Just what can you ask a credit card company to do for you?

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Credit card companies want you to keep their cards. They want you to use them. They love it when you carry a balance (we don’t EVER love them that much, RIGHT)! Some cards have no annual fee like the Chase Freedom card. Others have small or huge annual fees and then it is up to you to decide if you feel the value you get is worth the fee.

That brings me to today’s topic. Just what can you get back from a credit card? Most will give you some points each year if you complain about an annual fee (see E13 post in the Essentials tab). They would rather give back to you the annual fee than lose you or give you enough points to offset the fee in your mind. But what else?

A reader, let’s call him BOB, sent me a copy of a letter he just got from AMEX. He has a few AMEX cards and does spend a sizable amount in total on all his Delta AMEX cards. Part of the letter said:

“You will continue to see the new Annual Membership Fee on your Cardmember agreement and other material. Please rest assured that this fee is waived, and we will notify you if this changes in the future.”

Really! That is the first time I have seen, not just a one year waiver, but a good until further notice fee waiver (who knew you could ask for such a thing)?!?

I have also seen on FlyerTalk a thread where a small business runs ¼ million dollars each year on a Delta Reserve Business card and the card member is given FREE Platinum Medallion status to gift to whoever he wants. I think there are smarter ways to spread out that kind of spend, but still you see the value that this person is bringing to the card company.

We do want the banks to make money. If they are not we cannot enjoy the perks we get from points. But we don’t want them to make all the money from us. – René

PS – You still have time to WIN SWAG Saturday!

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7 comments

  1. Nice post! I just asked AmEx to waive my AF on my PRG and they did no problem but I had made about $40K spend on it in 12 months. My Reserve for Business is coming up on 12 months soon as was considering asking for a retention to keep it (but I don’t want to lose the benefits either). By them I will have made the $60K spend for maximum rewards.Might just keep my head down and pay the fee again.

    Speaking of maximizing Reserve for Business as you hinted at $250K on that card is wayyyyyyyyy to much spend even with free Platinum status to give out for free. I hope they are getting some free Reserve AU cards for employees to use at lounges to boot.

  2. Can you give a quantitative ballpark estimate for BOB’s “sizable” spend? From your comments, I assume it is under $250k. I have three AmEx cards, one idle (no fee), one for gas and groceries (no fee), and one for business travel (fee). Perhaps my spend is “sizeable” and I, too, should put up the fight for waiver of my one fee.

  3. I called AmEx a few weeks ago and asked about waiving the $75 annual fee since I spend $100k/year on my Hilton HHonors surpass card. They were not interested in that at all. They clearly make way more than that on their cut of the charges each month, so I would have though that they would waive it since AmEx usually has excellent customer service. Maybe I should try a different rep? What do you usually say when you talk to them about waiving the fees?

  4. @David – Ask for the retention department. I would ask for points if they will not wave fee (ie if enough points it can offset the fee anyway).

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