Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select Visa And Select American Express Retention Bonus
I wrote about how I got started in this hobby in one of my early posts here. Turns out my first mini “app-o-rama” was almost one year ago! I had read of people calling to cancel cards and being offered a retention bonus instead. Sometimes that bonus includes a credit for the annual fee, sometimes it includes an additional offer similar to the minimum spend for the first bonus (X miles after $X) and sometimes both! Since the offer could just be a spending bonus, I wanted the option to later cancel the card if I chose to; so I decided to call a couple months early.
I was a little nervous calling, as I haven’t cancelled many credit cards. The goal in calling is to keep the line of credit open – ideally at no cost. Keeping the card open helps your average age of account, as well as lowers your utilization (more credit available = less used even if using the same amount). Sometimes even if there’s no retention bonus offer it is possible to downgrade the card to a fee-free version. The benefits will likely not be as great, but it’s good to keep it open for free.
I researched ahead of time on Flyertalk and found a forum discussing Citibank cards here. I first called about my Citibank AAdvantage Platinum American Express (an Amex issued by Citibank), and when the representative asked what he could help me with I just said I thought my annual fee was coming up soon and potentially wanted to cancel the card – but first wanted to know when the fee was. I didn’t want to flat out say I want to cancel, as I’m paranoid and with my luck I’d get the rep that just cancels it! After telling me when the fee was going to post, the rep asked what my concerns were.
I explained that I didn’t know if the card was worth the annual fee, and that I was concerned about mile redemptions post-merger. (US Airways and American Airlines are merging if you hadn’t heard). In response, the rep tested the water with “well I see here I can offer you a $95 statement credit, would that alleviate your concern?” Having seen the reports of better offers on FlyerTalk I kept going (but totally would have been fine with that…). I said “Well that helps, but I’m still not sure about the value of the miles I’ll earn with the card.” So he followed up with “how about 1000 bonus miles for the first $1000 spent over each of the next sixteen billing cycles.” As this was the best offer on FlyerTalk and perfect for me since I am trying to top off my AAdvantage miles for the next big trip (Australia/New Zealand) – I said thanks and accepted! As I had opened the Platinum Select Visa at the same time, I called for that card as well. On the Visa I was offered 750 bonus miles after the first $750 spent in each of the next sixteen billing cycles.
I am very happy to keep the accounts open for free – and even more so with bonus miles. If you’ve been following my “Rookie Misplay” series, I was halfway expecting this post to wind up in there. But luckily it worked out great! My point here is when an annual fee is due, consider your options. Don’t just blindly pay it – even if you intend to keep the card open. You may be able to get a bonus offer.