Contemplating which ultra-premium card(s) to keep

88

 

With the 2-year anniversary of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card upon us, and the rate with which my 7-month-old son is outgrowing clothes (we’re in 18-month outfits already!), it has become time to re-evaluate the annual fees I am paying to keep credit cards. Today, I’m going to examine my stable of “ultra-premium” cards (those with annual fees of ~$350 or more) as I try to determine which one(s) belong on the chopping block.

Too many ultra-premium cards

credit card customer service

When evaluating our current position, one thing became immediately clear: my wife and I have too many ultra-premium cards to keep them all. Currently, we have the following cards that I would consider “ultra-premium” (note a couple are listed twice in this table because we each have them, though in value-comparison tables after this I list each card once):

Card Name Annual fee at time of writing
Citi Prestige $450*
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 (Now $550 as of Jan 2020)
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards $450**
Amex Hilton Aspire $450
Amex Hilton Aspire $450
Amex Business Platinum $450
Amex Business Platinum $450

*While the Citi Prestige annual fee is $450, I was grandfathered in to a $350 AF
**While the Chase Ritz-Carlton annual fee is $450, I was grandfathered in to a $395 AF

Accounting for lower grandfathered annual fees I enjoy on the Ritz and Prestige cards, that’s still $2,995 per year in annual fees between the two of us. And that’s only our premium cards. Could we possibly be getting enough value out of these cards beyond the price tag to keep all of them? I was skeptical.

A look at benefits

While some cards earn a good return for everyday spend and others offer killer bonus categories, you usually pick up a premium card for its benefits. If fact, premium cards sometimes come with such great benefits that they feel like a win in comparison to the annual fee.

Here is a quick rundown of those cards with a summary of the most important benefits to me as well as a counterpoint on carrying each. Click the card name for more information about each card:

Card Info Name and Link Only (no offer)
(not currently available for applications)

Key benefits: $250 annual airline credit, 4th night free on hotel stays, ability to pool and transfer points to partners, Priority Pass, trip delay coverage, price protection

Counterargument: Trip delay no longer pays for missed connections and price protection has been reduced. I don’t often pay for hotel nights, so I may not use the 4th night free every year.

Card Info Name and Link Only (no offer)

Key benefits: Easy $300 travel credit can be triggered by flights, hotels, award fees, tolls, parking, etc. I have used points through the portal at 1.5 cents each more times than I anticipated. Primary CDW coverage is great to have when you need it.

Counterargument: Most of the other benefits are redundant with other cards that offer even more benefit.

Card Info Name and Link Only (no offer)

Key benefits: Annual free night up to 50K, $300 airline incidentals credit, $100 Visa Infinite airfare discount when buying two RT domestic coach tickets, Unlimited Priority Pass visits, Primary CDW coverage

Counterargument: The incidental credits are not automatic (have to call or secure message) and can be harder to get. My Southwest Companion Pass means I don’t often use the $100 airfare discount.

Card Info Name and Link Only (no offer)

Key benefits: Annual free weekend night, $250 airline incidentals credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, Hilton Diamond status

Counterargument: Hard to argue with this one. Value easily outweighs the cost. Main drawback is that lack of travel protections mean it is necessary to carry another premium card.

Card Info Name and Link Only (no offer)

Key benefits: $200 airline incidentals credit, National Rental Car Executive Status, Hilton Gold (free breakfast), access to Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Counterargument: National Executive status actually comes with most of these cards. Hilton Gold won’t matter if I keep an Aspire card. Fine Hotels & Resorts is nice, but Chase has its own very similar Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and many of the same benefits can be realized via Virtuoso without any specific credit card required.

That gives a quick glance at what I view as the key benefits of each card without much detail — see the individual card pages linked above for more information on those benefits and links to further posts about them.

My next step was to try to figure out how these cards compared with regard to benefits that matter to me. I made the following chart so I could see overlap and gas at a glance. Of course, this chart does not feature a comprehensive list of all of the benefits, but rather compares a number of key benefits which are generally offered by more than one of these cards.

