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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
complainingsweet 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.