Apologies to those local followers who couldn’t attend our last-minute WorldWanderlusting BBQ last night to celebrate good times, discuss our strategies, and dream about our next vacations and how we’re going to get there. The next time we put one together we’ll offer more advanced notice. [Want us to do a WorldWanderlusting seminar with you? Comment below and we’ll make it happen!]
One of the questions that came up was, “What do you say when you’re canceling a credit card? It felt really awkward, like breaking up with a girlfriend.” We all had a good laugh at Jared’s comment, (He was the one who did the guest post about taking his son to Columbia) but afterward I’ve given it a lot of thought. He’s totally right.
Forgive my male perspective on this, but I’m sure you women can relate just as easily. Simply replace “girlfriend” with “boyfriend,” and you can laugh along with us. Here is a direct correlation between canceling a credit card and breaking up with your girlfriend:
|Breaking Up||Canceling the Credit Card|
|You got what you wanted from the relationship. You’ve already kissed her and now the thrill of trying to catch the prey is over. The magic is gone now and you’re moving on.||The sign on bonus from your Sapphire Preferred was so exciting when it arrived. Now that the bonus is over, your relationship with the card has completely fizzled.|
|Having the conversation with your “girlfriend” is going to be tough. You stew about it for days and finally decide to call her instead of seeing her face to face. You don’t want to hurt feelings.||You put it off for as long as you can. The customer service rep acts hurt when you tell them you want to cancel the card. They ask what it was that made the relationship go sour.|
|You struggle on the phone to explain how things just “aren’t the same anymore.” You’re sure to tell her that it isn’t her fault. She has been great, but the problem is your mother doesn’t want you to “seriously” date anyone before you turn 18. If it were your choice you’d plan on staying with her forever.||You explain to the CSR that it isn’t American Express’ fault. They had nothing to do with your decision to cancel the card. In fact, their service was great. The problem was that SPG moved 142 properties to higher tiers this year, while only moving down 35. This has seriously devalued the points that you’re working so hard to accrue. You’d be willing to keep the card and pay the annual fee if SPG wouldn’t constantly devalue the points.|
|In reality, you’re now really excited about this “new girl” in school. Your “ex” is a thing of the past. Now you’ve got your eyes set on the new chick in your biology class. She was looking really good the other day in that silver dress.||The silver Barclaycard Arrival is looking downright sexy. You’re not as enthusiastic about 1 point for every dollar you spend on the last card when you can get 40k for $440 in free travel after meeting the $1000 spending requirement.|
Canceling a credit card is a bit tough on your first experience. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be playin’ all the Customer Service Reps. Here are a few tips for making it as smooth as possible when canceling a credit card.
Don’t Blame The Issuer
This doesn’t work when canceling a bank-point card like BarclayCard Arrival, or a Chase Sapphire, but if you have a co-branded card like a United, Marriott, Delta, SPG, etc. this is a way to make it easier.
This happened to me when I went to cancel my SPG Amex just a month ago. The CSR asked me why I was canceling. I simply explained that SPG had increased the amount of points it required on over 120 of their properties. That devalued my chances of using the points that American Express was so willing to give me. The Customer Service was excellent and the card was great. The rep was speechless. He told me that he agreed with my decision to cancel the card. Imagine if it were that easy to sideline a needy girlfriend!
This is important because it sends the right message back to American Express. Hopefully when 1000 people call to cancel their cards they go back to SPG and say, “Come on, you guys are making us lose all of our customers. STOP DEVALUING YOUR POINTS.”
For Airline Cards: No Availability
This point is similar to the one listed above. The problem is finding availability on the airline partner. What CSR that has some points himself wouldn’t agree with you? When was the last time you looked at the Delta award tiers leaving your small town? They’re so dang stingy on usage – take the opportunity to complain about it.
It will tell Citi, Chase, or Amex that they’re doing fine. Tell them that you love earning the points and are excited about taking vacations. Go as far as to say that you’d pay double the annual fee if you could simply use the points on the lower level redemptions.
Other Totally Valid Reasons to Cancel a Credit Card
- You travel a lot, and the card you have doesn’t waive foreign transaction fees.
- Your Chase Marriott Card offers a free night for keeping the card every year. Your SPG doesn’t.
- Your card only offers 1 point per dollar(Delta, United, US Aiways, etc), but the _________ gives me two points per dollar.
Treat Them Nicely – You May Need Them Back
It’s important to keep in the good graces of all ex-girlfriends. You never know when you might get a hankering for 30,000 more Delta SkyMiles. That’s why it is important for the issuer to realize that you appreciate them, you just need a sweeter pot. Try not to blame them, or the annual fee. Redirect the blame at something over which they have less control – it’s a soft let down, just like you would do to a girlfriend you’re having to dump.