I recently canceled my American Express Platinum Card due to the annual fee.  In my previous article, I noted that I plan on getting the card again and that I would rather reapply so that I qualified for the $200 ANNUAL travel credit twice.  Once in 2018 and again in 2019.

In my review of the American Express Platinum Card, I showed how you could effectively reduce your annual fee from $699 to $299 using the $200 travel credit twice in your first year of membership ($699 – $200 Travel Credit in 2017 – $200 Travel Credit in 2018 = $299).  This has been a long-standing method to justify the large annual fee of the card and there has been nothing wrong with it as it completely complies with the Terms and Conditions of the card (click on the Footnotes at the bottom of the page).

$200 Annual Travel Credit – The $200 CAD Annual Travel Credit can only be redeemed through Platinum Card Travel Service at time of booking. Travel booking must be charged to The Platinum Card.  Annual Travel Credit can only be used once per calendar year towards a single travel booking of $200 or more, and will appear on the Platinum Card member’s billing statement as “Platinum Annual Travel Credit”.  If the Cardmember cancels their travel booking after redeeming the Annual Travel Credit, they will not be able to use it again in the same calendar year.

My Experience

My annual fee of $699 had posted to my account in April so when I called to cancel my Platinum Card, I was sure to ask the CSR multiple times whether the full amount of my annual fee would be refunded and multiple times he confirmed that it would be completely refunded.

I assumed everything was hunky dory.

When I went to make a Membership Rewards transfer yesterday, I was thrown an error when I went to complete the transaction.

When I called the number, I was told that the transfer could not be completed because I had an amount owing for my closed Platinum Card.  I was puzzled by this because I always pay my cards in full so when I asked for the details of the charges, the agent noted that I was only provided a partial refund of my annual fee.  $200 was not refunded because I had used my 2018 Travel Credit (on January 1st, I believe).

As you might expect, I was a bit miffed and asked to speak to a supervisor about this.  I was transferred to a supervisor by the name of Chris and he was very forthcoming with information regarding the clawback.

The Juicy Info

The first interesting datapoint here is that he looked at when my travel credit was used (January) and when my annual fee posted (April) and said that he could most likely take care of the clawback amount.  This is interesting because it confirms to me my belief that clawbacks only used to happen if you used your travel credit on the same or previous billing cycle as the one your annual fee posts on.

The second interesting datapoint is that Chris told me that he was doing the exact same thing that I was doing, in that he was using 2 travel credits per annual fee cycle.  That suggests that there is nothing wrong with this practice and it is something that AMEX employees do as well.  Chris did confirm that he has been seeing more and more of these clawbacks in recent months, which lines up with some of the anecdotal stories I have heard as well.

I asked Chris if the terms and conditions regarding the travel credit have changed and to his knowledge, they have not but it seems that AMEX’s systems are treating this credit as a “once per Annual Fee” credit rather than an annual credit.  He did note that if there is a change to the Terms and Conditions that you will receive an email from AMEX to that effect.

The Takeaway

What you should know is that if you experience a clawback of your travel credit, be sure to escalate it to at least the supervisory level at AMEX.  You are WELL within your rights to use your annual travel credit of $200 according to the terms and conditions of the card.  For reference, I have posted a screenshot of the Terms and Conditions of the Annual Travel Credit and provided you with a PDF copy for your records in the event you need to dispute the clawback.

The URL of the T&Cs can be found at https://global.americanexpress.com/acq/intl/dpa/canlac/can/can/eApply4.0/pers/tiles/main/footnotespopup.jsp.

Everything in the Terms and Conditions states that this is an ANNUAL TRAVEL CREDIT and has nothing to do with when you apply the credit in relation to the annual fee posting.

If you are willing to fight, I would suggest that you would have a 99.9% success rate at having the clawback returned … if you’re willing to fight.

New Best Practice

To avoid all this, what I am suggesting to my readers is that you should definitely go ahead with the Platinum Card because of all its amazing benefits but make a note of the date when you applied for the card and set a reminder 11 months from that date to cancel the card.  I use Google Calendar for these kinds of things because I know that I will always have access to that information, as opposed to a work calendar.

