgrade a card within the same card family as provided by American Express.
For example, the Platinum Card from American Express is in the same family as the Amex Gold and Green Cards. Additionally, you can only downgrade a charge card to another charge card, not a credit card from American Express.
Some American Express credit cards available to cardholders are co-branded cards, such as the Delta SkyMiles and Hilton Honors Cards. American Express does not allow Platinum cardholders to downgrade their cards to other co-branded American Express cards. Additionally, a co-branded card will have different credit card rewards than a Platinum Card, which offers Amex Membership Rewards points to its cardholder.
Your Amex account must be in good order to downgrade your card; hence, you must maintain great credit scores. Your credit history and credit report must lack negative trends, such as late payments, to receive the downgrade option.
Why Might You Downgrade to Another Amex Card?
One of the main reasons that cardholders have for downgrading their credit cards is the high annual fees. The American Express Platinum Card carries a $695 annual fee which is too high for some cardholders to keep up with. In the long run, cardholders who cannot maximize the card's benefits, especially the annual statement credits offered, tend to downgrade.
The Amex Gold Card and Amex Green Card have lower annual fees: $250 for the Gold Card and $150 for the Green Card. Thus, cardholders can choose the best option to keep up with their annual fees, which are much cheaper and sustainable.
All cardholders have different needs, and financial wants that their credit card must meet as they apply for a specific card. For example, the American Express Platinum Card is the best option for frequent travelers who earn the most while using the card. However, a cardholder's need for travel might change, and they may require a card that fits their current needs.
Thus, the alternatives are best suited for cardholders who now travel less and shop more in supermarkets and dining or takeout. However, cardholders will not receive the exclusive credit card benefits of the Amex Platinum Card.
Advantages of Downgrading
The main advantages that follow downgrading the Platinum Card include the following:
· Cardholders will pay a lower annual fee since the Platinum Card carries the highest annual fee amongst cards in its category.
· Cardholders will enjoy more categories from which to earn Membership Rewards points since the Platinum Card earns cardholders more points on travel purchases only. For example, the Amex Gold Card earns cardholders four points per dollar spent on restaurants.
· Some statement credits may seem unnecessary to the cardholder, such as the $200 Equinox credit, which some cardholders cannot utilize.
Disadvantages of Downgrading
The main disadvantage in downgrading your Amex Platinum Card is losing the annual credits, exclusive benefits and perks provided by the card. For example, the Amex Gold Card and Green Card lack airport lounge access and most annual statement credits that the Platinum Card offers. Additionally, cardholders will receive fewer Membership Rewards points for flights and prepaid hotels booked through the Amex Travel program.
Thus, the downgraded options will not have any credits from prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection bookings. Cardholders will only receive benefits matching the card they choose to downgrade to, as stipulated by American Express.
Other benefits only exclusive to the Amex Platinum Card include the following:
· Complimentary travel insurance, return protection, and cellphone protection while traveling.
. A Saks Fifth Avenue credit worth $100 offered annually, divided to $50 every six months.
· An Uber cash statement credit worth $200 annually, including automatic Uber VIP status for cardholders.
· Complimentary hotel elite status for partnering hotels such as Hilton Hotels and Marriott Bonvoy Hotels, with prior enrollment required.
· Complimentary elite status for specific rental car companies, as well as rental car insurance that covers damage, theft, or loss of car rentals.
· Complimentary access to exclusive airport lounges worldwide, such as the Centurion Network and Priority Pass Select Lounges.
Any available downgraded option is still an annual fee card, meaning cardholders will still pay an annual fee but at a lower rate. However, all American Express charge cards will charge no foreign transaction fees, making international transactions cheaper than other American Express cards. All downgrading options are charge cards, meaning cardholders must pay the entire card balance monthly without interest rates to avoid damage to their credit report.
However, American Express offers Pay Over Time payment plans to all its charge cards for flexibility in credit payment on eligible purchases. Thus, downgraded options will retain some features such as no foreign transaction fees, like the Platinum Card offers but will receive lesser benefits.
How to Downgrade the Amex Platinum Card
Downgrading your Amex Platinum Card requires only a few steps, which include calling the number on the back of your card. American Express customer care services are always available to cardholders 24/7, meeting all customer needs at all times. Alternatively, you can call the customer service number (800) 528-4800 and ask for further directions on your downgrading process.
Once you’ve called the number, you will be directed to the proper channels guiding you to begin the downgrading process. You can use the following steps for downgrading your Amex Platinum Card:
First, review your downgrade options and choose a card that will best suit your current financial needs. Then, call the number on the back of your card to speak directly to any American Express customer care agent. Sometimes, you may be required to include your reasons for downgrading your Amex Platinum Card.
After you provide the necessary information, the agent will then proceed to downgrade your Platinum Card. The downgrading process will be completed immediately, but you must wait at least seven business days to receive your new card.
Before downgrading an American Express card, you may request or be recommended for a retention offer from the customer service representative. Cardholders are given retention offers to try and convince them against canceling or downgrading a card. Credit card issuers usually offer retention offers only once to encourage the cardholder to continue with their card membership.
However, not all cardholders are approved for retention offers after a request since nothing further can be done afterward. Therefore, requesting one is the best way to receive bonus statement credits, Membership Rewards points, or annual fee waivers.
Amex Platinum cardholders can request a retention offer through the Amex retention line 800-452-3945 between 08:00 am to 11:00 pm daily. A retention specialist will ask for your confirmation and present the retention offers you are eligible for. The retention offer may include a $695 statement credit that waives off your annual fee or 50,000 Membership Rewards points.
