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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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

The information for the United TravelBank 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.

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.

Andrew Wan is a contributor for Million Mile Secrets where he covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines and hotels. His work has also appeared in The Simple Dollar.

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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