Card Airfare/Airline Credit Hotel Credit Annual Free Night Priority Pass Trip Delay Coverage time National Executive Status Hilton Status Marriott Status Primary CDW
Citi Prestige $250 airfare 4th night free 2 guests 6 hours Yes Outside USA
CSR $300 travel 2 guests 6 hours Yes Yes
Chase Ritz $300 incidentals $100 at Rtiz* Yes (Max 50K) Unlimited guests 6 hours Yes Gold Yes
Amex Hilton Aspire $250 incidentals $250 at resorts Yes (any hotel, weekend only) 2 guests Diamond
Amex Biz Plat $200 incidentals 2 guests Yes Gold Gold

Wow. That surprised me a bit. If you had asked me before writing this post which of the premium cards I was most likely to drop, the Ritz probably would have been my answer. Yet looking at the above comparison, it would seem like the card with the widest range of benefits. Note that the $100 hotel credit has an asterisk because it requires booking a specific rate, which must be done over the phone and may not be the cheapest rate.

Even more surprising to me was the clear dead-last finish of the Amex Business Platinum card. I’ve long thought of that card as my favorite premium card for its benefits, yet it clearly wasn’t setting itself apart in any of the categories above compared to the competition.

Beyond that, it was also easy to see that there are a number of overlapping benefits. For example, all of these cards offer Priority Pass. While the Ritz card theoretically comes with unlimited guests (keep in mind that the lounge itself might still turn you away if you show up with too much of an entourage), they all provide for at least 2 guests. Further, all of these cards other than the Aspire cards offer National Rental Car Executive status. I’ll admit that it long escaped me that this was true of most Visa Infinite cards (like the CSR and Ritz cards). I really enjoy paying for a mid-size vehicle and then selecting what I want from the Executive area when I arrive with National. Little did I know that I didn’t need an Amex Platinum card to get that benefit.

Assigning some value

Here at Frequent Miler, we display credit card welcome offers with an estimated first year value. Those estimates are automatically figured by a spreadsheet we maintain. Greg has documented his process for valuing benefits like statement credits and free night awards for the purposes of determining first year value (See: Credit card signup bonus estimation details and Unbiased credit card rankings: a work in progress). That said, I figured it was worth looking at my cards with my own personal valuation of the benefits. My personal valuations are much more subjective than our rankings on “Best of” pages, which are automatically populated by the spreadsheet. Here were my personal values for these cards based on my use:

Card Annual fee Benefits Value Methodology Net annual fee
Citi Prestige $350* $250 airfare credit, 4th night free, ability to transfer to partners $300 Airfare statement credit at face value plus $50 value for 4th night free based on saving $150 once every 3 years $50
CSR $550 $300 travel credits, points worth 1.5c, CDW $350 Statement credit at face value, estimated $25 value for CDW and $25 value for ability to use points at 1.5c each $100
Chase Ritz $395 $300 airline credits, unlimited PP, $100 airfare discount, 50K free night) $405 85% face value airline credits, $150 value free night -$10
Amex Aspire $450 $250 airline credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, 1 free weekend night anywhere, Diamond status $625 90% face value on airline and resort credits, $150 value on free weekend night), $25 value for free breakfast at Hiltons via status -$175
Amex Biz Plat $450 $200 airline credits, Hilton Gold status $205 90% face value on airline credit, $25 value for free breakfast at Hiltons via status $245

As you can see, based on my valuations, a couple of cards come out to a negative cost — in other words offering more value than the price of admission. I expect some controversy over the way I valued some of those benefits (and assigned no value to others). There is definitely subjectivity in my valuation of statement credits. As you can see above, I valued the statement credits for the Citi Prestige and CSR at face value. I know that will draw the ire of some in the comments below who will deride my poor accounting and lack of account for the time value of money. They will say that by essentially pre-paying for travel, I am losing the liquidity of my money and its ability to earn interest in the bank not to mention the risk of the credits going unused. I can’t argue that those folks are wrong. On the other hand, I usually have those credits spent within the first month or so simply because I’m frequently booking travel and those credits have such little restriction. A year has not passed and I don’t expect it will in the foreseeable future where we don’t travel enough or book enough travel for family and friends to spend at least $250 a year on airfare and/or $300 on total travel. I can’t justify devaluing those credits by a consequential amount (the most I consider the opportunity cost to be is a couple of dollars in interest), so I kept those at face value.

