I’m not your regular die-hard travel hacker. Nor am I very proficient in credit card churning. But I did own an American Express Gold card for the last two years, via FlyingBlue, the airline miles program from KLM and partners.
The FB Gold card is considered a luxury credit card, at least here in The Netherlands. Its price tag of 170 euros per year is pretty steep, considering that you can just get a credit card for free via most banks if you have a checking account with them. What makes the Amex FlyingBlue Gold card so special then? And why did I cancel it last week?
Luxury Credit Cards
A luxury credit card is an expensive credit card that comes with a lot of perks, such as extensive insurance, early-bird tickets to concerts, a lot of airline miles, maybe a cash back program. Also, these cards really market towards the high-end spenders. The credit card companies are trying to make you feel special, and valued as a customer. In return, you pay a metric shit ton of money every year for owning it.
I got my Amex Gold after I got an offer through the KLM FlyingBlue program. I could get the card for free for a year, and with no strings attached. Luckily, I was allowed to cancel the card after the first free year, that’s a pretty nice option.
For using the card, I would receive 12,500 bonus miles. Also, every euro spent on the card was an extra mile. Since I was traveling a lot back then for work, and working in a very small consultancy I booked everything using my personal card. I would get reimbursed within the month, and get all the miles for spending thousands of euros on flights and hotels.
Personally I used the card also as a travel insurance policy. In other words, it gave me quite good value, especially since it was free.
Why I Cancelled It
After the first year I was wondering. Shall I keep it for another year or cancel it?
I decided to keep the card for one year. I figured the 170 euros price tag was worth it. In the end it was 85 per year, and the travel insurance alone was worth more than that.
Also, I was still traveling everywhere. I didn’t fly that much in that period, but drove a lot to Germany and France where I would need hotels. As these hotels are easily 150 euros per night, you can imagine I was racking up quite some points on that spend alone.
Now another year passed and I faced the choice again. This time I decided to cancel the card as I’m not getting as much benefits anymore. At my new job we’re not allowed to personally book flights and hotels, everything goes through a travel agency. That dramatically reduces the spend on my credit card.
I didn’t feel like paying another 170 euros so I called American Express to tell them I was cancelling the card, secretly hoping for an offer to get the card for half the price. Since that wasn’t possible, I cancelled it. That’s an easy 170 euros expense that is now gone from my budget, that can be invested.
For now I will not have my Amex FlyingBlue card to save airline miles. I still however receive miles for flying KLM and partners when I travel for business so that’s nice. I do have enough miles for a return flight for two to North America. Yes that’s right, I know where I’m taking Girlfriend next year!
There is a 12 month cool down period on the cards. That means that I cannot sign up for another Amex card with an introduction promotion for the first 12 months. This used to be three months, apparently too many people were canceling and reapplying every three months.
For the time being I use my free credit card that is included with my bank account for my personal transactions. I will however considering getting a premium card again when I get a good promotional offer, or when it makes financial sense.
Do you have a luxury credit card? Why (not). What are your experiences with credit cards? Let me know in the comments below.