Up to 50,000 bonus points: Check your Amex for cardholder perks
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic has turned the travel world upside down, travel providers and card issuers are much more likely to make policy exceptions during this exceptional time. Airlines and hotels having been waiving fees, updating cancelation policies and extending elite status in respond to the travel shutdown.
Card issuers have also been more generous with consumers. Amex even officially extended the time period you have to earn a welcome bonus. If you were approved for an American Express card as far back as December 1, 2019 all the way through May 31, 2020, you'll get an extra three months to meet the minimum spending requirement. And Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders with renewal dates between April 1 and July 1, 2020, are getting $100 statement credits toward their annual fee. But for the most part intro bonus spending deadline extensions or annual fee credits are being granted on a case-by-case basis. So it's worth taking the time to give the bank a call to see what you might be offered. Amex has even been waiving interest and certain fees in response to COVID-19.
Reader Jason R. emailed to let us know that he called Amex to asked about a reduction on the $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) for The Platinum Card® from American Express, he said:
I was just able to call Amex about my annual fee and tried to get a reduction in the fee due to the COVID-19 situation. Instead of reducing the fee they agreed to give me 50,000 points to keep my account open and pay the annual fee. Pretty good trade off! Amazing how a 5 minute phone call can reap some great rewards.
This matches the offer TPG Executive News Director Scott Mayerowitz received as a retention offer earlier this year on his Amex Platinum card.
Related reading: How to submit your own stories and questions to TPG
Jason's annual fee was due on March 24, but even if your account isn't coming up for renewal anytime soon, it's worth calling in. The annual fee on my Amex Platinum card isn't due for another 5-6 months, but because I won't be traveling nearly as much during this card membership year I decided to call and ask for a reduction of my annual fee.
I led the conversation by letting Amex know that I will be unable to use many of my card's best perks, like airport lounge access, for at least 25% of my account year. The phone agent first thanked me for being an Amex customer for 12 years and then reviewed my Amex Platinum card's benefits. He followed up with an offer to earn a $300 statement credit after spending $4,000 on my card within three months. I asked if I could receive points, instead of the statement credit, and accepted an offer of 30,000 points after spending the same $4,000 with three months.
I can understand if the cash back offer would make more sense for you. But I plan to put the points I earn toward first-class award flights for early next year and I'll be able to get much more than $300 in value from them. And the uncertain future of some airlines shouldn't impact my plans because Amex points aren't tied to a single loyalty program, but instead can be transferred to 22 different airlines or hotels.
Keep in mind that these types of bonuses are offered on a case-by-case basis and your history with the bank can play a big roll in whether or not you're eligible. It does seem that the more you spend on your account the more likely it is that Amex will want to entice you to stay on as a cardholder.
If you are able to receive any type of bonus points or cash rebate offers on your travel credit card please let us know in the comments and to stay on top of this fast-changing situation sign-up for our daily newsletter.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.