Credit Card Retention Calls

5 Annual Fees, 4 HUCAs, 3 Banks, 2 People, and 1 Unknown

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I hate annual fees. They’re an unfortunate burden we have to deal with in this game, but at least there are ways to avoid paying them! In fact, my end of year checklist included a few calls to the bank(s) to try eluding 5 impending annual fees. Here’s how it went:

5 Annual Fees

My wife and I opened 5 new cards last January. Thanks to those cards, we earned about 225,000 points and miles, which helped us fly to Australia this past summer. Now, though, we’ve hit the 11 month mark and those cards have lost their usefulness – sort of. I would keep them open, but I don’t want to pay $469 in annual fees.

The cards

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – $95 annual fee gets me 7% of my earned points this past year. VERDICT: Not worth it.
  • Chase Ink Bold – $95 annual fee gets me nothing other than getting to keep a discontinued card open. VERDICT: Maybe worth it.
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – $95 annual fee gets me 10% of my redeemed miles back. VERDICT: Not worth it.
  • Another Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – $95 annual fee gets me 10% of my redeemed miles back. VERDICT: Not worth it.
  • Barclaycard US Airways Premier – $89 annual fee gets me 10,000 Dividend Miles. VERDICT: Totally worth it (0.89 cents per point).

4 HUCAs

If you’re not aware of what HUCA stands for, it’s “Hang Up and Call Again” which means if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, try a different representative. During this calling session, we had to do 4 HUCAs – two with Citi, one with Barclaycard, and one with Chase.

The HUCAs

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – The first representative said there was nothing she could do. She offered to downgrade my wife’s card, which she denied. The second representative said she couldn’t help, but she offered to credit her account with 1,000 bonus miles. She then tried calling Citi one more time and received an offer worth taking.
  • Barclaycard US Airways Premier – The first representative told my wife that their systems were down and they couldn’t help us. The second representative she talked too, literally 10 minutes later, transferred her and ended up giving her a statement credit for the annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – The first representative I talked to told me that they couldn’t do anything for me and suggested I downgrade the card. The second representative told me the same thing.

3 Banks

I’m sure you figured this out already, but the banks were Citi, Chase, and Barclaycard.

2 People

Again, this one is obvious, it was Jenni and myself who tried avoiding these annual fees.

1 Unknown

The unknown is with my wife’s Ink Bold. When she called, she was told that they can’t do anything for her until after the fee posts. Once that happens, she has 60 days to call and request a point bonus statement credit. From what I’ve read in the past, this is the norm for the Ink Bold, so we didn’t bother HUCA-ing this one.

End Results

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – The annual fee was not waived, so I will be downgrading to my second Chase Freedom.
  • Chase Ink Bold – My wife has to wait until her annual fee posts before finding out if she’ll get a point bonus or a statement credit for her annual fee.
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – I received two offers to keep this card open. The first was a $45 statement credit after my next $45+ purchase and another $50 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases per month for the next three months. The second offer was 3,000 AAdvantage miles after $500 spent. I took the first offer, because I don’t think 3,000 miles is worth $95. Also, it’s really easy to manufactured $1,000 in spending per month.
  • Another Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – After all the HUCAs, my wife received the same two offers I did and she took the first one as well.
  • Barclaycard US Airways Premier – We were willing to pay the annual fee on this card for the 10,000 bonus miles, but fortunately we don’t have to. The annual fee was offset thanks to a $89 statement credit.

Have you tried avoiding the annual fee on any of these cards? If so, what was your experience?


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