One of the most commonly asked questions this week is how to get retention offers. In case you're not familiar with what a retention offer is, the idea is you call in, and the credit issuer gives you an offer for you to keep the card.
For example, let's say you have the Platinum Card from American Express and you came out ahead in Year 1. In Year 2 and onwards, the effective annual fee is usually $150 if you can take advantage of all of the travel credits and benefits.
Credit card companies make money off transaction fees every time you use the card. This also means that retention offers are based on how much you spend on your card, meaning if you only hit the minimum spend, you'll have a smaller retention offer (if any). On their end, it's a math equation to see if they can get positive expected value from your spend.
When you call into the retention department, the typical offer is $50-$200 for the Amex Platinum. My goal is to get an offer that is worth at least $150 to break even from the annual fee or come out ahead.
If you don't break even, then you can either downgrade or cancel the card. If you don't have any other premium cards, then it may be worth keeping, depending on how much you enjoy lounge access at airports, status at hotels, and benefits.
To illustrate another example of why companies have retention offers, let's look at internet/cable companies. In the SF Bay Area, there's Xfinity and AT&T. When you signup, the contract is usually a year long contract.
In the first year, there's usually a promotional offer, let's say $50/month. After the first year, the price goes up to the regular $80/month. When the first contract is up, you have a decision to make:
1. Cancel the contract and go with another provider
2. Negotiate another offer
Retention offers with credit cards is the same idea. Instead of being a service you're paying for, it's based on how much spend you put on the credit card.
Most banks have a retention department. When you call the number on the back of your card, tell them you're thinking about canceling, and you want to talk to someone about retention offers.
Once you're in the retentions department, you'll need to explain your story again. Depending on who you're calling, you want them to bid against each other. For example, if you're calling American Express, you ought to mention you're spending most of your money on the Citi Prestige (or another competitor), which is why you want to cancel the Amex card. YMMV.
Important: be sure to call when the retention department is open during regular business hours. For most credit issuers, the retention department is by phone only and not chat or email. It's worth a call, especially if you use the card often.
One thing to consider is retention offers are based on the credit issuer and the card. Some issuers like Bank of America don't have retention offers at all.
It’s important that you don’t start the phone call with “I want to cancel my credit card,” unless that’s what you actually want to do. Some customer service agents won’t even bother to try keeping you and cancel the card because that’s what you wanted.
Here’s my exact script that I use when I call in for a retention offer:
Agent: Hello, thanks for calling [ credit issuer here ]. How can we help you today?
Me: Hi there, I’m thinking about canceling my [ card name here ]; just wanted to see if any retention offers are available or associated with my account.
Agent: What makes you want to cancel?
Me: It’s mainly the annual fee.
Agent: Did you know about x,y,z benefit?
Me: Yes, I have used the benefits, but I just wanted to see if it makes sense to keep the card or not since I also have [ insert competing card here ]. Do you see any retention offers in the system for me?
Agent: You can use points to pay the annual fee…
Me: I have a low point balance that wouldn’t even cover the annual fee [ or insert any other excuse here ]
Agent: Will [offer ] convince you to keep the card?
Me: Yes, the bonus [offer ] would be great!
Agent: Anything else we can help with today?
[ Get a reference # here if you want it ]
Me: Is there a reference number I can have in case the [offer ] doesn’t post?
Agent: [ reference info ]
Me: Great, thank you for your help! :)
The main takeaway is that if you have a credit card with an annual fee coming up, and you won't get positive expected value in Year 2, it doesn't hurt to call the retention line.
A lot of people are scared to call in because they're afraid of getting rejected, but there's not a downside. Worst case, nothing happens.
Want to help the community? We're gathering data points to keep track of retention offers people receive from different credit issuers. Feel free to tell us about your experience in the survey below. Responses will be made public here.
No, you typically can’t upgrade a credit card within the first year, especially if there is a difference in annual fee due to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act of 2009).
The CARD Act was passed by the United States Congress in 2009 to protect consumers from unfair practices from credit card issuers, which include changing the annual fee within the first card membership year.
