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.
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…?