My husband and I have had a credit card that earns airline mileage on a specific carrier for 11 years now. We are the kind of customers that banks love yet hate. We charge anything that we can – gas, food, kids’ after school activities, a pack of gum. We complain that the light-rail in Denver (T-REX) doesn’t accept credit cards. We have other cards (one from pretty much every card network), but we rarely use them. For example, we get offers on other airline programs and will sign up for the card, charge enough to get the miles and then cancel the card. This card we had for 11 years was top of wallet. On the other hand, we never carry a balance forward. No matter how much we charge, even a trip to Disney World last fall, we pay off that balance.
But I have to say…I’ve never liked the $75 per year fee to have this card. Every year, it just irks me that I’m getting charged for that.
A couple of weekends ago, I was working on a blog on our family computer – which is in our family room, in the middle of everything. One of my kids loves to get the mail. They brought it in and laid it next to me. I didn’t pay attention to it. One of my other kids came up and said, “Mom, can I open this letter?” It was clearly a credit card offer, and I said, “Sure, go ahead. That’s junk mail – I don’t need it.”
After awhile my son was done playing with this junk mail. Some of it had fallen on the floor, including the card as well as the main offer, with the offer written in bold at the top of the page. As I walked to the garbage can, I couldn’t help but read it. I didn’t throw it away.
After doing some comparison shopping, my husband and I found yet another card that has no annual fee, more than two times the reward points we were getting before – and we can redeem the points on any airline. We decided to cancel both of our cards (the ones we’ve used for 11 years) and put this new card as top of wallet. So, we will now have a card with: 1) no annual fee, 2) more flexibility, 3) better rewards. That’s a no brainer. After 11 years, goodbye credit card.
We’ve been publishing on the importance of value added services in card payments for a long time now. The card can be the center of the banking relationship, but banks need to give customers what they want. They don’t want extra fees, they do want transparency, flexibility and rewards that are important to them.