Which card should replace my Amex Platinum? TPG’s top 5 picks
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With the recent refresh of The Platinum® Card from American Express, you’ll enjoy four new annual statement credits worth more than $900 alone. But nothing in life comes free — new cardholders will now pay a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
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For existing cardholders, this change will not take effect until renewals begin starting in January 2022. That means you have two options: Keep or downgrade your card.
Many Platinum cardholders are not happy with the new, higher annual fee, although the new benefits are certainly worth more than the (nearly) $150 increase. Additionally, none of the standing benefits you enjoy with the Platinum card are going away. You’ll continue to enjoy that same great lounge access, hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott and much more.
Still, a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) can be tough to swallow — especially if you were already considering canceling your Amex Platinum card this year. While travel has almost ramped up to pre-pandemic numbers, many people just aren’t ready yet.
With that being said, let’s answer the overarching question: Which card should replace my Amex Platinum? In this guide, we’ll present you with five viable options that could replace your Amex Platinum.
Delta’s most premium card offering may act as a bandage for the pain felt from the annual fee increase. Fortunately, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) and has more similarities to the Amex Platinum than you may have originally imagined.
First, let’s talk lounge access. With the Delta Reserve, you’ll get complimentary Sky Club and Centurion Lounge access when flying same-day Delta flights. Now, I know this is much more limiting than the Amex Platinum (which lets you access the Centurion Lounge regardless of the airline you’re flying). Plus, you’re not getting access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges. However, the Delta Reserve could still be a way for you to visit lounges from time to time without totally losing this benefit. (enrollment required)
Admittedly, the Delta Reserve does not have the best rewards rate ever, but neither does the Platinum. You’ll earn 3 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta purchases and 1 SkyMile per dollar on everything else. Since you were likely using your Platinum to earn bonuses on your travel purchases, the earning rates are more or less the same (aka, mediocre).
Now, let’s talk about what you get with the Delta Reserve that the Amex Platinum simply doesn’t offer. If you’re annoyed at the new Platinum changes and feel that it’s like “extreme couponing” for credit cards, you’re not alone. That’s why you should swap your card for the Delta Reserve, as it comes with much more straightforward travel benefits that you can actually get excited about, rather than the (quite limiting) digital entertainment credit.
With the Delta Reserve, you’ll get an annual companion certificate upon card renewal. This is good for a round-trip ticket on domestic first class, Comfort+ or economy. Flights can get expensive — especially if you go all out in first class — so the value of the companion certificate alone can justify that $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Next, the Delta Reserve offers something that the Platinum can’t: a pathway to airline elite status. While you’d be losing your Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton, Delta Medallion status can be much more valuable anyway, thanks to perks such as free upgrades, checked bags and more. You’ll get 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $30,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year, up to four times — putting you well on your way to elite status.
Last but not least, you’ll get a terrific welcome offer, where you can earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021. TPG values this welcome offer at $880, excluding the MQMs you can earn with this card.
Application link: Delta SkyMiles Reserve offering 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs.
This next pick is the most obvious one. The Chase Sapphire Reserve always goes head-to-head with the Amex Platinum, and Chase even raised the card’s annual fee to $550 in 2020.
Now that the Amex Platinum has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), it makes the Sapphire Reserve the more affordable option. If you’ve thought about applying for the Sapphire Reserve but couldn’t justify paying two monstrous annual fees, maybe now is the time to cancel your Platinum and go for the Reserve.
For starters, the Reserve, with its approachable $300 annual travel credit, feels less gimmicky than the Platinum. This credit automatically posts to your statement for any travel-related expenses, whether that be a flight, Uber rides, parking fees — the list goes on. There’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t take advantage of this $300 travel credit, especially since you can use it for gas and groceries through the end of 2021.
You won’t have Centurion Lounge access with the Reserve, but Priority Pass will still cover more than 1,300 lounges worldwide.
The rewards rate is much better on the Reserve, helping you accrue points beyond travel expenses. You’ll earn 10x on Lyft (through March 2022), 3x on travel and dining and 1x on everything else. Those two bonus categories are far-reaching and are inclusive of any charge that codes as travel and dining.
