As much as I would love to be able to focus on my points/miles strategy for hours everyday to maximize all of my earning that isn’t always possible. Blogging for Point Me to the Plane is actually my fourth job, behind teaching, poker, and educational consulting. This means my free time is extremely limited and meanwhile I will have to continue to live in envy of those bloggers that can make elaborate spreadsheets to track everything or plan out every minute detail. Oh how I wish…
I have accepted that until I make some major changes I am going to have to live with the fact that every once in a while something unexpected falls through the cracks. What mess did I have to clean up this time? A letter from my favorite lender, Chase, saying that they shut down my Marriott Rewards Business Card.
Reasons for the Closure
Upon receiving the letter I immediately called Chase to see exactly what was going on with my account. Speaking with two representatives in two different departments led me to realize that there had been no activity on the account in some time. Whoops! That meant it was an easy decision for Chase to close the account.
What was interesting was that Chase seemed to have no problems with the inactivity prior to the annual fee posting, as I had not used it for a few months prior to the renewal. Since the annual fee posted on Aug. 1, there were no charges on the account for almost three months before the closure. The representative said that a reevaluation of the account is common after the annual fee comes around
Fortunately, Chase provided me with a full refund of my annual fee.
I asked the representatives to see if they could reopen the account as I was worried about losing some of the benefits of the card, most importantly my yearly free night. As I posted previously, I have plans for Europe in 2019 and would like to use my free nights to see some additional cities. After being transferred to three different departments I was told that I could reinstate the account, as long as inactive for six months or fewer, and it would be a fairly painless process. If the account was closed for other risk related reasons, it might have been a different story.
Learning from Mistakes
Overall there are a few things that readers can takeaway so this doesn’t happen to them:
- Regular Usage – In this situation my obvious problem was just not using the card at all for several months. I broke my own rules here by not cycling this card through my wallet as it got set in the wrong pile so I thought I had a reoccurring payment on it. By putting regular spending on the card it shows the lender you are accessing the credit line they have extended.
- Reoccurring Charges – One thing I do on some of my oldest accounts is set up my recurring payments (Netflix, gym memberships, etc.) to pay to those cards. I then set them on autopay so I do not have to worry about forgetting to pay them. This protects my accounts with 15+ years of history and prevents them from being shutdown for inactivity.
- Online Accounts – The cards that do not have reoccurring payments set up, and aren’t used for everyday purchases, I set up automatically with different online retailers. For example, my Amex EveryDay cards is my primary payment for Amazon, while I my Chase World of Hyatt card is setup to pay Paypal purchases. I do this for a few reasons: A) To keep the credit card account active so I do not have to think about inactivity; B) To earn points with various loyalty partners, which also keep those points from expiring; C) If an account gets compromised I can shut it down easily without it impacting other things.
Did Chase Do Me a Favor?
In the end, I decided to leave the account closed as I was thinking about closing this account next year anyways. If drop my SPG Personal Card to meet the new signup bonus rules, I will then be able to reapply and claim another Marriott card bonus. The cherry on top: I still have the Annual Free Night showing up in my Marriott account that I can use for the next eight months; this free night will have effectively cost me $0.
While I certainly do not recommend going about managing your account like I did there is a takeaway for all as very few account closures work out advantageously. If you have a multitude of credit cards use some of the methods outlined above to continue putting spending on them to avoid account closures.
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