On the other hand, I only valued the Ritz airline incidental credits at 85% of face value. That’s because they are the most restrictive of the credits. While they can cover fees at any airline, you need to call or secure message to be credited and YMMV as to which charges will be covered. I also kept a very low value on the free night certificates that come with both the Ritz and Aspire cards. It should be difficult to get less than $150 in value out of those. Each cert has its pros and cons: the Hilton certificate is limited to weekend nights but is valid at almost any property worldwide whereas the Ritz certificate is capped at hotels charging up to 50K points but can be used any night of the week (subject to availability). I kept those equal, though if pressed I’d personally value the Hilton certificate a bit more since Hilton usually doesn’t tack on resort/destination fees on award nights and I am usually looking to use a valuable certificate on a weekend night anyway. I suspect many other folks would value the Ritz certificate more due to its validity any day of the week.

So what will I keep?

Looking at my valuation of the benefits, the clear winners are the Aspire cards and Ritz card. That said, I don’t expect to stay invested in Marriott beyond 2019 (likely my only year of Platinum status), so I’m somewhat hesitant to consider it a long-term keeper if it means having to drop something else. I very much undervalued the 4th night free benefit on the Prestige card so as not to overstate its value and because I rarely stay in one hotel for four nights and also typically use points. That said, I’ve made one reservation this year that saved me $352 with that benefit. Last year, I used it twice and saved around $150 each time. I probably won’t use it every year, but I’ll use it enough to likely eclipse the cost of keeping the card for at least a couple of years. Furthermore, I love my AT&T Access More card and need to pair it with a card that can transfer to partners. It would be hard to justify downgrading to a card that provides less year-to-year value.

So unexpectedly, that has me looking at the Sapphire Reserve and the Business Platinum cards as expendable. We don’t need to have a Sapphire Reserve in the household. I valued the ability to use points at 1.5 cents each at $25 per year — meaning I estimate that this saves me at least 10K points per year over only getting 1.25 cents each with an Ink Business Preferred card. While I never redeemed points through the Chase portal before the Sapphire Reserve card, I have used points at 1.5 cents each more often than I would have expected. That said, the card does not really offer much else that I won’t get by keeping either the Prestige or Ritz cards, and I more often transfer to partners (which I can do with a cheaper card than the CSR). The travel credit is much more flexible on the Sapphire Reserve — but I am obviously free to spend $300 on travel with or without the CSR in my pocket. However, another consideration on this card is the fact that while Chase recently instituted 48-month language on the Sapphire cards, referral links still have 24-month language. If we keep a CSR, we can still earn up to 50K points per year in referrals. As long as that is true, this might be the deciding factor in keeping it.

And so that leaves me in an unexpected place: with the Business Platinum cards likely on the chopping block. While an Amex Platinum card was long the standard for a premium card with premium benefits, it just isn’t standing out as much to me as it has in the past. Furthermore, with the Ameriprise version of the personal Platinum available with the first-year fee waived should we decide we need one of its unique benefits again, I’m not sure it makes sense to continue to pay the annual fee on this one. One benefit I did not include in my analysis is emergency evacuation, which the many flavors of Platinum card cover courtesy of being a cardholder — you do not need to have paid for your trip on the card. Having peace of mind that we can be evacuated in a medical emergency is nice — but is it worth $900 a year between the two of us? Probably not.

I’m going to give myself a few more days to contemplate these cards before making my final decisions. Beyond the analysis here, the upgrade offer to move my SPG card to an SPG Luxury card looms and is a further motivating factor in determining what to keep and what to toss — adding another $450 card to the mix without nixing anything just doesn’t seem prudent.

0 0 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

88 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] fall, I published a post about trying to slim down my collection of ultra-premium cards. In that post, I concluded that the most expendable ultra-premium cards in my household are the […]

[…] week, I wrote a post about considering which ultra-premium credit cards to keep (those with annual fees of $350 or more). That post inspired Greg to make an awesome spreadsheet […]

Kevin

The Hilton Ascend is a better deal than the Hilton Aspire. Only $95 annual fee with $100 of airline incidentals, 10 passes for yourself + a guest for priority pass, $100 TSA/Global entry every 4 years, Gold status, no Fx fees, 6x multiplier on common spend categories along with some other fringe benefits.

