Shot Down By Chase Ink Retention – My Experience & Determining an Ink Strategy Going Forward

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chase ink plus retention rejection

My Chase Ink Retention Call & Ongoing Ink Strategy

Last month I shared the story of a Chase Ink retention call that went as well as expected. Despite them almost never waiving the annual fee in the past, I was able to get them to credit the $95 fairly easily. At that time I asserted, “…perhaps with these new application rules, new retention strategies have gone into effect.” Well today I had a different experience, but lets back up a little.

The new application rules I am speaking about are of course Chase’s war on credit card churners. Over the past couple of months they have been denying anyone who has applied for 5 or more credit cards over the past 2 years. (Denials only apply to the Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Ink Plus, Ink Cash & Slate.)

A Change in Strategy

These new rules along with the elimination of the Ink Bold have forced many of us to change our strategies. You used to be able to get an Ink Bold and an Ink Plus for each business every two years or so. For those with multiple businesses, it was fairly easy to churn these cards on a semi-regular basis. That simply is no longer the case.

Between my wife and I, we have a total of 5 Chase Ink cards. Since I doubt either of us will be able to get new cards any time soon, I have really been thinking a lot about the strategy we should pursue going forward. Of course if they waive the annual fee, then no decision needs to be made, but what if they don’t?

Today’s Retention Call

chase ink plus retention rejection
Photo by Tim G. Photography.

Today I called on another one of my Chase Ink cards that was coming up for renewal. I had actually called a couple of weeks ago and was told there weren’t any offers, but decided to take some time to think before calling back. I was also hoping an offer would magically appear in my account during that time.

To reach someone, I simply called the number on the back of my card, verified the last four digits of the card number and my zip code and then hit “0” when the automated system started telling me the card’s balance. I was instantly connected to a phone agent here in the U.S.

The agent was pleasant and I explained that I wanted to know my options to avoid the annual fee. She placed me on a brief hold and came back on the phone to say no retention (her words) offers were available. My only option was to convert the card to an Ink Cash. After a few minutes of script reading, she told me the new card would come within 3-5 business days.

The Conversion

chase ink plus retention rejection
Say hello to my new friend.

Since there were no offers a few weeks ago when I called, I fully expected this to happen. A few reps have explained that their computers either have an offer or not. Calling back (HUCA) won’t change that since they cannot give you an offer unless it is in the system. My only hope in this scenario was that an offer would appear during the few weeks between calls.

So my 2nd Ink Plus card is now being converted to an Ink Cash. I am ok with this since we haven’t been hitting the maximum of $50K in spending at office supply stores on all of our Ink cards. The Ink Cash has a lower $25K limit at office supply stores, but I do feel that will still work for us. Perhaps I will need to do a better job of tracking purchases though.

Going Forward

This situation has me thinking about what we should do on each of our cards going forward. Unless Chase changes their rules, we simply won’t be getting any new Ink cards in the near future. That means we must decide to either keep the premium cards and pay the annual fees or downgrade them to no annual fee Ink Cash cards.


So I am 1 for 2 with Chase Ink retention calls over the past couple of months. We still have a few more cards with annual fees coming due in the next couple of months, so my ultimate strategy will eventually have to be decided. Right now I am happy with the Ink Cash conversion and the ability to continue to earn 5X on up to $25K per yea in my favorite bonus category.

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. 1- sent secured message to have af waived – NO.
    2- 1st call – no they do not waive af
    3- 2nd call – did not sound friendly, hanged up
    4- 3rd call – yes he saw statement credit available for the acct

    Be persistent!! 🙂

  2. I was prepared to “eat” the annual fee on my chase Ink, which “hit” last week. Yet thought it “couldn’t hurt” to call to inquire politely if any retention/waiver promotions were available. et le voila, it worked. Cordial conversation and rep. arranged for the $95 to be credited back to the account. Perhaps it helps that this is the only INK card we have — and that we’ve had the Freedom card since… oh, last century. Happy campers.

  3. I called and tried converting my Chase Sapphire Premier to the Freedom and was told it was not possible and they would downgrade to a no fee sapphire version. I still have a few weeks before the fee hits and will try again. Anyone ever hear of this.

    • That is strange. I would definitely call back. I have never heard of anyone being denied the Sapphire Preferred > Freedom conversion. I suppose it could be a new policy.

  4. You can call back many times and often get a different retention offer each time. Try calling each day for 5 days straight. That’s how many tried it took for me to get a $95 retention offer on my Bold. And yes, sometimes they told me there was not retention offer available. It is almost as if the computer randomly decides on an offer.

  5. 1. Go to, then credit cards, and specify what category I’m looking for generally that’s “cashback cards ” and periodically I see what’s available and see what promotions are being offered.

    2. I love my FRN card (Fuel Rewards Network Card) this is through shell gas and you just go to the gas station and pick up one of their cards. you can call them or go to their website and enter the numbers on the back and link it to your credit cards. even if he’s not scored any rewards you will always get at least three cents off per gallon of gas at any Shell station by swiping this card first and then your credit card. If you link it to a MasterCard you automatically get $.25 off per gallon the first time it’s used. If you refer a friend you additionally get $.25 off per gallon and if they like it to a MasterCard they get $.25 off per gallon. But, they also have promotions for dining (which you’ll find probably every restaurant including even fast food like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. all in your specific area with maps/addresses etc., travel is another category, online shopping, shopping in store(JC Penny, etc) , “Featured” and more. You can link ALL of your credit cards even if not Master Card ( although some restaurants etc. want MC used for the promotion but others allow any credit card like Amex or Visa). For me it’s a win-win scenario since I would be shopping at these places already and then on accumulating cents off per gallon when I go to Shell stations and swipe the FRN card and my credit card. Does anybody else use this????

