February has always been a busy month for me in terms of annual fees. This time around, 4 annual fees totaling $1080(!!) hit simultaneously.
Of course, it’s a hard pill to swallow to have to pay that much in one chunk, so I was prepared to spend a few minutes addressing each account with a retention call to see if any sort of reduction was possible.
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 we had an array of competitive cards such as the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve in my household, and it’s getting harder to justify paying so many annual fees across the board.
Unfortunately, there was no offer the agent could extend to me, and I decided to keep the account open anyway.
Verdict: Keep – because Centurion Lounge access, Gogo Wifi Passes, Roadside Assistance, and the $200 annual airline incidental credit are perks that I value most.
Citi Prestige® Card
I’ve had my Citi Prestige card for 3 years now, and I definitely make great use of it. My favorite benefits are 4th-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 have been some card-benefit devaluations (such as 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. Unfortunately, I was not offered any sort of retention offer.
Verdict: Keep – because the $250 yearly airline credit, 4th night free when booking hotels, Priority Pass membership, and travel insurance coverage are benefits I value most.
The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
I already knew I was going to keep my Marriott card, but I called to see if there would be anything they could offer me anyway. Even with the $85 annual fee, the Marriott card comes with an annual free night certificate valid at a category 1-5 property. It’s always a no-brainer for me to keep the card open solely for that benefit because I always have used my free nights.
Though I really had no real 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.
Verdict: Keep – because the annual free night certificate is worth it
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
I’m a huge fan of Starpoints, and they’re arguably the most valuable out there, but two other people in my household have an SPG card, so it didn’t make sense to keep one open for myself without a retention offer.
Transferring Starpoints between members residing at the same address is seamless and free. Last year, I was offered 10,000 Starpoints to keep the card open, but this year I did not receive any offer, so I made the decision to close the account after moving my credit line to another AmEx account.
Verdict: Canceled – silly to pay for several SPG AmEx annual fees within the same household.
In the past, I’ve had incredible luck with getting great retention offers, but now it’s getting harder and harder to get a decent [or any] offer. I wasn’t expecting any bones thrown my way. To be fair, I had every intention of paying the annual fees anyway, since I find the card benefits to be extremely valuable. But the answer is always no if you don’t ask, right?
How has your luck been this year with retention offers?