Tim Foolery

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Miles/Points Credit Cards and High Annual Fees

I’ve said it before, I’m not really into the Credit Card Sign-Up game (you know, churning credit cards just to get the bonus miles then cancelling them before the annual fee is due).  Some people have a set schedule and sign up for cards every 91 days, meet the spend then cancel and start it all over again.  I will, however, sign up for a Credit Card if here is a huge bonus — like 75,000 – 100,000 miles/point bonus.

In January 2013, American Express offered a 100,000 point sign-up bonus for their Platinum Card.  I signed up.  In January 2014, Citibank offered 100,000 American AAdvantage Miles for signing up with their Citi AAdvantage World Elite card.  I’ve found that I get pretty good benefits from the American Express Platinum Card ($200 annual airline credit, access to Fine Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Status — although I already have that based on stays — Complimentary Boingo WiFi, AmEx Offers and access to the Delta Lounge — which I’ve used just once).  This card has  $450 annual fee – which I think is totally worth it for me considering all the benefits.

The Citi AAdvantage World Elite card has an annual fee of $450 as well. The benefits to me of this card is really only that it offers access to the American Airlines Admirals Club.  I only use the Admirals Club in Nashville, so it’s not a huge benefit.  I really signed up for this card just for the 100,000 miles.

I mention this because it is time for the annual fees again.  I’m keeping my American Express Platinum Card for at least another year and at that point I’ll reevaluate.  I can’t really rationalize paying $450 to keep a card that offers me no real benefits other than access to a lounge (that I used 4 times in 2014 — I could buy day passes for $50 each).   I’ve got a huge credit limit on the World Elite Card too – so canceling the card could impact my credit score (reducing total credit increases your credit utilization percentage).

So what’s my plan?  I’m going to keep the AmEx Platinum, but I’m going to call Citi and see if they will offer me a bonus for keeping the card for another year.  Best case scenario – they’ll waive the fee and offer me a mileage bonus.  Do I think that’ll happen: Nope. Hopefully I’ll get something.  I’ll report back on my results once they are in.

Do you have any experience with Citibank and asking for a retention bonus?


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