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Last summer I successfully applied for a Citi AAdvantage Amex and Visa card at the same time for a total of 150,000 AAdvantage miles (dubbed the two browser trick – still available but now down to 100K miles for those two cards) after I met the spending requirements to trigger those bonuses. Now the $85 annual fees have come due and it was time to decide what to do with the accounts. I decided to give Citi a call using the customer service number printed on the statement I received in the mail to see if they had any retention bonus offers available for my account. If you want to skip that step, the direct number to the retention department is 800-444-2568. I knew from this Flyertalk thread that retention offers are quite common for these cards if you are willing to take the time to call and ask.
Even though I applied for both cards on the same day, so far only the Amex annual fee bill has arrived in the mail. So, I made a call about the Amex first. I was very up front and honest with them about why I was calling. I didn’t call and say “I want to cancel” and see if they then offer something to change my mind, because I frankly wasn’t ready to outright cancel that day if they called me on my bluff. There are just too many good promos throughout the year that you can maximize by having an Amex, so I would probably prefer to keep that card over the Visa card. However, I do not need two Citi AAdvantage cards, so I will be cancelling the other card (minus a ridiculous offer to keep it that I just can’t refuse).
When I called, I told them that I had received a bill for the annual fee and I was trying to decide what to do with the card since I haven’t been using it very much lately. I asked if they had any incentives available to customers to help off-set the annual fee. I was transferred to a senior customer service agent who said that they could not waive the annual fee on my account, but that there were two promotions available to me. Just to give a frame of reference, I have used this card some after hitting the initial spending bonus, but I certainly haven’t used it a whole lot. I’m definitely not one of their “big spender” customers.
The two retention offers that were presented to me were:
1. A 3,000 mile AAdvantage bonus after spending $500 on the card within the next three months.
2. An extra 2x on all spending on the card for the next six months. This would bring the total to 3x on all spending of the next six months. She said all spending, but from reading other experiences online, it seems likely that there was a 10,000 bonus mile limit for $5,000 in spending over six months.
Getting 3x on all purchases for six months is pretty great – especially since AAdvantage miles aren’t the easiest type of mile to come by. If you can hit the $5,000 mark in six months without missing out on other category bonuses and/or minimum spending limits for other cards, that is likely the better offer. However, I chose the first offer to get a bonus 3,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $500. I did this because I am quickly approaching a credit card churn of my own, and am not going to have a ton of spending to divert to this card. I would rather have a specific smaller spending goal to trigger the bonus. With the option I selected I will essentially be earning 7 miles per dollar for the first $500 I charge on this card over the next three months.
I know that $500 is a realistic and attainable amount for me, and I am happy with that offer. The value of those bonus miles, combined with the American Airlines perks that come from having the card, make it a keeper for me…for now. I am a little bit disappointed that the annual fee was not waived since it seems that has been offered some historically, but it is understandable that it wasn’t offered to me given that I really have not been using the card a whole bunch. The whole process took exactly 9 minutes from start to finish, and both reps were US based and very pleasant to work with. I get to keep the AAdvantage benefits associated with the credit card, the credit limit, the account history, and get 7x for $500 in spending that I would not have received without the call. Seems like 9 minutes well spent to me.
What would you have done? What type of retention offers have you recently received from Citi?