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TPG reader Will sent me a message on Facebook to ask about premium rewards cards:
“I’ve had the Amex Platinum card for four years now, but I recently got the Citi Prestige. What are your thoughts on keeping them both or downgrading to the Premier Rewards Gold card? I have Delta Diamond Medallion status, so the Sky Club access from the Platinum card isn’t worth much to me.”
Every so often I take inventory of my credit cards to sort out which ones are worth keeping and which ones are no longer needed. I evaluate each card on its own merits, but I also evaluate them in the context of my whole portfolio. In particular, I try to look for redundant benefits between different cards, since I’d rather not keep two cards (and pay two annual fees) if they serve the same purpose.
Personally, I think the Citi Prestige Card and The Platinum Card from American Express are two of the most valuable cards out there. I have both of them (technically I have the business version of the Platinum card), and while they’re premium credit cards with relatively high $450 annual fees, I have no doubt that I get my money’s worth. They do have a few overlapping features, but I think it’s easy to justify having both if you can take advantage of their other unique benefits.
For starters, both cards offer airline credits that help offset the annual fee. The Platinum card comes with a $200 credit for airline incidentals like baggage fees or in-flight amenities, but many people have used it to buy airline gift cards as well. Meanwhile, the $250 Air Travel Credit on the Prestige card explicitly applies to airfare, making it even easier to redeem. If you would typically spend at least $450 on airfare and incidentals each year, then your total annual fee for the two cards is effectively reduced by that amount.
Moving on, I think Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status and Hilton HHonors Gold status more than make up for the remaining portion of the Platinum card’s annual fee. However, there are plenty of other benefits, such as complimentary Boingo Preferred Wi-Fi, the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and access to the growing network of Centurion Lounges. The main similarities between the two cards are the Priority Pass lounge access and the fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, so there’s not too much overlap.
If you aren’t convinced you’ll get enough value out of the other Platinum benefits, downgrading to the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card is a decent option. That will help keep your Membership Rewards account active, and you’ll still get an annual $100 credit for airline incidentals. The Gold card emphasizes points instead of perks, so even though you’ll lose several notable benefits, you’ll pick up some lucrative bonus categories.
If you decide to close the account outright, make sure you follow the right steps to protect your existing points balance and take advantage of any unused benefits.
For more on each of these cards, check out the following posts:
- Maximizing Benefits with the Amex Platinum Card
- Maximizing Benefits with the Citi Prestige Card
- Amex Platinum vs. Visa Black vs. Citi Prestige: Who Wins?
- Is Amex Platinum or Citi Prestige Better for Lounge Access?
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.