Downgrading French Amex AF/KL Platinum Card

Old Apr 17, 20, 11:18 am
  #1  
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Downgrading French Amex AF/KL Platinum Card

Wondering if anyone has downgraded their card. I'm trying to be practical-- with no foreseeable travel and no need for XPs since my status has been extended for a year, I've been thinking of downgrading.

Has anyone done this or is thinking of doing this?

In the future when I want to upgrade again, does anyone know if you have to go through the complete application process or just request the upgrade?

Thanks.
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Old Apr 17, 20, 11:46 am
  #2  
 
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Nope but I am planning to change the benificiary of the second card to make my wife plat instead of my mother by basically switching gold and plat additional card.
I guess my mother will be extended plat next year instead of dropping to gold...
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Old Apr 17, 20, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by canadavid View Post
Nope but I am planning to change the benificiary of the second card to make my wife plat instead of my mother by basically switching gold and plat additional card.
I guess my mother will be extended plat next year instead of dropping to gold...
Let us know what that procedure is if you can since I have to do the same.
When I had Amex cards in Italy any change required a whole new application process which is a pain.
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Old Apr 17, 20, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
Let us know what that procedure is if you can since I have to do the same.
When I had Amex cards in Italy any change required a whole new application process which is a pain.
i would have thought that a phone call is enough are they are both already in my account. But I will let you know.
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Old Apr 18, 20, 4:36 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
Wondering if anyone has downgraded their card. I'm trying to be practical-- with no foreseeable travel and no need for XPs since my status has been extended for a year, I've been thinking of downgrading.

Has anyone done this or is thinking of doing this?

In the future when I want to upgrade again, does anyone know if you have to go through the complete application process or just request the upgrade?

Thanks.
I downgraded to the white card. Got refunded partly for the fee. Just a call and it was arranged. As we have shut down for COVID-19 and I was already doubting if I needed the card I decided to do it. They did not even try to keep me Plat.

upgrading should be no problem.
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Old Apr 18, 20, 4:47 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Meneer Guggenheimer View Post
I downgraded to the white card. Got refunded partly for the fee. Just a call and it was arranged. As we have shut down for COVID-19 and I was already doubting if I needed the card I decided to do it. They did not even try to keep me Plat.

upgrading should be no problem.
But is it a French Amex?
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Old Apr 20, 20, 3:25 pm
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A call and you get reimbursed of the non used pro-rata from yearly starting date.

By the way, did you make any claim for a canceled plane ticket reimbursement, appart from skyteam companies ?
I downgraded to gold amex AF/KLM a few months ago and called them to ask for cashback about 3 different round trip. If a voucher is proposed then they do not want to start procedure. Been told that every Amex AF/KLM card holder are treated the same.
A bit rude.
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Old Apr 20, 20, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Yolow View Post
A call and you get reimbursed of the non used pro-rata from yearly starting date.

By the way, did you make any claim for a canceled plane ticket reimbursement, appart from skyteam companies ?
I downgraded to gold amex AF/KLM a few months ago and called them to ask for cashback about 3 different round trip. If a voucher is proposed then they do not want to start procedure. Been told that every Amex AF/KLM card holder are treated the same.
A bit rude.
No I have not filed any claims in France against airlines. I have in Italy and Amex did do a chargeback.

The issue according to Amex France is not about vouchers... the reason they state (at least that they have told me several times) is that AF is a partner of theirs, and as such they do not initiate claims against partners.
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Old Apr 27, 20, 5:21 am
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
Wondering if anyone has downgraded their card. I'm trying to be practical-- with no foreseeable travel and no need for XPs since my status has been extended for a year, I've been thinking of downgrading.

Has anyone done this or is thinking of doing this?

In the future when I want to upgrade again, does anyone know if you have to go through the complete application process or just request the upgrade?

Thanks.
I can tell you some of my experiences with downgrading Amex cards in France. I have a Amex Plat AF/KLM a few years ago as I needed to extra miles and status segments for a trip (that was just before the XP thing). I have been an Amex Gold AF/KLM since 2008 and never paid membership as I am spending more than 20000 Euros a year with it (the unofficial threshold to have it for free - haven't paid a membership since 2008 because of this). So when I decided to upgrade my amex AF/KLM a few years ago, I wanted to make sure I would not lose this free membership benefit as I know I would most likely keep this platinum card for only a year. The agent I spoke with agreed on the phone and I enjoyed a year of Platinum amex card for 570 Euros... One year later, I called them again to switch back to my Amex AF/KL Gold card, with the previous conditions I had. The agent said this was not possible to downgrade withing the same category. After some arguments with him, and also provided the exact call dates when the previous agent agreed with those conditions, he accepted to revert back to my previous conditions (free gold card of more than 20ke spent yearly). I also requested to have an email from him mentioning this benefit. Since then, I never paid a membership fee for the Gold amex AF/KL (I had to ring them last year when they decided to charge me the fee, but this was reverted back immediately after the call).

