Lot of credit cards with useful perks come with annual fees. The perks may range from benign such as "No foreign transaction fee" to high end perk such as free hotel night/certificate, travel credit for airlines or shopping/dining credits. While No-annual fee credit cards might be preferred, there can be great benefits with annual fee card which might justify paying the annual fee's and could be easily recouped based on your usage of the perk/benefit.
Still, one of most overlooked thing about annual fee card's is the ability to ask for retention offers which can either completely or partially offset the annual fees. While not all annual fee card provider would provide retention offer, it is still worth few minutes of your time to call and check. Also getting retention offer will vary from card to card and from person to person. So, how do you go about getting one? You can try below two options:
Send a secure message or do online chat:
The easiest way to get your message across is by sending a secure message (Chase?) if it is an option or doing online chat (American Express?) and sending it after the annual fee has posted is the best time. Be specific in your query and ask for any statement credit or points benefit you can get to offset your annual fees.
Talk to the Customer Care and ask for specialist or supervisor:
The best time to ask for a retention offer is when your annual fees posts to your credit card account. Call the number on the back of the card and talk with the agent and explain him about the annual fees. You will hear the standard description from the agent about the perks of the card and why you should be paying the annual fees. Your best defense is NOT to ask for "Fee Waiver" but rather for "statement credit" or for points/miles earning card any offer which would provide "X number of points/miles".
If the talk does not go anywhere ask for specialist or supervisor as they have more lee-way and see offers which the front line customer care agent may not see. Do NOT say that you want to cancel the card but rather you are considering cancellation as that makes your intent known at the same time gauging if the agent has anything to offer.
Which Credit Card Issuer are easy to budge?
Most of the credit card issuer will look at your relationship and the length of time you are a customer before providing any retention offer, but this is a big YMMV. There are certain credit card issuer such as American Express who are known to provide points offer or statement credit for their own portfolio of cards and less inclined to provide it for the co-branded credit cards. While other such as Chase Bank are not known for providing offers on co-branded credit cards. Yet, banks such as U.S. Bank are known to routinely issue 5k to 10k bonus points annually on their high end Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card "If you ask".
So, there is no golden rule out there, but the key is "To Ask!". So, if you have your annual fee coming up do not hesitate to ask even though you might not be looking to cancel the card as you might be pleasantly surprised with the Retention Offer!
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