If you have a reluctant spouse, maybe you can sympathize with this story. My husband’s Chase United Explorer Card was coming up on its first anniversary. On this month’s statement, he was hit with the $95 annual fee.
The last time he faced a similar situation, he told the Chase customer service rep that he wanted to cancel his Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card because he no longer flies Southwest. No, no no! He should have said that he loves to fly Southwest but was concerned about the $69 annual fee. Chase was happy to cancel his Southwest credit card.
The fact of the matter is that we do fly Southwest. When my Rapid Rewards credit card came due for the annual fee, I asked to speak to the retention specialist and was offered an extra 3,000 miles (6,000 total miles) for the $69 annual fee.
So this time, I offered to make the call for my husband. As the primary cardholder, he had to be on the speakerphone with me, but I tried to make it as painless as possible.
I told the retention specialist that we really liked the opportunity to earn United miles with the card, but were concerned about the annual fee.
Right off the bat, he gave us two offers: 1) a $150 statement credit; or 2) 15,000 United miles.
Naturally, we took the 15,000 miles. Strictly speaking the cost of the miles was .6 cents per mile. But you also have to consider the marginal benefit of the additional miles. My husband already had about 10,000 miles in his Mileage Plus account. You can’t do much with 10,000 miles. But an additional 15,000 miles would give him enough for a “saver” award. The alternative offer would have meant a net profit of $55.
The retention specialist said that he hoped we would continue to use the card and make it our “card of choice.” I guess those are the magic words the credit card companies like to hear when you are requesting a retention bonus.
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