Amex Credit Card Retention Offer

This might be topical as a lot of cheapies probably signed up for the AMEX offer last year where they were offering $400-$500 bonus Airpoints when you signed up to the American Express Airpoints Platinum Card.

I called up their 0800 number to cancel the card today as the $195 annual renewal fee was coming up. They asked the usual sort of questions, why was I leaving, do you know how many points you have earnt this year etc.etc. but I stuck to my guns and insisted I was going to cancel the card.

Their automated customer retention system instructed the consultant to offer me $500 Airpoints to stay with American Express. She said that this does vary from customer to customer, and it is likely dependent on how much money you spend on your card each month. All in all I thought this experience was worth sharing. Please note that you will still have to pay the annual account fee so I'm really only $300 up which is the same reward that ASB is offering at the moment with their True Rewards card.

However, if you're like me and want Airpoints for when the borders open up again and have a high average monthly spend, this trick could be worth trying even if you are happy with your Amex card.

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Comments

  • Well played Callum!

  • Hoping I get the same offer when I get to 1 year on my card. What reason did you give for why you were leaving?

    • Amex wasn't accepted at many of the small stores that I go to.

  • How much did you spend last year?

  • +1

    ~$30k

    • That worth close to $1,000 pa to Amex so they will want to keep it coming :-)

    • On 30k spend you get $508 airpoints dollars, less $195 fee = $313 net. I'm not sure how often people can play the game of calling to cancel to get a retention offer.

      On 30k spend you can get $750 worth of rewards from BNZ Platinum Visa. Annual fee is $90 (or $110 with one additional card holder) but easily waived every year if you have enough business with them.

      • Can you explain how do you get $750 from 30k spending on bnz platinum visa please.

          • @sunshinenz: Caution though the $750 is not easy to get, first, you have to fuel up 50L everytime.. caution with expiry of discount which is 1 to 2 months, also caution with you have spending that are up and down each month, will mean that you may need to fill out 100L or more in a month or so.. works well if you use a lot of fuel, may be less so for others.

            I used to get the fee waiver from BNZ as well, but come to the conclusion that may be getting the bonus on a new application may be a better option (as I see the opportunity passing by), and historically they had been offering 1000 flybuys points on new application, (and stacked with free fee from companies or organisation with "work perks" with BNZ in the past).

            https://www.cheapies.nz/node/27309

            • @gooddeals: I've been using this flybuys fuel points scheme since day 1. I fill up 4 (52 litre) tanks each month. I get 1-2 free (50 litre) tanks each month from credit card spending.

              • @sunshinenz: sounds like the card suits you well.

                May consider additional free fuel from power company sign up. At least a very good short term signup offer with no contract..
                https://www.cheapies.nz/node/31239

                • @gooddeals: Did that once last year. Z Electric is the most primitive power company ever. No online portal, they don't even tell you your last reading and current reading in the invoice.

                  • @sunshinenz: one go per person I think only for the bonus fuel..

                    Indeed, very minimalistic. Can't deny the bonus offer was good on signing with no contract. in the short term you literally "earn" from it.

      • can you please explain how "easily waived every year" and how much do you need to spend to get that $90 fee waived ?

        • +1

          I usually spend about 40k/year. No mortgage or insurance or KiwiSaver with them, but salaries are paid into our BNZ accounts. Every 6 months I write an email asking if they could waive the fee given our total banking with them. No threats to leave. It has worked in the last several years.

          • @sunshinenz: I like that approach - better than threatening to leave right up front.

            Leaves you the option to 'escalate' if necessary / desirable too.

  • Most banks will have some kind of retention offer but I did not expect AMEX to have something this big. Definitely need to call as my card is coming up for renewal too. Thanks!!

  • rang and only got 300. First year on the card 11.5 months in.. spend for this year was probably towards $50k at least. Tried to advise that a "friend" (you) got 500 but they wouldnt give it to me.

    behavior on my card is I pay the entire balance at the end of the month (never paid interest) and my limit is $6k

    would be interesting to see if anyone else gets that deal of 500 points.

  • Thanks for posting this. How long have you been with Amex? $500 airpoint is a really good retention offer. I have been with them for a very long time and they offered me 100000 reward points in 2020 (my card fee is $325) but nothing in 2021. I saw a discussion on a forum saying they only offer retention once every two years.

  • Just renewed my amex - 4 months earlier than the actual year ended. Only got the $300, but my annual spend has been stuff all. I'm surprised they wanted to retain me! So I'm basically up $105 after the annual fee, but it's still $105 free airpoint $!

  • My partner called and was only offered $50 retention, so we just switched it from a platinum airpoints to a zero fee card. They don't appear to have actioned it though so I'm thinking of calling back to try again. The problem is my partner hates talking on the phone and they will only talk to her not me. Does anyone know if you push they will allow you to do it via chat? I wonder what deaf or non-speaking people would do when they need to cancel their card…

    • Unless you (your wife?) have an agreement otherwise, you can cancel your card in any reasonable manner. If they ignore that, and charge you (and won't refund) then you can take it further.

