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.
Last year my parents were collecting points to use for a dream cross-country Amtrak trip. One of the cards they opened was the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express because at the time you could transfer Starwood points to Amtrak.
Unfortunately, that transfer is no longer possible. And recently, the $95 annual fee was coming due and they were planning to cancel the card because they didn’t think they’d be able to easily make the most out of the card’s perks, like the annual free night award for hotels costing up to 35,000 Marriott points. But when my mom called to cancel she was offered a decent retention offer for keeping the card. And then later that week she decided to pay the annual fee because they were targeted for another bonus on top of the other retention offer!
American Express seems to be especially generous with targeted spending offers near the due date for your annual fee. So it’s often possible to be targeted for multiple bonuses, which are in addition to your card’s normal perks. Check out this post to learn more about these types of offers.
AMEX Spending & Retention Bonuses
Whenever your credit card annual fee comes due, I always suggest calling the bank to see if they’ll give you a bonus or statement credit for keeping the card. These offers can easily be worth as much as your annual fee, and that’s before you even consider a card’s other benefits.
In my folks’ case, they were offered a retention deal to earn 20,000 Marriott points after spending $2,000 within the next 3 months. In addition, they were emailed a targeted AMEX spending offer to earn up to 10,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 in 1 month. The spending offer was a tiered bonus, so they earned 6,000 Marriott points after spending $2,000 in 1 month and an additional 4,000 Marriott points for spending another $1,000 in the same timeframe.
The best part is they were able to stack the deals! Including the points they earned from spending, they earned an extra 33,000 Marriott points (20,000 Marriott points + 10,000 Marriott points + 3,000 Marriotts points from spending). This was ideal because with the points they already had in their account, they now have over 35,000 Marriott points.
With their Marriott points and their annual free night award they get for keeping the card, they can book a weekend trip to any Marriott that costs less than 35,000 points a night! Not bad for a $95 annual fee. In addition, the card will also get them free premium internet access at Marriott hotels (which now include all Starwood brands).
What’s best retention offer you’ve ever gotten? Share your experience in the comments below!
Get money-saving travel tips & tricks delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.