Success & Failure with May Retention Calls

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When I apply for new credit cards (what’s known as App Parties), I apply for cards in bunches.  And I tend to apply for cards year after year around the same months.  I don’t know that I set out to do it that way, but it tends to happen since I usually apply for new cards every 4-6 months.  Before you consider closing a card, always call to see if the credit card company will offer you a reason to keep the card.  Here are the results of my May 2017 retention calls.


The Good: Successful Retention Calls

Citibank Prestige – Call time 20 mins

Citi PrestigeI was reaching the end of the 2nd year of holding this premium card and really thinking about closing it due to the elimination of two of my favorite benefits – the 3 free rounds of golf and access to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounges when flying American – on July 23, 2017.

The Citi Prestige card is a card that I use pretty frequently thanks to the bonus spend on travel, gas, and dining and the strong redemption value when booking on American or transferring to their partners.

When I called to inquire about retention offers, I was given 3 options:

  • A $200 statement credit if I spent at least $4,000 a month for 3 months
  • An extra ThankYou point on all purchases for 6 months (maximum of 50K extra points)
  • 9.99% interest rate for 6 months or 11.99% for 12 months on new purchases

Because I never carry a balance on cards, the 3rd option was worthless to me.  The first option was attractive but is the equivalent of earning 1.67 points on $12K spend.  Because I knew that I would spend more than $20K on the card over the next 6 months, I was better off taking the second option.  In total, I’ll be able to earn 50K extra points by maximizing this offer, which is worth at least $500 plus the $250 travel credit and $100 Global Entry credit.  Totally a profitable retention offer for me.


Barclaycard JetBlue  – Call time 25 minutes

When I called, the first agent told me that they could not waive the $99 annual fee.  And I totally believe her.  SHE couldn’t waive the annual fee.

However, I then asked to be transferred to a manager or the retention department because I was thinking about closing the account because I’m not getting enough value out of the card for the annual fee.

After transferring me to a manager, I explained the situation:  I like JetBlue, but I have other cards that have been providing more value, and I’m not sure that it is worth it to pay the $99 annual fee for the Barclaycard JetBlue credit card.  The manager quickly waived the fee and thanked me for being a loyal Barclaycard customer.

I may spend the $50K on the JetBlue Plus card to earn JetBlue Mosaic status for 2018.


The Bad: Offers Not Worth Considering

Chase IHG – Call time 10 minutes

Chase IHG Rewards credit card
This is one card you should keep forever. Great ROI for the annual fee!

I really like the Chase IHG card because the annual fee is only $49 and you receive an annual free night at any IHG property anywhere in the world and IHG Platinum status.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to see if there are any offers available on my account.

Unfortunately, the customer service rep said that she couldn’t reverse the annual fee.  Her only suggestion was to downgrade the card to the no-fee version, IHG Club Classic, where you’ll receive 2 points per $1 spent at IHG, but none of the benefits I value, like the free night and premier status.

I kept the card open and recently used the free night at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, which saved me over $300.

Citibank AA Business – Call time 25 minutes

I opened this card for blog expenses a year ago.  And 50K AA miles didn’t hurt either.  The rep offered a promo with 6.99% for 6 months, but since all of my cards are paid in full each month, that wasn’t attractive.

I have other AA cards for the 10% AAdvantage rebate on mile redemptions and first checked bag free, so I wanted to at least product change the card if they couldn’t provide a good offer here.

The rep said that product changing into the new Costco card wasn’t available to me, but they would downgrade me to a no-fee Citi ThankYou card.  I accepted the offer because I want to keep a card open for blog business expenses and Citi has normally been good to me over the years.


The Ugly: No Offers At All

Chase Hyatt – Call time 2 minutes

With all of the recent change to Hyatt’s loyalty program (and many people who don’t like the changes), I had high hopes that I would be able to get something here.

Talk about disappointment.

There were no offers and I was told that I could only receive a refund of the annual fee if I called within 30 days of the statement close date.

I kept the card because I appreciate the annual free night that comes with paying the annual fee.  I’ve been able to use the free night at the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica, which makes the annual fee so worth it.  The benefits and status that come with the card aren’t as good as they used to be now that Hyatt rolled out World of Hyatt, but I can still find value in keeping the card and paying the fee.


The Bald Thoughts

In summary, I made retention calls and received offers on 5 cards from Chase, Citi, and Barclay.  Two offers were really good and made me happy.  Two were a bit disappointing.  And one was expected, but worth a shot.  I ended up keeping all of the cards but was able to reduce my expenses by getting one annual fee waived, product changing another card into a no-fee version, and earning extra Citi ThankYou points that will more than offset my annual fee.  Overall, I’m happy with the results, even though Chase didn’t offer up any additional value.

Have you ever made retention calls and received an offer?  What were your results?


  1. For the prestige I was only offered the A $200 statement credit if I spent at least $4,000 a month for 3 months. I would’ve taken the extra points for 50k purchases.

    I’ve had the same crap with Chase Hyatt as well.


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