Paying yearly membership fees is a BIG no no in my book, however, every now and then it is worth it, especially if the card program is superior to other or if the card is not churn-able. I love my American Express Gold Reward card* because I absolutely love Membership Rewards points. In the last year I have earned well over 100,000 membership reward points with over 75% of those points coming from bonus offers. Not to mention, with membership reward points transferable to a number of hotels and airline partners, maximizing rewards is easy as pie! Though, after the first year of free membership, the card cost $175 a year!
Late August was my year anniversary. I knew I needed either to cancel my card, downgrade my card, or do something in order to avoid my annual fee. Yet, when it was time to renew I was overseas traveling Borneo and diving Sipadan, I honestly forgot all about my anniversary! So just this week, about two weeks after my annual fee posted I called up American Express to see what we could do to avoid the fee.
When calling American Express, I chose the card cancellation option to get quicker service and to ensure I didn’t have to be transferred again later. Immediately I had a representative on the phone and they asked me why I wanted to cancel the card. I told them that although I love the card and I use it for a majority of my purchases, I could not justify the $175 annual fee when so many credit card companies have fewer fees or none at all. The representative then went over the benefits of the Amex with me and assured me that the card was well worth the fee, but assured me she understood my frustration with the fee. Then without even saying anything, she offered to provide my card with a $50 statement credit towards the annual fee and another $50 credit as long as I spent $500 in the next 3 months on the card! This reducing my annual fee to only $75!
Without another word, I thanked the representative and said I would clearly accept the challenge! $75 a year for this card is MORE than worth it! Between the $100 credit I had just received and the number of twitter/facebook link, like, love or sync credits available I easily earn $75+ a year in random credits! In fact, each time I go grocery shopping at the family own store near my house I save $5 on every $25 purchase! No other credit card offers that! If you haven’t synced your card yet, be sure to do so! You can do this with MULTIPLE American Express cards, meaning you save more each time!
So there you have it! American Express has always been known for their customer service and they win awards for it every year because they are so good! If your annual fee is coming due, or just passed, give your credit card company a call. Be honest with them and tell them why you are canceling the card and see what they will do to help you out. I’ve actually never heard of them giving statement credits like this before, but there you have it, they will! Normally they will offer you bonus Membership Reward Points, but honestly, I’ll take the credit over the points!
Credit Card make money off us, regardless if you pay your statement in full each time (I always pay my balance in full, it’s the responsible thing to do). No business wants to lose your loyalty or support, so make a deal with them! It never hurts to ask!