Do Annual Fees Count Toward Earning a Sign-up Bonus?

Apr 19, 2015

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TPG reader Krysta tweeted me to ask

@thepointsguy – “Does the $450 Amex Platinum annual fee count towards the $3,000 you need to spend within the first three months?”

This is a great question that I’m asked frequently, and the answer is applicable to almost every credit card and annual fee out there.

The Platinum Card from American Express offers 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on the card in your first 3 months. However, it’s important to understand that the $450 annual fee does not count toward the spending requirement for the bonus points. This is also true for other credit cards, not just the Amex Platinum. 

The annual fee doesn’t count as eligible spending toward earning the bonus. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I’ve had readers email to report that a phone rep told them the annual fee would count. This may come as a surprise, but phone reps don’t always know what they’re talking about. Regardless of what you hear from Amex customer service, the annual fee will not count toward earning the bonus, and neither will balance transfers or cash advances.

New purchases are the only eligible spending. Credit card companies are getting really strict about this; if you don’t hit the minimum spending requirement with eligible purchases, you won’t earn the bonus.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

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