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Annual Fee Hit? Get It Waived!

Banks make money from charging you annual fee on your credit cards. Usually, you will be able to get the annual fee refunded. You just need to know what to say. Your best chance is on a card that you actually use, not a card that you got for the signup offer. There are a few ways how to do it.

1) I read this on boardingarea.com 4 months ago. If you are in the military, Chase and Amex both waive all fees associated to your account because of SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act). This is all fees, the annual fee, late fees as well as Forex fees. To activate this benefit call 1-877-469-0110 or send an SM. AsGleen writes, “it takes about a week to hear back from the credit card issuer…”  Now this doesn’t apply to most of us, so let’s move on to attempt #2.

First you need to cal l your bank, although many times the customer service rep can waive the fee, the retention department works best (Note, this is also true for your cable bill, phone bill etc.). You can call the regular number and asked to be transferred,  or you can call direct with these phone numbers:

American Express Currently no direct number


Bank Of America


Citi 800-444-2568

Now, do not say anything about canceling. Say something like this statement.

“Hi, I noticed my cards renewal period is coming up,I’m trying to decide if I should keep this card active.” The rep will know good and well what you are looking for.  The retention department will start telling you the benefits of your card, and why they are worthwhile to keep open. Politely say you know the benefits, but you don’t see them as a value to you. The rep will make you an offer. If is good to know the most updated offers to see if you are getting the best value. Check these Flyer Talk threads to see all current retention offers for:

American Express




Using this information, you can go to battle. Many times you can get a much better offer then the fee waived. For example this author called in to Citi regarding a AA card. The annual fee was $85. Citi gave a $95 statement credit and offered 2X points on all purchases up to $750 monthly, for 18 months!

Your conversation with the rep should look like this:

YOU: Hi, I was calling in with regard to my {card name} account.

BANK:One moment, I will be glad to assist you, okay what can I help you with?

YOU:I noticed the card membership will be renewing/renewed, and I want to know my options.

BANK:Well let me take a look here, I see you had this card for 2 years. Do you take full advantage of all the offers? This is a really good card because bit offers {whatever} travel benefits.

YOU:I know, but I didn’t really take full advantage of it.

BANK: Did you at least try out the {whatever} offer?

YOU: No, what is there that you can do for me?

BANK: I can go ahead and waive the fee so you can try out all the card benefits. Or, I can credit you {10,000} points if you keep the card membership active.

YOU: Thank you

Yeah, it’s that easy!

Some people have reported success with getting the fee waived via a chat, or SM. I feel the best way to do it is over the phone. You really can gauge the rep for a better offer. Like, is that the best you can do for me? I have been a card member for 5 years already. Or, my friend got an offer of 12,000 bonus points, can you do the same for me? An additional thing you can do is ask for another offer on top. For example if the rep says they will waive the fee, ask them if there is a bonus miles offer too. The bottom line is to be persistent.

Remember these pointers,

-Sometime points are more valuable then waiving the fee. For example if you Chase Sapphire card offers you 10,000 points, that’s $100, more then the annual fee. take the points.

-Know what the current promotions are before you call.

-If you close the card, transfer the credit to another card to keep your card utilization low.

-Know the rep, American Express reps are usually tooth and nail.  You need a chatty more open rep to get the best offers. If the rep doesn’t seem right, politely hang up the phone.

-If the rep says there is no offers, call back! For Chase, this author has found the Springfield MO representatives more helpful then the Orlando FL.

-Follow through. If you were given extra points for doing a spend, Do the spend.

In Summary:

It is very simple to get the annual fee waived if you know what to ask. There is a SCRA fee waiver if you are eligible. For the rest of us SM or chatting with a rep can work. The best way to get it waived is by calling. Let them make you an offer, then push them for more.

Good Luck!


What did you get when you called Retention? Leave us a message.


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