For example, if you apply for the Chase Freedom card today, you can’t product change it to a Chase Sapphire Preferred a few months later since there would be a change in annual fee ($95). Banks are not allowed to charge you more than what you agreed upon the first year.
Unless you accept a product change offer, you will not get a bonus when you upgrade or downgrade your card.
This means that if you product change a Chase Freedom card to a Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP), you will not receive the 60,000 points welcome bonus that’s usually associated with the CSP.
Again, you won’t receive a welcome bonus for the respective credit card when you do product change.
However, upgrade offers do exist with some card issuers like Chase and American Express.
We typically see an upgrade offer from Chase when they want you to product change to the newest version of a credit card.
For example, the “old” grandfathered Hyatt credit card has a targeted upgrade offer of ~5,000 points when you product change to the “new” World of Hyatt card.
Grandfathered card =
1) Card that was previously publicly available
2) Can’t be applied for
3) Potentially can’t be product changed to
Chase Hyatt (discontinued) ($75 Annual Fee)
- anniversary night = Category 1-4
- 3x at Hyatt
- status = Discoverist (Explorist if $50k spend cal. year)
Chase World of Hyatt ($95 Annual Fee)
- anniversary night = Category 1-4
- additional anniversary night = Category 1-4 ($15,000 spend, card year)
- 4x at Hyatt
- status = Discoverist
- 2 nights towards status (not free nights) per $5k spend
Since the Chase Hyatt card isn’t my only hotel credit card, it wouldn’t make sense to pay an increased annual fee when I’m keeping the card for the free anniversary night. I’m grandfathered into the $75 annual fee as long as I don’t accept the upgrade offer.
It depends on the credit issuer, but the general rule is that they prorate a refund based on the months you have the card.
This is an interesting strategy for people who missed downgrading the card on the anniversary date. You’ll receive a prorated refund based on how many months are left in the cardmember year.
For example, if you have an Amex Platinum card that just renewed, but you want the Gold card instead, Amex would refund the prorated amount for the Platinum and then charge the Gold card annual fee. This assumes that you did NOT receive a retention offer for the Amex Platinum card.
If you received a retention offer, keep the Amex Platinum for the year to avoid getting blacklisted. It’s in the terms of the offer that closing a card shortly after accepting a retention offer can qualify as “abuse.”
It depends. The general rule is that you can only product change within a family of cards (same point system).
For example, the Chase Freedom can only be product changed to a Chase Slate, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Student, Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You cannot product change the Chase Freedom to a World of Hyatt or United Explorer card, vice versa.
A few items to keep in mind:
No, they are completely separate credit issuers. You cannot product change across different credit issuers.
No, you can’t product change international products across the same credit issuer. American Express Hong Kong, Amex Canada, Amex UK, etc. are all separate entities that have different regulations.
International organizations have different…
However, if you are an international and looking to gain U.S. credit, American Express has a Global Transfer Program.
You might be able to do this, but I don’t advise it. American Express explicitly has terms that say they can close your account for “gaming” the upgrade bonus.
“ If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome offer (s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit Hilton Honors Bonus Points to your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us. “
Source: Offer terms https://online.americanexpress.com/dapply/partner/preacq/hil/hhas-upg-51/cmupgrade/carddetails#/cshop
If you accept an upgrade bonus, I recommend keeping the respective card open for at least 12 months.
Capital One has become more involved in the travel industry in recent years. In 2018, the issuer introduced airline and hotel transfer partners to its credit card rewards program, and more recently, it upgraded its partner transfer ratios and expanded its travel site to drive reservations and establish itself as a serious contender in travel and loyalty programs.
Now, the issuer is venturing into airport lounges for the first time. As of Nov. 4 2021, Capital One has formally opened the doors to its first-ever lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport.
The lounge provides passengers with a variety of amenities that they won't find at other lounges in the United States, helping to establish Capital One from its legacy lounge rivals in a number of ways.
