Spring Cleaning and Retention Offers
Its time for some spring cleaning. In my wallet that is! During my last June Credit Card Churn (signing up for a lot of credit cards at the same time), I applied for 5 credit cards. Unfortunately, many were only waiving the annual fee for the first year, then $95/year each and not all of them are worth keeping for another year if I have to pay the fee. So the question is do I keep, convert or cancel?
Here are the factors I consider in my decision making process:
1) Are the perks/benefits more than the annual fee?
2) Is there another card that can get me similar benefits/perks and a new sign-up bonus?
3) How long have I had the card? Is it worth keeping open to preserve the history of the account?
This is how I decided to keep certain cards, cancel others, and convert some to duplicate or substitute cards with the same issuers for even more bonus points and perks. By convert I mean canceling my current card and applying for the same or similar one (if an issuer has introduced a new version) to get the sign up bonus again. For those cards I decided to cancel, I had some mixed results with retention offers…
Ink Bold ($95 annual fee)
Convert – Chase Ink Bold that I have was issued as a MasterCard, but are now issued as a Visa Card. Visa Card is considered a different product so the Visa version will get me 60,000 sign up bonus!
Sapphire ($95 annual fee)
Keep – I use this card all the time because you can earn 2.14x points per dollar on travel and dining. Its my favourite!
American Airlines Visa ($95 annual fee)
Cancel – I have four American Airlines credit cards so I don’t need to keep this one. However when I called Citi to cancel, I was transferred to an Account Specialist who offered to waive the $95 annual fee and special bonus offer for an extra 1,000 AA miles for each month that I spend at least $1,000 for the next 16 billing statements. Keeper!
US Airways Mastercard ($89 annual fee)
Cancel – I signed up for this card with the intention of canceling it before the annual fee posted to my account. However when I called Barclays to cancel, I was transferred to an Account Specialist who offered to waive 50% of the $89 annual fee to keep the card for another year. I don’t fly US Airways that often but you get 10,000 US Airways Dividend Miles on your anniversary, one US Airways Club lounge pass and two $99 plus taxes companion tickets per year. All that for $44.50? Definitely keep for another year!
Blue Cash Preferred ($75 annual fee)
Cancel – I applied for this card because it offered 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6k purchase per year) and 3% cash back on gas. But now that I have the American Express Blue Cash that gives me 5% cash back at gas, groceries and drugstores after $6,500 spend, I don’t need this card anymore. I maxed out my 6% cash back on groceries purchase before I cancelled though. Total statement credit $720. Fee $75. Win!!! I did speak to an Account Specialist who offered $25 but I declined cause it wasn’t good enough!
So for making a few phone calls this morning, I got $44.50 annual fee waived and $95 statement credit and bonus opportunity for an extra 1,000 AA/month. Not too bad for 0 hard inquires on my credit report!