I hit the first year anniversary on my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express this month, and unfortunately that meant the $65 annual fee showed up as expected on my statement. As I've mentioned in a previous post, the SPG AMEX is one of my go-to cards, and its points are extremely valuable as well as versatile.
Typically, I only apply for credit cards that have the first year annual fee waived (as in this case), and I always cancel the account prior to hitting the first anniversary. However, I really just like this card too much to let it go... hence I ponied up the $65 without much hesitation.
But before giving up too easily, I decided to give American Express a quick call to ask if there was any way to waive or reduce the annual fee, since I was "contemplating canceling the card". At the same time, I told them I use this card all the time and I really enjoy the benefits, so anything they could do to "ease the pain" of the annual fee would be greatly appreciated. Without even a second thought, the customer service representative said that while there was no way she could waive the annual fee, she could give me 3,000 SPG points as a goodwill gesture for keeping the card. I wasn't about to push my luck, so I quickly thanked her and accepted the offer. Within three days, the points posted to my SPG account.
Not bad for a three minute phone call! If your annual fee for the SPG AMEX recently hit, I'd definitely suggest giving them a call to see what they can do for you. Anecdotal evidence on Flyertalk suggests most people received at least 3,000 points just for keeping their account open. (A word of caution though, do not call prior to your annual fee showing up on your statement - I tried calling a number of times before that, and no dice each time)