As mentioned, there’s one Capital One Lounge open in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at the moment. According to Capital One Travel, two more lounges will open in major airports in 2022, at Denver, Colorado and Washington, DC.
Here are the details of what we know so far.
Opened November 4, 2021
Location: Terminal D Near Gate D22
Size: 10,000 sq. ft.
Capital One has adopted a deliberate design approach to the lounge experience, using technology, consumer data, and industry trends.
While all airport lounges vary, the issuer tells us to expect the following amenities–all accessible for free for eligible cardholders and are categorized into three themes.
If you want to learn more about the new DFW premium in-lounge dining menus, see screenshots below.
Capital One airport lounge admission is free or discounted for travelers who have qualified Capital One credit cards. The chart below shows which Capital One credit cards entitle you to its lounge access, including the guest policy and how much it will cost per visit.
American Express recently sent out targeted 100,000-150,000 point upgrade offers to Hilton cardholders. Although the offers are tempting, don’t jump to accept them yet. You could potentially miss out on a welcome offer if you accept. Consider the following scenarios in this post before upgrading your Amex card.
The main reason why you should think twice before accepting an upgrade offer is that once you product change the card, you will no longer be eligible for the respective welcome offer.
“Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card.”
For example, if you currently have the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card and you accept an upgrade offer to product change to the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, you’ll automatically be disqualified for an Ascend welcome offer since you have the card (assuming you never had the card before).
One common misconception is that you can only get either an upgrade offer or a welcome offer, but not both. However, if you plan the applications correctly, you can earn both, resulting in double the amount of points.
Even though you can get both upgrade and welcome offers, there are a few exceptions for who shouldn’t do this.
With American Express credit cards, the optimal strategy is to apply for the higher tier credit card first, and then accept the upgrade offer. If you’re someone who can handle the minimum spend requirements for both cards, you can accept the upgrade offer a few days after applying for the credit card.
The idea is that you apply for the credit card first, that way you can earn a welcome offer, in addition to the upgrade offer.
SITUATION 1: Hilton Honors + Hilton Ascend
Route 1: Upgrade
Route 2: Apply + Upgrade
In the situation above, you applied for the Hilton Honors card 12 months ago, and there’s an upgrade offer for the Hilton Ascend card.
There are 2 routes you can take, either take only the upgrade or apply for a new Hilton Ascend and then accept the upgrade offer later.
If you take the latter route, you’ll receive two bonuses: the welcome offer and the upgrade offer. Yes, you can have two of the same credit cards at the same time.
For people who don’t want two Hilton Ascend cards, you can always product change one the no annual fee Hilton Honors card after 12 months.
SITUATION 1: Hilton Honors + Hilton Ascend + Hilton Aspire
Route 1: Upgrades
In the first situation for the complicated example, if you want to stick with just one account/credit card, you can apply for the no annual fee Hilton Honors card and accept a new upgrade offer each year.
When you stick to one account, you’ll earn the welcome offer from the initial card, and then two additional bonuses for each Hilton tier you upgrade.
On the other hand, if you want to maximize the number of points potential, consider the plan below.
SITUATION 2: Hilton Honors + Hilton Ascend + Hilton Aspire
Route 2: Apply + Upgrade
By adding the next tiered card before accepting the upgrade offer, you’ll earn the welcome offer for the respective card AND the upgrade offer, resulting in 5 additional bonuses.
The difference between the two scenarios above is two bonuses vs. five bonuses. If each bonus is about 100k to 125k Hilton Honors points, then you’re potentially missing out on an additional ~350,000 points by not playing your cards right.
Customer service representatives can be useful at times, but there are often behind the scene factors that you don't see. Even though if you talk to a frontline rep, the information may not be accurate.
The Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) is a division within American Express that looks into accounts who try to game or abuse the rewards system.
Often, people will tell me that they called into the American Express customer service line and talked to an agent, and cleared everything with them. However, what they don't realize is that there is a secondary team, RAT, that will review the account.
