I signed up for the American Express Business Gold card two years ago. I had had the card before but I received a mailer offering me a signup bonus with no language preventing me from getting the bonus a second time.
Since then, AMEX has refreshed the Business Gold Card with increased points earning categories and a higher annual fee.
In January, I wrote about how my old version of the card was on my cut list for 2020. With an increased focus on cutting costs from annual fees, I called American Express.
I had a theory that banks would be more willing to give retention offers to keep customers. This was my first chance to prove that hypothesis.
For some background, my spending on this card for the last year was zero. When I called for an offer last year, the representative tried to talk me out of keeping the card and said I should get the Blue Business Plus instead. I asked if I could product change and he said unfortunately not, and I’d need to cancel and put in a new application. I decided to keep the card an extra year to hopefully appease the AMEX RAT Team.
I did some research and saw that AMEX has recently offered other cardholders bonuses to keep their cards. I found a phone number online that was supposedly a direct line to the retention department, but I decided to do what most people would do and called the customer service phone number on the back of my card.
Despite the warning about long hold times, it was only a few minutes before I got to speak to a representative. I explained that my $175 annual fee just posted and given the current situation, I’m trying to cut my expenses.
The first rep said that he could offer me an extended due date for my account. I replied to him that the only thing on the card right now was my annual fee. Besides that, I’m not using the card because my Green Card earns as many points for travel expenses as this Gold card.
I upped the seriousness of my statements by saying that I was considering canceling the card unless there was something else that would compel me to keep it.
He said that he’d get a specialist on the line and see what else could be done. It was only another minute or two before he connected me to retention.
The next rep was pleasant and she got right to the point. She confirmed I was going to cancel unless I could get an offer, which I replied back that I was considering canceling (not wanting my card to be canceled without further approval.)
She looked and said that the only offer she had for me was a $50 credit to offset the annual fee.
That’s more than I was offered last year. Considering I spent no money on the card for an entire year, offering me a 28% discount to keep it is a decent gesture on AMEX’s part. It’s just not enough for me to keep the card.
I’m not sure about this but I’ve read that retention reps are rated on how many people they get to keep accounts open. Because of that, I try to never cancel a card on my call to retention even if I’m going to cancel.
I told the rep that I’d consider the offer. She reminded me that I have up to 30 days from the date my annual fee hit my account to cancel and have the fee refunded. I think she knew I was going to end up canceling the card.
I know enough about statistics that you can’t tell anything from one data point. What does American Express’s willingness to offer me a $50 credit to keep my account open mean to you? I wish I knew. But it does show that they’re now offering bonuses when last year they weren’t.
I’d have to call on a card I used more to see how desperate banks are to keep customers. I’ll know more from my experiences and those of others in the next few months.
For now, all I know is that AMEX might throw you a bone to try and get you to keep a card that you’re not using and have no intentions to use in the future.
#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 12,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary