During the 3rd episode of the Pursuing Points podcast I went over all of the credit cards that i’ve currently got in my wallet. One of those cards was the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select card which I’ve had since August of 2013. When I signed up for the card originally I wasn’t flying a ton, and most of the flying that I did tended to be domestic, in first class, on American Airlines. I don’t recall the exact signup bonus but if memory serves it was something like 65,000 AAdvantage miles after $3k in spend in 3 months. The current public offer for that card is 30,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. In addition to the initial sign-up bonus the Platinum Select card offers:
- No foreign transaction fees
- First checked bag free
- Group 1 boarding on American Airlines domestic flights
- 25% savings on all in-flight beverage and food purchases
- 2x miles on all AA.com purchases, 1x on everything else
- 10% kick back when you redeem your miles. (If you redeem 50k, you’ll get 5k placed back in your account up to 10k miles per year)
At the time of signing up these were all things that I valued but over time the card has lost some of its value in my eyes. The main reason for this is that I fly almost exclusively on Delta these days as I chase Delta elite status, and when I do fly on AA I tend to be redeeming miles for a first class ticket which negates most of the other aforementioned perks. With all that in mind, and the annual fee for this card being do in a few short weeks I decided to call and attempt to cancel the card. In a previous post I outlined my credit card cancellation process, so if you’ve not yet read that I would encourage you to do so.
Making the Call
Once I decided that cancelling the card would not adversely affect my credit score I dialed the number on the back of the card (1-800-766-2484) and followed along with the voice prompts. When the machine asked what I was calling about I said “Cancel card”. Shortly thereafter I was greeted by Frank, a USA based call center representative who was happy to take my call. After we got the security pleasantries out of the way I led with the following:
Me: “Hi Frank, I’ve got my Citi Platinum Select card in front of me and I am calling today to inquire about cancelling the account. Before we do that I was wondering if you had any retention offers that may be available to me so that Citi may retain some of my business.”
CSR Frank: “Certainly, id be happy to help you with that today. I do see that we’ve got an offer available for you, if you spend $95 within 1 month I can place a $95 statement credit on your account.”
Considering the Initial Offer
I was happy when the initial offer was extended because I knew that meant Citi was willing to work with me. At this point, at a bear minimum I would be able to keep the card and effectively not have to pay the annual fee. We talked a bit about the exact terms of conditions of the offer and I verified that my annual fee would in fact be due this month (September 2016). As is typically the case, card companies will almost never waive the annual fee for you when you call to inquire about retention, but they will sometimes offer statement credits of equal or greater value. In my mind I knew that this was a good offer, but not great. Like I said, the card doesn’t really benefit me a whole lot on a daily basis and due to the spending I need to do on my Amex Platinum and my newly acquired Chase Sapphire Reserve I really didn’t want to re-route $100 worth of spending just to break even. I then asked if there were any other offers available.
Probing for Additional Offers
Me: Frank, I appreciate the offer but I was wondering if you had any offers available that may net me some AAdvantage points rather than a statement credit.
CSR Frank: Yes in fact I do. The second offer i’ve got available to you is worth 7,500 miles. If you accept the offer and spend $1,000 within 3 months you will earn a bonus of 7,500 AAdvantage miles.
Accepting the Offer
We talked for a bit as I wrapped my head around the economics of the offer, and ultimately I decided to accept the bonus. If I were to buy 7,000 AAdvantage miles that would cost me $206.50, ouch. In this case I would effectively be earning 8.5 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on my next $1,000 on the card. Now, i’m still responsible for the annual fee, but because I value AAdvantage miles around 1.5 cents a piece I valued this offer at $127.50. That is (7,500 bonus miles + 1,000 miles from spend) times 1.5 cents per points which comes out to $127.50. After subtracting my $95 annual fee I would net $32.50 if I used the points towards travel and found a redemption of at least 1.5 cents per mile.
Another Argument for Accepting the Offer
On the current public off page for the Platinum Select the terms of service reads:
As I understand that disclaimer, that means that if I were to have canceled my card today, I would not have been eligible for another Citi AAdvantage signup bonus for the next two years! If anyone has any information as to whether or not I’m reading that right please be sure to reach out in the comments or on Twitter.
Overall I spent 9 minutes on the phone for a gross “profit” of $127.50 with a net of $32.50. Ill take it.