Reconsideration Strategy for Credit Card Annual Fees During Coronavirus Pandemic

Good morning everyone.  After reading recent articles by Omar @ Travel Summary (It’s Time to Reduce Your Credit Card Annual Fees) and Doctor of Credit (Credit Card Annual Fee Due? Remember To Ask For A Retention Offer Before Cancelling), I decided to take a look at my credit cards, their annual fees, and whether or not they are worth keeping going forward.  I will share my strategy for organizing my credit cards and my recent call with US Bank regarding my US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card.

I opened up my master credit card spreadsheet and looked at all the credit cards, debit cards, and authorized user cards in the table (68 total cards).  I then removed all my debit cards and authorized user cards and was left with 42 credit cards in my name or Laura’s name.  I then removed all the no annual fee credit cards and was left with 25 credit cards that have annual fees.  The annual fees totaled $4,134.  If you are curious about why we pay so much in annual fees, read I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 & Was it Worth it?  Here are the credit cards sorted by card name:

Credit Card Name AF Credit Card Name AF
AMEX Business Platinum $595 Chase Sapphire Reserve $450
AMEX Gold $250 Chase Southwest Airlines Priority (Laura) $149
AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire $450 Chase World of Hyatt (Laura) $95
AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles $195 Citi AT&T Access More 1 $95
Banco Popular Avianca Vuela $149 Citi AT&T Access More 2 $95
Bank of America Alaska Airlines (Laura) $75 Citi AT&T Access More 3 $95
Capital One Venture Rewards (Laura) $59 Citi Premier $95
Chase Hyatt Hotels $75 US Bank Altitude Reserve $400
Chase IHG Rewards Premier $89 US Bank Radisson Rewards Business $60
Chase IHG Rewards Select $49 US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 1 $75
Chase Ink Plus $95 US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 2 $75
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless $95 Wells Fargo Propel World $175
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business $99 Total Annual Fees $4,134

I then added a column for when the credit card annual fees would post in 2020.  The easiest way to do this was to check my credit card statements to see when the 2019 annual fees posted and use that same date for 2020.  I then sorted the list by the annual fee posting dates.  I then added a column for Notes of what I should do next.  For Laura’s Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card, the annual fee posted almost 2 months ago and we already used the free night certificate, so I figured it wasn’t worth calling.  A few days ago, I called Chase to downgrade my JPMorgan Chase Ritz Carlton to the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.

Credit Card Name AF 2020 AF Date Notes
Chase World of Hyatt (Laura) $95 2/1/2020 Already paid annual fee
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless $95 3/1/2020 Downgraded from Ritz Carlton to Marriott Bonvoy Boundless
US Bank Altitude Reserve $400 3/3/2020 Call for retention offer
Chase Ink Plus $95 4/1/2020 Not a travel CC, don’t call
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 4/1/2020 Call for retention offer
Citi AT&T Access More 2 $95 4/3/2020 Call for retention offer
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business $99 5/1/2020 Call for retention offer
AMEX Gold $250 5/2/2020 Call for retention offer
Citi AT&T Access More 3 $95 5/3/2020 Call for retention offer
AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire $450 5/10/2020 Call for retention offer
Chase Southwest Airlines Priority (Laura) $149 6/1/2020
Citi AT&T Access More 1 $95 7/3/2020
US Bank Radisson Rewards Business $60 7/5/2020
Wells Fargo Propel World $175 7/15/2020
Capital One Venture Rewards (Laura) $59 7/16/2020
Banco Popular Avianca Vuela $149 7/25/2020
Chase IHG Rewards Premier $89 8/1/2020
Citi Premier $95 8/5/2020
AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles $195 8/15/2020
Bank of America Alaska Airlines (Laura) $75 8/31/2020
US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 1 $75 11/4/2020
US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Sig 2 $75 11/4/2020
Chase Hyatt Hotels $75 12/1/2020
Chase IHG Rewards Select $49 12/1/2020
AMEX Business Platinum $595 12/2/2020