  6. My Ink Bold’s annual fee was due in June; I called and asked if they could do something for me with the $95. I mentioned that I had been a very good customer for several years, and the (very bored) customer service person said he’d give me 4,000 points, but that was all that could be done. I took the points. I want to keep the card (my only Ink card), and it is the only Chase card I have that has an annual fee. I’ll be applying for a Sapphire Preferred soon; when I’ve got two fee cards, I’ll be more strenuous in asking for retention aid.

  7. Hi Shawn,

    I just made retention call for southwest and United Club card last weekend. Operator shut down my SW account without asking questions and I made another call for United Club. They offered me $100 credit. How often could annual fee be waived from your experience? I have BA and United Explorer annual fee due in August. How do you negotiate usually?

    a little off the topic, My FICO score is 570 according to complimentary credit score provided by SLATE. I applied 15 Chase credit cards but only rejected by Amazon Credit card. I know my fico score is low and I should be happy that I got 14 credit cards from chase within 1 year. But I really want Alaska BoA credit card which I was rejected twice last year. do the bank look at same credit report? When you got decline letter what do you usually do or what do you say when you call CS?

    Thanks a lot.

    • With a credit score of 570 you should not apply for any cards, you are lucky Chase does not start lowering your limits or closing accounts for you. My husband had a wrong tax lien by the state for $127 which lowered his score by 100 points, and Chase and City lowered his limits by more than half . Be careful!!!

    • Banks Look at something else …it’s called ChexSystems and you can get a copy of your report mailed to you within five days once a year. Go to their website, print the form to “order your report off-line” and mail it or fax it to the phone number on the bottom of the page. their fax number is (602) 659–2197 .

        • Right. That’s what she was asking…what do Banks look at??? Credit card companies look @ FICO primarily, but when u r opening up these bank accounts to get their promotion The Banks are looking @ ChexSystems.

          • I just want to clarify this for others. ChexSystems is for Checking Accounts. Ryan was asking about the Alaska Airlines credit card. For that or any credit card, they wouldn’t run ChexSystems, but would run either Equifax, Transunion or Experian.

            Thanks for the information Sue. I am not trying to correct you. I just want to make it clear for others who come read this later. You are correct about ChexSystems being used for bank accounts.

          • Thanks Shawn, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your wisdom and everything that you do for us.

        • Hi Shawn,

          Thanks so much for explaining my issues. Yes, you are right, my credit was messed up by someone in San Diego who attempted to lease a BMW and also left a medical bill unpaid on my report. Last time when I saw my credit score on Chase website under UR points summary was still under 600. You reminded me that maybe the reason why I could get 14 credit cards only from Chase was because I was Chase Private Client. Also when I received declined letter for Ink credit card and called my banker, my banker said if you could park $100K in your business account, I would get you Ink credit card within one month. I did not do that. My point is Maybe CPC or depositing certain amount of money would be very helpful.

          P.S. usually ppl need to deposit $250K to qualify for CPC, but I do not have that much money. I know you are from Vegas, I am living in Laguna Niguel, SoCal. It is more flexible here to get CPC account helping me to get 14 Chase credit cards even my credit score is still under 600 now.

          Thank Shawn and Sue for your discussion. I learnt a lot. you guys are awesome.

    • Hey Ryan. I would get a copy of all three of your credit reports to see if something negative has been reported. I can almost guarantee your score wasn’t 570 when Chase approved you for those cards. I have never heard of them approving people for cards with such a low score and definitely not as many cards as you have received.

      You can get a free copy of your report from each bureau once per year at My guess is something like a collection or other negative account has hit your report.

      • I look at my credit report every 4 months by rotating the 3 Free Credit bureaus. This does not give you a FICO score but you can get it for FREE with the new Discover It card and as of this month you can see a graph or actual FICO ‘# of previous monthly scores for comparison. Mine posts on the 15th of the month. It’s a very nice feature. Furthermore, a bank account with US bank will give it also for free.

  8. I have 3 Ink Bold cards for 2 businesses and Hubby had one for his business. He doesn’t have nearly the expenses, nor employees that I do. He closed his Ink Bold, then applied for the Ink Cash to get the 20,000 UR bonus. It took a lot of begging, but they gave it to him.

    One of my Ink Bold annual fees should have posted this month, but hasn’t. I’m thinking of converting all three to Ink Cash cards as the annual fees come due and just keep the Sapphire to park all of the URs. I don’t want to get rid of the Sapphire because we eat out a lot.

        • Yes you do. I was more inferring she could keep one of the Ink Bolds instead of the Sapphire and still get 2X on dining. Dee’s strategy works well too. I personally prefer the Freedom over the Sapphire, so would keep an Ink Bold, downgrade the Sapphire to Freedom and the other Inks to Ink Cash.

          • Ink Bolds do not earn 2X on dining. 2X is on gas and direct hotel charges and of course 5X on landline phone, mobile phone, internet and office supply.

          • Correct. Perhaps I should’ve explained a little better. The Ink Cash earns 2x on dining. She could keep one Ink Bold for points transfers and the the Ink Cash cards would give the 2x on dining.

          • Hubby and I each have Freedoms too that we use to max out the quarterly bonuses. No matter how I slice it, I’ll downgrade 3 of my cards and keep one premium card for partner transfers.

            The Sapphire works for me. I already trained Hubby how to use it. 😉 He doesn’t even keep a sticker on it any more with instructions.

    • Update: the annual fee posted on one of my three Chase Ink cards. The rep said the card was not convertible to Ink Cash, but waived the annual fee. I asked if there were any other retention offers in my account and he said no. I took it.


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