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Could I Lose A Booked Award Ticket If I Cancel My Co-Branded Credit Card?

by on November 24, 2013 · 9 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

TPG reader John tweeted me @thepointsguy  to ask:

“Is there any risk of having a booked award trip cancelled if I cancel a co-branded credit card with the airline?”

The answer is absolutely not. Once award tickets are booked, they really have nothing to do with your credit card. With airline co-branded cards, even if you cancel the card, you will keep the miles that are already in your account, they are not going to take them back from you.

Airline Credit Cards

The airline won’t take your miles if you cancel your co-branded credit card.

I would just caution against any activity that might be considered fraudulent such as buying a bunch of stuff to rack up the miles, booking an award and then returning the merchandise, credit cards have been known to contact airlines to cancel award tickets and take back the miles, but that is an extreme situation and I would not suggest or condone doing anything illicit like that under any circumstances. So as long as you are not doing anything weird then I wouldn’t worry about it.

One other thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you have Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points like the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum cards, or a Chase card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points like the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, and it is your only card that accrues those kinds of points and you cancel it, then when you close your account, you will lose your points. That’s a bit different than airline or hotel co-branded cards, because once those points or miles are in you frequent flyer or hotel points account, they are fine, but with credit card points programs, you need to use or transfer those points before you cancel a card, otherwise they’ll just be gone.

However, my major piece of advice is not to cancel a card if you don’t have to since you want to keep your available credit lines open in order to keep your credit score healthy. You can always call up and ask if the bank can waive the fee or give you a points bonus that may make it more lucrative to keep the card open.

For more information on co-branded credit cards, read my previous posts here:

When To Cancel a Credit Card

My Chicago Seminars Presentation: Advanced Credit Card Strategies

How to Check Your Credit For Free

Travel Tuesday Top 10 Airline Credit Card Perks

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • julie davidson

    if you don’t cancel cards then how can you reapply for new or future signup bonuses?

  • Daddy Points

    Not sure which is worse, the question or the decision to make a post about it. Well at least there are some good referral links in the post.

  • Seth

    TPG has officially jumped the shark. DUMBEST QUESTION EVER!

  • Josh

    The better question is around earned bonuses that aren’t associated with points. For instance, if I cancel my British Airways Visa can I still use the Travel Together certificate that I earned with it at a later date? Likewise, if I cancel my Hilton Reserve card can I still use the two free weekend night certificates that I earned with the spending bonus?

  • Andrew

    What a great question!!! How does someone this dumb even get approved for a credit card. John, next time you ask completely stupid questions use an alias-

  • BobChi

    But TPG expanded the answer into related areas that are worth explaining for newbies. Not every post is advanced stuff, nor does it need to be. The snarky reactions to the questioner are really uncalled for. If the topic doesn’t interest you, just skip it and move on. I do that all the time, particularly when a blogger has a couple dozen photos of the amenity kits on a flight.

  • Mary E. ICN

    Actually, I was told by an agent at US Airways Barclay Card that if I canceled my CC that I would lose all of the mileage points associated with that card.

  • thepointsguy

    They were mistaken

  • Mary E. ICN

    Thanks. I thought so. I think it was an agent who had run out of things to say in order to keep my business.

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