      If you have given your word (in an agreement that you signed for example) that you will do it over the phone, then you will need to keep to whatever you said you would do, but that seems a little unlikely.

      In writing is almost always an acceptable means of communication that will be explicitly mentioned in an agreement.

      On a separate note, it sounds like you should consider changing your account to a joint account (or even in your name only), and making any future accounts also joint (or your) accounts - that way, if your wife doesn't like dealing with such things, you can do it instead. Always best to plan these things ahead - they don't matter until they do.

      With respect to renewing the account / getting a discount, I would consider including that in the communication by whatever medium you go with. Maybe say something like you are happy with the service, but believe that the benefits do not justify the costs and that you are happy to continue if they will credit you with $XXX or alternatively please close the account immediately.

    • +1

      I call Amex for my Dad's card all the time for deals etc. and have never had a problem. They just ask me to pass the phone to him for the security questions and to give me authorisation before they talk to me. Sometimes I pass it back to him so he can be read the terms and conditions. A bit of a pain but definitely doable as my Dad wouldn't bother with anything himself.

  • I just called and there was no mention of retention offer at all.
    The guy mentioned that my card anniversary date is still 2.5 weeks away, so I just deferred the cancellation for now and said will rethink about it, without asking for retention offer.

    Just wondering, how was the retention offer brought up? Did the staff mention/offer it? Or did you have to bring it up yourself?

    And any other good reasons for cancellation apart from Amex not accepted everywhere / small shops?

    My context:
    Been with Amex for 6 years: 1st year Platinum edge, cancelled and downgraded to Amex Airpoint until last year when they offered $400 to upgrade to Airpoint Platinum.
    Past 12mo spend was only $10,000.
    Use this as primary card (80%), while using free SBS Visa reward credit card for the rest.

    I will post the outcome in 2.5 weeks.

    • +1

      You have to tell them you want to cancell the card (come up with a reason). They will quote they legally can not offer any retention (true for Australia and they usually just assumed you are an AU cardholder). You could remind them you are a NZ cardholder.

      Dont let them talk you out of the cancellation (they may offer downgrade…etc) and let the process begin. Then just listen to what they have to say. I normally called after the account fee has been posted and often been offer Amex points (as I earn Amex points).

      It is believe the card can be reinstated during the same phone call. Once you hung up and it's cancelled it cancelled, unless its a charge card.

      • Thanks @zqsn for the very helpful information.

        So do you reckon I should wait until they send me the bill for the upcoming yearly fee huh?

        They don't just charge straight away without emailing/posting any bill?

    • Bugger. Was only offered $150.
      Reason given: not using much Airpoints, doesn't justify paying annual account fee $195.
      Served by reprsentative: Joey

      In the end took up on the offer due:
      -Deficit of $45 means expenditure of $2,655 to get account fee back - which is ~3.3 months.
      -Compared to Free AMEX Airpoint card, I would still earn at little bit more with current spending.
      -No other sign up offers from other bank companies

      Will see what next year will be like. Hopefully the supposed computer algorithm for retention offer changes, or else I'm goner.

      • Was Joey the only operator you talked to or did you get transferred to the retention team to talk to her?

        • Joey was the only operator I talked to in this call after going through the voice prompt: "help with something else" > "card cancellation". Of note, I phoned the Platinum Card number: 0800 332 268 (the number on the back of the credit card, which is different from the General credit card inquiry).

          I assume with the above voice prompts, it was probably from the retention team.
          When the representative offered $150 (without me mentioning retention offer), I did mention it doesn't cover the annual fee - but got reply cannot be raised higher.

          Given it was my second call already in 2 weeks, and their slow offer of upgrade (from free to AP platinum) last year after being on 4 years of free card, I had given up.

          Next year maybe I'll try the non-platinum line - and maybe avoid voice prompts?
          Of interest which 0800 number did you guys call? General credit card inquiry or the number on the back of the credit card?

          • @fretrunner11: Thank you for explaining this in details.

            The 0800 numbers are different on different cards. My friend said she always has to wait for a while when she calls. I never have to wait when I call, so I suspect they prioritize calls depending on the card you have. I think you are still better off calling the number on the back of your card.

            I am about to make the call hoping to get the retention offer but don't want to cancel my card even if I don't get one. Did you ask for the retention offer on your first call?

            • +1

              @Superpower21: No problem :)
              Yes, I agree there is a shorter waiting time for the higher tier card. I was just wondering maybe I might get less defensive/more lenient operator through the slow path - although in such case, I would probably be passed on to the retention team anyway.

              In my first call, after I requested to cancel the card, the operator (named Mario) reminded me I still had 2 weeks till the anniversary/annual fee date. As the operator did not mention any retention offer at the time, I did not ask the retention offer and said I'll rethink about cancelling, and decided to call back after they had charged me on the statement (as per advice of zqsn).

              Also for your information, during the second call, I was also asked whether Air NZ is my main airline or not - which I did say yes. In retrospect, maybe I should have said no.