On top of the Gold Amex AF/KL, I also have since last year a "regular" Platinum Amex (not AF/KLM). I got it through my French bank (Fortuneo) which has a partnership with welcome bonuses with Amex. Given the lack of benefits during this lockdown period, and given the fact I was quite unsatisfied with the Amex service recently (charge back processes etc... we discussed about this on another thread), I called them this morning to tell them I wanted to stop this card, and explaining why. the agent quickly checked if there was any retention bonuses for my card available (like in some other markets) but told me that unfortunately, there was nothing available. After putting me a few mnutes on hold, he came back with a 8000 Flying Blue miles (not membership reward points) as a retention bonus. I told him this was really unsatisfactory and wanted to pursue with the cancellation. During my time on hold, I checked on my bank website (fortuneo) and remembered that there was an offer for the regular gold card (first year free, but mostly free of charge the following years if you spend more than 12000 Euros yearly on it - I though it was a good offer with my bank which is not the case if you get it though the amex website, can refer you to Fortuneo bank if interested :-D ). I mentioned this to the agent and asked if I could be downgraded to the regular gold card. The point of this was to keep an amex (with decent insurance coverage if needed and keep a membership rewards account alive as I have a lot of MR points I haven't transferred yet) and not pay for it during this lockdown period. There was quite a few moments where I was placed on hold, as the agent told me that it was not possible to downgrade a card, within the same "family" (i.e AF/KL cobranded card vs regular Amex). He even told me to check this directly with Fortuneo if I wanted to downgrade the card (total BS as the bank has nothin to deal with Amex cards, they just bring their portfolio of customers to Amex France). I insisted, by saying that I will just therefore cancel the platinum card. After another 5 minutes on hold, they agreed switching free of charge the platinum card to a gold card, and with the 12000 euros yearly spent criteria in place. I recorded the call and asked for a confirmation email to be sent as I don't really trust those guys anymore. I would recommend you to do the same so you can pull a proof in a year or so when they want to charge you for a card they are supposed to give you for free.
FYI, my yearly spent on the regular plat Amex was about 40 to 50 kE and the Gold AF/KL amex about 25 kE (since I got the platinum amex, it used to be more when I only had ths card). So obviously, it depends on each individual situation. Be ready to tell them you will cancel the card to get what you want. The agent on the phone seemed to tell me that I was not the only calling for this.

Since I now live in NL, I am considering taking the platinum card here, as I had a better experience with Amex NL than Amex FR (but they are typically more expensive too), but I will not do this until the travel restrictions are lifted as there is no point paying for all the travel perks if you cannot travel anymore.

Let us know how your negociation goes !
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Old Apr 27, 20, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by palmanfr View Post
with decent insurance coverage if needed
ohh , so you read the insurance contract signed with axa ??? any comparison with regular offers on the market ??? cause i know they have a specific tailored contract and wanted to know about the pros and cons

Originally Posted by palmanfr View Post
keep a membership rewards account alive as I have a lot of MR points I haven't transferred yet.
do you plan to change to another card issuer like visa or mastercard after you burn all these MR ???

Originally Posted by palmanfr View Post
After another 5 minutes on hold, they agreed switching free of charge the platinum card to a gold card, and with the 12000 euros yearly spent criteria in place. I recorded the call and asked for a confirmation email to be sent as I don't really trust those guys anymore. I would recommend you to do the same so you can pull a proof in a year or so when they want to charge you for a card they are supposed to give you for free.
congrats , thanks for the idea , i guess it is not a problem to record either as your call might be recorded for quality control .

I hope they get a high number of cancellations , so it might trigger a warning that will reach top management and they will start to understand the side effect of treating customers like flock of sheep

Last edited by fifty_two; Apr 27, 20 at 1:33 pm
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Old Apr 27, 20, 1:31 pm
  #11  
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So I called today and downgraded to the Gold card. I told them I was unhappy about how they are handling the Air France refunds and that there was no point in paying for the Platinum card now when I'm not traveling.
Zero problem... and zero incentive to stay. They said they would pro-rate the annual fee and refund it to me and that if I want to go back to the Platinum card just to call.
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Old Apr 27, 20, 1:32 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by fifty_two View Post
ohh , so you read the insurance contract signed with axa ??? any comparison with regular offers on the market ??? cause i know they have a specific tailored contract and wanted to know about the pros and cons
The Amex offers included with Amex France cards are much better policies than the optional ones that anyone can buy from American Express (well, Axa).
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Old Apr 27, 20, 2:08 pm
  #13  
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Interestingly, I also called American Express/Axa to review my insurance coverage going forward.
I have one Platinum AF card and one (now) regular Gold. Both French-issued.

