I Spent How Much!? On Annual Fees In 2019 & My Game Plan For 2020
I am going to be completely honest with you guys, I was afraid to write this post. I didn’t want to really look into what I was spending on annual fees. Don’t get me wrong I had an idea but the figures came in quite a bit higher than I had anticipated. I wanted to take some time and share with you the cards I paid an annual fee on, why I paid it and whether or not I plan to pay it again in 2020.
Annual Fees Paid In 2019
I will run through them one by one and share my thoughts on each card. Let’s start from most expensive to least expensive.
American Express Platinum – $550
This is actually my wife’s Amex Platinum. She had the old Mercedes Benz card which moved over to the regular Platinum. I had planned on downgrading the card to the American Express Gold or American Express Green card but she got a decent retention offer on it so we kept it one more year. I was also eager to keep her off the Amex naughty list since I was stuck on it, I am no longer though!
American Express Aspire Card – $450 x 2 = $900
I have called the Aspire card the best perks card in the business. It is one of the few premium cards to pay you to carry it in value year after year. The value has dipped some with recent changes but it is still a net positive for us. I plan on keeping them both in 2020 although I am kicking around downgrading my wife’s card to the American Express Surpass. That way I could earn the free night from the $15K in spend instead of paying for it and I would hope for an upgrade offer down the road.
Delta Platinum Business Card – $195 x 2 = $390
My wife and I both have the Delta Business Platinum card and took advantage of it when the welcome offer was at it’s peak. I have never tried to use the companion pass that comes with these cards and I was considering keeping one or both to try to get value out of it. But with the changes to the Delta cards upcoming this one went from their best card to the worst card in the Delta lineup. I don’t plan on paying the new, increased $250 annual fee.
Delta Personal Platinum Card – $195
I was targeted for the Delta Personal Platinum card with a no lifetime offer. It even bypassed the Amex popup when I was still on the naughty list. The thinking on 2020 is the same as above. With the increase in fee I don’t plan on holding it. If I was chasing Delta status via spend I would probably still keep it, but you guys know my thoughts on status.
Avianca Vuela Visa Card – $149
I grabbed the Avianca Vuela Visa (Learn More) with the increased 60,000 mile offer (ends today). Even though I kind of despise LifeMiles I had planned to use them for Lufthansa flights or United domestic travel. I burned most of the miles for our upcoming trip to Hawaii so it was well worth the $149 annual fee up front. The card earns 2X at grocery stores and gas stations but since LifeMiles are a transfer partner or every major currency you can do better elsewhere. I plan on closing this one in 2020.
World of Hyatt – $95 x 2 – $190
The World of Hyatt credit card is one of my favorite cards and one that both myself and my wife carry. The value you can get from it is pretty great with the anniversary night and the free night after $15,000 in spend each cardmember year. The elite night credits are a nice plus for anyone after Hyatt status too. All of that plus a rewarding earning structure make this a long term keeper.
American Express Surpass – $95
As much as I love the Aspire card the American Express Surpass card is probably my favorite Hilton card. You get valuable Gold status which will get you free breakfast if you don’t have the Aspire. You can also earn a free night after $15,000 in spend like the World of Hyatt credit card. But the plus here is that the card earns 6X on US supermarkets which is a real points earner. I plan on keeping this card long term as well.
American Express Everyday Preferred – $95
The Amex Everyday Preferred offers the best return on US supermarket spend out there at 4.5X per dollar. You have to jump through a few hoops to get there by making 30 transactions in a month which can be tiresome at times. And the earning rate is capped at $6,000 per year but that is more than enough for most people. This card is a toss up for me right now. If we downgrade my wife’s Amex Platinum to the American Express Gold card I probably won’t have much use for it anymore. If she gets a retention offer then we will keep it one more year regardless.
The BOA Premium Rewards card can be a great earner for anyone with Platinum banking status at BOA. Well, that isn’t me so the card doesn’t get a ton of use. I grabbed it for the juicy $500 welcome offer and to give it a spin. If you keep it long term the airline credit ($100) pretty much offsets the annual fee but I think this one is ripe for a closure in 2020.
Citi Premier – $95
To be honest I kept this card open and paid the second annual fee so I wouldn’t reset my 24 month clock. I know a downgrade would have been possible but that appears to be somewhat YMMV on whether or not it resets the clock. For $95 I thought it was worth it. The other reason I kept it open is because of the change with the Citi Double Cash card. You need a premium card to make the cash back transferable ThankYou points. Those two reasons made it worth paying the annual fee to me.
Ink Plus – $95
I don’t even attempt to get the fee waived for the Chase Ink Plus because I think the value is so great that I happily pay the fee. Plus who needs eyes on their account 😂. It is no longer available and the closest thing to it is the fee free Chase Ink Business Cash. This continues to be my favorite card and I will keep for as long as they keep it around.
Bank of America Virgin Atlantic – $90
I have professed my love for Virgin Atlantic miles many time over. And I try to grab this card whenever there is an increased offer. I jumped on it when it went to 60,000 miles after $2,000 in spend. This is actually a decent card for non bonus spend earning 1.5X on everything and you get a 7,500 mile bonus after spending $15,000 and $25,000 in an anniversary year. That is over 2 miles per dollar if you spend exactly $25,000 each year.
Flexperks Visa – $49
This is my oldest card. I signed up for the Northwest Airlines card many many years ago and was product changed to this after the Delta merger. So I keep it and pay the annual fee since it is my oldest card. I also received an offer on the Amex FlexPerks card a few years back that the annual fee is waived every year on that card as long as I keep the Visa version. I don’t really use either even though they are decent cards…maybe one day I will get back into Flexperks.
IHG – $49 X 2 = $98
My wife and I both keep these cards, and will long term, because it is essentially a weekend stay somewhere for $100. It isn’t as good as it used to be but there is still a lot of value there. Unfortunately this card is no longer available and has been replaced by the IHG Premier Rewards credit card.
If you are keeping track at home that is a whopping $3086 in annual fees. As you can see travel isn’t completely free even if you are using points. I think this is probably the most I have ever spent on annual fees within a year. The three Delta Platinum cards are the main culprit. I plan on cutting my fees to under $2000 in 2020 (or at least I hope to). But who knows what 2020 will bring at this point. Maybe Capital One® will finally release that premium card that has been rumored or Chase will release a mid tier card like the American Express Gold card to tempt me. Come on Chase we need a grocery bonus on ONE of your Ultimate Rewards cards…you can do it!
Share how much you spend on annual fees in the comments section…if you dare to add them up that is 🤣.