You may also receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months to receive your retention offer. That way, you may continue using your Amex Platinum Card and enjoy bonus offers until you decide to downgrade again.
Can Downgrading Affect Your Credit Score?
Downgrading your Platinum Card is different from canceling your Amex Platinum Card account. Downgrading will keep your Amex account open and not hurt your credit score. However, closing your Amex account may negatively impact your credit utilization, lower your credit score, and affect your average age of accounts.
Additionally, you may find it harder to access other forms of credit after closing your account since your FICO score is impacted. Credit card issuers will find this a reason to avoid lending you credit since your creditworthiness will be questioned.
Downgrading, however, avoids the entire process of closing your card account and starting a new one. American Express is known for having high standards and requirements to access many of its cards, especially its charge cards. Thus, downgrading to a Gold Card or Green Card is better than freshly applying for one since the process is shorter.
Additionally, unsuccessful card applications will take a hard pull on your FICO score, negatively showing on your credit report. Having a Platinum Card shows you are qualified to downgrade to an Amex Gold Card or Green Card.
When is a Good Time to Downgrade Your Amex Platinum Card?
American Express has expressed concerns about downgrading your Amex Platinum Card too soon. Thus, American Express has set up a few policies to ensure cardholders avoid misusing their welcome offer before downgrading. For instance, cardholders would apply for and receive their Amex Platinum Card, then downgrade after they receive their welcome offer.
Nowadays, American Express has updated its policy and ensures that cardholders wait at least a year before downgrading. If not, American Express has the right to withdraw the Membership Rewards points earned or even cancel your Platinum Card altogether.
Cardholders must also wait to pay their annual fee before beginning their downgrading process. Additionally, cardholders must pay their annual fee first before requesting a retention offer as they downgrade their card. Cardholders will only receive reimbursements after paying their annual fee for the Platinum Card as they downgrade to their new card.
If you receive a retention offer, you can enjoy the Platinum Card’s benefits for a few more months before proceeding with the downgrade. That way, you will maximize your card’s benefits and have the best timing in line with American Express policies regarding downgrades.
Extra Information About the Amex Platinum Card Downgrade
One main concern regarding the downgrade process is the amount of Membership Rewards points cardholders might earn. American Express has a strict once-in-a-lifetime rule regarding their welcome bonus. The welcome bonus of the Platinum Card is 80,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening.
However, some cardholders may receive up to 150,000 Membership Rewards points from an upgrade offer, targeted mailings, or through the CardMatch tool. Once the cardholder receives the welcome bonus, they will not receive another welcome offer as long as their card account is open.
The Amex Gold Card offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending a minimum of $4,000 within the first six months of card membership. The Amex Green Card welcome offer stands at 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first six months of card membership. However, downgrading from the Amex Platinum Card to the Gold Card or Green Card will not earn the cardholder the welcome bonus due to the policy.
The only way to earn the welcome offers is by applying afresh for a new Green Card or Gold Card and canceling the Platinum Card. American Express will consider all opened or closed card accounts to check whether the cardholder is eligible for the welcome bonus.
It is important to note that you can only downgrade a card to another card belonging to the same card issuer. Thus, you cannot downgrade the Amex Platinum Card to another card offered by another credit card issuer, such as Chase cards. You can only downgrade to cards from the same provider under the same card family, earning the same rewards.
The American Express Gold Card and Green Card are the only available downgrade options for the Platinum Card. Thus, keeping track of your credit card rewards, redemption options, and earning points from other purchases will be easier.
The Platinum Card from American Express is a high-value premium card often associated with a luxurious lifestyle. Amex Platinum cardholders usually enjoy exclusive benefits and unbeatable rewards, making it a suitable choice for frequent travelers. However, a cardholder may change from being a frequent traveler to spending more on everyday shopping and restaurants.
Therefore, American Express allows Platinum cardholders to downgrade to Amex Gold or Green Cards. Downgrading allows cardholders to switch to cards meeting their current financial needs without closing their account or harming their credit scores. Before proceeding, cardholders must understand the policies associated with downgrading their Amex Platinum Card.
How can I downgrade my Amex Platinum Card?
Downgrading an Amex Platinum Card is an easy process with a few steps to the entire process. The cardholder can access American Express customer care services and talk to an agent who will guide them through the process. The cardholder must confirm their details, and the agent will tell the cardholder whether they qualify for a downgrade.
Cardholders can choose between two downgrade options: the Amex Gold Card and Amex Green Card. However, the cardholder will lose most of the benefits offered by the Platinum Card and receive benefits provided by their new card.
How do I get my annual Amex Platinum Card fee waived?
You can get the annual fee waived on your Amex Platinum Card under certain conditions, according to American Express policies. First, all cardholders who are on active duty in the military will have their annual fee waived under the Military Lending Act. Cardholders of Platinum Card variations, including the Amex Platinum Card for Schwab and the Amex Platinum Card for Morgan Stanley, receive the same benefit.
If you do not fit into the categories, you may request that the annual fee be waived by contacting American Express. If that does not work, requesting a retention offer may be your final hope of receiving a $695 statement credit.
How do I cancel an Amex Platinum Card?
Canceling your Amex Platinum Card account can be done in multiple ways at your comfort. You can call the number on the back of your card to reach American Express customer care agents. Alternatively, you can chat through your account by logging in to your American Express account and using the Chat feature. The Chat feature usually has automated responses; thus, you must be careful when maneuvering through the responses.
Canceling your Platinum Card may hurt your credit score, especially if it is your only credit card. Downgrading your Amex Platinum Card is better since your credit scores will remain unharmed.
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