Earlier this month, the $400 annual fee posted on my US Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card.  I called US Bank a few weeks ago and the rep didn’t offer me any retention offers, she just insisted that I redeem my Altitude Reserve FlexPoints for a statement credit to offset the annual fee.  I decided to keep the credit card and paid the annual fee after that call.  Fast forward to this week, I decided to call US Bank back and try for a retention offer again.  Since the coronavirus pandemic has gotten worse over the last few weeks, I told the US Bank rep that paying $400 for a travel rewards credit card when I wasn’t travelling or planning to travel in the near future was a bad idea.  I also mentioned that I have a few other travel rewards credit cards with US Bank as well as a checking account with US Bank.  I said I was very loyal to US Bank and hoped that they could offer me something.  The rep took a moment and then said that she could offer me 5,000 Altitude Reserve FlexPoints, I just needed to make 1 purchase this month.  I accepted the offer and thanked her for her help.  Since Altitude Reserve FlexPoints are worth 1.5 cents toward travel, the bonus was worth $75 to me, which closed the gap between the $400 annual fee and the $325 travel credit.

As for the 3 credit cards with annual fees in early April, I will gladly pay the $95 annual fee on the Chase Ink Plus Credit Card.  In an earlier post, I considered downgrading to the no annual fee Chase Ink Cash Credit Card, but the Ink Plus is no longer available to new cardmembers and there is a very small chance that Chase Ultimate Reward Points earned on the Ink Plus won’t be combinable with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card at some point in the future.  To mitigate that risk, I will pay the $95 annual fee.

Speaking of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I definitely plan on calling Chase for a retention offer.  I assume the coronavirus pandemic will not improve over the next week, so I will tell the Chase rep that paying $550 for a travel rewards credit card when I am not travelling or planning to travel in the near future is probably a bad idea.  The CSR used to have a $450 annual fee, but the new $550 annual fee goes into effect on April 1, the same day my annual fee is set to post.  I will also share that I have several other travel rewards cards with Chase and a few business cards too, so hopefully my loyalty to Chase means something.  I’m hoping for some kind of retention offer.  I will report back soon.

Lastly, 1 of my 3 Citi AT&T Access More Credit Cards has an annual fee posting soon too.  I have probably spent $15K-$20K on this credit card over the last year, so I am hoping Citi will be able to waive the annual fee or offer me some kind of retention offer.  I have several other travel rewards cards with Citi, so hopefully my loyalty to Citi is worth something.  I will report back on how that retention call goes.

As you can see by the above chart, there are several other travel rewards cards with annual fees that will post in the next few months.  I plan on calling the credit card companies for all these cards and hope to have good news to share with readers.  If you have any questions about calling regarding retention offers, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

8 thoughts on “Reconsideration Strategy for Credit Card Annual Fees During Coronavirus Pandemic

  1. Danny

    I sort of did the same thing a few months ago. The main difference was I put another column for additional perks like travel credits and then I did a calculation for “net fee”. Things like the jetblue plus card where I pay a $95 fee but get 5,000 pts back makes the annual fee a net $25. Basically $25 to get a free bag on any jetblue flight isn’t too bad. Plus the redemptions of 10% back is a great perk as well.

    Makes the CSR $150(at that time).

    The ATT Access More was great since it came out as a -$25 net. I did get a retentions offer of 2 bonus pts per dollar spent up to 35k max for the ATT Access More last year so hopefully you’ll be able to get something like that. Makes those online purchases worth about 7 cents per purchase.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Danny, I like your net annual fee calculations. I did something similar in my post “I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 & Was it Worth it?”. I think it’s important to calculate your net annual fee before calling in for a retention offer so you know if you plan on keeping or cancelling the card if you do not receive an offer. I’ll keep you posted on my future retention calls. Have a great day.

      Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          That would have been great, I’m sorry your retirement plan got derailed by BofA :(

          I checked out your blog yesterday and didn’t see any new posts in the last few weeks. Hopefully you have some new posts in the near future :)

          Reply
          1. Grant Post author

            That’s a good idea to focus on the clients that pay the bills. Glad you are still talking with members from your Facebook group. Stay safe and healthy :)

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