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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! :)

Have a Chase Credit Card With an Annual Fee That’s No Longer Useful? Don’t Cancel It, Do This Instead!

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Have a Chase Credit Card With an Annual Fee That’s No Longer Useful? Don’t Cancel It, Do This Instead!

Andrew WanHave a Chase Credit Card With an Annual Fee That’s No Longer Useful? Don’t Cancel It, Do This Instead!Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: When it comes to getting rid of a credit card that carries an annual fee, requesting a product change is the best way to simultaneously save money and keep your credit score high. 

It’s a relatively common situation. You’ve got an annual fee on a credit card you no longer use.

We get it — a card that was once useful may no longer fit your travel or living style. And if you’re like most people, you’d probably just cancel the card. But wait! It turns out that might not be the best thing for your credit score. Instead, request a product change to a card that has no annual fee.

By contacting Chase for a product change, you can save money on annual fees and make sure all your on-time payments continue helping your credit score. (Photo by danielfela/Shutterstock)

Every card issuer has slightly different rules when it comes to a product change. Here’s our guide on your options for Chase credit cards, and exactly why your credit score will thank you if you do a product change instead of canceling the card.

Resist the Urge to Cancel

One of the factors that goes into your credit score is the length of your credit history. Simply put, the more on-time payments you have, the more beneficial it is for your credit score.

The amount of credit you’ve utilized is another large portion of your credit score. That’s your credit card balance divided by your total credit limit(s). The lower your credit utilization, the better it is for your credit score.

Canceling a card means you’ll eventually lose those months of positive payment history. It will also mean your credit utilization will increase because you’d be losing that credit line. By keeping cards open, you’ll keep your credit score happy because you’ll retain all your months of on-time payments and maintain a low credit utilization.

(And since you’ll be hanging onto the card instead of canceling it, here are a few tips you can use to stay organized.)

Chase Product Change Options

Each credit card issuer has different rules and treats product changes differently. Chase generally follows these three rules:

  1. You can only change to a product within the same “family” of cards (e.g. between certain cards that all earn Ultimate Rewards points, or from a Marriott personal card to another Marriott personal card)
  2. No changes between personal and business cards
  3. Account must be open at least 12 months

Here’s a detailed list of your options for product changes. Generally speaking, you can change within these same groups of cards:

Chase Personal Cards That Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

Marriott Credit Cards

Chase Business Cards That Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

Southwest Personal Cards

Southwest Business Cards

United Cards

Some FAQs

As always, there are always going to be rare exceptions. But here are our answers to some frequently asked questions so you know what to expect.

  • When and how can I request a product change? If you’ve had the card for 12 months, you can call or send a secure message to Chase via your online account to request a product change.
  • Do you keep the payment history? Yes, in most cases you’ll be able to keep the payment history.
  • Does your card number change? You may receive a new card, but you’ll usually retain the same card number.
  • Will there be a hard pull on my credit? In most cases, no.
  • Do I get a refund of the annual fee if I’ve already paid it? Many people in online forums report that they received a full refund of an annual fee if paid within the last 30-60 days. Past that, you can usually expect to receive a pro-rated refund.
  • Will I be eligible for the welcome bonus on the new card? One of the downsides of downgrading a card is that you will not be eligible to earn the welcome bonus on the new card.

Bottom Line

It may be tempting to just cancel a card to avoid paying the annual fee. But the best thing to do might actually be to product change to a card with no fee at all. You’ll avoid the annual fee, and by keeping that account open, you’ll also continue building a strong credit score by hanging on to those months of on-time payments.

For more tips on the best way to handle credit cards and their rewards programs, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

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

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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This is a little on and a little off topic… How about Amex? I have the Amex Platinum card (on top of the Chase Sapphire Reserve) and don’t think its worth it to me. I want to “downgrade” to the gold card I think but was thinking it might be better to get the gold card first, then transfer my current Amex rewards points to the gold card so I can get the points. Is that possible?

Author

Hi Martine!

I actually had this same dilemma. I had the Amex Platinum and was eyeing the Gold. Well, I now carry both cards lol!

For me personally, the welcome bonus on the Gold was too valuable to give up. So that’s why I decided to keep both the Platinum and Gold and basically pay 2 annual fees. I still get a lot from the perks on both cards + the daily rewards, so in the end I figured even paying 2 annual fees, it would be worth it for me.

With regards to what you’re thinking of doing with applying for the Gold and then closing the Platinum, the only thing I’d be careful with is to make sure Amex doesn’t look at it as any type of points abuse. I think they have the ability to take back a welcome bonus if they think someone was abusing the program in any way, but I think you’d be fine if you actually used the card for your purchases and just now figured that the Gold would be a better fit for your spending habits.

Thanks so much…. But if I eventually cancel the Platinum card, can I transfer my points to the Gold card?

I understand this if your credit score is the main factor. But I would rather cancel a card and then sign up for another so that I could get the sign up bonus. Otherwise downgrading won’t get you the sign up bonus on the other card.

How about getting the CSP/CSR signup bonus? If you downgrade CSP to CFU in 12m, can you wait the 12 more months and then get another CSP signup bonus?

Author

Hi ph,

Unfortunately no, that won’t work. If you earned a Sapphire welcome bonus, you’ll have to wait at least 48 months before you can earn another bonus on a Sapphire product.

They’ve tightened up the restrictions for the Sapphire credit cards – it used to be just a 24 month waiting period!

Got it, do you know if that’s retroactive? I junk the 48m rule came in early to mid 2018. I got my csr in dec 17

When you change products with Chase, does that count as one in 5/24?

Author

Hi Corky,

Generally speaking, no. My angle on this is thinking of product changes with other banks, and how a product change with most other products should not count against 5/24 as long as it does not report as a new account on your credit report.

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