Two years ago, the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from Amex was having an amazing deal: 35,000 signup points (worth at least $945) and $95 annual waived for the first year. The card offers other great perks including the ability to reach elite status faster, no foreign transaction fees, and potential to earn valuable Starpoints. Read more about how SPG is funding our trip.
However, Paige and I are not insane “churners” (people who open as many credit cards as possible to get the benefits and dump the cards shortly after). All credit cards can lose steam. While we initially loved the card, we haven’t made the card worth its $95 fee in year two. Since we’re committed to the Chase trifecta, we mostly use this card at SPG properties (which is not often). Thus, I weighed my options on what to do with this card (from best case to worst case):
- Call the Amex Retention Department. Keep the card and try to get an offer that, at minimum, covers the annual fee.
- Switch to a no-fee Amex. By doing so, you keep your credit open and earn points (although fewer) with a no-fee card.
- Cancel the card. This is the most straightforward option, but it lowers your available credit and, potentially, your credit score.
Option 1 was a success and I got an excellent redemption offer! How did I do it? I said I wanted to cancel my card and told them why. First, the Marriott-Starwood merger was making me unsure about the future of the SPG loyalty program. Second, I was able to earn more valuable points with my Chase cards. I told them I loved Amex and their customer service, but was not getting the value of my annual fee.
Once I told them my reasons, they quickly gave the option between two retention offers! They offered either a $100 statement credit or 7,000 points if I spend $1,500 in the next 90 days (worth at least $189). I took the points; it was a no brainer. Since we’re staying at some SPG hotels and will have a number of non-travel and dining purchases, I know I can hit the $1,500.
After spending less than 5 minutes on the phone, I walked away with at least $94 and I got to keep the card!