The Amex Gold Card is a premium credit card with amazing perks and benefits for everyday use. One of the biggest reasons people enjoy this card is that they offer 50,000 membership rewards points with just $4,000 minimum spend within the first three months.
Moreover, you receive card perks such as 4x membership reward (MR) points on restaurants and supermarkets, 3x membership reward points on flights booked directly through Amex Travel Express, $120 dining credit per year, and a $100 airline fee credit per year.
The annual fee is on the lower end compared to other premium cards, at $255 annual fee. If you can hit the minimum spend on the welcome bonus combined with points and dining benefits, the value of your credit card will exceed what you’re paying. Not to mention, you can possibly have your first-year annual fee waived!
With the recent COV-19 pandemic plaguing our world, businesses are closed and traveling isn’t safe. Rather than going through another year of paying a high annual fee to maintain this card, you may want to consider asking for a retention offer to receive additional membership rewards or statement credit toward your annual fee.
A retention offer is when card issuers offer the cardholder extra incentives to encourage them to keep their card open instead of canceling or closing their account. These incentives often are membership rewards such as bonus points, cashback, or statement credits.
Credit Card companies just like any business have the goal to retain their customers by keeping them happy. Typically, retention offers are given to cardholders looking to cancel their card or close their account.
Retention offers exist because credit card companies realize that keeping a customer by throwing in extra bonus points or waiving a fee is much easier than spending money on advertisement to acquire new customers.
Here are a few pro tips we suggest to follow if you’re looking to get a card retention offer from American Express.
Call the number on the back of your card
I suggest calling their customer service line during business hours between 8 am and 6 pm. After business hours, American Express typically uses international reps who may not know all of the details. You also won’t be able to receive a retention offer from their online chat.
Get transferred to the Retention department
Only the team working in the retention department can make the offer. When you first call you might start the conversation with something like this. “Hi, I’m thinking about canceling my card. The annual fee is higher than I’d like and I’m not sure if it’s worth it for me.” If they transfer you to the retention department, that’s perfect. If not, simply ask them to transfer you to their department.
According to Flyer Talk, the direct line to the retention department is 800-452-3945. And their hours of operation are 08:00 -- 23:00 Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
Good Reasons to Cancel
When you’re on the phone with the retention department, you want to make it sound like you’re still unsure whether or not you should keep the card you already have. Here are a few good scripts you can follow to ensure the best chance for getting a retention offer.
It’s okay to ask them for a better deal if they don’t suggest retention offer themselves. The worst thing they could say is no.
Call a Few Times
Not all customer service reps will be fully transparent with you. Sometimes you’ll get a more favorable response from other reps. If you don’t get reviewed approved, simply hang up before they proceed to canceling your account.
Call again another time of day or a few days later. Repeat the steps above and try calling them three to five times. Don’t call them every few minutes as they probably can track it.
Retention offers can really sweeten the pot for those who receive lucrative offers. Here are a few common retention offers we’ve seen out there based on the Reddit churning communities and Flyer Talk forum.
Similar to the welcome offer, American express may offer you bonus points for a minimum spend. Here are a few examples we’ve seen that have been reported by Amex Gold Card users.
Statement credit is when card issuers offer money credited to your account which reduces the amount of money you owe this year. In the case of the Amex Gold Card, we’ve seen them cover up to 80% of your annual fee. Here are a few examples of the Amex statement credits we’ve seen from reported users.
One of the superior features about the Amex Gold Card compared to other premium cards is their perks of dining out at restaurants. With this offer, American Express will offer you 20% cashback on restaurants up to $225 or $150. The name of this offer is quite fitting since the average tip is about 20% at restaurants.
In terms of value, you’re getting quite a large cashback percentage, however, since it’s only limited to dining, most cardholders value bonus points instead.
There isn’t a one size fit all when it comes to a retention offer. Generally, if you’ve already received a retention offer from American Express last year, you won’t receive one again this year. However, you may get a retention offer every other year.
After scanning across multiple forums of cardholders sharing their personal experiences about Retention Offers, we wanted to share our insights to help you increase your chances to get a high offer. There doesn’t seem to be an exact science or algorithm to be reviewed approved, however, there are a few indicators we believe to improve your shot.
It only makes sense that American Express would favor those who spend more money using their Amex Gold credit card. Any business would reward their top paying customers. This makes sense because American Express charges retailers around 3% of each sale, so heavy spenders are very attractive to them.
In the data points, we’ve seen that people who spent $20-$25k spend on their card per year were more likely to see the higher offers of $30,000 points for $4,000 in spend in 3 months.
Although we’ve looked through many customer experiences, it’s likely those who have received no offers or lower offers wouldn’t want to report their Retention offers.
According to the AskSebby Community, there were 221 Amex Gold Cardholders who shared their personal experiences; only 9 reported to have a previous retention offer from American Express. Out of the 9 individuals that did have a previous retention offer, 4 of them got another offer.
Obviously, this is an incredibly small sample size, but it still goes to show that it never hurts to ask! Looking at the offers made, it seems that around 88% of surveyors reported being reviewed approved for an offer.
We also noticed in these data points that the age of credit card can affect your chances of getting a higher retention offer. Those who only had this credit card for 1 month typically received lower offers such as 15,000 points for $2k spend in 3 months.
While those with an age of 1 year or over were more likely to see higher offers such as 30,000 points for $4,000 spend within 3 months. It’s better to have longer card retention to show American Express, you’re a loyal customer. When asking for an offer, you can even tell them you’ve been a long-time customer and would hate to leave.
