A global pandemic, coupled with an economic recession has truly altered consumer behavior over the last year. Card issuers have reacted by revamping their card portfolios and by offering temporary incentives like extra points and credits. However, many people are simply not willing or able to travel in the current situation. In that case, should you hold on to your credit card that charges you an annual fee? Many may be sitting on the fence, but you can always ask for a retention offer. If you’re still unsure, simply call you card issuer and ask politely for a retention offer. Here’s how you can go about it.
Retention Offer Call
Before we get into the details of how you should put your case forward, let’s get the basics out of the way. The main purpose here is not to just call and ask for free points or statement credits. Banks make money because of the business you offer. The purpose of your conversation is to request them to provide you with an incentive or a retention offer, in order to keep your business.
Your value as a Customer
When you call in for a retention offer, you need to strike the correct tone. Explain to the rep how you are a customer in good standing. Following that, clearly outline any problems or shortcomings that you think the credit card has. The more specific and genuine your concern, the more likely you’ll have a positive response.
Keeping it Short & Sweet
Most banks have retention departments that have set budgets. It’s always best to lay out your case in the most concise way possible. Always make sure you have a few talking points ready, so that you can make your point clearly.
Hang Up, Call Again or HUCA is a common tactic. Very often, the first representative may not be able to help you out with a credit or some extra points. In that case, you can always politely end the call and call back at a later time.
I’ve previously written about how I’ve received lucrative offers for credit cards during the time of renewal. I’ve had the most success rate with American Express, especially on their high annual fee cards like the Amex Gold and Amex Platinum.
Here’s how I usually structure these calls. You can replace the bank name and card name and tailor this to your situation.
Me: Hi, I just logged into my account and saw that the annual fee was charged to my card. I’ve been a customer with [insert bank name] for over 10 years now. However, I’m not sure about whether I should renew this card for another year.
Rep: May I know the reason why you’re considering this?
Right after this, you may usually see the rep read a laundry list of the benefits of the card. This is their first move. At this point, the rep is looking to see if you can be convinced to renew the card without them having to offer you any renewal bonus.
Me: Yes, while I love benefits X and Y, I just read that benefits A and B are being reduced. Also, I’ve changed my travel patterns, so I’m no longer in a position to fly with Airline C. As a result, I’m not able to fully utilize the rebates and credits on offer.
Please ensure that your reason for cancellation is specific and clear. At this point, you’ll probably get a first hint of what the bank wants to offer you.
Rep: Thanks for being a customer with us since XXXX. We really value your business and would like to offer you 10,000 points. Let me know if this works for you and we’d be happy to keep your business for another year.
At this point, it’s your call whether you want to take the initial offer or play hardball. There are pros and cons, depending on which option you choose. If you’re looking to get a better offer, you can always politely ask if there’s a better offer available. In my experience, I’ve received some pretty good retention bonuses at the first request, especially from American Express.
The Pundit’s Mantra
Retention offers can go a long way in alleviating some of the burden from a high annual fee credit card. While all issuers may not be offer a retention bonus for their products, it always never hurts to ask for the best possible retention offer for your credit card.
The American Express Gold Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points. You’ll earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months after you’re approved for the card.
Moreover, the card offers lucrative bonus earning categories, benefits and credits.
- 4x points on dining (including takeout and delivery) and grocery spend
- 3x points on flights
- $120 dining credit annually
- $120 Uber Eats/Uber credit annually
- $100 airline credit (ends on December 31, 2021)
- No foreign transaction fees
Please note that American Express may not approve you for the welcome bonus on this card if you currently have the card or have had the card in the past and received a welcome bonus for the same. This may also include any upgrade or downgrade offers that you may have signed up for.
Disclosure: The Points Pundit receives NO compensation from credit card affiliate partnerships. Support the blog by applying for a card through my personal referral links. This article is meant for information purposes only and doesn’t constitute personal finance, health or investment advice. Please consult a licensed professional for advice pertaining to your situation.