A couple of interesting things.

--Unsurprisingly, effective early April the optional insurance policies do not cover Coronavirus-related cancellations. I will call tomorrow to ask if that also applies to insurance included in Amex France cards.

--Coverage is not limited to the card that you used to purchase your airline ticket. In other words, if you have a Gold and a Platinum card you do not have to use your Platinum card to purchase the ticket. Whatever higher category card you have is what is used to determine benefits. By the same token, if you downgrade your card to say, a Green, you will only get coverage at that level (if that's the only one you have) EVEN IF you purchased the ticket with a Gold or Platinum card.

--There is one difference between the "all cause" optional cancellation product and the one included in Platinum AF/KLM and Platinum cards. That is cancellation for professional reasons. Basically the optional insurance covers cancellations for professional reasons-- specifically, a client project or your employer says you can't travel. That said, it has to have been approved in writing beforehand.
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Old Apr 28, 20, 3:43 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by fifty_two View Post
ohh , so you read the insurance contract signed with axa ??? any comparison with regular offers on the market ??? cause i know they have a specific tailored contract and wanted to know about the pros and cons



do you plan to change to another card issuer like visa or mastercard after you burn all these MR ???



congrats , thanks for the idea , i guess it is not a problem to record either as your call might be recorded for quality control .

I hope they get a high number of cancellations , so it might trigger a warning that will reach top management and they will start to understand the side effect of treating customers like flock of sheep
So the main difference to me is the level of insurance coverage between the different cards. Amex France has a dedicated page (https://www.americanexpress.com/fr/a...ses/index.html - in French) for this which is pretty well done (but excludes some fine prints for which you need to download the full copy of the terms and conditions of the card to know all of those).
For instance, the regular platinum card covers medical expenses abroad and repatriation up to 2 million Euros, while the regular gold one covers only up to 50000 Euros. I never used those type of insurances and (knocking on wood) will never have to use those. But I am the type of guy who prefers to be safe than sorry. However, if you are let's say, on vacation in the USA, 50000 Euros of medical expenses can be reached very fast, even for non life-threatening situations. With the coverage of the platinum card, you can consider yourself well covered worldwide.
To give you a personal example, I went with my partner and her mother in law for an extended weekend in New York last month (we arrived at the border literally 12 hours before the Trump travel ban) and stayed 4 days. While my girlfriend and I were covered by the Platinum insurances in case we got severely sick or injured (COVID19 or something else), my mother in law was not, so I purchased an extra travel insurance just for her. I compared the main providers in the French market (Axa, Allianz, Amex etc...) and ended up taking the insurance from Axa Assistance. I paid for those 4 days something like 45 Euros as far as I recall and it only included medical assistance (up to 160000 Euros) and repatriation. Other insurances I saw on the market were covering only up to 100000 Euros, and the ones with a more enhanced coverage were easily exceeding 100 Euros for just 4 days of travel. Obviously, we were glad that we did not have to use any of our insurances while we were there....
Now that there is a travel lockdown in most places, there is no point in keeping the Platinum card for the time being in my opinion, especially given the customer service level of Amex France and their unwillingness to retain customers.
There are other differences between the cards, like the cancellation insurance which covers up to 10000 Euros per insured member for the platinum, while the gold one only covers up to 4500 Euros per insured member and up to 7000 Euros per family and per year.
The rental car insurance covers also 10x more on the platinum car compared to the gold card (75000 euros vs 750000 Euros).
I travel quite a bit (for personal reasons) so I think the Amex Platinum product is quite good for me, despite the price. The big issue I have nowadays is that airlines like AF or KL refunded my trips only in means of vouchers. Those travel insurances cover only trips FULLY paid using the Amex or MR points (and for the amex AFKLM cards, also trips paid with FB miles). That is a big limitation for me and would eventually require me to purchase a yearly travel insurance package. A quote from AXA Assistance online gives a yearly fee of 270 Euros for travel insurance and cancellation insurances, but with lower thresholds than what Amex Platinum insurance has. So at the end, I think it justifies a bit the high membership fee of the Platinum card. The only benefit of the separate AXA Assitance insurance is that you are covered whatever the means of payment your paid your trip with.
Another benefit of the Platinum amex is the possibility to include extra family members thanks to additional cards. To give you my example again : My parents, my sister, my brother in law, my partner and I were supposed to leave (actually tomorrow ) for a 3 week vacation in Japan. That was the trip of a lifetime for my parents and they were really looking forward to it. They are quite fit and don't have any underlying health issues, but still I wanted a good insurance coverage for the entire family. Given the fact I booked the trip with my platinum card, I was covered. My girlfriend/partner has the secondary platinum card, so she was covered too. I made an extra gold card for my sister, mother and father, but since those are secondary cards, they also were covered like they had the platinum card. And I did not have to spend any extra money to get this "family coverage" (which would have easily costed me 400 Euros more for everyone).
Note that the coverage levels are also country-specific. I can see some thresholds are higher on the Dutch Amex platinum card for the medical expenses (3 million euros).

