If you have multiple credit cards with annual fee, you should review [at least once a year] whether all of them are still worth the fee; if not, downgrading to a no fee card is a good idea.
I was reviewing my cards few weeks ago and realized that I didn’t Chase Sapphire Preferred anymore. It was September already and they charged the annual fee in Jun, so I wasn’t sure whether I was going to any any prorated refund; but as I like to say, “you never know until you try.” I looked up online to see what other folks have experienced and found these articles from MillionMileSecrets.com and DoctorOfCredit.com. Knowing there was a chance, first I looked up on what card I wanted to downgrade to – I didn’t want to cancel the card and lose the credit limit. I figured I could take change freedom unlimited because it had no annual fee and unlimited 1.5% cashback. I could also transfer these points to other chase card using ultimate rewards.
I called the customer service and explained the situation, they were willing to do a product transfer (I had owned this card for 3 years, so I wasn’t just trying to use the card for points then get rid of it) but said they don’t do annual fee credit so even though I could do a product transfer now, it’s better to wait till next Jun so I can take advantage of the features that comes with Sapphire card. I wasn’t very keen on that but understood the point.
A week later, new statement generated and I paid the bill in full, like I always do. I decided to call again about the fee refund since I didn’t really like the idea of paying for a card I didn’t need. After going through the same story again, this time I was told that I would get prorated refund. Score! A week later (this morning when I checked), I had the credit in my account.
Since it was a product change, they didn’t do a hard inquiry to my credit. The good thing is, while the other card is in transit, my current card still works!
Next time if you’re talking to a bank agent and are not satisfied with the response, it’s always a good idea to call back again later.
I wouldn’t say I have a lot of credit cards [depending on how you define “a lot” ; I’ve read about people who have as many as 60-70], but lately I’ve started to utilize different ones for to maximize the rewards. My all time favorite perk is not having to pay the bill until weeks later without any interest or charge; here are some of the other more tangible ones:
- Travel benefits: Some of the elite travel cards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum have tons of travel related benefits; few that I like more are: Global Entry fee credit, airport lounge access, transfer points to other partners
- there are few more clubbed together with travel worth mentioning:
- Primary rental collision insurance
- no foreign transaction fee
- Cashback: this is obviously the most popular one; cards such as Citi double cash gives 2% cashback on everything, which is the most I’ve seen on each purchase. Costco anywhere has 4% cashback on gas purchases along with 3% on travel & restaurant purchases. Amex Blue Cash Preferred has 6% cash back in US supermarkets; there are others with rotating categories, which I am not a big fan of
- No automated menus to go through for customer care: It’s debatable whether this can be considered as a perk, but who hasn’t been in a situation where you keep pressing buttons on the automated menus and it doesn’t go anywhere. One of my cards has has this and I definitely like it when it connects directly to a person
- Roadside assistance: A lot of cards offer some version of roadside assistance, but with Sapphire Reserve, and Amex gold the card pays for few times a year upto certain amount. This is comparable to basic AAA membership benefit
- Purchase benefits: Last time I used price protection, with an easy process, I got $30 reimbursed because the price dropped after I bought the product. Extended warranty is nice to have too
P.S.: some of the cards mentioned above have yearly fees, so the perks are not free per se, but most of the time it’s worth the fee if you use it. I’ve also written about advantages of using credit cards for all transactions
Also check out favorite benefits of some other folks at Quora: https://www.quora.com/Whats-your-favorite-credit-card-benefit
What’s your favorite Perk?
Imagine using someone else’s money for buying most of the things in life and paying back several weeks later (free loan); considering time value of the money, that’s a great deal!
It’s not as uncommon as you may think thanks to the invention of Credit Card. I’ve been using credit cards for over a decade now and I literally use it everywhere it’s accepted. I’ve had transactions as small as 58 cents and as large as several thousand dollars on my credit card. Following are the advantages I’ve discovered over the years:
- Free loan for upto 50 days: this is my favorite advantage. You don’t need to touch your money for buying things; just use bank’s money and pay them later! This means that if something is on sale on Thursday and you don’t get paid till Friday, you can still buy it. Also if you’re getting reimbursed for purchases, you don’t have to pay out of pocket – you’ll have money before the due date. (I always do this for work travel)
- Several protections that come with the card: Purchase protection, price protection, fraud protection, extended warranty protection, and return protection to name a few. I’ve used fraud protection, price protection (if a card purchase is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, the difference can be reimbursed) few times
- Convenience: can’t beat the convenience of not having to worry whether you have enough cash or a check book. [I still carry $20, just for emergencies – my longest time without using the emergency cash is around a year]
- Merchants putting hold on card: Some merchants like to put hold on cards for amount greater than you’re supposed to pay, for example: hotels, gas station, rental cars. With credit card, the hold amount is not going out of your pocket and when the final amount is charged, you only have to pay that much. I’ve had hotels put as much as $50 – $300 extra on hold depending on the location
- Items easier to dispute: if there are wrong charges with a merchant, it’s easier to dispute and you haven’t paid money from your pocket yet, so money that can be spent elsewhere is not stuck. For some of my credit cards, charges of 5 – 10 dollars don’t even go to official dispute, I’ve had it reimbursed immediately by the bank
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: lot of cards these days offer this benefit, so you can enjoy more time exploring and less time worrying about the fees and waiting in line to get local currency
- Build Credit: Credit card helps build credit, which is very useful for a buying a lot of things on credit in future – house mortgage is a prime example
- Rewards/Cashback and several other benefits that come with the card: There are several signup bonus cards, cashback and travel reward cards. Several websites have dedicated sections to help find the best reward card suited for every lifestyle. We make few hundred dollars in cashback and few more in travel reward each year just by making regular purchases on credit cards. Reward card annual fee may vary depending on what they offer; it’s $550 for Amex Platinum and $450 for Chase Sapphire Reserve at the time of writing this post. Paying several hundred dollars are well worth if you are able to use most the rewards the card has to offer. I personally have Sapphire Reserve and I think it’s worth having even without the signup bonus for folks who like to travel
So next time you are paying for anything, think about the benefits of using credit card vs the other mode of payment. (I use cash or check for transactions that do not accept credit card, or it’s more expensive to use. For example: if a merchant is trying to charge me 3% extra for using credit card, sometimes it’s not worth the extra charge)
P.S.: I always pay the monthly bill in full [treat credit card as a charge card], a lot of these benefits are not worth it if you carry a balance.