My Credit Card Retention Offers

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This past week I decided to get rid of a bunch of cards in my wallet as the annual fees were about to hit. While there are many cards where I happily pay the annual fee, there are a few that were giving me no benefit whatsoever. I also realized I am paying way too much in annual fees overall and wanted to reduce that out of pocket cost significantly.

The three cards that I was looking to cancel included: American Express Business Platinum, AAdvantage Citi Executive, and CapitalOne Venture. Both the Platinum and Citi Executive card come with a $450 annual fee each and I felt as I was getting little to no value out of them. With that, I made three separate phone calls and here were the results:

American Express Business Platinum: To cancel this card ultimately required talking to four separate people! They did not want to lose my business and were trying very hard. When they asked why I wanted to close the card I told them bluntly that I was not getting enough value out of the $450 annual fee. The representative explained every perk in the book to me (which I already knew) and was really trying to sell me on the $200 incidental credit. Without even asking for a retention offer, she offered a $100 statement credit for keeping the card. While that in theory brings the card down to $150 after the $200 incidental statement credit, I still didn’t wasn’t getting $150 value. And I didn’t think I would get $150 in statement credits with this specific card with the Amex Offers. She continued to try to convince me to get a different Amex business card, but ultimately I declined and cancelled the card. Although… if they start to open up more centurion lounges then I might think differently about having this card. I figured at that point, I can open it up again and hope to get the sign up bonus then. It probably took me close to 30 minutes just to get the card closed!

  • Annual fee refund: Since I had already paid the annual fee (I wanted to keep the card long enough to use the Centurion lounge in Vegas last month), I was able to get it reimbursed. American Express has a policy where they will reimburse you for the annual fee as long as it has been within 60 days that you were charged. After that, they will reimburse you a prorated amount.

AAdvantage Citi Executive: This card also has a separate retention department from the rest of the Citi cards and only required talking to two people. I explained to them that the annual fee was ridiculously expensive and while I got it for lounge access, the JFK lounge is beyond horrible. A few weeks ago the only thing you could get there was pretzels, I am not even exaggerating! While some people love this card for the bonus MQM opportunity, I am not flying enough with American anymore to needs those extra points towards status. Again without asking, I was offered 15,000 miles if I spent $5,000 over the next three months. I immediately declined this offer and was then given a $100 statement credit + 5,000 mile option if I spend $1,000 on the card. Again I declined as there is no way this card is even worth $350. I would be much more inclined to keep the American Express Business Platinum card. So ultimately, I ended up closing this card as well.

  • Annual fee refund: I failed big time on knowing this rule. For whatever reason, I had it in the back of my mind that I would get my fee reimbursed within 60 days after it was paid. Since I was closing the Amex Platinum card at the same time, I clearly just clumped the rules together. What I found out the hard was is that this card has a very different refund policy than all other Citi cards. All other citi cards you receive a prorated refund if you cancel the card after the annual fee was paid. With this particular card, you have to cancel within 37 days for a refund and there is no pro-rated reimbursement after that. I was actually 5 days passed that 37 day rule, but after some complaining sweet talking, a supervisor was able to waive the annual fee for me.

CapitalOne Venture: I got this card awhile back when I received a 100,000 point sign up bonus. This card has a $59 annual fee which is not bad at all and is a great card for those that like a fixed point earning and redemption style, but I personally get a better value with my Starwood and Chase Ultimate Reward points. Last year upon calling to cancel I was immediately offered a one-time opportunity for them to waive the $59 annual fee. I took them up on this offer. Well again, without even inquiring for a retention offer, I was given the same “one-time opportunity” for them to waive the annual fee. This did not require me to speak to anyone in the retention department. The first representative that picked up the phone was able to give it to me. I took her up on the offer and the phone call was over within 2 minutes. Since I’ve had this card for a decent amount of time, I figured why not keep it as it only helps my credit score. And since I had just cancelled two cards, there was no reason to cancel a third if I didn’t have to. There is also the possibility that I might make way over to a fixed earning and redemption program later in the year.

Ultimately I was offered a retention offer on all three cards, but decided to only accept one of the offers thrown my way. For those that are looking to cancel any of there cards, I highly suggest asking for a retention offer first. You never know what they might do for you.

The responses below 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.


