Last year, I applied for the Amex Business Rewards Gold card to earn a bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points. The annual fee of $175 was waived for the first year, but this month the fee loomed large in the background, because I definitely did not want to pay it when it came due!
Before I did anything official with Amex, I spent some time on Flyertalk and Milepoint to educate myself on current retention bonuses people in the Points and Miles community had received for this card. I learned that the “going rate” for retention was around 15,000 Membership Rewards points: a decent bonus, but not enticing enough for me to justify keeping the card. While I knew that I could probably squeeze a couple hundred dollars out of 15,000 points, I don’t have an immediate redemption need, and frankly I’d rather have the $175 in my pocket right now than 15,000 additional points in my account for later.
Tip: before you communicate with the credit card company, do some research to determine if other members of the community have recently reported getting retention bonuses, then decide on a bonus amount that would work for you.
Armed with this information, I called the number on the back of my card. I explained that I was thinking of canceling the card because of the high annual fee. I was quickly transferred to the “Membership Consulting” department (direct line: 1-800-875-5592). The rep I spoke to was efficient and friendly. He immediately offered to switch my account over to a no-fee card, the Blue for Business. He explained that I would receive a bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points as part of the deal, plus the card came with a 30% points bonus each year. Was I interested?
For me, this was a total no-brainer. I made the switch, got the points, and saved $175. Another reason I made the swap was I’ll be able to apply for the Business Rewards Gold again in 12 months and get the current bonus on that card for a second time (according to Amex’s current t+c).
Bottom line: it’s always a good idea to carefully consider the cards you have in your wallet (or your sock drawer). Spending a few minutes to research your options with each card can save you hundreds of dollars, earn you thousands of points, and continue to provide a way for you and your family to travel for free. In other words, what are you waiting for? Do it now! 🙂
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