Anyway, the key thing is that it's important to read the fine print of the insurance contracts, and honestly, those are not too complicated to understand - if you understand French. (I am facing a different situation reading the Dutch insurance from the Dutch Amex now )

I also have a Visa Premier (equivalent to gold card) and a Mastercard Platinum, and I don't pay for any of those cards (Call me cheap but I refuse to pay for credit cards - exception for the Amex Platinum). But the benefit with Amex is the fact you get "rewarded" for your purchases (note the quotation marks here).

Finally, my long term experience with Amex france (since 2008) is to record everything they say or write. Those sales guys can be quite arrogant (experienced it a couple years back during my card downgrade request) and I managed to put the guy to bed by pulling a phone record from the previous year. It should not be like this, but that's how (some) behave overthere. Once you show the proof of what you claim, they are easier to convince. The calls are also recorded on their side so it works both ways.
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Old Apr 28, 20, 3:52 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
So I called today and downgraded to the Gold card. I told them I was unhappy about how they are handling the Air France refunds and that there was no point in paying for the Platinum card now when I'm not traveling.
Zero problem... and zero incentive to stay. They said they would pro-rate the annual fee and refund it to me and that if I want to go back to the Platinum card just to call.
Ok, looks like it was not too much of a struggle then. I pay the membership fee monthly so it's less of an issue for the pro-rata temporis refund. I am surprised that they did not offer anything as a retention bonus. Mine was a total joke (8000 FB miles) but at least it was something. I however had to suggest the agent to offer me the downgrade to Gold, as he did not come up with this solution by himself. All I can say is that once again Amex France is FAR behind their European counterparts (not to mention their US counterpart !)

Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
The Amex offers included with Amex France cards are much better policies than the optional ones that anyone can buy from American Express (well, Axa).
Absolutely correct. With the express condition that you have to fully pay your tickets with the Amex (or the MR points or FB miles depending on your card)

Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
Interestingly, I also called American Express/Axa to review my insurance coverage going forward.
I have one Platinum AF card and one (now) regular Gold. Both French-issued.

A couple of interesting things.

--Unsurprisingly, effective early April the optional insurance policies do not cover Coronavirus-related cancellations. I will call tomorrow to ask if that also applies to insurance included in Amex France cards.

--Coverage is not limited to the card that you used to purchase your airline ticket. In other words, if you have a Gold and a Platinum card you do not have to use your Platinum card to purchase the ticket. Whatever higher category card you have is what is used to determine benefits. By the same token, if you downgrade your card to say, a Green, you will only get coverage at that level (if that's the only one you have) EVEN IF you purchased the ticket with a Gold or Platinum card.

--There is one difference between the "all cause" optional cancellation product and the one included in Platinum AF/KLM and Platinum cards. That is cancellation for professional reasons. Basically the optional insurance covers cancellations for professional reasons-- specifically, a client project or your employer says you can't travel. That said, it has to have been approved in writing beforehand.
I specifically asked the coronavirus coverage before going to NY last month and the agent confirmed that if I had the virus BEFORE starting the trip (and therefore requesting cancellation) I would not be covered as this is a pandemic and this is one of the insurance coverage exclusions. However, if I started to get sick while being in NY, then the insurance would fully kick in, as at the time I arrived, my destination was not a orange or red zone according to the French ministery of foreign affairs.
The second point you mentioned is good to know for the future if I decide to upgrade the card again. I was always paying for my AF/KLM tickets using the platinum card as the insurance is better than on the AF/KLM Gold Amex (but the latter give more points on purchases at AF/KLM)
I am not sure I understand your last point. I think I read that the cancellation insurance included on the Amex were also covering sickness before the trip or sickness of a relative, and events such as fire in your house and home burglary... (i.e not only professional reasons)
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