US Bank Retention & Club Carlson Downgrade
Yesterday was the fateful day where I had to decide what to do with my Club Carlson Visa Signature. The annual fee was charged on my statement just shy of 30 days ago and the payment was due by the end of the day yesterday. I had set a calendar reminder to make sure I didn’t miss it and when it popped up on my phone I made sure to call.
To be honest, I don’t really care about keeping the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card. After they eliminated the Bonus Award Night, the card lost a lot of value to me. While the card still does give 40,000 points annually (the no annual fee card gets the free night after $10K spend too), I just am not a huge fan of their properties and I have an abundance of points in other programs.
Keeping the Card for my E-Cert
The one thing I am interested in though is my free e-cert that US Bank agreed to give me. They said that would take 6-8 weeks to hit my Club Carlson account and I am still waiting. I feared if I cancelled my Club Carlson credit card, that they wouldn’t give me the e-cert. I sort of wouldn’t blame them either.
So my plan shifted to downgrading the card to the no annual fee version in order to keep the account active while I wait. I also have a US Bank Gold Checking account which is free because I hold a credit card. My wife does have a Flexperks cards as well, but I am not sure if that is worth keeping. At this point having a no annual fee card that locks in the free checking is a side benefit.
The Phone Call
When the calendar reminder popped up on my phone I immediately pulled out the Club Carlson card and called in to US Bank. The rep who answered was pleasant, but strange. I explained I either wanted to cancel my card or downgrade it to avoid the annual fee. I have dealt with US Bank retention before and wasn’t expecting any sort of offer to keep the card and I didn’t get one.
Almost immediately the agent started saying I could definitely get the no annual fee Club Carlson card. Good news! Then she said to get it I would just have to go online and apply for it as a new account. She also said I could apply for the Cash+ card or any other US Bank offering. How generous of her?!?!?
Of course I didn’t want my credit run and I didn’t want a new account, so I inquired about a product change. She said it wasn’t possible. I then pushed a little and told her I was informed it was possible on a previous call. (The truth is Julian the Devil’s Advocate told me about it.) After placing me on hold she tried to save face and say it isn’t available to most people, but I was eligible. (I believe everyone is eligible.)
To give you a sense of how quick this call was, when she placed me on hold I walked outside to the mailbox to get the mail. By the time I had returned home (less than 2 minutes) the entire call was over. Once she confirmed I was eligible for the conversion, she said it was done and rushed me off the phone. Before hanging up I inquired about the annual fee credit and she said she would do it. Unlike with other banks there were no scripts and no verbal agreements. The account was converted in a snap.
In the end I was successfully and rather painlessly able to downgrade my Club Carlson Premier Credit Card to the no annual fee Club Carlson Rewards Visa card. While the process was the most informal I have ever come across, I am glad the agent was able to do it and I eagerly await my e-cert.
As for my relationship with Club Carlson, I’ll enjoy the free night, but I have been trying for years to love their properties and their program and it just ain’t happening. The Bonus Award Night sort of clouded my view for awhile, but once the cloud of that benefit lifted, I realized it was time to break up. I’m not saying we won’t ever get back together, but the time has come to move on.