How to get your credit card annual fee reduced or waived – updated with your experiences

Wow, what a response! Last week I asked you all to help me catalogue some of the different approaches to credit card annual fee waivers and discounts.

Now updated with everyone’s experiences so far, this is becoming a great resource for those seeking out an annual fee waiver. It seems these are way more doable than I anticipated too. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Be sure to check if any experiences for your card are in this list, and consider your own approach if you’re close to any card renewal dates.


Credit Card annual fees for points collectors are a fact of life – if you want a card that will earn you the most points, you’re almost certain to have to pay a fee with the card.

Of course there are sign up offers that may waive the fee in first year, but more often than not you’ll be left to pay the fee once your first year is up.

In this post I’m seeking your help to build a list of banks, credit cards and tactics you can employ to help get your annual fees reduced or waived entirely, for you to understand and take advantage of if you decide to do the same.

Tactics you can employ to have your card annual fee waived or reduced

Firstly, a key factor in your value to a bank is how much you use a card.

Although there’s no science or proof around this, logic would dictate that the more you use a credit card, the more you are worth to a bank in merchant fees paid by the retailers you shop at.

So if you have a card that you want to keep for the benefits or points earn into subsequent years after you’ve first signed up, you’ll probably have more chance of the bank wanting to keep you if you’ve actually used the card.

Requesting a waiver or cancelling a credit card

When it comes to actually requesting a fee waiver, this would normally be done at the point of requesting a cancellation on the card, which is usually over the phone.

You’ll need to decide before you get on the phone whether you are willing to go through with a card cancellation there and then.

Some of the main factors that would determine if you’re willing to go through with the cancellation are:

  1. How close to the annual fee you are – the closer you are, the less time you have to make a decision
  2. How many points you are owed – if using a transferrable points currency you will lose the points if you cancel your account, so transfer them out. If you are on a monthly direct-sweep card, you should wait until as soon after the account has swept the points over – or ask the phone agent if they can tell you whether cancelling your account will stop the next points sweep.
  3. Whether you’ve used all your benefits – free flights, extra hotel nights and other travel benefits should be used before you cancel
  4. Are you relying on card insurance – if so, consider the cost and act of taking out your own policy if you decide to cancel the card
  5. The inconvenience of cancelling – how many direct debits you have with the card that will need changing, and how much time you have to administrate the changes

Instead of over the phone, you could also try using secure messaging in your bank’s message area to ensure the communication between you and your bank is clear.

If you use secure messaging it allows you to set terms of what you are looking for to be able to keep the card in your wallet. Whether a bank meets them is then their decision!

Point Hacks Community annual fee waiver experiences

I need your help to build a list of data points for others to know what their chances are in getting a fee waived or reduced for a specific card, on request.

Below are some I’ve received so far, and you can submit yours in the comments, or by submitting them using the question box on the bottom right hand corner of the post. Your experiences will be anonymised and not attributed to you in the post.

Your experience could be quite different to someone else’s of course, given your value and history with a bank.

American Express

American Express seem unlikely to waive most fees. Few reports of fee waivers, add one if you have one!

  • Qantas Ultimate Amex – 9 year user, 22,000 points credited on threat of cancellation

ANZ

  • ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black – high user, no waiver on threat of cancellation, so cancelled
  • ANZ Qantas – fee refunded to ANZ Rewards account on cancellation request

Citi

  • Citi Platinum Rewards – annual fee waived
  • Citi Prestige – annual fee 1/2ed for frequent card user
  • Citi Prestige – fee waived year on year for user with 150k+ pa spend on the card
  • Citi Gold – migration to Signature with no annual fee for life + 50k points on threat of cancellation

HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa

The annual fee for this card it seems will be consistently waived on request, regardless of card usage.

Macquarie Bank

  • Macquarie Visa Platinum – annual fee halved to $100

NAB

  • NAB Qantas Platinum – no waiver offered
  • NAB Qantas Platinum – 3 year user, annual fee waiver offered
  • NAB Velocity – frequent user, no waiver offered
  • NAB Velocity – low user – waiver offered
  • NAB Velocity Platinum – fee waived for life on request
  • NAB Velocity Platinum – fee waived for 2 years and no more

Virgin Money

  • High Flyer Visa – fee waived on request, twice
  • High Flyer Visa – fee waived on request plus 10,000 Velocity points
  • High Flyer Visa – fee waived on request plus 5,000 Velocity points
  • Flyer Visa – fee waived twice

Westpac

  • Westpac Altitude Black – fee waived on request

Woolworths Qantas Platinum Visa

  • 5,000 Qantas Points offered on threat of cancellation

If you have your own ‘win’ with a credit card fee waiver, please share and I’ll update this guide over time with more info.