Keep, Downgrade, or Cancel?

I recently had annual fees hit 4 of my credit cards. Whenever this happens it is a good opportunity to take a step back and think about if you feel the card is worth the fee. Since most of these cards I opened were purely for the sign up bonus, it was time to cancel many of mine. However, as I mention in this post, it is still usually a good idea to call before you cancel to see if there are any retention offers available.

1. Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass – $75 Annual Fee

I decided to keep this card. I recently did a Hilton status match and currently have Diamond status. I will be staying at a few Hilton properties during my trip around the world because of this. This card is the highest earning Hilton credit card when staying at Hilton properties. I also like that the card gives 6x points at grocery stores. One of the biggest reasons I kept the card was that I plan on checking into the Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa on March 1, 2017, which will be the day after my Diamond status expires! This card gives Gold status, which will entitle me to free breakfast during our stay.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred – $95 Annual Fee

I decided to downgrade this card. I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points and this card has served me well for the past 2 years. It was a hard one to give up, but I decided it was the best thing for me to do. The card only offers 2x points on travel/dining. I think the Citi Premier/Prestige are making this card irrelevant. The reason to keep this card is that it allows you to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners. I also have the Chase Ink Plus, however, which will let me do the same thing. Another reason that I decided to downgrade is that Chase will now auto deny anyone who has gotten 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months. They recently introduced the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which really interested me. Since I have gotten way more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months, it would be impossible for me to apply and be approved for the card, but it is a card that I could downgrade to, which made my decision easy.

3. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select – $95 Annual Fee

I decided to downgrade this card. This was one of the first cards that I applied for and thus is one of my oldest credit card accounts. In the past, Citi kept offering me good retention offers to keep the card, so I decided to call and see if the trend continued. Unfortunately it did not; I was not offered anything. Since the card offers the same benefits at the Barclays Aviator Red (no longer available) and that card has an $89 fee and offers Chip & Pin, my decision was made. I was not going to keep this card. I decided to downgrade to a Citi Double Cash card to keep my account history.

4. Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa – $75 Annual Fee

I decided to cancel this card. This one was easy. Bank of America lets people apply for the same cards over and over again and people generally have better success if they lower their credit limits on their existing accounts or cancel before applying for a new card. I plan on applying for another Alaska card in a few weeks, which is why this was easy. I called up and cancelled.

Outcome/Conclusion

I saved $265 in annual fees and got 2 “new” credit cards and paid $75 to keep 1 card. Not a bad day! The first year of a credit card usually has the annual fee waived. After that year, I highly recommend you think about if the card is worth it. If not, give your bank a call to see if they will waive the fee or give you any special offers. I have been surprised many times in the past.

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