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Is AMEX Changing How They Handle Retention Offers?

Is AMEX Changing How They Handle Retention Offers?

Million Mile SecretsIs AMEX Changing How They Handle Retention Offers?Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

When you call a bank to cancel a credit card, they’ll sometimes offer bonus points or a statement credit as an incentive to keep the card open another year.

And calling to cancel typically means you’ll speak to a live customer service representative.  Even if you don’t get a retention offer, the bank usually want to know why you’re cancelling the card.

But team member Keith had a different experience recently when calling to cancel his Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.  And this made me wonder what the future holds for AMEX retention offers.

How To Cancel An American Express Card
Sometimes the Bonus Points From a Retention Offer Can Help Top off Your Account and Give You Enough Rewards to Get Big Travel!

It’s still possible to get retention offers with AMEX.  But I’ll let you know how the process of cancelling a card might be changing.

What Happens When You Call to Cancel an AMEX Card?

Link:   When To Cancel Your Credit Cards

Recently, team member Keith shared his credit card inventory.  He said he wanted to cancel the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card because he kept it for ~11 months and the annual fee was coming due.

So he called AMEX thinking they might give him a retention offer to keep him from cancelling the card.  But instead he got an automated system, which said something like:

If you wish to proceed with cancelling your card, please say yes.

After saying “Yes,” the automated system read a disclosure.  And just like that the account was closed.

How To Cancel An American Express Card
With AMEX, It’s Possible to Cancel Your Credit Card by Calling and Using the Automated System

Not having to wait for a live representative means you’ll spend less time on the phone when cancelling a card.  This is convenient for folks who are certain they want to close an account.

But if you’re hoping for a retention offer, you’ll want to speak to a live agent.  So if you get the automated system when closing your account, I recommend hanging up and calling back.  Then, follow the prompts to speak to customer service instead of saying you want to cancel your card.

How To Cancel An American Express Card
If You Get an Automated System When Cancelling an AMEX Card, Hang up and Call Again If You’re Looking for a Retention Offer

Keith admits he didn’t use the card much for the ~11 months he had it.  So it’s possible AMEX’s automated system can see your account history and decide whether or not to transfer you to a live representative.  Because his friend called AMEX the following day with the same card and received 20,000 bonus AMEX Membership Rewards points to keep his account open.

So I do NOT think AMEX is doing away with retention offers.  But they’re likely being more selective about who gets them.  This makes sense given other recent changes they’ve made, such as making card offer terms more strict to prevent gaming.

If you’re looking to see what other folks are getting as retention offers, I’d recommend checking out this FlyerTalk thread.

Bottom Line

Team member Keith recently called American Express to cancel his Premier Rewards Gold card.  Instead of speaking with a live customer service representative, an automated system handled his cancellation request and closed the account.

If you’re hoping to get a retention offer, like bonus points or a statement credit, you’ll want to speak to a live agent.  So I recommend hanging up and calling back if you’re stuck with the automated system.

It’s possible AMEX is being more selective with retention offers.  And the bank likely only wants to keep customers who use their cards often.

Do you have any recent experience closing an AMEX account?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Had exact same experience with Citi AA Plat card.Managed to get out of Auto system and talk to agent.Basically no offers other than to put me into a no fee “bronze” card.Declined. So no Citi card after 7 years.

Million Mile Secrets

Thank you for sharing your experience!

Last month, I called AMEX To cancel my Platinum Card. The rep told me that he cannot give me any offer since he had given me 10k points last time when the annual fee was due. I hung up and called again after a couple of weeks. The new agent said that he saw records of me having called to ask for a retention. He was a bit unsure initially but then offered me 10k points to keep the card. 🙂

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for sharing your experience! Congrats on getting the 10,000 points!

I called recently to cancel my AmEx Platinum card and spoke to a rep. It’s up for renewal in October and she suggested I increase my spending until then and implied they’d be able to give me a good/better retention offer. I mentioned that I recently got the CSR with hopes it would help. We’ll see in October…

Million Mile Secrets

I’d love to hear how it works out!

Today I have called Customer care and spoke to person only. I have called for my SPG retention. No offers.. thinking whether should continue or cancel? Annual fee is 65$.

Million Mile Secrets

I think the AMEX Starwood card is worth keeping. Here’s a post explaining why:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/2015/08/30/are-amex-starwood-cards-worth-keeping-after-the-1st-year/

My Chase Explorer card annual fee came due this month and I called to cancel, expecting as usual to get an offer of full or partial fee waiver or some bonus miles. Instead the live representative said they had no retention offers available and that it was either pay the fee or cancel. I cancelled the card. I was a pretty heavy user with more than $25000 charged to the card in the first 6 months of the year. I immediately signed up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve instead and got a 50,000 point bonus. Unfortunately, the 100,000 signup bonus they had recently offered was not available.

Million Mile Secrets

Sorry to hear you didn’t get a retention offer, but the good news is you’ll earn 50,000 of my favorite flexible points with the Sapphire Reserve! 🙂

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