I recently noticed that the $95 annual fee showed up on one of our American Express cards. Last November, I wrote about how one of our previously headline cards, the Everyday Preferred, was on the chopping block. I mentioned that I’d have to have Sharon call AMEX to cancel it, which already is asking a lot of her (Note from Sharon: I detest talking on the phone). Forget about having her ask about a retention offer.
Thanks to many people who commented on that post who reminded me that you could do all those things with the live chat function on the website or app.
I planned my exit strategy. I’d see if they’d offer me a retention offer and decide if it was worth at least $95. It would have to be a good offer since I’d be buying Membership Rewards by paying the annual fee and losing points on the spending I’d need to move to the Everyday Preferred. If the offer wasn’t good, I’d downgrade to the no-annual-fee AMEX Everyday. It’s not a great card, but it would keep the account open and open the possibility of AMEX offering points to upgrade later.
If I needed to drop the card in the future to open up an AMEX slot, I could cancel it then. I logged into Sharon’s account and started the chat.
I started by clicking the “Cancel a card” button. I wasn’t concerned about the system automatically canceling the card because it had no idea which AMEX card I was talking about.
Shortly after that, I connected with a rep who asked why I wanted to cancel. I explained we have other cards from AMEX and other banks which provide more rewards and this one was no longer worth paying the annual fee anymore.
The rep said they would transfer me to “our concerned team who can better assist you with your request.” I was getting forwarded to retention, which is exactly where I wanted to be.
Once connected, the new rep asked for a moment to review the conversation, which was an incredible perk of using the online chat instead of calling and repeating the story to each new person.
I got the standard spiel about how great the card is and what benefits I use. I explained that we have other AMEX cards for the expenses we previously put on the Everyday Preferred, such as using the Gold Card for groceries and Green Card for travel expenses. It isn’t easy to reach the 30 transaction threshold without those charges to earn the 50% bonus points.
That seemed to satisfy the requirements to get a retention offer—7,500 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the next 3 months.
I said thanks for the offer, but that wouldn’t be enough for me to keep the card and pay the $95.
The rep came back and offered to downgrade me to the AMEX Everyday card and gave me the breakdown of the benefits and that there’s no annual fee. They also mentioned that my credit limit, account start date, and card number would remain the same.
It was somewhat odd that the AMEX rep spelled out the advantages of downgrading a card instead of canceling.
I’m trying to pay fewer annual fees for 2022, so removing one that’s $95 is a good start.
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I downgraded (no retention offer) then a month later they sent me an offer to upgrade back to the preferred, 40k pts, 3k spend lol…
Why do you think it odd that the rep would explain the advantages of remaining a cardmember, even for a downgraded card? I thought the whole idea of the retention department is to not have customers cancel if possible.
I think most people would like keeping the same credit limit. Having the same card number is less important. Keeping the same card opening date is more something that WE think about because of our credit scores but most people don’t even know what goes into their score or how length of accounts matter.
I canceled my Amex Gold this past week. In the chat, the retention offer was 30K points for $3K spend. I was really concerned about $250 AF. I had only been using it at restaurants (for 4X points), but since I just got the Citi Premier, I have to meet a spend on that. I thought the offer was poor. I did inquire about AF rebate, Amex stated they don’t do that anymore.