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Beginner’s Guide: What is a retention offer?
Simply…a retention offer is an offer that is given by the bank to retain you as a customer. Keeping a credit card, or charge card, in your wallet is an investment, and with any investment you’re looking for some return. Anytime one of my cards is hit with an annual fee, I do an analysis to determine whether the fees I’m paying are worth the benefits I extract. 2020 has been a complete outlier, and as a result, Amex has been rewarding cardholders with retention offers on many of their cards. The first I have that came due for an annual fee was my American Express Platinum…a whopping $550 annual fee. I received an offer, but I’m not really sure that I want to take it…
Here’s how I approach it
When your cardmember year has expired you’re gonna get hit with an annual fee. You want to pre-emp this fee and call in the month or so ahead to see if there are any offers.
First off…ask via chat. Most likely they won’t be able to give you your offer, but they will tell you if they see an offer on your account. If they don’t…it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one available.
A look at how I handled it via chat:
Get on the phone and call up an agent. Ask if there are any retention offers available. If they say no, and you’re willing to give up the card…tell them you want to cancel. I’m seriously considering dumping the card. The annual fee is high and I’m not taking advantage of most of the benefits I’d usually get outsized value from…uber, incidental airline fee credits, lounge access, etc. I called in and was given an offer for 30k after $4k spend. Pretty solid really and totally doable; however, I’m not 100% convinced I want to keep the card. Odds are I will simply because I value those points at a minimum of $465. This reduces the net to just $85 for the platinum…likely I’ll keep it. I feel like I’m convincing myself to keep it the longer I write lol.
Either way you’ll usually be transferred to a specialist.
In my experience specialists work on a three tiered retention schedule. YMMV but if you ask for the best available offer they are SUPPOSED to give it to you…skipping the initial two offers.
- First offer: Do you know how amazing your bennies are…lemme tell you
- they’ll prolly ask you why you wanna leave and what you value most
- 2nd offer: okkkkk sir we can give you…a lowball points or statement credit
- 3rd offer: ok sir this is the best we can do
Retention offers I’ve negotiated:
A few of the offers I’ve had the past…
- American Express Platinum: 50k – no spend
- American Express Gold Business: 15k – no spend
- Barclay AA Aviator Red: annual fee waived…no spend
- Amex Platinum: 20k no spend
My latest retention offer with Amex Platinum
- 30k points after $4k spend.
Retention offers are getting stingier and stingier. In fact, with multiple cards I’ve expected to talk to someone. When I told the automated agent I wanted to cancel, I was prompted that if I pressed a button they would go ahead and do it. I never spoke to a real person. They went ahead and cancelled the card without ever putting me in contact with retention or even a breathing human.
So if you say you want to cancel, be prepared to give up the card then and there – you may not get transferred to a specialist. Always ask for retention offers, if they say there are none, only say you want to cancel if you are willing to pull the trigger. You may get what you ask for.
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