Using this method, you will still be assured of getting your 2 x $200 Travel Credits and because you are canceling before the Annual Fee posts, you avoid having to deal with the potential clawback of $200.  This will be my method going forward and I suggest you do the same.

I have updated my Platinum Card Review post with this new information.

Jayce is the founder of PointsNerd, and avid traveller and a teacher by nature. He prides himself on flattening the learning curve through step-by-step guides because everyone needs to start somewhere.

32 COMMENTS

  1. My cancellation date is similar to yours and I used my second credit in February, I did not get dinged with a clawback .
    I will be watching carefully on my husband’s card for this issue. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Thank you so much for this information! I used my 200$ annual credit this year and my statement for the annual fee will come up June 24th. I was going to cancel it May 24th just in case but I am now waiting for a referral bonus. Do you think it will be an issue if I wait till just before my June statement comes out to cancel my card?

  3. Thought I might mention – I recently cancelled my Canadian Amex Platinum after having used the annual travel credit twice, but after the renewal fee was posted on my statement (though within 60 days), and they reduced the refund by $200. No matter how much I insisted that this was an annual credit. The argument (from both the CSR and the manager) was – it doesn’t make sense as a business for them to give you something twice when you’ve paid for it once. Manager read me the terms and conditions, which they stated doesn’t even mention that Amex will refund the fee (which is not really the point). I gave up.

    • Andrea,

      I would recommend that you give them another call. The terms and conditions for the Platinum Card specifically state that this is an ANNUAL credit. If the original representative can’t help you, then escalate it to a supervisor. If a supervisor can’t help you then escalate it to Team Lead. If the Team Lead can’t help, escalate it to the Service Delivery Leader.

      If you stick to your guns and quote the Terms and Conditions, I can pretty much assure you that you will get your money back.

      Good luck.

      Cheers
      Jayce

  4. Question: If I get approved for the card in early December of this year, do I need to use the 2017 $200 credit by December 31st? I’m OK if I need to *book* said travel by December 31 (I have a short trip planned for February 2018 I can use it towards) but certainly not if I need to complete the travel by then. Any idea?

    • Hi Dana,

      Yes, you must use your 2017 credit in 2017. If you do not use it, you will lose it. You don’t have to travel by the end of 2017, you just have to book it by the end of 2017. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

      • It does; thanks! One more question: How soon does the travel credit post to one’s account? Is applying in early December cutting it too close? (I was last denied for a card in August, so am waiting a few months before any new applications.)

  5. I honestly don’t see where the new best practice differs from the old. You were “dinged” for booking in January when your renewal date was in April. You had to escalate to reverse the ding. So,, how will your new best practice avoid this? Or is the new best practice essentially to book early in your second year and then contest the penalty using T&C knowledge?

    • Hannah,

      The new best practice is to cancel the card prior to the annual fee posting in the second year. If your annual fee posts, what will happen is that when you cancel the card, they will refund you your annual fee MINUS the $200 travel credit. If you cancel the card prior to the annual fee posting, you are not in danger of having to contest the non-refund of the $200 travel credit.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

  6. I had a similar problem, but so everyone knows they are now quoting “Fees & Commissions” section of the Terms & Conditions which give them full right to change any terms and conditions at any time. They did not give me back the $200 clawback.

    • Andrew,

      Did they point you to where you can find the Fees & Commissions section of the T&Cs? I cannot find it anywhere. Thanks

      Jayce

      • Page 5 of T&C

        Fees and Commissions
        “We reserve the right to change the circumstances in which any of the fees or commissions on your account is charged and the amount of those fees or commissions. You agree that we may impose additional fees and commissions at any time. We will provide notice of any changes or additional fees and commissions if required by applicable law and in accordance with the “Changes” section of this agreement.”

        • Thanks Andrew but can you post the URL for the T&Cs you are reading? I want to read it in its entirety so I can understand how the contract reads. I am also interested in seeing when the change to the T&Cs were made because I have never seen that clause before and if it is new, it represents a material change to the contract which cannot be done unilaterally. Cheers

          Jayce

  7. I’m curious….if I cancel the card in, say, 11 months in the first year, would I still get the $400 travel credit and NOT have to pay the annual fee?

