I hate paying annual fees on credit cards. Well I take that back, I hate paying fees on cards that don’t provide enough value to offset the fee for the card. For example, non-Delta The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN <—LINK I don’t mind paying the
$450 $595 annual fee one bit. Why? I get:
- $200 / year incidentals credit.
- $20 / year for my GOES (i.e. $100 every 5th year)
- $80-240 in GoGo pass value
- $60 in BOINGO value
- $50 per visit Centurion club value
I could go on and on but the bottom line is the real value of the perks offsets the cost of the fee to me. But that is NOT the case for most other cards. So we have the annual ritual of the retention call (see E13 Essentials post) to see if the card companies want to keep me on for another year.
Take for example the Barclay’s Arrival+ card. I like the card, but hate the fee. The fee hit this month but I would rather not pay the fee. Now yes I can use points to pay the fee and I will do so but I still hate paying it. I have called in the past and had the fee waived, but no go this year. So I asked for points? I was told NO to both requests. So, I asked to be transferred to a specialist to see if they could offer points (often first line reps say no – don’t give up). This one offered me 5000 Arrival points! Sweet. By redeeming points for the fee I do get 10% points back so my fee now is basically down from $89 to just $40 remaining that is 4000 more points. I can simply go to Kroger, buy 4x$500 VDGCs and that will cost me $5.95×4 or $23.8 all in for my fee this year to earn the points to cover the rest of the fee. That I can live with for the value of earning points with this card!
Next we have US Bank my wife’s USbank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® <—LINK. She was going to close this one if no offer was made (or downgrade to a no annual fee card possibly). The first rep was worthless and basically said no waiving of fee and no chance for points (yeah right). She asked for a specialist and was sent to an account “manager”. He kindly offered 5,000 FlexPerks points to keep the card. Now 5,000 FlexPerks points are worth up to $100 so not only did she get this year’s $49 fee covered, but next year’s as well. #Winning! By the way, you can use FlexPerk points to pay the annual fee as well but it takes 3,500 and thus costs you in point value $70 to do that so we just pay it off rather than burning points for this.
The last one was the Citi AA card that we got for net $250 to earn 100,000 points last year. No way were we keeping this card where there are better 50,000 points AA cards out and about. We were offered 15,000 points if we spend $5000 in 3 months. No thanks, not worth it. Account closed.
What to take away from this. Don’t give up if one rep says no to a retention request. Take it up the food chain. If rep two says no you can downgrade to a no fee card, close the card, or HUCB in a few days before you close the card if that is your final choice.
What have been the results of your retention calls this year? – René
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