I generally do not believe in the ultra premium cards unless there is a very specific benefit you use on a consistent basis. I went through a similar analysis on my own (keep in mind I do not have any premium cards. My cards are a mix of the mid tier cards + free cards). My analysis yielded a mix of 2-3 cards that have ~$100 annual fee and a handful of free cards for max value. I have long held the Gold AMEX, which is my most expensive annual fee but will be dropping that before next fee is due. Keeping my blue card (free) to retain my legacy balance of points. Unless you want to pay for the “status symbol” of the premium cards or as I mentioned before can exploit a specific benefit those ultra premium cards do not provide the best value

Kevin

I stand corrected. I still think it is best value as far as an AMEX goes for those of us that do not live in an airport. AMEX gold is overpriced at $195 per year and I have contemplated upgrading to platinum strictly for the airport lounge access but do not fly with long layovers enough to warrant. If I convert my AMEX gold => Ascend, I essentially get that benefit (limited to 10 times per year). The other benefits are more or less that same except you save $100 (51%) per year and accrue Hilton instead of AMEX points. You can get TSA fees reimbursed through most employers or a number of other cards. Saving $100 cash is much better than having to spend it on incidentals to have that “savings”. If AMEX points are really important can get a free blue card to accrue those with only loss being the 2x/3x multiplier that I do not see being all that lucrative

Do you agree with my sentiment that the premium cards are generally not the best value unless you are a high frequency traveler who can exploit one of those premium card specific benefits?

Jason

I enjoy staying at luxury resorts and boutique hotels that are not part of a hotel chain, so the CITI Prestige card is my #1 card. My annual fee is $350 – $250 airfare = $100 then I save well over $2,000 a year just in hotels! Blows out all of the other cards. The 4th night free has revolutionized my travel because now I get every 4th night free and therefore I am able to have longer vacations. Instead of a 9 day vacation I get a 12 day vacation! The value of that goes way beyond the cash savings.

The problem with the Aspire card is that the $250 resort fee is only for a small number of mid-level resorts. I would not stay at a mid-level resort just to save $250 when I can stay at a far better and more luxurious resort. My vacations are far too valuable to be spent at a limited selection of mediocre Hilton resorts. So this benefit is worthless for me. I can easily save more than $250 using my CITI Prestige card at ANY hotel. If it could be spent at any Hilton world-wide this would be worth it for me and I would get this card in a heartbeat! I have the Ascend card and it is good enough for me. I love being Hilton Diamond but Gold is good enough (much better than my IHG Spire status!).

I also have the CSR card and am questioning the value of keeping it. I had the AMEX Business Platinum before and dumped it a long time ago.

[…] Contemplating which ultra-premium card(s) to keep […]

[…] Evaluating Ultra Premium Cards:  With the steep annual fees of these cards, one must evaluate if you get enough value out of them every year.  Here’s an excellent article where one takes a deep dive into their analysis of their ultra premium card arsenal. […]

[…] this week, Nick pondered which ultra-premium credit card he should keep.  Ultra-premium cards typically offer terrific benefits in exchange for terrifically high fees […]

[…] what great value this card offers year after year not even considering the welcome bonus. In my recent post on evaluating my personal collection of ultra-premium cards, I conservatively valued the card’s benefits at a $150 win every year. The truth is it could […]

Rob

. You don’t have any premium airline credit cards? Are these not worth keeping?

Credit

Keep CSR and hilton aspire. Ritz too just because it is a negative fee card. Close everything else. Easy to rationalize spending money.

