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It's not you, it's me: How to kindly break up with your credit card

Oct. 12, 2019
5 min read
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Look, we're just going to say it: Sometimes you just have to know when to call it quits in a relationship. You might want different things out of life, or maybe they're just not giving you what you need. Maybe they don't understand your travel schedule or food delivery habit.

Worse yet, maybe they play games with you or refuse to hang out with your friends. No matter how you look at it, it's usually not an easy choice — but it's like ripping off a bandage, and you know you'll be better off in the long run.

No, we're not talking about your ex. We're talking about your credit card. Here's how to know when it's time to have ... the talk.

You feel like you're going in different directions (literally)

You travel more in a month than you used to in a year, so things such as lounge access and bonus points on flights are (understandably) very important to you — and the credit card you started out with just isn't cutting it anymore. It's not bad, it just means you've outgrown it, kind of like your high school sweetheart.

We'd recommend applying for one of our favorite travel rewards cards, including the The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Tell your current card it's nothing personal, it's just that you've found someone something else and the welcome offers alone are enough to put you on a beach in Italy just three months later.

You've found someone else

Let's say you started off exclusively flying American Airlines, but recently shifted your loyalty to Delta because, well, Delta One Suites are looking better and better everyday. You might have signed up for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard for that sweet 60,000-mile bonus — and only having to buy something as small as a pack of chewing gum to get it — and double miles on all American Airlines purchases. Now, though, that card is sitting in the back of your drawer, along with that starter AAdvantage MileUpSM Card.

We hate to tell you this, but the writing's on the wall here — and your card is just not long-term relationship material. You clearly have eyes for something else since you're not getting everything you need out of your current situation. You need something that will help you reach your goals and matches your spending habits; Get a card — such as the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express — that can do both. You'll thank us for the tough love one day.

You're hesitant to take the next step

We know some of you have tricks up your sleeves for getting your annual fees waived, all while taking advantage of the perks of your card. It's kind of like dating someone that you refuse to call your significant other, but still getting all the benefits of, you know, actually having a significant other.

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If this sounds like you, it's time to throw in the towel. Clearly you're both not in it for the right reasons. You deserve to have a card that supports you, brings out the best in you and that you actually want to commit to.

You feel stuck or bored

You make up excuses not to use your card. You likely don't go out for dinner or to concerts with it anymore. You used to be so close, and now it's pretty clear you're spending lots of time apart.

If this sounds like you, you don't need to immediately ghost your card. Chances are, your card's been around a while, and it deserves better than that. In fact, you might not need to go cold turkey immediately — instead, you can just tell it you need some space and downgrade it.

Let's say, for example, you were lucky enough to snag both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cards before Chase started limiting applications back in 2017. You get a lot of use out of the CSR's $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit (up to $100) and 3x on dining — so you simply don't use your CSP much nowadays.

Instead of outright canceling it, downgrade it to either the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) or Chase Freedom Unlimited. Neither of those cards have an annual fee, and you can redeem the cash back you'll earn for Ultimate Rewards points instead. How's that for reigniting the flame?

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

Before you go and cancel a card, you're going to want to understand how this can affect your credit score; depending on which card it is, it may be pretty significant. After all, you know what they say — you never forget your first.

While canceling might seem like the obvious option, use it as a last resort. You may be able to find your perfect match simply by keeping your options open and seeing what else is out there. Chances are, it'll be even better than what you had before.

Featured image by (Photo by RyanKing999/Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023