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Changing Seasons and Cards: Everything We’ve Closed or Downgraded

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Closing Credit Card Accounts

Closing Credit Card Accounts

The process of closing credit card accounts is a not-so-fun but necessary chore for active points and travel enthusiasts.  I actually don’t mind that – the exercise of closing bank accounts is what I truly despise.  Indeed, closing cards enables other lucrative moves, most often new cards with big rewards.  Here’s everything we’ve closed (plus one we’ve downgraded) since March and why we did so.

Closing Credit Card Accounts

Hilton Honors Amex Business

This card was on the chopping block first, as the second year annual fee hit.  I had maximized year one, picking up the welcome offer and two free night certificates from the $15k annual big spend bonus – one during 2022 and the other this year.  Sure, the $95 annual fee isn’t much, but there were no other benefits I could leverage.  In addition to already picking up the free night cert, I already had the Hilton Honors Gold status from unrelated card perks.  Besides, I needed the slot to keep pushing hard with Amex.  I didn’t bother asking for a retention offer.

Closing Credit Card Accounts

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex (Multiple)

The year two annual fees for both of our Brilliant cards simultaneously arrived.  My wife and I had no interest in paying the hiked $650 annual fees on these cards.  We took year one as a big win, though, double dipping the now-defunct $300 Marriott and newer monthly dining credits, all while paying the old $450 annual fee.  It was a good run, but on to the next one!

Closing Credit Card Accounts

Bank of America Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard

How could we ever close one of my favorite cards?  Simple – it was my wife’s account, and I just picked up multiple during the elevated offer.  The reasonable year two $89 annual fee didn’t bring much value in her situation, so the decision was easy.

Closing Credit Card Accounts

Amex Business Platinum (Multiple)

Same story, different day here.  Again, I didn’t really care about retention offers.  Indeed, I closed via chat on the weekend to avoid the business retention department, perhaps the most efficient way to close such cards.  No lifetime language offers have been a bit more unpredictable recently, but they’re still out there occasionally.  And it’s often enough where I need to keep a watch on my count against the ten pay over time card limit.

Chase IHG Premier

Based on my recent feelings about IHG, I wanted to close this card.  But I opted to use my brain instead, deciding to product change to the IHG Traveler card.  The Traveler card has no annual fee and, importantly, preserves my access to fourth night free redemptions.  The silver elite status is meaningless, but the ability to continue earning IHG points, if needed, via credit card spend is somewhat useful.  More importantly, I’m able to upgrade back into a Premier if or when that’s sensible.  That options even more useful for my wife and I, as we don’t expect to ever apply for a Chase cards again.

Next Up – Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Amex

Not yet closed, I plan to do so once the annual fee hits on my Bevy in the next few weeks.  Many trashed this card when it came on the scene.  How dare Amex charge a $250 annual fee on a card without an automatic free night award (that people apparently think they’re entitled to)?  Meanwhile, I picked up the welcome offer and two $15k free night awards – one this year and last, similar to the Hilton Business card strategy.  All while earning 4x on that big spend.  I encourage any Marriott fan to consider the same!  But $250’s more than I want to spend in year two, especially after already picking up the 2023 cert.

Closing Credit Card Accounts – Conclusion

Without too much work, our credit card portfolio has gotten substantially leaner.  But we’re already back to picking up more.  My wife and I each expect to apply for even more cards during the fall.  She’ll be particularly focusing on Bank of America products, while we’ll each dive deeper on cards from smaller banks and credit unions.  There seems to always be something new to go after, and having a fairly lean portfolio can help.

What cards have you closed or product changed recently?  Why?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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    • I’m indefinitely holding a Charles Schwab Platinum card and immediately cash out, so no issues there. Amex Everyday cards can help you if you’re looking to preserve without holding a Platinum or Gold.

  1. Same. P2 will be downgrading Bevy (completely worthless after signup bonus) to old SPG Amex (with 35k cents) and downgrading Plat back to Gold (if offered) or just cancel. Plat is too pricey and we get a better deal with the MS Plat card.


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