My strategy to credit card management has changed substantially over the past year, here’s a few things that I do differently.
I don’t call for retention offers
Cards are keepers, or they are not. I have a foundation of fee free or permanently waived cards (grandfathered in Citi via the old Citigold program). These I keep. If there is a card with a fee that I want to keep, it must be producing considerable monthly income. If it is doing that, I don’t want to ask someone to put eyes on the account to save $100, I just eat the cost. The $100 is a tribute to the MS gods, I should make it up within the month.
I don’t call in to expedite pending applications
I recently posted in the forum how you can get a few different types of ‘pending’ from the same card some seem more likely to be processed than others, but in any case I’ve decided to no longer call in until they’ve denied me. This is a change from when I used to call in whenever there was a chance of being denied. The logic here is that reports from a number of sources (and personal experience) show that the reps don’t like this behavior any longer. There’s too much exposure, too many people calling in, and there seems to have been a policy change due to it. In other words, I think that calling in to expedite increases the chance for denial.
I don’t downgrade to a fee free, I cancel
I know you’re not supposed to cancel because it reduces your credit score, but once you start to top off total credit (many times salary) you’re better to cut your credit down than try to argue your $1M of credit line with $100 in use makes you a good candidate for a new card. Credit card companies look at total risk from the relationship, and this kicks in at higher levels.
I always pay the (first) annual fee
Some folk out there are canceling a card almost immediately after getting the bonus, meaning they get the fee back and keep the points, this one is just personal preference, but I think it’s outside of my comfort zone. I’m happy to pay that first annual fee, and if the card is a producer, pay the second also.
The first 3 points are things I’ve done a 180 on based on disturbances in the force, the last I’ve always done. If you are a newbie to points and miles, and seeking to build and establish credit, some things should be tackled differently, but if you are an old pro, it might be time to look at your habits and see which ones need to change with the times.