Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

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! :)

How to cancel a credit card and three things to consider before you do

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

How to cancel a credit card and three things to consider before you do

Jason StaufferHow to cancel a credit card and three things to consider before you doMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

We’ve written about when and why you might cancel or downgrade a credit card. Sometimes, the perks of a card don’t justify its annual fee. Canceling a card is easy, just call the number on the back of your card. You’ll speak with a customer service representative at the bank who can assist with closing your account. Sometimes, you can also cancel a card by chatting online with a representative or sending a secure message.

But before you cancel, consider your credit score. There can be alternatives to canceling a card if the only reason you want to cancel is the card’s annual fee isn’t worth it. Canceling a card can have an impact on your credit score, so before you make that call let’s look at all your options before you cancel a credit card.

For more credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

How to know when to cancel a credit card

It’s never a good idea to cancel a card as soon you earn the into bonus because this can hurt your relationship with the bank. Instead, you should trying a card for ~11 months to see if the perks make it worth keeping. And if the card has no annual fee, you can keep it forever.

Also, I wouldn’t cancel a card you’ve had for a long time. Because getting rid of an old card will impact your length of your credit history and credit utilization, which are factors in calculating your credit score. That said, if you have lots of cards, getting rid of one or two will likely have a minimal impact to your score. And keep in mind, if you cancel a credit card, it remains on your credit report for up to 10 years. There’s no way to erase the account information and payment history from your report.

If you’re ready to cancel a card, keep these three tips in mind.

Be sure you won’t lose your miles or points

The potential to lose miles or points when canceling a card depends on the type of card you have. You will not lose airline miles or hotel points already in your airline or hotel account after canceling a card. But be careful with flexible bank travel credit cards earning Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points because it’s possible to lose these points when you cancel a credit card.

Ask the bank for a retention offer

Banks don’t want to lose you as a customer. Even if you’re just canceling one of many cards issued by the bank, they might incentivize you to keep your card open.

When you call the number on the back of your credit card to cancel be sure that you speak with a customer service representative. After mentioning you’re looking to cancel the card, the representative might offer points or a statement credit to keep your account open. If nothing is mentioned just ask if there are any retention offers available on your account. Recently, I was given a retention offer for my CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® . I kept the card because I was offered a statement credit of $99 (the cost of the annual fee) after spending $99 in the next 90 days.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Run the numbers when you receive an offer to determine if it’s a good deal. If there’s no retention offer and you decide to cancel the card, ask the representative to transfer the credit line from one card to another to prevent your credit utilization from increasing. This isn’t possible with all banks, but it’s worth asking.

Downgrade to a no annual fee card

Instead of canceling a credit card with an annual fee, I typically recommend switching to a credit card with no annual fee, if possible.

This way, you can avoid having any impact to your credit score by:

  • Keeping your credit line
  • Maintaining your average length of credit history

And although you’ll technically have a new card, the account information stays the same. So the card you downgrade to will not show up as a new account on your credit report. This is great news if you’re concerned about Chase’s tougher application rules. But keep in mind, you won’t be eligible to earn a sign-up bonus on the new card when you downgrade.

Bottom line

To cancel a credit card, just call the phone number on the back of your card. Speak with a customer service representative and tell them you’d like to close the account. But, before you close a card, consider the potential impact to your credit score. Canceling old accounts or cards with large credit lines can result in a credit score decrease.

For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

Featured photo by @beachbumledford/Twenty20.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

9comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

If you convert a annual fee card to a no-fee card, might you be hurting your chances of getting a “new” card (say after 24 months) since you still have the card?

Million Mile Secrets

Because the account information stays the same, the new card you downgrade to will NOT show up as a new account on your credit report. But whether or not it affects your chances of getting a new card depends on what bank (or card) you’re dealing with.

For example, if it’s a Citi card, you can NOT earn the sign-up bonus from more than one card of the same “brand” within 24 months.

That said, when you downgrade a card, you aren’t earning a sign-up bonus. So in theory your 24-month clock should NOT re-set. And should not hurt your chances of earning another sign-up bonus.

Plan to cancel CSR. Already applied for CSP. Approved and transferred all points to the new CSP. Just wanted to confirm that I will not lose transferred points and there is no time limit within which I have to redeem the points transferred from CSR.

Million Mile Secrets

You’re right, Mahender!

Million Mile Secrets

You’re correct! As long as you keep at least one Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card open, you won’t lose your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you cancel a card. Just transfer all your points to the account you plan to keep before you cancel.

You can read more about it here: https://millionmilesecrets.com/2016/10/09/will-i-lose-my-points-if-i-close-1-of-my-2-chase-ultimate-rewards-earning-cards/

Thank you for the prompt response.

I’d burn the UR points first before canceling as the CSR points are more valuable than the CSP ones, if you do direct travel redemptions through Chase. CSR points are worth 1.5 CPP while CSP are worth 1.25 CPP when doing such redemption.

Million Mile Secrets

Good tip, Kalboz!

I had this same question (though I opened up a Business Preferred card). Once I transfer my CSR points to my CBP card, they are safe, right?

You May Also Like

How to check passport application status
How to check passport application status
Guide to flying Ryanair
Guide to flying Ryanair