How to reduce your credit card charges


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Editor’s Note: The American Express Platinum Card® has increased its annual fee to $ 695 and some of these offers may no longer be available. You can check out our full Amex Platinum card review to decide if it’s worth it for you here.

Credit cards can have some very useful benefits – from food delivery to travel credits and more – but can also come with steep fees.

With travel largely halted during the pandemic, card issuers have introduced a variety of new benefits to try and keep customers who spend more time at home and less on the road. After all, premium credit cards with membership fees that can cost hundreds of dollars are prime candidates for the chopper as families tighten their budgets.

Call your credit card issuer

But there might be an easy way to lower your annual credit card fees without completely canceling your account: a call to your credit card issuer. Just as you can negotiate your rent – by doing your research on how the downturn caused by the pandemic has affected your local housing market and calling the landlord with a proposal – you may be able to negotiate with your issuer. card for a lower price.

The American Express Credit Platinum Card®

I was personally able to get a $ 100 credit on the Platinum Card® from American Express in the spring. All it took was a five-minute phone call to American Express, pointing out that I clearly wasn’t going to travel much, if at all, and therefore wouldn’t use all the benefits that come with it. with the card’s $ 550 membership fee (which has since increased to $ 695). The agent immediately offered me this statement credit, which I gladly accepted.

Amex Membership Reward Points

Lori Zaino, senior editor at The Points Guy (also owned by NextAdvisor’s parent company, Red Ventures), was able to earn 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points on her Platinum card. “I was thinking of canceling because it didn’t seem worth the annual fee of $ 550 (now $ 695) – especially since I live overseas and can’t take advantage of all the US-based credits and benefits – United, ”Zaino, who is based in Madrid, Spain, said.

Zaino ended up calling American Express to see what his options were. A customer service representative offered the retention offer – worth $ 350, depending on how American Express calculates the dollar value of its points – in exchange for a commitment to renew the card for one year.

Credit Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Alberto Riva, editor-in-chief here at NextAdvisor, was able to get a $ 100 credit in July on his Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® *, a co-branded card that gives American Airlines travelers the best benefits, including the access to the airport lounge. In 2020, Citi granted all cardholders an automatic credit of $ 225 when the annual fee of $ 450 expired. Riva felt he could request a reduction in the additional fees by calling the issuer and explaining that he wouldn’t get any value from the travel-focused card benefits, as he likely wouldn’t fly for the rest of the day. year. The agent agreed and gave her an additional credit of $ 100, which appeared on her statement as “American Airlines Courtesy Credit.”

Twitter user @yggdrizzle tweeted that she had the same offer that Zaino made on the Amex Platinum: “(…) I got 50,000 points (a $ 500 credit was also an option; annual fee 550) because I didn’t used only one benefit since March / I don’t plan on 2021 and was considering canceling it.

Keep in mind that you are not guaranteed to get a similar result, as issuers will take into account factors such as which card (s) you have with the company and how long you have had them. But it’s definitely worth picking up the phone and asking politely.

Search for retention offers

We suggest that you search online for the name of the card and terms such as “retention offer,” “fee reduction,” or “bonus credit” before calling, so that you get an idea of ​​what the card issuer might be willing to accept. Researching your options before asking what you can get can put you in a better negotiating position.

Like Citi in the example above, many credit card companies have also been proactive in lowering annual fees across the board, in order to keep customers amid the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. In April, Chase announced that Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders renewing their cards until July 1 would pay an annual fee of $ 450, up from $ 550. Chase then extended the policy to include all renewals during the year.

* All information on the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard has been independently collected by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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