October 2019 marks the first anniversary of the American Express Gold revamp. Cardholders can expect to pay the Amex Gold annual fee on their card anniversary billing statement. Should you keep the card and pay the $250 annual fee or cancel?
If you’re getting negative expected value from the card, be sure to call American Express and see if you can get a retention offer before doing anything else. In this post, we’ll cover different strategies for the Amex Gold card.
What is a Retention Offer?
A retention offer is something that card issuers can present to cardholders who ask to cancel or close their accounts. A typical retention offer can range from waiving the annual fee, offering bonus points to keep the card open, or presenting a spend offer.
If you accept a retention offer, it’s usually in the terms that you must keep the account open for another 12 months, or the credit issuer reserves the right to claw the bonus back. Don’t accept an offer if you don’t intend to keep the card open for the next 12 months.
How to Get a Retention Offer
As of Oct 2019, it’s not possible to get a retention offer via online chat. Call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to the retention department.
Call during business hours (8 am-6 pm) for the best results.
Don’t start the conversation with “I want to cancel my card.” Some agents don’t care and will cancel the card.
Say something like, “I’m thinking about canceling my card” or “I’m not sure if I should keep the card due to the high annual fee.”
If you don’t get a retention offer in the initial call, wait a few days and call again.
Once you’re with an agent in the retention department, let them know why you’re considering canceling the card.
A few good reasons to consider canceling:
You have other premium cards from different card issuers (Chase Sapphire Reserve, US Bank Altitude Reserve, etc.)
If you have the Amex Platinum, you don’t want to pay two high annual fees
If you received a retention offer in the past and how much spend you put on the card also plays a role in what they can offer you.
The general rule is that if you received a retention offer in the previous year, you’re not likely to be offered another one until the following year. You can usually get an offer every other year.
Want to help the community? We're gathering data points to keep track of retention offers people receive from the AMEX GOLD CARD. Feel free to tell us about your experience in the survey below. Scroll down to the end of the post to view data points.
Different Types of Retention Offers
The type of retention offer you receive varies based on the account activity and your relationship with American Express. It’s not clear what the algorithm is since there seem to be different types of offers for the Gold card.
Retention #1: Mini-Intro Bonus
“X points for $Y spend in 3 months.”
Some people have reported the following offers:
30,000 Membership Reward points for $4,000 in spend within the next three months
20,000 Membership Reward points for $3,000 in spend within the next three months
15,000 Membership Reward points for $2,000 in spend within the next three months
10,000 Membership Reward points for $1,500 in spend within the next three months
If you get an offer on the lower end, it might be worth mentioning a higher offer to see if there’s any room for more points.
Retention #2: Cash Back / Statement Credit
“X% for [ category ] up to [ $Y cap ].”
Another offer we’ve seen is that American Express will essentially pick up the tip on dining expenses.
20% back on restaurants up to $225
20% back on restaurants up to $150
Doing the math, the 20% back on restaurants offer is a better deal. It depends on if you value points vs. how much you dine out.
For example, Membership Reward points can be worth 2 cents per point when you redeem them for travel.
20,000 Membership Rewards * 2 cents per point = $400 in value
$400 / $3,000 spend = 13.3% return on spend (ROS)
= $400 in value + 13.3% (ROS)
= $225 in value + 20% (ROS)
Should You Keep the Amex Gold Card?
If you do not receive a retention offer or you’re not satisfied with the one presented, the next step is to determine how much value you get from the Amex Gold Card.
Crunch your numbers into our expected value calculator to see if you should keep or cancel the card: https://www.asksebby.com/credit-cards/american-express-gold-card
The Amex Gold Card is a charge card, so the only downgrade option is the Amex Green card.
I don’t recommend product changing to the Amex Green since we’re expecting a revamp of the card soon. By downgrading to the Amex Green, you lose out on the intro bonus. Read more about the optimal upgrade/downgrade strategy in this post.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Amex Green currently has a $95 annual fee, and there’s a possibility that the fee will increase when they revamp the card.
Canceling the Amex Gold
If you’re in the early credit stage and you decide to cancel the Amex Gold, I recommend adding another credit card to replace it.
A strong 3-5 card base is ideal for your credit history. The foundation of cards should consist of ones with no annual fee product change options to keep your credit history alive.
Important note before canceling: you need another Membership Rewards earning card to “keep the points alive.” A few options are the Amex Platinum, Amex Green, Amex Blue Business Plus, or the Amex EveryDay.
AskSebby Community Data Points: Amex Gold Card Retention Offers
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