Ilikeit

I’m relatively new to the game but for me the csr combined with ink cash is hand down best thing out there… Having a family of 4 we aren’t flying business. So only econ.. Super rare to be able to get better value than 1.5 when booking econ via transfer. And the ease and miles earned on the flight through portal is just another great bonus. Then by transferring all my spend to 5x plus freedom at 1.5 means I will be getting 200k points a year… Finally, I am no fan of big chain hotels and resorts. We prefer airbnb or small boutique.

king

USB Altitude reserve was totally missed ….u should cancel all 450 $ cards…and just get this one for effective 75$. U can’t miss the 1.5X points redemption for uber eats. May be ritz can be a keeper card. All are churn and burn cards. CSR is the highly overrated card…..

Mike

I agree that the lack of trip cancellation is a big factor with AMEX Biz Plat but would you have a change of opinion if a user limits the use of said card to purchases over $5K? That generates 1.5x points/$ thus significantly lowering the ultimate cost of a ticket once the 35% is applied.

MarkG

Cancel Biz Plat. Open a Morgan Stanley Access account with $5000. Get the Amex Plat for $550 and get your wife a free AU. You will lower you AF by $350, both will have an Amex Plat and will enjoy more benefits (Uber, Sacks, etc)

Greg The Frequent Miler

The Uber, Saks, and airline fee credits are only for the primary cardholder.

MarkG

Yes Greg. Nick will be paying $550 and get up to $500 credit if used (200 Uber, 200 Airline, 100 Sacks). Right now he is paying $900 for $400 airline credit. Plus both will have a Plat Card that they can use to access your beloved Delta lounges when flying Delta :0)

Greg The Frequent Miler

Right. Sorry. I forgot that he had two Business Platinum cards in the family.

Greg The Frequent Miler

All: I created a spreadsheet to help estimate how much you value the different ultra-premium cards. It’s still a work in progress, but if you’d like to take it for a test spin, please go ahead. Make sure to read the instructions on the Intro tab: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M5ggGg-I3bMheSNMt46NGJxhmGN5QxvyaIYPVTzjKdg/edit?usp=sharing

Rob

@Greg. Love the spreadsheet. No love for premium airline credit cards?

Greg The Frequent Miler

Ooh, good point. I’ll have to add United Club, AA Executive, and Delta Reserve. Any others?

voyager

great spreadsheet. thanks Greg !!

JJJ

This is definitely very personalized:

The Hilton is really only valuable if you’re willing to stay at Hilton properties for pleasure or your work has a preference for Hilton properties.

You’re also leaving out the great value of the AMEX Platinum providing Delta Skyclub access.

Given that you count the net annual fee for the CSR at $100, while the CSP is at $95, dropping it to save $5 doesn’t make much sense to me given the worse off earnings on the CSP.

In my book the value of the Aspire is way inflated in your analysis, but it just shows how this isn’t a one-size fits all and it’s important for readers to do their math and not just follow a blog analysis.

Tim Grable

Some great points. One thing left off the list with the Amex card is the 10 Gogo passes each year.

bluecat

This was a very thoughtful–if also long–article. My takeaways from it (and the good comments that readers have added) are:
1) I should make my own value table, personalized to how I use each particular card
2) I should review and then list on the table the benefits that I might be overlooking
3) I should have understand the impact of cancelling the card (and maybe consider downgrading instead)

Vicky

I’m also surprised that no value is given to Amex Offers. We are not big shoppers in our household but just this past month we have had rebates of $140 from purchases using Amex offers plus all kinds of bonus points. That said, I wouldn’t be paying that fee for the Amex Platinum because I place zero value on lounges.

WR2

I’m curious what cheaper UR card you have to maintain ability to transfer to partners? CIP?

I had a similar decision, and decided to downgrade my CSR to another Freedom (now 3). I will upgrade one back to a CSR when I have enough UR saved up to warrant paying $150 net AF. Until then, I will keep my $350 AF Prestige (I use 4NF extensively) and my Aspire, and everything else is purely for signup bonuses.

AlexL

CSP could be a possibility.

Eastern Traveler

What do you have against CSP?

Anon

Also, I personally find the Prestige price protection and extended warranty to save me about $200 a year. The former is also a time saver because you know you can get Black Friday prices.

Julian

If I understand your math correctly you value 10k UR points at only $25. It should be AT LEAST $150, but realistically over $200.

