I’ve had the Starwood Card for five years. I’ve paid the annual fee each year. I even kept the card when the annual fee went from $45 to $65 due to promotions like Small Business Saturday where with all of our cards we got $125 in goodies for free each year. There are also promotions with Twitter and Facebook where you can get $10 off $10 from a small business or through Foursquare or $20 off $200 from Best Buy. So $125-$65 = $60 profit right + all these promotions? No brainer to keep it?
I’ve decided however to cancel it because $65 for an annual fee is money that I could be using elsewhere.
Lucky at One Mile at a Time writes about how he spends $1000 in annual fees for his credit cards and all the benefits he gains from those cards. I was in the same boat several years ago paying hundreds of dollars in annual fees for benefits. I had a Marriott card, several American Express cards, and other cards for the benefits. I don’t begrudge him at all.
I’m slowly heading the opposite direction. I just downgraded my American Express Hilton Surpass card to the free version of the card so that I can still participate in Small Business Saturday. I hit $40,000 in annual spend on the Surpass back in 2009 and it gave me Hilton Diamond status for several years which was very useful on our trip to the Maldives. This was in the glory days of dollar coins and it was easy to hit that annual spend.
I’ve had the Platinum Delta American Express card since 2001. Living in a Delta hub, I have been justifying that annual fee for the “free” companion ticket voucher and the ability to earn 20,000 MQMs on Delta each year for a $50,000 spend. I just hit the $50,000 spend a week ago and was able to keep my Gold status with Delta. But I’m frankly getting a little tired of $5000+ credit card bills in my mailbox each month. I put all of our day to day spending on there and pay it off in full each month and never carry a balance and am using Amazon Payments as much as possible as well. But I still feel like we’re overspending in pursuit of hitting a threshold to get some MQMs and not gaining any traction. I’m seriously contemplating ditching the American Express card as well to save on that annual fee and go to simply cash based.
I’m not ready to give up credit card churning overall. Last year I was able to pick up 80,000 Priority Club points for 1 transaction with no first year annual fee. The offers coming out are still pretty tempting. I was even able to refinance my house even with all the heavy churning.
But as I contemplated in the past, I don’t feel like putting all of my spending on my credit card is a good long term financial plan and that’s why I decided to cancel the Starwood American Express card. So take notice Platinum Delta American Express card – I’m putting you on notice with your $150 annual fee. I’m going to be carefully watching you and you may be getting the boot out of my wallet very soon, even if it means getting lower status with Delta.