Speaking of, did you know that both canceling (with one L) and cancelling (with two) forms of spelling are correct? The first is American version, and the other is British. So, today, I’m honoring my fellow European comrades.
Long time ago I’ve put together a list of cards that might be worth renewing if you are a middle-class family. Something I’ve mentioned is that you should always take your future plans into consideration when it comes to airline co-branded cards. Most provide perks such as free checked bags etc. The cost (if you have to pay out-of-pocket) can really add up for a family of four or more, especially when you book roundtrip flights. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much junk kids tend to generate when it comes to luggage.
Recently, when the time came for me to decide on whether to renew my Aviator AAdvantage Barclaycard, I had a hard time making the call. For those unfamiliar, this used to be US Airways MasterCard that got reincarnated as AA miles-earning product after the merger of the two airlines. It was a strange turn of events that took everyone in The Hobby by surprise, even yours truly. My crystal ball was malfunctioning at the time, oh well… Unfortunately, the offer I applied for didn’t come with 10K miles anniversary renewal bonus.
So, the $89 annual fee was coming up this month, and I HATE HATE HATE paying annual fees. And you should too! But here is the thing. There is a good chance that I will need to redeem more than 100K AAdvantage miles next July, and one of the perks of the card is 10% rebate on your redemptions, up to 10K miles per year. I won’t really need “free checked bags” benefit since we are flying in first class to Seattle next May (and bags fly free). Fancy! Not really, not domestic first class, though my husband will love the extra legroom and me.
Anyway, the problem is, I’m not 100% sure I’ll use AA miles for this particular redemption. Not to mention, I also plan to apply for Citi AAdvantage card in January of 2016. That’s when it will be 18 months since canceling my previous Citi AA card, which in turn will make me eligible for new sign-up bonus. It provides the same perk, but only if I’m actually approved for this offer, which is not a 100% guarantee. Another thing that’s not guaranteed is if the sign-up bonus will be 50K miles when I get ready to pull the trigger. Hmm, I sense a pattern here…
What to do? That 10K miles is worth $89 annual fee. Well, to me, at least. It doesn’t mean you should renew your Aviator card when faced with a similar dilemma. If you have millions of miles, I don’t think it makes sense to pay 0.9 CPM (cents per mile) to acquire them. But I don’t have millions of miles, and currently am burning them like there is no tomorrow.
Fortunately, this decision became a no-brainer. Barclaycard has sent me an offer I just couldn’t refuse. I have to spend $500 in September, October and November, and they will deposit 15K miles in my AAdvantage account. I accept! Getting 16.5K miles after spending only $1,500 yields a very attractive return, about 11 miles per dollar. Of course, that means paying $89 annual fee, but I was thinking about keeping the card anyway. This was just an extra incentive I needed. Finally, a decision I feel good about!
If you have a Barclaycard, it might pay to wait till last minute to cancel it. That bank is known for offering this type of incentive, whether miles, points or cash back. Reportedly, you can get your annual fee refunded if you cancel within 60 days of getting billed for it. That said, rules constantly change, so I wouldn’t count on it 100%. See this post for rules on annual fee refund, sorted by issuer
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.