Brands

I think Nick meant the difference in value in redeeming points at 1.5cpp with the Reserve versus redeeming for 1.25cpp with other Ultimate Rewards cards. For 10,000 points, that would be $25 difference.

Julian

That math does make sense. I guess redeeming only 10k points per year in the UR travel portal seems low to me.

Nicole

I believe Nick’s calculation is the CSR 1.5 cents x 10k UR = $150 vs. Ink’s 1.25 cents x 10k UR = $125 which equates to his $25 valuation over what he gets with his Ink.

Anon

Yes, but what redemption are you doing that you only redeem 10k for? An average redemption has to be closer to 20k than 10k and that’s if you used it once a year. “If you use the UR travel portal once a year, you shouldn’t keep the Reserve”. Also totally overlook 3x on travel and dining.

Anon

Ironic that, for a website that loves to mention Amex offers, you either forgot or you don’t value them.

Eastern Traveler

What cards for variety Nick?

Stephen Pepper
Eman Rob

It’s refreshing to see someone give the Ritz card its due. I’ve found it to have the best combination of benefits and features for the price (if one enjoys Ritz/Marriott stays of course–lounge access itself more than pays for it). One thing that was not mentioned–most of the other premium cards charge for an AU (and may or may not give full benefits). But, the Ritz card does not charge for an AU (easily saving 75-175 depending on the premium card) and the AU gets benefits such as their own Priority Pass card with unlimited guests, etc.

George

Caution: I suspect that the Ritz benefit of PP with unlimited guests is about to change. I added my daughter as a AU on my Ritz card a couple months ago. She just received her PP card and it was on CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE LETTERHEAD implying that it was for a CSR card! Thus, unless this was a mistake, I expect the Ritz benefit of unlimited PP guests to soon follow the lead of CSR and restrict the number of PP guests.

Jim

As stated, 35% points rebate on biz/first or select airline airfare and Centurion lounge access can be very compelling reasons to keep the AMEX Platinum, neither of which were mentioned or valued. I have used both extensively (especially when the rebate was 50%!) and will likely keep the card as a result.

J L

big downside of booking air fare with amex is the lack of trip delay protection, which is very handy when traveling in the winter time around northeast.

Jim

That may be true, but both things at the very least deserve to be valued when comparing cards in this way, not to mention other perks like AMEX Offers, GoGo passes, etc. You may not value them personally, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable or worthy of consideration (or at least inclusion).

And I’m also in the Northeast and rarely worry about trip delays. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve been flying out of Albany for the better part of 25 years and have been significantly delayed only a handful of times.

Jake

Fascinating article and comments that are already coming in. Thanks for sharing.

You need to book yourself some $500-$650 hotel nights and really get some value out of the prestige. One of those every few years and it’ll be a no-brainer. Value worth it for me when wanting a private pool suite/villa somewhere.

Paul

Interesting. I got rid of the Citi Prestige (downgrade to Preferred to keep the points) this week when I didn’t get a retention offer. The Morgan Stanley Amex Plat works for us because of the Sky Club access (ATL-based) and the free AU card (wife and I both travel solo sometimes). I got the Citi Premier instead (no AF first year) which has the same foreign rental car coverage and price protection as the Prestige. Never used 4th night free as we either stay shorter length or use points like you.

toomanybooks

Unless I misread, you only gave $25 value to Hilton Diamond status.

?

toomanybooks

Well, to each his own. Depends on one’s travel patterns, but I have found multiple days’ access to the executive lounge for multiple people worth a lot. And the places I go I always got some kind of upgrade as a Diamond, which I didn’t as Gold.

Have never used Diamond in Asia, but I hear it’s excellent, way better than Gold.

I think the Aspire is my next card.

Good topic for a post.

Allen

If you have the Ritz credit card I believe until the end of 2019 you are given Platinum status across all Ritz, Marriott and Starwood hotels , at least this is the case for me and I typically stay in Hilton’s for work. Also the Ritz lounge upgrade is worth hundreds of dollars per stay

CongestionCharge

Trying how to make sure I have Platinum status for the summer of 2019. I opened the Ritz the day it was cancelled and obviously couldn’t spend $10k on it before the merger. I am currently Platinum Elite (i believe due to getting the Ritz). I have heard this will expire at the end of 2018. Do you know if that’s correct?

