Cancelling Cards After Annual Fee Shows Up

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by Mikus33, Sep 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    If you're a slacker like me, and haven't done a super job of keeping track of when annual fees come due, they'll sneak up on you. My personal AMEX PRG fee showed up on my statement this month as did my fees for both my Bank of America and Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines cards. I was a little nervous that I'd get stuck paying the fees since I didn't cancel before they showed up, but so far I've been able to cancel without paying the annual fees. Maybe this is typical for all cards, but I wasn't sure, so I figured I'd post here to find out. I did call before the statement was due, and I had a 0 balance (except for the annual fee) on the card.

    Obviously, it's ideal to cancel or ask for a retention bonus before the fee hits, but if you find yourself with an annual fee on your statement, here are a few (fairly obvious) tips to handle that situation. If you have other suggestions, please add to the list.
    • Pay off the balance on the card except for the annual fee before cancelling (ideally a few days) as they can't cancel a card for you with a balance on it.
    • Call before the statement comes due or you may get hit with late fees, interest fees, etc. I haven't had experience calling after the statement due date, so I don't know if they'd drop the annual fee once it's come due or not. My guess is that it's a YMMV thing.

    I figured it'd be good to collect people's data points with any issues of cancelling different types of
    cards after the annual fee hits. Below is my experience. Eventually, I'll get organized and not have to worry about this...
    • Personal AMEX PRG ($175) - I haven't officially cancelled this one yet, but they told me as long as I cancel before the statement due date with a 0 balance besides the annual fee I won't have to pay the fee. I'm waiting to cancel until I talk to a Retention Specialist to see what they'll give me for sticking around. Refer to American Express PRG Retention Bonus for more details.
    • Bank of Hawaii Hawaiin Airlines ($79) - I called in, they immediately removed the fee, and cancelled the card with no problems.
    • Bank of America Hawaiin Airlines ($79) - I called in, they immediately removed the fee, and cancelled the card with no problems.
    According to FrugalAsianMan in another post about cancelling a United MileagePlus Explorer card, "Chase will refund you the annual fee if you get hit by it and cancel the card within 60 days of receiving the fee."

    Please share your experiences and knowledge about cancelling cards after the annual fees hit.
     
  2. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I had the same experience cancelling my WN Rapid Rewards Visa after the fee hit. They refunded it since it happened within 30 days of my contact with them. I can't vouch for the 60 day limit, but if you catch it soon enough, they'll remove it without too much headache.

    I have to track everything though, otherwise I'd go nuts. I track every offer signup I do as well, so I can make sure I get the points/miles I'm owed. I don't know how you could do it otherwise, and remember every little thing you signed up for. I have a pretty basic Excel (now on Google Docs) spreadsheet that houses all my CC info, old cards that I closed and when (so I know when I should be good to reapply), and open dates and annual fee dates, so that I know when to close them.
     
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  3. 7Continents
    Original Member

    7Continents Silver Member

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    You always have until the payment due date on the statement where the fee appears to cancel, whether you have a balance or not, on any card. If you cancel, you pay the balance off AND still accrue any interest they would have charged you anyway. Its the same if they change your terms or rates.
     
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  4. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I have done this for several years with many different cards and neer had to pay the annual fee.
     
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  5. FrugalAsianMan

    FrugalAsianMan Silver Member

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    As mentioned in OP's post, my experience is from canceling a Chase United MileagePlus credit card earlier this year. I had been hit with the annual fee already (my fault for not checking on the dates), and wanted to consolidate the credit limit to the new Chase United Explorer card I had received during the 65k promo that was running earlier this spring.

    The CSR I spoke with was very nice and let me know that as long as I have $0 balance, I could cancel the card anytime within the 60 days after getting the fee (so essentially two billing statements) and they would be able to waive the fee. I think I called about 34 days after getting the fee in order to finally cancel it, and I had no problems there. The fee went away, and they were able to do a credit line consolidation to bring over my limits to my new explorer card.

    My AMEX Business Gold and AMEX Jetblue are both up for renewals this fall, and I'm planning on canceling both unless their retention department can convince me otherwise.
     
  6. suenam

    suenam Silver Member

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    I always call to cancel my cards after the fee hits. I have always been told that you have up to 30 days after that date to get a full refund of the fee. I never carry a balance so accounts are always at $0 when I call.
     
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  7. julielou2
    Original Member

    julielou2 Silver Member

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    A question would be how the Amex PRG annual fee would be handled. The PRG is usually a charge account rather than a credit account. Once you receive the bill you have about 7 days to pay. Since you are not suppose to revolve the charge it would seem you have a very limited time to cancel the card.
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    IME the actual cut-off date for AmEx charge cards is ~45 days after the billing period closed. It used to be 60 but it was cut to 45 a couple years ago.
     
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  9. Bill N DC

    Bill N DC Active Member

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    I have had no problem cancelling, but so far it's just been United and American and they offer pretty good retention bonus miles for the annual fee - lower than you can buy the miles. Only thing I missed was not cancelling the Continental card before it got changed into the explore card
     
  10. miles and smiles
    Original Member

    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    My experience is the same as suenam's - we always have 30 days to get a full refund.
     
  11. robertw477

    robertw477 Silver Member

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    I have never had a hassle cancelling any card within that 30 day window for a refund. I think in one case it was probably the second billing statement on a card I thought I cancelled.
     
  12. pashber

    pashber New Member

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    I know this thread is a year old, but I felt my recent experience with attempts to downgrade or cancel AFTER the issuance of the monthly statement (that contains the fee) needed to be part of this discussion. I cancelled 3 cards within 30 days after the fee appeared--Chase (United Airlines--2 cards) and BofA (Hawaiian Air). No problem--the annual fees were refunded right away. American Express (Hilton Surpass) was the big surprise. The $75 fee was assessed at the close of the August 2013 statement (around 8/27/13). I called on September 7 to downgrade the card to the fee-free AMEX Hilton card. I expected the refund to be applied to the bill (which I paid via autopay on 9/16), but to my surprise, it did not appear. I contacted AMEX (you either have to do an online chat or call, as they will no longer accept emails) and was informed that the fee would be refunded on 9/26 (the next statement date). Imagine my shock when I checked my statement and found out that they had charged me for one month of fees on the Surpass card! When I called AMEX, the rep claimed that it was "policy" to charge a prorated fee. After I asked for a waiver of the $6.25 charge, rather than give me the waiver (which she should have had the authority to do), she placed it into a "billing inquiry" status, which means AMEX could easily refuse to waive the fee. BEWARE OF AMEX!
     
  13. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    Correct, its been known that Amex always prorates after the AF hits. I believe they just send you a check for the remaining amount.
     
  14. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Just put a label on the card for the cancel month, also put 2x for gas or eats..
    We also post spend dates for points.

    Love the return labels,

    Points are easy to get, no wonder they are being devalued, as we cherry pick the bank, I can not understand why people hate banks.
     
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  15. I am here now!

    I am here now! Active Member

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    Isn't the expiration date on the card already showing you which month to cancel the card?
     
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