Credit Cards

Results from Barclaycard , US Bank & Citi retention calls. (hint – it worked out very well) (UPDATED)

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


barclaycard retention offer 5000 points

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:

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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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

9 Comments

  1. Even at a $40-equivalent fee, you need to spend about $20,000 in a year to make paying the fee on a 2.2% card worth it, compared to a no-fee 2.0% card. Unless there are other card benefits that make it desirable to a person to keep the card, paying even that reduced fee makes sense only for the big spender in my opinion.

    • @DaveS – Spending 20k in year would net out $400 in value plus another $40 when redeemed. Plus I only net spent out of pocket $23-ish so I count that as winning. BTW I do MFG a nice chunk of spend on the card each year to pay for a great many things! 😉

  2. Citi offered me $250 back if I spend $3k per month for 3 months. I accepted since I do use the Admirals club.

  3. @DaveS. Agreed but you need to be careful when doing the comparison. It isn’t easy to compare it to say the Fidelity Amex card since Amex cards have problems with many manufactured spend techniques (can’t use it to load certain pre-paid cards for example…). So not sure those are directly comparable.

  4. You can get your Barclay World Arrival Master Card Elite annual fee back, the same way you get back travel expenses. Look at the “manage your rewards” section of your bill, you will see the annual fee. Get it back the same way you do your travel costs. I love that card; absolutely one of my favorites.

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  6. Takhliq Khan Reply

    It is so sad that DaveS is not alone in coming up with this fuzzy math when comparing the Barclay Arrivals card. I dot know how they can twist simple math. You only need to spend $4500 in order to recuperate the annual fee and still have 1 dollar left.

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