We’ve seen across multiple data points that second calls don’t usually result in a higher offer made by American Express. This is probably because the offers made are tracked each time.
There aren’t any definitive guarantees you can make from the data points presented by cardholders. However, it’s safe to say, owning your card longer and having a higher spend will positively affect the offers you receive.
We don’t see any instances where a person is penalized for having a high spend on their credit card. But there are outliers where people who haven’t spent much still received generous offers.
Now it’s time to weigh your options. You have to crunch in the numbers to see whether or not the rewards exceed the value of the annual fee. If it doesn’t you should not keep your card open anymore. Also, consider the alternative credit cards you might be able to acquire that would be a better fit for you.
To cover the annual fee of $250, you need 35,000 Membership Points to equal $250 in value. In my opinion, if you’re able to cash in on the 50,000 points given during the welcome bonus, you’ve already exceeded the cost of annual fees to keep your credit card open for another year. Just for context, if you didn’t hit the sign-up bonus here is what’ll need to spend to exceed the 35,000 points.
The total spend is $10,000 within 12 months and equates to 36,000 membership points. Use a points calculator to gauge whether this card would be right for you. If you have passed Year 1 of owning the card, you have to ensure your future spend is worth the membership benefits. It’s important to remember that these purchases are ones that you’re already planning to make.
In other words, you aren’t spending thousands of dollars extra to just hit the required welcome bonus. Otherwise, that wouldn’t be worth your money. If you can’t exceed this spend, then we recommend getting a lower annual fee card by downgrading or a simple cash back credit card where you can earn a desirable cashback rate without the annual fees!
At the end of the day, deciding whether or not to keep a card depends on your priorities. If you’re someone who prefers travel benefits, you may want to deploy your resources using a card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve which gives 3x points on travel.
This credit card is geared towards restaurant and supermarket shoppers since you get 4x points on up to $25,000 per year spend.
However, in my opinion this card is quite easy to maintain. Without taking points into consideration, you can easily rack up $120 in dining credit, $100 in airline fee credits (spend on checked bags, in-flight refreshments, etc) and a $100 hotel credit when you book through American Express Travel. In total that’s $320 in value.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is easily the most talked about in the credit card churning community. With this card, you have a hefty annual fee at $550, but the perks are very worth it.
Within the first three months of opening your account, you get 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months.
For context, this is worth $750 towards airfare, hotels, cruises, car rents when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The card comes with 3x points on travel and dining worldwide which is slightly less compared to the Amex Gold.
However, you get $300 annual travel credit and 50% more in travel redemption. There’s no doubt that Chase Sapphire Reserve is more suitable to traveling while Amex Gold favors rewards on dining.
If you’re into spending in the categories of dining, grocery shopping, and entertainment, then this is an excellent alternative to the Amex Gold Card.
The Capital One Savor offers 4% cashback on dining and select entertainment and 2% back on grocery stores.
To make things better, this card has an annual fee of $95. In terms of cashback for dining and entertainment, this card is one of the best in the market.
For its welcome bonus, you receive a $300 cash bonus with a minimum of $3000 spent in the first 3 months. If you can spend $10,000 on this card per year, at 1% cashback, you’ll easily cover your annual fees.
If you’re the person who enjoys cashback over earning points, then the Discover It Cash Back card might be one of the best options for you. This card has a $0 annual fee, meaning that there isn’t much of a risk or downside.
After hitting $1,500 in cashback, you’ll still earn unlimited 1% cashback afterward. And at the end of your first year, Discover matches the cashback you’ve earned, so you get to double your earnings!
You may even find a welcome bonus such as earning a $150 bonus after spending only $500 on purchases in the first three months.
Let’s say you spend a modest $5,000 per month using this card with a 5% cashback in the required select categories. You’ll earn a total of $6,500 at the end of your first year which includes the 5% cashback, Discover it match feature and the $500 welcome bonus!
Retention offers is an excellent way to squeeze out more benefits from the Amex Gold than originally given. For most people, it’s like getting a mini-welcome bonus again! American Express has a history of being quite generous with their retention offers, so there’s a good chance you can gain additional benefits.
If you don’t get offers, don’t worry. There’s always a chance to try again down the road, downgrade your card or simply replace the Amex Gold with another alternative. Don’t let another year go by without getting any retention offers!
If you didn’t get a retention offer, there’s really only two possible choices for you. One is to pay the annual fee to keep the card. The other option is to cancel the card and use up the bonuses before closing your account.
If you decide to keep your card, don’t give up on your chances of getting a retention offer. Credit card companies may just want to see you spend more money on their card year after year.
Yes, you can. In this case, downgrading would allow you to get the Amex Green Card. This card still gives you quite favorable rewards with a slightly cheaper annual fee. This card gives you 3x membership reward points on restaurants, transit, and travel.
It also has a sweet sign-up bonus giving you a whopping 45,000 membership rewards points once you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account. The annual fee is $150. Using the AMEX calculator, we can see that 50,000 points is worth about $350 in regular spending money, but $500 of travel if booked through American Express Travel.
If you can hit the minimum spend, you’re easily making back way more than the annual fee just from the first three months of using the card! We think it’s worth the downgrade if you choose to do so.
Generally, Amex does not waive their annual fees. However, it never hurts to ask! Just like card retention offers, based on the amount you spend on your Amex card, the length of time you’ve been a cardmember, and other factors, they might be generous to waive it off. Or you could receive a statement credit to give you partial credit towards fees. In the end, most customer reps want to help you keep the card you already have.