CongestionCharge

:)! This is the single greatest thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you.
Also +1 for the Ritz. Between that and being an AU on my buddy’s SCRA fee free Amex personal Plat I think I’ve got the best combo in terms of protection/insurance and benefits.

Busy

I opened my Ritz card at the end of July, $450 AF posted Aug 1, and today I was told by 2 different reps at Marriott Rewards that my Platinum status only lasts till the end of year.
I made Gold last year so getting the RC card should made me re-up Gold in July. I was made Platinum in Aug.

What is your source for saying folks will remain Platinum? I actually got this card (2 free nights already posted) mainly for this.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Our source was multiple email conversations with Marriott representatives prior to the merger. We have reached out again to them to try to get a process in place for addressing these concerns. We’ll publish a new post once we get a useful answer

Pam

A lot easier to later reapply for any AMEX card if the Gold Biz benefits change & you decide you want it again. Also need to evaluate how old that account is or maybe downgrade the tradeline to a NF card?

The RC card is no longer available (& may never be again) &, of course, there are always 5/24 considerations with most of the good Chase cards.

Your AMEX & Citi cards seem most expendable to me.

Michael Mac

Why didn’t you consider SkyClub and Centurion Lounge access AmEx benefits? Why don’t your wife or you become authorized users off of the other?

Adam

Whoa, I had no idea about 3 free AUs on the Ameriprise Platinum! I’ve been considering adding family members as AU but kinda balked at the $175 fee, given that I’m not yet sure how much my family members will actually take advantage of Platinum benefits. But even a small gain from no-fee AU cards… it’s tempting to cancel my Schwab Platinum and replace it with an Ameriprise.

But… obviously I’d get no signup bonus :(… and yeah, using one of my 5/24 slots… ouch.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Keep in mind that the 3 free AUs is only for the first year

Adam

Ohhh, darn, missed that part. Er, okay, nevermind, will just keep my Schwab Platinum for now. Appreciate the helpful clarification!

Byron

1’st to keep: Sapphire Reserve. Gotta Go: Amex Bus. Plat., Citi Prestige. Maybe Go: Ritz Card. Not so sure on the Hilton cards, but would probably drop those. The Amex Bus. Blue Plus gives better earning than Plat. card for no fee. Prestige card is coming out new, I hope, and should be good. Keep Ritz due to flight bonus and $300 incidentals such as better seats on domestic. If you have a cheaper Chase card that earns Ult. Rew. then drop the Reserve. The only problem with dropping Res., Prestige, and Plat. is you may have lost Priority Club access. You may want to keep one of those.

Farnorthtrader

The one item that I would have taken into consideration is points earning, specifically in the case of the CSR. With the 3 points/dollar on dining, it stands out from this crowd. The only other one where points earning might impact would be the Amex platinum if you spend a lot on airfare.

Steve

Thr downgrade options are important too. The Sapphire wins here as it will downgrade to a Freedom which will give you another 6k at 5x for no annual fee. The Marriott premium plus, the Ascend, the Citi Premier, and the BRG all have an annual fee with mediocre benefits which would make me want to keep their premium versions.

Ricardo

You leave a key benefit of the amex business platinum out: you get credited 35% back of points when you redeem with your choice of airline or businnes/first tickets.
The 4th night free of the Prestige, especially if you combine it with a promotion (like buy 3 nights get 1 free that many hotels have) can lead to spectacular savings and also not losing elite benefits, counting nights for qualification, 3x citi thankyou points and not losing your hotel points. I have no doubt that that benefit of the Prestige card is by far the best benefit of any premium card.

D f

Unless I missed it you did not mention the centurion club at airports. To me that is one of the bigger reasons to keep the AMEX platinum. Especially if you are near an airport that has one

Grant

The Business Plat card comes in handy since I work in SF and fly out of SFO once a month, on average. I try to swing by the SFO Centurion Lounge before every flight. Nice to bring my brother or girlfriend in before a flight. If I didn’t live near a Centurion Lounge airport, I would probably not keep my Business Plat.