For example, a handful of people messaged me recently telling me that their plan is to open the new Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, acquire the welcome bonus, and use the $300 Marriott credit, all within 30 days. They plan to close the credit card within 30 days to avoid paying the hefty $450 annual fee.
Their rationale is that they cleared this with a frontline representative, but they don't realize that the RAT team will audit the account later. Closing a card within 30 days of opening and acquiring the welcome bonus is one of the easiest ways to get your account blacklisted.
Another example is with Chase. People often tell me that they walked into a physical Chase branch and the banker told them that the Chase 5/24 rule doesn't exist.
A few reasons for this:
We know that the Chase 5/24 rule exists because people online have been the data point they would like to see. By having enough data points, you can infer some rules.
The main takeaway from this post is always to do your own research, and to look at data points online to see if what the consequences are for each action.
CLEAR is a tech company that operates a biometric travel document verification system at some major airports and stadiums.
Offering a stress-free airport experience nationwide, CLEAR streamlines the process of getting through security, making air travel and stadium events more efficient and enjoyable.
With CLEAR, every trip to the airport and select stadiums can be a stress-free experience, helping you manage your time more efficiently and making your travels more enjoyable. It’s like having a personal guide to help you navigate the security process, ensuring a more predictable and less time-consuming airport experience.
While CLEAR and TSA PreCheck® enhance the airport security experience, they offer unique benefits. CLEAR provides a swift identity verification process. You can breeze through security by using a CLEAR pod and verify your identity using your eyes or fingerprint.
Conversely, TSA PreCheck® is a program run by the U.S. government. It aims to pre-identify travelers who pose a minimal risk based on an evaluation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Approved travelers experience expedited security screening at U.S. airports nationwide without removing shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, or light jackets.
Many travelers find that CLEAR and TSA PreCheck® complement each other, providing the fastest and most reliable route through the airport.
When you combine CLEAR with TSA PreCheck®, you can jump to the front of the TSA PreCheck® line. Depending on the time of day you travel, this may save a ton of time.
Several cards from American Express offer up to a $189 CLEAR Plus statement credit per year, including:
The versatility of CLEAR extends beyond airports, making it a handy tool in various aspects of daily life. CLEAR’s applications are vast, from facilitating quick entry at sports arenas to offering a Health Pass & Digital Vaccine Card.
The service is also helpful for sports events and comes with a CLEAR Plus option where you can add up to three people to your CLEAR account for just $60 each– saving you $380!
Additionally, Reserve powered by CLEAR provides a seamless dining experience at selected locations.
CLEAR s revolutionizing the airport experience and beyond with its state-of-the-art biometric technology. Offering safe, efficient, and stress-free navigation through security checks, CLEAR is the future of travel. Whether you frequent airports or attend stadium games, CLEAR ensures your identity verification process is a breeze.
A CLEAR membership has saved us a ton of time and let us enjoy more time in the airport lounge vs. standing in the airport security line.
Chase recently launched Sapphire Lounge by The Club, exclusively available to Sapphire Reserve cardmembers. Cardmembers can enjoy curated environments and luxurious facilities that embody each captivating city's unique essence and vibrant atmosphere.
Here's everything you need to know about who can access the Sapphire Lounges.
Primary cardmembers and authorized users of the following cards have complimentary access to Sapphire Lounges:
Cardmembers' Complimentary Priority Pass™ membership must be activated.
Other Priority Pass members are eligible for one free visit to a Sapphire Lounge by The Club annually.
This means for all other Priority Pass cards outside of Chase, it's ONE visit across ALL lounges, not per lounge, and guests aren't complimentary.
For example, if you have a Priority Pass membership from the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, then you can get complimentary access to one Sapphire Lounge per year.
You can find more information about this by checking the lounge location listings or FAQs on the Priority Pass website.
If you already have a Priority Pass membership and a same-day boarding pass, you can enter the Sapphire Lounge by The Club within three hours of your flight. Show your physical or digital membership card at the lounge to enter.
Note that if you are a Sapphire Reserve, J.P. Morgan Reserve, or Ritz-Carlton cardmember and still need to enroll in your complimentary Priority Pass membership, you can activate it by logging in to your Chase account or calling the number on the back of your card.
