It Never Hurts to Ask: Lucrative Citi Retention Bonuses

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One of my favorite phrases in the miles and points game is, “It never hurts to ask.” In the past year I’ve gotten thousands of miles, better seats and even money – simply by being nice and asking your preferred credit card company or travel provider. While I recommend not pushing this to the extreme, it’s known that some credit card companies will do almost anything to keep your business. (FYI Chase is one that generally does not budge much on annual fees or retention bonuses).

TPG reader Molly recently told me a retention story in the vein of “The Three Little Pigs” that should help the rest of us good little boys and girls avoid some of the hefty annual fees on our cards without having to cancel them. The moral of the story? Banks don’t want you to cancel your credit cards, so don’t be afraid to ask for a fee waiver, and if you don’t get one, demand some points because at least you’ll get something out of it!

Here’s how Molly did it:

“Good afternoon TPG,

I just had to let you know about my success with Citicards waiving $85 fees, which sounds a lot like the story of the 3 Little Pigs!

To begin with, my Citicard Business was at it’s yearly point for charging me $85.  Since I have 4 AAdvantage Citicards, I thought that I wanted to get rid of one of them and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, as you have recommended.

When I spoke to a representative about the Business account, he was willing to give me 10,000 points to not cancel the card.  I still wasn’t sure that was what I wanted to do, so I had the agent look at my personal cards.  The AA Citicard MC, had an $85 fee,  but not until June.  The agent asked me if that bothered me (yes), so he said he would, “huff and puff & credit my account with $85,” as long as I made 5 charges on the card in the next 3 months.  Great. Done.

Next, he looked at my AA Citicard Visa, it also had an $85 fee, due in July.  He asked me if that bothered me, and I replied yes.  So, he said that he would, “huff and puff & credit my account with $85,” as long as I made 5 purchases on  the card in the next 3 months (even if they were only $1.). Great. Done.

Next, the agent looked at my AA Citicard American Express, it also had an $85. fee, due in August.  He asked me what bothered me about this one?  I told him the $85. fee, so he, “huffed and puffed & credited my account with $85,” as long as I charged 5 purchases to the account in the next 3 months. Great. Done.

Now, I started out going to cancel a Business card because of the $85. fee., and after all this huffing & puffing, I kept one fee, but gained 10,000 points, and $85 x 3= $255, one for each of my other cards.

I thought I should let you know so that other reader’s could be informed.  I would never have guessed that AAdvantage Citicards would pay me to keep all of their cards!  Wow!  $255. + 10,000 points, not bad for adding on to the original 75,000 pts. + 75,000 points that I got for opening my last 2 cards.  Thanks to TPG for helping me to get over 200,000 American Airline Points!  Great start to the New Year!

Happy New Year from the Big Bad Wolf (credit card company)!”

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