US Bank Shut Down All Of My Credit Cards
Like many of us in this hobby, I usually look forward to going through the “junk” mail after returning from a trip. Among all of the junk, I find spending bonus notices, new bank account incentives, and targeted credit card offers with higher welcome bonuses. So after returning from our recent Walt Disney World trip, it was with furrowed brow that I read four copies of the same letter from US Bank. A US Bank shut down letter!
US Bank wasted no time or words. The first sentence stated, “Please be advised that US Bank has elected to close your credit card account(s) at this time in accordance with the terms of your Cardmember Agreement.”
Let’s go through the situation and look at what happened.
My US Bank Credit Card Portfolio
My wife and I each had US Bank’s FlexPerks Travel Rewards Amex card and Club Carlson Visa card accounts about five years ago. Once the Club Carlson Visa lost it’s most lucrative benefits and we used all of our FlexPoints, we closed all of these accounts about four years ago.
I was delighted to be approved again for the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card and the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa card about two years ago and one year and a half ago, respectively. We also did the same for my wife (I was an authorized user). These are the four accounts that got shut down by US Bank.
Redeeming Outstanding Rewards
On the bright side, the letter stated that the accounts would be closed 30 days from the date of the letter. I did have the ability to redeem my rewards prior to account closure! Let’s look at how I redeemed.
FlexPoints have solid value when used for travel (1.5 cents per point), and I consider these points to be particularly, um, flexible in that they can be used for a wide variety of travel redemptions. I’ll be getting into that further in a future post. Unfortunately, I do not have any 100% definite travel which I currently need to plan for, so I couldn’t take advantage of this rate. I decided to simply cash out at a 1 point to 1 cent ratio via statement credit. Redemptions via statement credit require transactions in multiples of 5,000 FlexPoints. I redeemed the remainder of the points for an Amazon gift card from a local Kroger. US Bank’s Real-Time Rewards made me whole for the Amazon gift card (another topic we will dive into more in a future post). We redeemed my wife’s FlexPoints the same way.
Given that we had already received all of the Radisson Rewards points into our Radisson accounts, there was no redemption issue there.
While a Bummer, I Didn’t Care About These Accounts Much
You may wonder why I redeemed all points prior to calling the number in the letter to find out more. Did I want to try to keep the accounts open? The answer is no, not particularly. Ironically, I greatly decreased my spending on these card accounts about four months ago, as I was obtaining more lucrative rewards with other cards. And that wasn’t going to change. My lame joke is that my almost non-existent spend on the cards in the last four months must have been the red flag to US Bank to close the accounts!
This US Bank shut down is the first true one for me. Chase had electronically shut down my accounts a few years ago but re-opened them after a manual review one week later (which I didn’t initiate). Given the lack of information provided in the US Bank letter, I was curious to hear how the “Account Review Manager” would enlighten me.
Calling US Bank’s Account Review Manager
I called multiple times last week, but I received no answer. During my first call this week, I finally decided to leave a voicemail. After all, perhaps the Account Review Manager wasn’t screening her calls; maybe she was busy closing other customers’ credit card accounts. The same day I left the voicemail, I received a call from the manager late in the afternoon.
Initial Conversation (Paraphrased)
- Me: Hi. Yes, I have been calling to ask why US Bank decided to close my credit card accounts.
- Manager: US Bank is not comfortable with continuing the relationship.
- Me: Why is US Bank not comfortable?
- Manager: US Bank does not release that information.
It all sounded like I was on the receiving end of an awkward college break-up. I proceeded (in vain) to ask different variations of “Why?” while continuing to hear the bank’s version of “It’s not you, it’s me”, even though it was me. I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to the non-answers.
Was the closure based on a routine or random review of the accounts? The manager told me this was from a “systematic review.” How does US Bank define “systematic”? The manager stated that US Bank has “systems” that “monitor” things, and these systems let them know if they see “something.” That’s the best explanation I received.
I asked how to go about getting the annual fee back on the Radisson Visa card which I had just paid in January. She stated that she could not process a refund of this annual fee, but I should call customer service “to see” if they can refund this annual fee. The manager said that she had noted on our accounts that customer service should “assist” us. I interpreted both of these statements as a non-guarantee that I would get the annual fees refunded but thanked the manager, nonetheless. The call ended.
Annual Fee Refund
In short, I am getting my annual fee back, but US Bank is making me work for it. I called customer service, and they quickly let me know that I will receive the $75 back to the account, but it can take up to 48 hours to show up. After that, I need to call customer service back to request a paper check via US mail. We plan to follow the same steps for my wife’s Radisson Visa account. As we had redeemed FlexPoints for the annual fees associated with the FlexPerks cards, I chose not to pursue a pro-rated refund of those annual fees. You win on that one, US Bank.
What Caused The US Bank Shut Down?
I won’t presume to know what exactly caused these account closures, but I do know my behavior with the cards. Of course, I paid the accounts off in full each statement. I put lots of spending on the cards, mostly on the FlexPerks cards and some on the Radisson cards to take advantage of the free night certificates after $10,000 in spend (which you can do three times per year). I used most, if not all, of the credit limit for many of the statement cycles.
What I Learned
By opening and using these accounts, I learned plenty prior to the closure. Here are the main points:
- US Bank does not have once per lifetime rules on their welcome offers.
- I spent plenty on the cards, and I still got about two good years of awards and benefits from them prior to the US Bank shut down.
- I had 30 days to use rewards prior to account closure.
- Don’t rely on US Bank to provide any substantive information regarding an account closure.
US Bank Shut Down – Final Thoughts
Looking back, I don’t think there is anything I would have done differently. In this hobby, I consider a periodic shutdown as an inevitable risk, or a “cost of doing business.” I enjoyed the rewards the US Bank cards provided at the time, but I’ve focused more on other cards lately, anyway.
I do find it interesting that this came after I had stopped spending on the card for four months. And I have heard of people having issues with the Altitude card but not much on the FlexPerks Visa or Radisson cards.
Has US Bank closed your credit card accounts? What reason(s) did the bank give you, if any?