Quick Points: How to use retention offers for extra points and miles
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Welcome to another installment of Quick Points, where we share bits of information or advice that you can find elsewhere on the site but may have missed amid flashier or more valuable perks. Today, we’re looking at free points and miles you can get from something called a retention offer, where the bank offers you a bonus or incentive to renew your credit card for another year.
This can be done via chat with a few select banks, but it typically requires a phone call.
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What is a retention offer?
A retention offer is when a bank makes an offer to you, the customer, to retain your business. It could come in a few forms:
- Waive or reduce your annual fee.
- Offer you bonus points or miles.
- Provide a bonus tied to a spending offer, similar to what you get with a welcome offer on a new credit card.
All of these are designed to convince you to keep the credit card open for another year. Notice I said “another year.” Banks will expect you to keep your credit card open for another year — until the next annual fee rolls around — if you take one of these offers. You could even forfeit the cash or points received if you don’t keep the card open for another year.
How to get a retention offer
With American Express and Citi, you can actually ask for retention offers via chat. Incredibly, Citi will do what I like to call a “super retention,” where the agent will look at all of your accounts to see if there are retention offers available on any of them, all in one chat session. With American Express, you’ll need to ask about a specific card, one at a time.
For other banks, you will need to call the number on the back of your card and say you’re considering closing the card. Reasons can be simple:
- “I don’t use it much anymore.”
- “I don’t think the value I get from the card matches the annual fee.”
The best time for a retention call is when the annual fee has just posted to your account.
How to decide if you’ll accept the retention offer
Before calling, consider these items:
- TPG’s latest points valuations to see what points are worth on that card.
- How much you’ve spent on the card in the last year.
- What you will and won’t accept in terms of value.
Now, you’re ready to call. Do some quick math on the offer you get from the bank. Does the offer have a spending requirement? What would you get if you put that spending on a different credit card?
Also, consider your overall credit card strategy. Do you need to close this card to make space for another, or is the offer good enough to keep the card for another year? If not, consider whether you can downgrade your card to something with no fee in order to preserve your credit history.
Sample retention offers
Here are some recent offers my wife and I have received, so you can get an idea of what is possible:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® — 10,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the next 90 days.
- Citi Premier® Card — Waived annual fee after spending $100 on the card in the next 30 days.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card — $30 statement credit with no spending required.
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — $50 statement credit with no spending required.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points with no spending required.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card in the next 90 days.
The information for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured image by Africa Studio/Shutterstock.
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