How to Get More for Your Credit Card Annual Fee

Somehow it has been a year since my wife applied for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.  My Google calendar reminded me it was time to for the credit card annual fee.

I wanted to avoid paying the $65 annual fee for the card so I called American Express to see if they would waive my annual fee.

Here’s how the call went:

Me:          I would like to cancel this card please
CR Rep: Let me go over the wonderful features of this card.
Me:          (Thinking) I probably know more about this card than he does.
CR Rep: Bla Bla Bla Review….Are you still sure that you’d like to cancel the card?
Me:          Yeah, I already have this card and don’t want to have to pay the annual fee on               my card and my wife’s card.
CR Rep: That is understandable. What if I were to entice you to keep the card by    offering 2000 Starpoints? Would that make you keep the card?
Me:          Could you do 3000 points? That would get me one free night at a category 2 hotel.
CR Rep: I see you know quite a bit about the card. I’m sorry, 2000 is the best I can do.
Me:          Alright. Let’s do it.

I know that 2000 Starpoints isn’t super sexy, but it is better than nothing.

I also remembered that the American Express Small Business Saturday is coming up again in November.  That means that I’ll get $25 back from them, so I see the 2000 Starpoints as worth more than $40, which made it worth it for me to keep the card for my wife.

A few tips to remember when it comes to credit card annual fees:

  • Mark your calendars right now for each of the cards that you have.  Make sure you plan on calling to cancel before the fee is due.
  • If you do plan on keeping the card, call anyway to see if they will give you any type of credit card maintenance bonus just like my wife got.
  • Remember that your relationship with the credit card companies is important.  Don’t do anything that might them put a “black mark” on your account.
  • You want to keep your “average length of credit history” as long as possible.  For this reason it might be worth keeping a credit card to make sure that your credit has a great foundation.

What other credit card annual fee tips do you have?  What experiences have you had lately with your annual fees?  Share them in the comments.

Get your own Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by American Express and score up to 25,000 Bonus Starpoints for your next vacation. Using our links help us to continue to provide you with this useful information.

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6 Responses to How to Get More for Your Credit Card Annual Fee

  1. Ken says:

    I have 2 Citi AA cards that were approved Oct 14th last year. When do I need to call them by? And should I even cancel both cards? It would definitely look like I only wanted the bonus I think. My wife also has 2 Citi AA cards that were approved the next day on the 15th. I don’t want to pay the annual fee on 4 cards.

    • Sheldon says:

      @Ken- I’d call them this week for sure. When mine came due last year I got two different responses from two different customer service reps. The first rep told me that I could only downgrade to the Bronze card and it would still maintain the same credit line. Well, that wasn’t true. It didn’t re-pull my credit, but it did open a new account on my credit history. That is an option to keep the card without paying the fee, but probably not the best.

      The second time when I called for my wife they told me that they would waive the annual fee and give a bonus of 750 AAdvantage miles for the next five months if I spent over $750 each month on the card. This was a home run. We got the annual fee waived and more miles.

      The truth is that they want to keep you. What they offer you will vary because of the CR Reps, the offers you initially got, the amount you’ve spent on the card, and so forth. It’s always worth calling though.

      • Ken says:

        Do you think I should try to cancel both cards or pay the fee on 1? I don’t want to pay the fee on any of them. I do want an AA business card for my own business, but I’m not due for another round of apps till mid-Oct at the earliest.

        • Sheldon says:

          Ken, I’d call to cancel the first one. If they don’t offer a compelling offer, then I’d cancel it. Then I’d call about the second one and do the exact same thing. Only keep it if the benefit outweighs the cost.

  2. Jaime says:

    are the starwood points and the AMEX card linked meaning if I haven’t used all my points yet, if I canceled the card to avoid the annual fee would I lose my leftover points?

    • Sheldon says:

      @Jamie- Good question.

      The Starpoints awarded are given to your Starwood Preferred Guest account. Once they’ve given you those points, I’m almost certain that they can’t take them back. So once you cancel the card, the points will most likely still be yours.

      If you had American Express Membership Rewards, or Chase Ultimate Rewards points and you canceled the card then those points would be forfeited. Since those are ‘bank points’ then the points disappear if the card is canceled.

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