February has always been a busy month for me in the world of credit cards. This time around, 3 annual fees totaling $985(!!) hit simultaneously. Of course, I had no intention of paying that much in annual fees in one shot (in fact, I don’t even pay close to that much in a year), and I was prepared to spend a few minutes on each with a retention call.
In the past, I’ve had incredible luck with getting great retention offers, but I feel that as time goes on, it’s getting harder and harder to get a decent offer, so I wasn’t expecting much (and to be fair, I had every intention on paying one of the annual fees anyway since I find the card benefits to be extremely valuable).
Here’s how I made out:
I have been a Business Platinum cardholder for 4 full years, and I’ve always found it to be beyond “worth it” to continue paying the $450 annual fee. When I called to see if there would be any retention offers available for me, I explained that there are an array of competitive cards out there such as the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve, and I also mentioned that I was disappointed about the changes to Centurion Lounge access by the end of the month. Beginning March 30, 2017, Amex Platinum members will be limited to only bringing two guests into Centurion Lounges. Previously, the rules states that you could bring two guests -or- all immediate family members. As a family of 4 with two small children, this means I will have to pay $50 to bring my 2 year old into the lounge. After expressing my concerns, the representative offered me a $100 statement credit to off-set the fee a little bit. I accepted the offer.
Citi Prestige® Card
I’ve had my Citi Prestige card for 2 years now, and I definitely make great use of it. My favorite benefits are t4th-night free for hotel bookings, 3x on travel, and what I consider to be the best trip protection/interruption insurance out there (Citi seamlessly replaced my damaged double stroller). The $450 annual fee is already offset each year with an annual $250 airline credit, and I believe the rest of the card’s benefits are worth paying the extra $200 for. However, there are some card-benefit devaluations happening later this year, such as losing access to American Airlines’s AAdmirals club lounges and changes to the 4th-night free hotel benefit, so when I called to speak to a retention specialist, I made sure to voice my concerns about those changes. Since I had put $21K on the card in 2016, I was offered a $200 statement credit to off-set my annual fee if I spend $4,000 on the card each month for the next 3 months. Even though that spend requirement is high, I did accept the offer.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
I already knew I was going to keep my Marriott card, but for giggles, I called to see if there would be anything they could offer me. Even with the $85 annual fee, the Marriott card comes with an annual free night certificate for a category 1-5 property. It’s always been a no-brainer for me to keep the card open solely for that benefit because I always have used my free nights. My most recent free-night redemption was at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, and it was a gorgeous property. Though I really had no intentions of canceling this card, I was curious to see if I had any retention offers available to me. When I called to speak to the retention specialist, I told her that I didn’t know what the future of the card would be now that Marriott and Starwood have merged, and I currently have both the Marriott Visa and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, where I also pay a $95 annual fee. I barely put spend on my Marriott card, so I was not surprised to learn that my retention specialist had nothing to throw my way, so I thanked her for her time and went on with my day.
How has your luck been this year with retention offers?