You must enroll to activate the Priority Pass benefit.
You can check the locations of Sapphire Lounge by The Club by visiting the page where you found this information or searching on the Priority Pass website or app.
Sapphire Reserve, J.P. Morgan Reserve, and Ritz-Carlton cardmembers can also look for lounge locations in the Explore Lounges section under Benefits › Travel in the Chase Mobile app.
No, complimentary access to the lounge is not available for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers.
If you're interested in accessing the lounge, consider upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve card by calling the number on the back of your card.
You can read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review here.
Note: Some of the offers/products mentioned below are no longer available.
As an American Express Platinum cardholder, you can add two types of authorized users:
1) Amex Platinum authorized user cards
2) Gold authorized user cards
There are a few main benefits of adding Gold authorized user cards to your account.
1) Same Multipliers as the Amex Platinum
If you're an employer and your team travels often, then you can earn 5x back on airfare when you issue employee authorized user cards.
2) More Amex Offers
If your family members don't have an American Express card, you can add them as an authorized user, and they can access deals.
3) Global Entry / TSA PreCheck®
A handful of new cards are offering the $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit benefit. With the Gold authorized user card, there's not a need to get a new card solely for the $100 credit anymore. You can simply add authorized users to take advantage of the credits.
If the authorized user would like to have any of the above benefits, it might be worth issuing them an Amex Platinum authorized user card. The fee is $175 for up to three authorized users, so if you add one, you might want to add up to three since it's the same price. Obviously, only add people you can trust.
To maximize my cell phone protection, I product changed my Ink Business Cash® Credit Card to a Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Even though the Chase Ink Preferred has a $95 annual fee, it's a no-brainer card because of the cell phone insurance.
There are a few other card that have cell phone protection, but they're either cards I don't have, ones that I don't want, or ones that I can't get. To me, it doesn't make sense to apply for a card solely for cell phone protection.
Other cards that have cell phone protection are the Wells Fargo personal cards, US Bank Platinum Visa, and the FNBO Absolute Rewards card. The cards I can't get are the ones for the Navy Federal Credit Union.
Cell phone protection will reimburse the eligible cardholder for:
With the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you're covered for damage and theft, but only for phones that are purchased brand new. This means that refurbished or used phones do not qualify. You're covered up to $600 per claim, with up to 3 claims per 12 months; this comes out to $1,800 (maximum) for 3 claims in 12 months. There's a $100 deductible for each claim.
Depending on the type of phone you purchase, it might make sense to go through the manufacture's insurance. For example, if you purchase an iPhone, Apple Care is a great option.
On the other hand, if you purchase a cheaper Android phone that's ~$600, then credit card protection might be the optimal route.
One thing to consider is the cell phone insurance is supplemental, so if you have homeowners insurance, renter's insurance, or employer's insurance, those have to be used first.
Once the primary insurance is exhausted, the Chase Ink Preferred's cell phone protection will cover the damage to, theft of, or involuntary accidentally parting with the cell phone up to $600 per claim. You'll be responsible for the $100 deductible.
The Benefits Administrator will choose to repair or replace the cell phone for the lesser amount up to $600.
Under normal circumstances, you'll be reimbursed within 10 business days of receipt and approval of the claim form and all required documents.
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a great option for those looking to earn rewards on their spending and enjoy travel benefits.
With the card, you'll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on most purchases and a generous welcome bonus. You'll also be eligible for travel credits and airport lounge access.
However, applicants must meet specific credit requirements to qualify for the intro offer, so it's best to understand what is needed before applying.
If you're considering the Venture X card for your credit card setup, what's the best way to get approved?
We'll explain how to increase your chances of getting approved for the Venture X card and provide specific details you should know about Capital One's top travel reward cards.
There are plenty of benefits associated with the Venture X card. Although there is a hefty annual fee, there are benefits that can offset the fee if you can utilize them:
The $300 annual travel credit will automatically be applied to your statement when you use your card on eligible travel-related purchases from Capital One Travel, such as hotel stays, transportation, car rentals, etc.
