No Thanks, Amex! Why We Turned Down a Platinum Upgrade Offer

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Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer

Why We Turned Down an Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer

American Express continues to keep my attention in so many ways.  Of course, that is by their design.  One way they do this is by drawing me in to upgrade offers.  Amex has done so well with this angle, I have called in with the hopes of obtaining an upgrade offer.  But now and then, my wife and I do withstand the urge to upgrade an Amex card.

A Reason to Love Snail Mail

My wife recently obtained a Platinum upgrade offer via snail mail.  Amex definitely has the marketing advantage via mail, in my opinion.  The oversized, striking envelope printed on quality paper stock containing the offer was nicer than most mailings I have received containing approved credit cards.

The offer contents included the usual itemization of all Platinum benefits.  Then, to the actual upgrade offer:

Let’s Take a Step Back

My wife received this offer on her American Express Green card account, which she had held for about one year.  We had no interest in her continuing to hold the Green card, as the annual fee was increasing to $150 due to the recent Green card refresh.  Also, we had no interest in the updated Green card points earning structure or benefits, as we had better options elsewhere.

We have each previously held the American Express Platinum card, so an upgrade offer such as this was the only way we would obtain another cardmember welcome offer.  Admittedly, we gave a few seconds of consideration to this offer.  But that’s all the time we considered it.

Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer
The Amex Gold card. One of my current favorite cards.

Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer – Our Alternate Move

Prior to receiving this offer, our long-term plan for this account was to upgrade the card to the American Express Gold card.  We had each previously held the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card, so a new cardmember welcome offer wasn’t an option for either of us.  Additionally, I had easily upgraded my own Green card account to a Gold Card about a month prior.

So my wife called and upgraded her Green card to a Gold Card in about five minutes.  There was no upgrade bonus offered.  Why did we continue with the upgrade?  Because of the Gold’s grocery category, which earns 4x Membership Rewards on the first $25,000 of spend at U.S. supermarkets annually.  Even taking into account the $250 annual fee, this Gold earning rate alone makes this a beneficial card for us to hold.  Additionally, we reliably use the airline credit and $10 monthly dining credit.

This Is Where It Gets Weird

Within one week of my wife receiving and activating her new Gold card, she received another Platinum upgrade offer.  Unlike her previous offer via snail mail, this one was in her online Amex account.  The upgrade terms were as follows:

  • Earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards by spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of holding the card.

Upon reading this, Ron Burgundy rose up, exclaiming, “My, that escalated quickly!”  To be clear, my wife received this second Platinum upgrade offer after holding her new Gold card for about one week.  

Of course, we don’t plan to take Amex up on this upgrade offer, either.  With the Gold card, we will accrue much more than 60,000 Membership Rewards at an annual fee $300 less.  But Amex’s enthusiasm for offering upgrades with escalating reward amounts cannot be ignored.

Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer
Amex Centurion Lounges. Just one of many benefits for Platinum cardholders.

Amex Upgrades – My Perspective

Recently, I have read and heard many opinions on Amex upgrade offers and how they should be handled.  Some have stated that upgrading cards too frequently could be a recipe for a shutdown or clawback.  In my opinion, if Amex places an upgrade offer in my online account or mails me a shiny envelope full of upgrade offer goodness, I have no concerns about adverse action on my accounts by Amex.  From my perspective, these are legitimate upgrade offers that Amex wouldn’t extend to me if they weren’t okay with me accepting them.  In return, I take their updated guidance about closing and downgrading credit cards seriously.  Since there is so much we do not control in this hobby, it’s critical that we control the few things which we can.  One of those things is accepting worthy Amex upgrade offers.

Amex Platinum Upgrade Offer – Final Thoughts

As a longtime American Express cardholder with ever-dwindling options for new card welcome offers, I will continue to hunt for upgrade opportunities.  I enjoy the hunt, and Amex is okay with it.  What are your favorite upgrade offers you’ve received, regardless of issuer?  Did you take the bank up on the offer?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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2 COMMENTS

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I called Amex about potential upgrades for my Hilton basic and Bonvoy basic personal cards which I’ve held both for over 1yr. They offered upgrades, but *without* the bonus. Pass.

    Perhaps with the travel industry taking a nosedive, and some of that spilling over into the economy in-general, they’ll be singing a different tune.

    Love the idea of getting a bonus for upgrading…while retaining my account history — as opposed to closing a card and opening a new one.

    Companies that fail to offer upgrade bonuses literally ENCOURAGE churning. They are extremely short-sighted.

    • DP,

      All good points! I understand it didn’t fit for your situation, but sometimes it may be worthy of an upgrade without a bonus offer. For us, our two recent Green to Gold upgrades without any bonus offer still made sense. Thanks for reading!

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