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When your annual fee is due on the credit card, it’s always prudent to check for a retention offer. Banks invest large amounts of money in acquiring customers. If you play by the rules and are a good customer, they’ll always be looking to keep you as a customer in the long run.

Hilton Aspire Card

Hilton has an impressive suite of American Express cards. They range from the no annual fee Hilton Honors Card to premium Hilton Aspire Card. I’ve held the Hilton Aspire Card for over an year. I was able to make most of some of the key benefits on the card. Given that I’m changing my travel patterns, I was genuinely unsure about whether I should keep the card for another year. The main factor here was the $450 annual fee. If I’m going to stay at fewer Hiltons during the next year, would keeping the card still make sense?

Retention Offer Call

I called up American Express by calling the number on the back of the card. I was connected to a rep in about a minute.

Me: I saw that the annual fee on my Hilton Aspire was due. I’m considering canceling the card.

Rep: May I know the reason for cancellation?

Me: I’m scaling down my Hilton stays and I’m unsure whether it’s still wise to hold on to the card, given the card’s steep annual feel.

Rep: Mmmm … mmmm… (silence for a bit)

At this point, the rep suddenly stopped speaking. It was clear she was pressing some buttons to look for some information. After a minute’s wait, she started touting the Aspire card’s benefits. I’m not sure if there was some tech issue at her end, but she seemed to keep stopping in between sentences and then start all over again.

She never clarified the reason for the delay during the length of the call. She often got confused between the co-branded Hilton Card products while narrating the benefits.

After a minute’s back and forth where I was waiting and confused, she finally got to the point.

Retention Offer

Rep: Do you want to downgrade to the Hilton Ascend Card? (She then started to narrate the benefits of the Ascend card and got stuck again). I waited for another minute or so for her to complete what she wanted to say.

Me: I’m sorry but I would not like to downgrade to the Hilton Ascend.

Rep: Since you’re a valued customer, we’d like to offer you a $75 credit for renewing the Hilton Aspire Card. In order to get the credit, you’ll need to spend $2,000 in the next 3 months.

Me: Thanks for the offer. I would like to cancel the card. Could you please move the credit limit from the Aspire Card to my no annual fee Hilton Honors Card?

At this point, the rep seemed unsure about the rules to move the same and again made me wait for a while. After some wait, I was told that the request to move the credit line would be processed in 7-10 business days. She suggested that I wait for that to happen before canceling the card.

The Pundit’s Mantra

While I didn’t cancel the card right during the call, I do intend to do so once Amex processes the request to move my credit line. It’s always wise to keep your credit line as it forms a major factor (credit utilization ratio) which decides your credit score.

I’ve made calls to Amex before in order to cancel my card. They usually wrap up in 3-4 minutes. I was surprised by the length of this call. It went for over 15 minutes. It seemed like the rep wasn’t well versed with the card benefits and took a long time to answer requests. She seemed to get stuck and get confused with some of the different credit card products in the Hilton Amex portfolio. This is quite in contrast to the retention offer calls on Amex’s Membership Rewards earning cards. The reps on these calls have always been well versed with the subject matter.

Have you called in to check for retention offers on any of the Hilton Honors Cards with Amex? Which retention offer did you get for the Hilton Aspire Card? Let us know in the comments section.

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