Fancy Pants Credit Cards – are they really worth it?

The budget for March got a solid kick in the pants today.  What’s the issue – my platinum AMEX card.  Insert big sigh here.

I know there’s an annual fee for this card, and I know what that fee is.  Somehow, I managed to forget all that when I was drafting my 2010 budget.  What a dope!  What I thought would be a minor surplus for March, is now gone, and it’s only mid-way through February.

Yes, I questioned why I have this card.  Truthfully, I didn’t just sign up for this card on the spur-of-the-moment.  I actually thought about it for a couple of weeks before I signed on the dotted line.  That was about a year ago.  I weighed the cost to the potential benefits.

I’m not a big traveller, but I do like to get away with the kids once a year, if possible.  I’ve managed to do this on Aeroplan points in the past.  This AMEX card helps me accumulate those. Just like AirMiles, I can also use those points to purchase things other than travel.

So far this year, I have purchased two major gifts with points (no direct cost to me, except for that annual fee), and I still have enough points that I could take the girls somewhere.  Truth is, the budget doesn’t permit us going anywhere on an airplane this year.  Thankfully, the points won’t expire, and they’ll be there when the budget may permit again.

The other perk, and it’s minor, is a bit of VIP treatment in Canadian airports. I have had a few meals, glasses of wine, snacks and speedy service through security gates with this card.  Is that worth the price of admission  – nope.

So, for now I’ll keep the card. Even if I opt out today, they’ll still take their pound of flesh. For me, it is worth it to pay for the fancy pants card. I imagine at some point that might change.

It’s my first budget killer since I started on this journey in January.  It had to come. Ouch.

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