With the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll still get transfer partner abilities to Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel programs instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Some of TPG’s favorite programs include United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.
You can score some pretty incredible redemptions with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and even book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal at an elevated 1.5-cent rate. This is an excellent option for cardholders to use their points on a variety of travel vendors.
Furthermore, the partner benefits are much better with the Sapphire Reserve. Enjoy up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits and up to $120 in Peloton credits through the end of 2021. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary Lyft Pink membership (activate by March 31, 2022) and a free year of a DoorDash DashPass subscription (activate by Dec. 31, 2021).
Tie it all together with a 60,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 or more in three months (worth $1,200 according to TPG’s valuations), and you’ve got your replacement for your Amex Platinum.
Application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve card offering 60,000 bonus points.
If you don’t want to open a new card entirely (which counts as a hard pull and may affect your credit score), you could consider downgrading to the American Express Gold Card. You’ll still have the same access to the Membership Rewards program and redemption options without totally giving up on Amex.
The annual fee is much more reasonable at $250 (see rates and fees), and is virtually comped thanks to the up to $240 in dining and Uber Cash statement credits you’ll enjoy with the card every year. (enrollment required)
This card is also catered to foodies, as you’ll earn 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 each year, 1x after) and restaurants, 3x on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel and 1x on everything else. I could also see this being a great pick for those who have ceased their travels due to the pandemic and are focusing on benefits while staying at home.
While you won’t snag the welcome offer if you downgrade your card, you do have the option to close your Amex Platinum and open an Amex Gold separately. If you go this route, you’ll enjoy 60,000 Membership Rewards bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within six months of card membership. That’s worth a considerable chunk of change — $1,200, based on TPG’s valuations. But you may be able to snag a 75,000-point welcome offer by using the CardMatch tool (offers subject to change at any time).
Application link: Amex Gold card offering 60,000 bonus points.
This recommendation is among the most affordable options — the Chase Sapphire Preferred, with a $95 annual fee.
While you might not think that the Sapphire Preferred falls in the same wheelhouse as the Amex Platinum, hear me out: It still gives you access to transferable points, and in this case, Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel programs. You can also use your points at a rate of 1.25 cents each when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Maybe it’s time that you stop paying for a credit card with such a high annual fee and focus on using your rewards in a more practical sense. For instance, you can take advantage of Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, which allows cardholders to redeem your points at an elevated 1.25 cents each for dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, select charities and to fund a vaccine ride.
These are temporary options that Chase has implemented to help customers use up their points if they aren’t traveling. Thankfully, you have until Sept. 30, 2021 to leverage this tool (Dec. 31, 2021 if you’re donating to charity). Additionally, you’ll earn 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining, 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2x points on all other travel and 1x on everything else. Again, this is a much better everyday card while still having access to great travel perks (when you need them).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers its best-ever sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after spending $4,000 or more in three months from account opening. That’s worth $2,000 according to TPG’s valuations — an unbelievable offer from a card with a $95 annual fee.
Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred offering 100,000 bonus points.
Rather than an annual fee increase, you’ll enjoy a significant fee decrease with the Premier at a reasonable $95 per year. The Citi Premier’s standout benefits include much better everyday rewards rates: 3x at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, 3x on air travel and hotels and 1x on everything else.
Plus, you’ll get great access to a ton of transfer partners, many of which overlap with Amex. Citi partners with 16 airline programs, including lucrative options like Avianca LifeMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. If you’re a hotel fanatic, you’ll also love the annual incentive to get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more when booked through the Citi ThankYou program.
However, you won’t have access to the travel and shopping protections offered by the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. In September 2019, Citi decided to strip the Premier of these benefits, saying, “We are making these changes so that we can continue providing the key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost.”
The current elevated sign-up bonus for the Citi Premier is 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 with the card within the first three months of account opening. That’s worth $1,360, according to TPG valuations.
Application link: Citi Premier offering 80,000 bonus points.
If you’re unhappy about these Amex Platinum changes, know that you have plenty of options. You may be inclined to cancel your card when that $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) rolls around, but you’ll want to have a backup card that will serve you well in the meantime. Thankfully, many cards can help you maximize your travel and everyday purchases without entirely breaking the bank.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees