Good morning everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the new year so far :) I recently had 2 disappointing attempts at retention offers with US Bank so I wanted to share them with you and see if anyone has had any recent similar (or hopefully better) experiences.
Like most travel hackers, I have something like 30+ credit cards so I have to be very careful about only paying annual fees when I think I’m getting good value from that card beyond the first year. Why 30+ credit cards? Well, most of them are cards that I no longer use but I didn’t want to ding my credit score by closing the account so I downgraded to a no annual fee version and it just sits there until a bank tells me that I have too many open accounts and I have to close one in order to open another. Two of those 30+ cards are US Bank FlexPerks cards (US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature and US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express). I believe the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express Card was replaced by the the US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card a few months ago.
Neither of those cards are in my Top 5 cards that I use the most, so I’d like to avoid paying the annual fees if possible. I know you can redeem 3,500 FlexPoints to cover the $49 annual fee, but I still don’t think I’m getting enough value from keeping both FlexPerks cards so I’m willing to downgrade 1 of them as a last resort. I will most likely keep the American Express version because I have it linked to my Twitter account to sync with AMEX Offers and I do get a decent amount of value from those offers.
When I called the US Bank retention department last year, I received retention offers on both cards. I don’t remember the exact offer but it was enough for me to justify redeeming 3,500 FlexPoints to pay each annual fee and keep the cards open for another year. It was probably similar to the offer that boss man Grant got earlier in 2016.
The first time I called, the front line rep only offered to downgrade the card. When I asked if there was a retention department she told me that they used to have one but that they got rid of it and now they (the front line reps) can close accounts. I chose to HUCA (hang up and call again) a week or so later and this time the front line rep told me sort of the same thing. She said that there was no retention department and that they now had the ability to close cards. I asked if they used to have a retention department and she wasn’t sure. She did offer to lower my interest rate by 2% for the next 6 months but that does me no good since one major rule to travel hacking via credit cards is to never pay interest on credit card balances. I could try the whole “third time is a charm” theory, but I despise making retention offer calls and I have a few calls to Citi that I’ve been putting off so those need to happen first.
Has anyone attempted to get a retention offer from US Bank lately? If so, what was your experience. Closing the account is not an option for me right now because I have 51,600 points and apparently I missed Grant’s post from earlier in 2016 about the annual limit for transferring points being significantly reduced. C’mon US Bank….RUDE!
So it looks like my worst case scenario will be downgrading to the no annual fee FlexPerks Select+ American Express card (unless there are other FlexPerks cards available that are not currently listed on their site). I suppose the silver lining will be that I have another card to sync to a second Twitter account. I’m assuming that I will be able to keep my 51,600 points if i downgrade to another FlexPerks card.
It looks like US Bank may have made a few changes in the second half of 2016 including possibly changing their FlexPerks card lineup as well as eliminating their retention department. I’m looking forward to any data points that you can add below in the comments section.
Grant’s suggestions: If you only care about using the FlexPerks cards with AMEX Offers, try converting both cards to the no annual fee US Bank FlexPerks Select+ American Express card. You may also want to try to product change to the US Bank Cash Plus card. Their 5% cash back categories are decent and you have the ability to pick categories that interest you (some differentiation / diversification from Chase Freedom, Citi Dividend, and Discover It quarterly categories).