Get Your Annual Credit Card Fee Waived Simply by Asking

Illustration for article titled Get Your Annual Credit Card Fee Waived Simply by Asking
Photo: GaudiLab (Shutterstock)

Some credit cards come with fees, especially if they offer a sweet rewards program. If your card has an annual fee, it’s worth calling the carrier to see if they’ll waive it.

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Million Mile Secrets says that many banks will waive the annual fee during the first year you have the card. They suggest simply calling and asking—politely, of course. In some cases, the issuer might not waive the fee, but will offer a statement credit or bonus points:

If you don’t get an offer you like, you can say you’d like to think it over. Then hang up and call back to get another agent who may be willing to give you a better offer. As with everything in the miles & points hobby, do the math when you receive an offer to determine if it’s a good deal.

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Quite a few commenters on Million Mile Secrets’ post confirmed they had luck with this—but noted they had to threaten to cancel before they received satisfaction. Of course, there are ways to do this without sounding, well, threatening. You might say you’re just considering it because the fee is higher than you’d like. Or you could actually cancel the card, as some people do—they reap the credit card rewards and then cancel before the fee kicks in. It’s one option, but doing so has potential consequences—it will affect your credit utilization, which affects your credit score.

Another option to lose your fee without closing your account is to request a product change. Ask for the company’s options for current no-fee cards, and if you hear one that you like, simply ask to be switched over. You should keep your rewards points and credit limit, and only lose some of the fancier benefits that were offered with your more expensive card—perks that you may not be using anyway, like travel rewards during a year in which you may not be traveling as much due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Whatever you decide, it doesn’t take much to call and ask for your options so you can make an informed choice. Check whether your annual credit card fee is charged on the anniversary of opening the account or at the start of each year, and set a calendar reminder so you remember to make the call every time that date rolls around again.

This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020 to include additional context and meet Lifehacker style guidelines.

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