Basics,  Credit Cards

My Latest Credit Card Retention Call




It’s been a year since I was approved for my Chase United MileagePlus Explorer credit card. At the time, my account was targeted for 50,000 MileagePlus Miles after spending $3,000 in addition to the usual no annual fee for the first year. I was able to take advantage of that offer AND get a $50 statement credit for applying while booking a flight on United’s website. I never did complete the flight booking, I just wanted the $50 credit!

This morning, I noticed that the $95 annual fee charge for the card appeared in my account, so it may be time to cancel. It’s not uncommon for credit card issuers to offer incentives to keep good customers, so I want to see what Chase had to say. In my article “Before You Cancel That Credit Card, Read This“, I wrote about how to handle the call to customer service. Here’s how it went for me.

Background

Once I received the 50,000 mile sign up bonus last year, my spending with this card has been limited. I did make use of some of the benefits that are included with the card: early boarding, free checked bags, and 2 United Club passes annually. In fact, I’ve already received my next set of 2 Club passes, which are mine to use as I wish even if I no longer have the card.

I don’t have any current plans to fly United, so my initial thoughts are that I should cancel to save myself the $95 annual fee. However, Chase gave me a rather large credit limit when I was approved for this card, so cancelling could have a small negative impact on my credit score. I’m keeping that in mind as I weigh my options.

Calling Customer Service

I called the number on the back of my card and reached a friendly representative. I told her about the annual fee hitting my account and that I was considering cancelling, but wanted to see what my options were. I asked about a retention or customer loyalty department, but she said that she would be able to go through my options herself–that’s already a bad sign. If there were any offers for my account, she might have transferred me to a specialist.

While I was initially hopeful that she would offer me enough miles or a statement credit to offset the annual fee, those hopes faded as she reminded me of the card’s benefits. She went on to describe two United MileagePlus cards that I could downgrade to: the first has no annual fee and earns 1 mile for every $2 spent, the second has a $60 annual fee and earns 1 mile for each $1 spent. Both cards have no other benefits of value, but I would be able to retain the same account and–more importantly–my available credit line.

The good news is that I have some time on my side. The annual fee is fully refundable if I cancel the card within 90 days of it hitting my account. I thanked the rep for all the information and told her I’d use the time to make a decision. In a week or two, I’ll call back, then again a week or two after that. If there’s no statement credit offered on those calls, I’ll likely downgrade to the no-annual-fee card.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Ultimately, no better offer appeared and I downgraded to the no-annual-fee card.

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