  1. Hoping for some advice. I have a regular Citi Ameican Airlines card, and a USAir Barclays card that’s being converted to an AA Aviator Red card. It seems silly to keep both, but I don’t know which one to cancel. Any suggestions?

    • @Sandi – I know many people are ultimately going to be in this same dilemma. I agree it is silly to keep them both as there is no reason to pay two annual fees for the exact same perks. I’ll put together a more detailed post, but personally I’d keep the one that has a higher credit limit and you’ve had longer. There also might be the opportunity to get an annual fee waived.

  2. just an fyi. I just called citi about my aa exec card. They offered a $450 statement credit after spending $5000 per month for three months or a $250 statement credit after spending $3000 per month for three months. I did have a significant amount of spend on this card last year and i do think “free” admirals club access is worth keeping it again this year.

    • @Brant – That is great! I personally didn’t spend anything on the card other than the required minimum spend to get the sign up bonus. So I am sure they were not itching to keep me.

      If you are essentially getting the annual fee waived (with the $450 statement credit), then the admirals club access is definitely worth it!

  3. I took the 15,000 bonus miles for $5000 spend offer within 3 months on my Executive card. I completed the spend within a week, got the bonus miles on the next statement and was able to downgrade within 37 days and get the annual fee refund on top.

  4. HI,

    Thanks for the post. Do you have data point of Retention Offers on Amex Everday preferred card? Its annual fee is 95$. I understand it is not that much, but money is money. I spent over 60K in the last year and I am wondering if I can ask for refund of annual fee or other offers.

  5. I had no luck last year getting them to waive my Venture Card annual fee, so they moved me to a basic card and I haven’t spent a dime on it in a year, so their loss.

  6. I prefer to cancel the cards instead of a retention offer, because then I can apply later for the same card, get the first year free (usually) plus the new promo bonus.
    So far that’s been working for me.

  7. I would really appreciate your advice. I have a Platinum American Express (personal) with a $450 annual fee and a Platinum Delta Amex with a $150 fee (supposed to be $195, but maybe I was grandfathered in to an earlier annual fee). I never carry a balance on my cards by paying them off in full each month.

    I was heavy on Delta with Gold Medallion status but I’m just over the devalutaion of the miles I have earned. So….I have 300,000 points I do not want to lose – Do I will have to stick with some type of Delta Amex to retain the miles I’ve earned?

    I do not use my Amex Platinum card except for the $200 airline credit and just used it for the Global Entry Fee of $100. Of couse, it got me into the Delta SkyClub too. But without flying Delta going forward, what do I need the Platinum card when the SkyClub is the only club it gets me into any more. Should I just downgrade to a Gold or Green card or ask for a fee waiver?

    • @Ryan – I would definitely get rid of the Amex Platinum card in your situation. You can ask for a fee waived and see what they offer you. I was offered $100 statement credit.

      In regards to the Delta Amex, you do not need to keep a Delta credit card to retain the miles you’ve earned.

  8. I called Citi re: Exec Card. I was transferred to a retention rep and she reminded me of all the benefits of the card, but said they couldn’t offer anything for retention. In a year, I probably put between $2.5K-$4K/month for 9 months, then moved to other cards (for minimum spend requirements). I ended up cancelling the card – not broken hearted about that, but am disappointed they didn’t offer anything. Congrats to all who have better luck than I did.

  9. I have had the AAdvantage Citi Executive card for a year and called to see if I could get the upcoming fee waived. They wouldn’t do it, but when I tried to cancel they offered a $250 credit if I spent $3000 each month for the next 3 months or $100 credit + 5000 miles if I spend $1500 each for the next 3 months. I’m still debating whether to do it or not. First offer seems like the better deal if I do keep it.

    I’m not thrilled at paying a high fee since I also have an Amex Platinum card. I also have the USAir Barclays card that’s about to be converted to AA (and that I paid $89 for).

    Any thoughts would be welcome.

    • @KM – Do you use the AA lounge often? If you do decide to keep it, the first offer is definitely a better deal.

      • I use the lounge sometimes — when I’m traveling AA or a partner and it’s nearby. But probably only adds up to about 3-4 times a year. I get United lounge passes from the United card and sometimes the Centurion Lounge with the Amex. So I could live without the AA lounge access.

        • @KM – I personally cancelled my card as I didn’t think the annual fee was worth it even after the statement credit.

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