With travel miles worth an estimated 1 CPP and up to 3 CPP when redeemed with credit partners, this annual benefit can be worth up to $300.
It's no surprise that Capita One's best travel reward card provides exceptional travel perks for the cardholder and up to four authorized users. With complimentary access to the Plaza Premium, Capital One Lounge, and Priority Pass networks of airport lounges, the Venture X card can provide a comfortable experience for business and leisure travelers.
A same-day boarding pass is required to enter the lounge.
Important note: you need to activate the Priority Pass benefit by enrolling.
If Hertz is your rental company of choice, the Venture X's benefit of Hertz President's Circle Status will be useful. This status provides special discounts and upgrades at participating locations, making it a valuable perk for frequent travelers.
Note: you must enroll in the benefit. Terms apply.
Here's what you need to know about getting approved for Capital One Venture X.
While many of Capital One's cards target subprime borrowers, the Venture X requires excellent credit. However, there are other considerations when accepting or rejecting an application.
Here are some tips to help improve your odds of getting accepted:
Capital One examines how many credit applications you've made in the past two years. If it's too high, they may reject your application. Before applying for the Venture X card, limit your credit inquiries to one or two within the last six months.
The Venture X is an early to mid-game credit card that most people should focus on after applying for Chase cards. Suppose you're searching for cards that fit a late-game setup and have several revolving lines.
In that case, consider applying for a different card since Capital One often rejects applicants with several open revolving lines. Your milage may vary.
The Capital One Venture X card is a great choice for frequent travelers looking to utilize travel benefits.
You can offset the annual fee by utilizing benefits and the $300 travel credit. The 10,000-mile anniversary bonus is also a nice touch.
Before applying for this credit card, ensure your credit score is excellent, and you haven't applied for too many cards in the last two years.
With these considerations, you can increase your chances of approval for the Capital One Venture X card.
Whenever we create a video about the Centurion Lounge, a few common questions seem to be asked. We'll answer them all in this post.
Yes, food and drink is complimentary and unlimited. Rule of thumb, don't take more than you can eat. I hate wasting food. The food at the lounge is well stocked and refilled often.
If you visit during peak lunch or dinner hours, there might be a line because everyone is waiting for the entrees. Wait 15 minutes, and the line will most likely disappear.
One thing to consider is that hot breakfast is served after 5:30 am, and hot dinner is served until 9 pm.
Complimentary lounge access is available to the following cardholders:
You must have a same-day boarding pass to access the lounge. Delta Reserve cardmembers must have a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.
U.S. Platinum Card® and U.S. Business Platinum Card® Members can pay a $50 USD fee for each guest (or $30 for children aged 2 through 17).
To qualify for complimentary guest access for up to two guests per visit, you must spend $75,000 in eligible purchases on the Card each calendar year.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card Members can bring up to two guests per visit for $50/per person who is also traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight.
Centurion Members may bring up to two complimentary guests at no additional charge.
A: You can find a full list of locations and hours here. Note that lounge hours and openings are subject to change based on COVID restrictions and renovations. Check the Centurion website or American Express app for the most up to date information.
Yes, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are complimentary. Each lounge has a unique signature cocktail menu.
You can find sample menus for each location on the Centurion Lounge's website: https://www.thecenturionlounge.com/
Lunch and dinner usually consist of a main entree, sides, and soup. A salad bar is always available. From my experience, fried chicken is served on the weekends and the weekday entree varies.
Yes, ask the front desk for the wifi password.
You can access the lounge a maximum of three hours before your departure flight. Entry upon arrival is not permitted.
If you have a connecting flight or layover with a same day departure, you can access the lounge.
Some lounges also have a shower. Ask the front desk for availability.
Yes, you can only access the lounge if you're flying the same day. You will need to present your boarding pass to the front desk to enter the lounge.
No, it's a casual environment and there is not a formal dress code.