The annual fee ($50) came due this month on a card I hardly ever use, my American Airlines Gold Mastercard. My intention was to keep the card, get the fee waived, a mileage retention bonus and lower my credit limit. (It seems I’ve been pushing them too hard).
My first utterances were: ”Please send me to the retention department. I’m thinking of closing my account.”
After the transfer to retention I took control of the situation telling the very knowledgeable agent my goals and reasoning. She came back with: ”Sure I can lower your credit limit (I need it for another card), but I can’t give you a statement credit for the $50 and miles.”
She could give me a statement credit of $50 and one extra mile per $$ spent for the next three months. That wouldn’t work as I don’t use the card.
I asked: “How about another option with a miles credit for a retention bonus?”
Her response: ” How about another 7,500 miles in your AA account and you pay the $50 renewal fee?
Bingo we have a winner here. I’d pay $50 for 7,500 AA miles everyday of the week. The deal was done and I’m that much closer to Lifetime Platinum with American.
The moral of my story is never accept the first option unless you like it. These banks want our business and the customer service agents have some latitude in meeting our retention demands. Don’t ever be afraid to ask, and if you don’t like the offer ask for another option. If if you don’t like the next option offered, hang up politely and call again.
When that credit card statement comes with the annual fee due, look at the positive side. You’ll get to practice your negotiating skills. And in today’s environment, probably end up a winner.