Negotiating my annual fee with American Express Netherlands

My American Express Netherlands Gold card is up for renewal soon. My plan is simple. Call up, be polite but assertive, give Amex a choice: Either give me a significant discount on the annual fee or I will cancel my card.

Amex Gold

 

In case you've been a ‘perfect' customer and paid your €150 of annual fee without questioning it, let this post wake you up a little.

When I called up the Amsterdam Customer Service Centre this time last year, I got redirected to the equivalent of their customer retention department when I told them I wanted to cancel my card. (I had no intention to cancel…only to bargain hard!)

So a nice lady who spoke perfect English (probably better than me!) with only the slightest hint of Dutch accent picked up. I told her immediately that I wanted to cancel my card because hardly anywhere in NL accepted credit cards, let alone American Express. There was no reason for me to renew my membership unless a generous offer could be made.

First offer: Double points for 3 months ( = 2 Membership Rewards point per €).

I asked if she understood my point that hardly anywhere accepts AMEX. Even if I wanted to spend my cash in NL, it was not a viable offer. I asked ( = told) her to make me a more generous offer.

Second offer: 5000 points plus double points for 3 months.

Once again I said this is nowhere near the value I should be getting from the card, considering I had referred several people over the year. I seem to recall making around 15 referrals, all to rather wealthy colleagues and friends. No deal.

Final offer: 20 000 points plus double points for 3 months, or €75 plus double points for 3 months,
 plus the standard 12 500 points for a renewal.

Here's where the deal got interesting, and acceptable in my opinion. It would have been incredibly unwise to accept €75 whereas 20 000 points has an asset value of €200 in my books. I am usually able to redeem at over 1 eurocent per Membership Reward Point, and thought this was an OK deal given I was dealing with a somewhat stingy Dutch business here.

 

So if your American Express is up for renewal, remember to make them work for their business! How will negotiations this year go…?

 

 

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  1. My last AMEX negotiation got me 22,000 points. I find them to be pretty good at trying to retain clients. Whereas my negotiations with Visa or MC usually end in a cancelled card.

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