My worst retention bonus offer ever…until I hung up and called back.

Paying bills is never fun – unless you are Angelina and you get all excited about new Amex sync offers. 😉

Even worse than paying bills is realizing that an annual fee on a credit card is due, and you need to deal with it. I really drag my feet when it comes to making “retention bonus” calls. I actually always laugh when I am getting ready to do this chore, because I think about those license plate holders that read, “I would rather be…shopping at Nordstrom!” (Remember those? They were so nineties. I actually tried to find one recently, just as a joke, and you can’t even buy them anymore!).

So…even though I would rather be doing almost anything else, since the annual fee on my US Airways Mastercard was due today, I steeled myself, then made the call.

It was just as bad as I expected. I was on hold for three minutes, then I was transferred four times. Each person I spoke to described the benefits of the card, then asked me questions about whether I enjoyed each benefit. I started to feel like maybe it was an April Fool’s joke. Finally the last rep I spoke with made me an offer: 1 extra mile per dollar spent on the card for the next three months.


I asked the rep if there were no other offers available, and he insisted that this was it. The tone in his voice said, take it or leave it.

I politely said I had to think about it, and hung up. Then I picked up the phone and called right back. I just wanted to verify that this was really the best they could do. This time, my call was routed through right away, and the very first person I spoke to was able to make me a MUCH better offer: 15,000 extra miles if I spent at least $1,000 on the card within the next three months.

I’ll take it.

I love knowing about the HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again) tactic. Before I started collecting points and miles, I would simply pay each fee as it came due. Not only did I not think to negotiate for a reduced fee or bonus miles, but I would have simply hung up after the first offer!

Knowledge is power, for sure.

Has this happened to you recently? What card did you call about? What did the bank offer you?



  1. Do you think I should down grade my ax plat or cancel it, before the an fee is due?

    Thanks sweet Girl!

  2. How about this one?:,472941792

    Surely YOU can get CafePress to make you a special one. 😉

  3. Points Pixie says:

    Dave D – That depends on a lot of details that I think only you can answer! Personally I am keeping mine, but the benefits are worth the fee to me.

    Gene – I want a real-live old school one, with the gold plating!

  4. Marilyn B says:

    I cancelled my US Airways MC on the next to last day before the fee would bill – didn’t press for a retention offer because the 10K anniversary bonus had posted a couple of weeks earlier. So I figure I did OK with the miles bonus and no fee at all. We’ll see if we get equally lucky when my husband’s annual fee comes due.

  5. pinkisnice says:

    I happened to pay my Chase Sapphire bill tonight and noticed that the annual fee date came and went — I had already paid it last month. Forgetting all about it, hours later I called Chase to put a travel note on my account when, just before hanging up, it occurred to me to ask about the annual fee. I was offered 5,000 points, which I could immediately redeem for a $50 credit, effectively bringing the annual fee down to $45. I snapped it up, though decided to keep the 5,000 points instead of redeeming them. Because it was an afterthought, I spaced on calling back a second time to see if I’d get a better deal. And because I wasn’t actually expecting them to offer anything since I vaguely remember being out of luck on this last year. Anyway, I’ll take it!

Speak Your Mind