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The start of a new year is a great time to get your financial house in order. As the calendar turned to 2022, I decided to do a review of the credit cards that my wife and I hold and realized that with the recent addition of the new Capital One Venture X, we were on pace to have nearly $1500 in annual fees this year. YIKES! This made me queasy, so I decided to look for options to cull the herd. The two main opportunities to do so were the AMEX Gold Card ($250 per year) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 per year). My AMEX card annual fee was coming up soon, so I decided to give them a call.

How Can I Get My Annual Fee Refunded?

Most banks will now refund your annual fee for a period of time even after it has posted to your account if you cancel your card. However, if you are considering keeping your card, I believe it makes sense to call and sniff around for retention offers before the annual fee hits. I generally do this for each annual fee card every year and have had success numerous times in the past including here. The Points with a Crew “Complete Guide to Credit Card Retention Offers” walks you through the process with some tips that can improve your odds of success. I used this post for inspiration and one day when driving to the office I had about 15 minutes, so I gave AMEX a ring. I quickly reached a rep and this is how my call to went.

The Retention Offer

Me: Hi!  I hope you had a great holiday.  I’m thinking about closing or downgrading my card as the last year has made it tough to take advantage of all of the benefits that the card offers.

John: I completely understand Mr. Loehr.  Do you value the 4x Membership Rewards Points at restaurants and supermarkets along with the 3x points on flights as well as the Uber credit, airline credit and dining credit?

Me:  I agree that these are valuable John, but I can’t justify the $250 fee at this time. There are some really good cards out there and I am leaning towards shifting my spending towards them.

John: You have been such a great AMEX customer and we value your business.  Would you be willing to keep the card if we offer a bonus 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000?

Me:  I appreciate you working with me John and I will accept this offer.  Thanks!

John:  Thanks for your continued business and loyalty Mr. Loehr…

After this John went about reading a LONG disclaimer about the offer. The pertinent details are below:

  • I had to keep my card open for at least 12 months or the points could be forfeited.
  • The 15,000 points would be in addition to any other points I earned which is great because I was also getting an additional 4x points on all spending with a referral offer.
  • I would see the points post 6-8 weeks after I hit the spend requirement.


The call ended at just over seven minutes. At the end of the day, I was probably getting close to $250 in value from the card every year as I take advantage of nearly all of the benefits provided. However, the eye-popping figure of almost $1500 in annual fees had me questioning my card holdings. With that being said, I plan to call Chase in the next month to downgrade my Sapphire Reserve (after using all my points) to avoid the upcoming $550 fee. That will get our annual fee amount back below $1000 per year. However, if Chase pulls out all the stops and offers a great retention offer like AMEX did, I may not get below that threshold!

Have you had any luck with retention offers recently?  Let us know about it in the comments below!

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