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Sometimes you’ve got to ask more than once to get what you want!
In August, Emily applied for the Citi Thank You Preferred card which gave us 50,000 Thank You points or $625 worth of travel which we redeemed to visit Emily’s mom and grandma in Michigan.
But soon afterwards, Citi had another offer for the same card which waived the $125 fee.
Some banks will match the best current offer if you’ve recently applied (last 2 or 3 months) for a card under an older offer. For example, if you applied for the Chase Freedom card in the last 2 or 3 months which offered a $200 or $250 bonus, you may be able to call Chase and get them to match you to the current offer of $300 (or 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points).
So I sent Citi a secure message from Emily’s account:
“Hello, I just applied for the Citi Premier Thank You card and I love it! However, I noticed that there is an offer which waives the annual fee of $125 for the first year.
I would be very happy and grateful if you could waive the annual fee on my Citi card as well!
Citi Reply #1
Emily got a very cold reply back from Citi.
Our records indicate that you did not apply for the offer you mentioned. Therefore, we are unable to waive the annual membership fee on your account.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.”
I replied back to Citi saying:
“You’re right – I did not apply for the offer mentioned, but I would be very grateful if you could waive the annual fee for my card.
I’d hate to cancel my card and switch to the Chase Sapphire Preferred which also waives the annual fee like the new offer on the Citi Thank You Premier.
I’ve been a long-time Citi customer and love earning points on my Citi cards.
Citi Reply #2
The reply said tough luck.
” We received your request to apply the new account offer to your existing account. Our solicitations are used as a way to encourage new business or to offer an additional account to our customers. Therefore, we are unable to apply the incentives mentioned in the solicitation to your existing account.
We strive to provide you world class customer service and the convenience, safety and purchasing flexibility of a ThankYou Premier account. Some of the services offered include 24-hour customer service, low-cost life insurance and a credit card registration service. To offset the costs associated with maintaining your account, we charge a nominal annual membership fee.
Thank you for using our website.”
Call to Citi Thank You Customer Service
I knew that replying to the message online wouldn’t get us anywhere, so I called Citi the next morning.
Before calling, I evaluated my options. The options were:
1) Ask nicely and try to get the annual fee waived or get additional bonus points
2) Ask nicely and NOT get the annual fee waived or any additional bonus points. If the annual fee wasn’t waived or if there wasn’t any offer for additional points, I could:
- Call back and speak with a different rep and hopefully have better luck
- Give up
- Ask Citi to cancel the card
3) Ask the rep to immediately cancel the card and mention the new offer with the waived annual fee as the reason why I was cancelling my card.
Mentally I prepared myself for option #2. If the rep initially didn’t waive the fee, I would ask her to cancel the card since I had already used all the Thank You points to book flights and didn’t have to worry about losing my points.
Citi usually transfers folks who call to cancel their cards to an “account specialist” whose job is to get you to keep the card. And most often the account specialist will offer you bonus points or statement credits to keep the card.
(I always recommend evaluating your options before the call, so that you know exactly what to do!)
Here’s how the call went:
Citi Rep: Hi, how can I help you today?
Me: Hi! I just got the Citi Thank You card and paid the $125 annual fee, but there is another offer for the same card without the fee. Is there any way you can waive the fee for me?
Citi Rep: One moment, please. Sorry, there is no way I can waive the fee. You got the best offer at the time. Blah. Blah. We value your business. Blah. Sorry.
Me: In that case, please cancel the card. I’ve had lots of Citi cards (this is so true!) and been a loyal customer, but I’m disappointed that you won’t waive the annual fee and match the best current offer since I just got the card.
(In retrospect, I should have hung-up and called again, before asking the rep to cancel the card. But sometimes patience is not my strong point.)
Rep: I’m sorry to hear that. Please stay on the line while I transfer you to someone who can help you.
Me: Sure, no problem!
(I was very happy to be transferred to the account specialist, because I knew my chances of getting a retention bonus or a statement credit were high.)
Account Specialist: Good Morning! Let’s see what we have here. I see that you just got this card. Why do you want to cancel it so soon?
(The account specialists are usually a lot smoother than the regular customer service reps and their job is to get you to not cancel the card. Use this to your advantage by telling them how much you like the card, but…)
Me: I really don’t want to cancel it, but the annual fee of $125 is too much to pay especially since Citi now has an offer which waives the annual fee. I really liked the card and spent over $2,500 on it (true, since that was the minimum spending required to get the 50,000 point bonus), but I’ll now have to use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card which waives the fee for the 1st year.
(My goal was to point out that:
- I really didn’t want to cancel the card, but was being forced to because of the annual fee
- I was a profitable customer for Citi
- I knew my options and was willing to use a competitor bank’s card
Citi’s account specialists are very reasonable and will usually make you a good counter offer)
Account Specialist: Ok, let’s see what we can do. Here’s what I can do since we value your business. We’ll waive your account fee if you spend another $4,000 within 3 months or we’ll give you 10,000 Thank You points just for keeping the account open.
Me: Hmmm, I’ll take the 10,000 Thank You points. Thanks so much!
(I chose to take the points, because I wouldn’t be able to spend another $4,000 on the card within 3 months. And 10,000 Thank You Points can be redeemed for $125 in air tickets through the Thank You portal)
Citi was initially reluctant to match the terms of the better offer, but did so when I asked to cancel the card.
However, you may find it easier to get Citi to match an offer. Here’s what Million Mile Secrets reader Everett wrote in the comments yesterday (bolding mine).
So I sent Citi an Secure Message about bumping my 50k bonus on both cards to match the $150 statement credit offer. This is the response I got: “Thank you for using Citibank Online. We regret we are unable to add the statement credit offer to your account as requested. As a goodwill gesture, we have added an additional 7,500 AAdvantage miles to your account. This additional amounts will be reported to American Airlines with your first purchase amounts.”
So if like me you missed out on the 75k offer and signed up for the 5ok offer instead, you may be able to at least get something for trying. Good luck!
Everett got Citi to credit him with points after just 1 secure message!
Unlike Chase, that readily matches the terms of the best current offer if you applied for a card within the last 3 months, Citi does not easily match the best current offer if you recently applied for a credit card.
But sometimes persistence and offering to cancel your account may also get Citi to match you to the best current offer. If you do suggest that Citi cancel your account, be sure to do this after you have received the sign-up bonus, and used all the Thank You points. For cards earning American Airline miles, you don’t have to worry as long as the miles are in your account.
Have you been successful getting Citi to match you to a better offer?