When a credit card renewal fee hits your bill (which coincides with the expiration month on your credit card), it is time to assess where you stand with that card. What value do you receive from that card, and does the renewal fee swing the pendulum one way or another?
Here’s the crucial step: don’t do anything just yet. That’s when the call to the credit card company comes in. Generally, the conversation is a cautious one, where I say that I want to consider my options – that I’m not ready to cancel just yet, but I would like to speak to a supervisor who could talk to me on this. The conversations can be a little twisted, and often the first offer, if any, I receive is not satisfactory, which is when I HUCA – an acronym for – hang up call again.
I had two cards up for renewal this month.
Chase Hyatt Visa card. Renewal is $75 per year, but for that, I receive one night free at a category 1-4 Hyatt property, so I think the card is valuable. Last week, I called, and was not offered a fee waiver or statement credit, but I was offered 5,000 points, and accepted that. (last year, my experience was rather strange – I was offered Ultimate Reward points, rather than Hyatt points!)
American Express Starwood Business Card. Renewal is $65 per year. This is a very good card, both for earning SPG points, and for transfer of points to airlines. Additionally, as a business card, it has certain discounts from participating in the Open system. Honestly, even though it is a good card, I don’t use it that often, so I wasn’t sure which way to go. I phoned once, even got through to a supervisor, and only received an offer to downgrade to a free card, which was not something I wanted. I said that I needed to think about it and would call back. I then called a few days later and tried a new talking point. I explained that, although the Starwood card is a good card, there were other good business credit cards (such as the Ink cards) with good bonus offers right now, so I was drawn on what to do. This time, I was offered a $100 statement credit. I felt like I’d won a trophy! I quickly accepted the offer.
What’s the motto? Even if you have a card that you want to keep, it never hurts to call and see what offers exist for you to keep the card. Remember, you are customer, and keeping you as a customer has value. Never underestimate your worth!!
This was my report last from July of this year on four retention matters: Retention Stuff – TYP, CSP, AA Plat & Delta Amex
Some other points to keep in mind: Don’t be afraid to close a card if it’s not valuable enough to you to pay the renewal fee. If you do decide to close a card, you might want to instead downgrade it to a free version of that card. It won’t then appear as a closure on your credit report. And if you really do decide to close it, ask if the bank can move your credit over to another card you are keeping.