              Maybe next year, if I do not get any retention offer or abysmal offer, I might consider switching to Gold Card (which has free 2x $100 fine dining credit with $100+ expenditure, AMEX points rewards rather than Airpoint), provided I don't have better free rewarding credit card through the main bank by then.

              • +1

                @fretrunner11: Thanks again. Oh yes. I am planning to get my partner to apply the gold card once I talk to Amex next week. I definitely prefer the Amex reward points, it's so much more flexible than airpoints. I already have a platinum reward card that collects 2 points per dollar on all purchases, I collect the points much faster than that platinum edge card. Also for the gold card, there is a welcome $300 bonus promotion at the moment, maybe you can get someone in your household to apply now?

                • +1

                  @Superpower21: No problem :)
                  Yes, in the event that the retention offer is not ideal, definitely get partner/family member to apply as new customer. Someone here on the forum said he/she alternates between the partners in applying as new customer every ?18months, after the cool down period from cancelling the card - then adding additional card for free to make use of the AMEX offers.
                  I am unfortunately a lone wolf and won't be able to do that currently.

  • +1

    Thanks, for this.

    Got an offer of $300 airpoints or a $150 reimbursement of the $195 fee, or downgrade to zero fee Amex Airpoints card. I took the the $300 airpoints.

    Took an hour to get through because the 0800 number cutting me off after approx. 6 minutes. I tried this 5 times and finally dialled the overseas direct dial number (Auckland based number) which then took an extra 20 minutes to get through.

    Still, not too bad for an hours work.

    • Great to hear, I didn't have to wait very long on the phone for them to answer which was to surprising. She was very friendly though!

    • What did you say when you called them please? Fee too high or card not accepted in many places?

      • +2

        Just said I wanted to cancel because I wasn't doing anything with the Airpoints and couldn't justify the yearly fee.

  • +2

    I called yesterday and went through the voice prompt and said "card cancellation". Waited for 2 minutes, got Rebecca on the phone. I said I am considering to cancel the card as so many places don't accept Amex anymore and I can't justify paying high fee. She said she can switch me to platinum edge but I said the free airfare has no use to me. I asked if she can waive half year fee for me, she said it's in their policy they can't waive the fee. BUT then she said there is a way she can help me, she can offer me enough points to cover the fee. The offer was 250k which I thought I heard it wrong at first, didn't expect this many points at all. Totally over the moon!!!

    She said 250k should work out around $1200 (don't know where she gets that figure, but the points definitely worth a lot more than that). She said this is the biggest offer she has ever seen and she needs to get an approval on that before she puts into my account. So I wonder if there is a special chart for the retention offer (they look at your spendings and years with them) to offer whats on it. The agent has no power to change it?

    I have been with Amex for a very long time assuming this is one of the key factors as Rebecca thanks me for bing with them. Anyway, not bad for a 8 minutes work. 250k = one business class return airfare to Europe, plus one way economy class to Asia.

    • +1

      Nice work! That's one great bonus. I should have mentioned that most CC companies don't like waiving the fee as it doesn't lock you into their ecosystem like gifting you points does.

      Great outcome.

      • Thanks. I see, what you are saying totally makes sense. But I am pretty sure they did waive the fee for me once but it was more than 10 years ago before they have the retention offers.

    • Awesome work and great outcome indeed!

      Just of interest, when you say you've been with them for long time, how many years is that?
      And if you don't mind, what is your typical monthly expenditure with AMEX?

      • +1

        Thanks for the heads up about the voice prompt, I felt more prepared when I talked to Rebacca. This process has totally changed since I last called asking for the retention offer.

        I have been with Amex since 2002. The typical spending is about 50k annually.

        • +1

          I see. No problem. Thanks for sharing your expenditure as well as the outcome too.

          Oh wow 20 years! Well deserved points - definitely should be rewarding long time customer like you.

    • +1

      My AF also kicked in so made a call to discuss. The first agent was very explicit about me needing to say I'm looking to cancel before she could put me through to the right team.

      Got put through and after a couple minutes discussion while they couldn't waive the fee (expected) offered me 200k points.

  • +1

    Thanks for the tips! My card is up for renewal in June, so I'll definitely try this. I'll update here with the outcome.

  • +1

    Just tried the chat and here's what the agent said
    "I'm afraid, we do not have any retention offers, or an annual fee refund procedure in place, you can change your card to a lower or fee free card and still keep the AmEx membership active. During the membership period, if you need any further assistance, we will be glad to help. "
    Will try calling them later.

    • +1

      Don't explicitly ask for a retention offer. Ring up and say that you're cancelling and they should try to keep you with a retention offer. If Amex don't offer a retention offer, and you haven't played your annual fee for the next year, I'd cancel the Amex and jump on the ANZ airpoints card and get the $400 bonus. Good luck!

  • +2

    Just out of interest, I just tried for a retention offer with my Kiwibank Airpoints Platinum Visa. Initially they said no they couldn’t do anything, but then when I chatted to the team supervisor they informed me that while they can’t offer airpoints (they said that was up to Visa/AirNZ whether they can offer airpoints and so only usually happens during promo periods), they can easily wipe the annual fee, saving me $150 which I was happy to accept. YMMV!

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