    • Hi Dwight,

      That’s exactly what you should be doing. If they do not charge you the annual fee, then they cannot withhold the $200 you are claiming for the ANNUAL Travel Credit. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

      • thanks for clearing it up. based on your original review, it looked like that you have to pay the annual fee even if you cancelled prior to the 12 months. I got that impression because you were stating even with the annual fee, the benefits (travel credit, 60k points, etc.) outweigh the annual fee.

        seems too good to be true, though? AMEX will give you all that essentially for free as long as you cancel before the 12 months?

    • Hi Peter,

      Congrats on the card! It’s a great one. You can use the travel credit immediately after you get the card. I think I did mine about 2 days after I activated it. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

  8. Hello Jayce,

    Just received the card, but hotel bookings are now only required to pay when you check in. So after booking today, will 200 credit show up on my account?

    • Hi John,

      I do not believe that this is the case. It may be for your specific booking but if you book something like the Westin in Vancouver, it clearly states that the amount will be charged by American Express Travel.

      Just look for hotels that require payment at the time of booking. Hope that helps.

      Cheers
      Jayce

      • True! but the FHR hotel I was trying to book is required to pay at the hotel when checking in. Will that booking get me 200 cad credit? Thanks Jayce!

  9. Hey Jayce,

    After reading all these comments it’s best to cancel the card within 11 months, and book the travel credit once this year and once for next year. Bringing down your Annual fee to $299. I’ve read in another post that you plan to reapply – how long do you give it from your cancellation to reapply. Since Amex is not churnable you won’t be getting points again correct ? only travel credit.

    • Dez, you’re not supposed to get the miles again but there are multiple reports that people have received the sign-up bonus more than once. It’s a YMMV type situation. I wish I could give you something more solid but it seems to be a bit hit or miss. Hope that helps. Cheers

      Jayce

  10. I called today to cancel my card after the annual fee posted. They did claw back the 200$ travel credit so I am only receiving a $499 refund. I spoke with a manager who actually told me that even if I cancelled prior to the 699$ annual fee posting they would still be charging me the 200$ fee for the travel credit I used. Not sure how they would even do that. I find that hard to believe and doesn’t seem right. I felt like the conversation was going in circles so in the end I am not getting the 200$ back 🙁

    • Thanks for sharing your data point. Reminder we definitely need to cancel before the $699 annual fee posts to keep the additional $200 credit.

  11. Do you know if I get a reimbursement from my $200 CAD credit if I buy a $100 Air Canada Gift Card directly from their website using my AMEX Platinum, I believe you can get a reimbursement if you buy gift cards from American Airlines and Delta, accordingly to another website.

    Thank you!

  12. Turns out the travel credit is now once per anniversary date (more information here: https://travelupdate.boardingarea.com/changes-to-american-express-platinum-card-travel-credit/). Since we signed for the card up before this change was made, I called to see if we could get a credit for 2019 anyway. Spoke to 3 different people, all insisted that they could not give us the credit even though we signed up before the policy was changed. The last person I spoke to said that the second credit would have been clawed back anyway if we didn’t renew the card on our next anniversary date. I insisted and they offered me 5000 points ($50 equivalent) so I took it.

  13. Hi, Just wondering if there has been changes made to the AMEX Platinum. I signed up for it in September 2018 and was charged the full membership fee of $699 on my first statement. Unfortunately I misunderstood the $200 travel credit was annual, and I did not use my 2018 credit. However I called to use the travel credit in February 2019 and was told that I would not be able to use the travel credit until I had paid this years full membership fee. So the travel credit can only be used once per year now? Am I better off to cancel the card now and just be happy that I got the sign up points bonus? How are you all canceling your card and getting refunded the membership fee?

  14. Hi there, I signed up for the AMEX Platinum in September 2018 and was billed the full membership amount on my first statement. I, unfortunately, didn’t realize that the $200 travel credit was annual not once per year of membership so I missed out on the 2018 credit, however I just called American Express to book travel in February 2019 and was told that I would not have access to the $200 travel credit until after I had paid this year’s full membership amount. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Looking for advice or maybe things have changed? Also wondering how you guys get the membership fee refunded? Any advice would be appreciated.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here