In the last week or so, I had emails from a couple of readers who mentioned that they signed up for a credit card and now there is another, better bonus on the exact same card.
- One had signed up for the Southwest 25,000 mile bonus, and now there’s a 50,000 mile bonus.
- The other signed up for the Citi Premier with a $125 annual fee, and now they’re waving the annual fee for the first year.
What, they wonder, can be done?
First, let me share my philosophy on credit cards and sign up bonuses. Typically, good things come to those that wait. I personally don’t sign up for a credit card unless I know it’s one of their better bonuses. This is especially true of Chase since most cards only allow one sign up bonus in a lifetime. Here’s a list of current cards that have a 50,000 miles/ point sign up bonus.
Still, even with that cautious approach, it’s possible to still miss out on the best offer.
Here’s the formula for successfully getting a bonus match:
Proximity of time + customer history + customer knowledge + demeanor = a greater chance of success.
Proximity of Time: The shorter the period between when you applied and when the new bonus came out, the greater the likelihood of getting the bonus. Chase will typically honor it if it’s been within 60 days.
Moral: As as soon as you find out about the newer, better offer, do something.
Customer History: If you’re a big spender and have had a long history with a credit card company, you have more leverage as you’ve already identified yourself as an ideal customer.
Moral: If you have a long standing history with the company, be sure to mention it.
Customer Knowledge: Don’t simply say you’ve heard there is a better offer. Name the offer and possibly mention the landing page. If it is an offer that has a bonus code attached so be sure to mention the exact code.
Moral: The more you can show that you know about the offer, the better.
Demeanor: No, that doesn’t say be meaner. Be polite. Remember, if you signed up for the original bonus, you had already decided it was a good enough offer. It’s not worth getting worked up if they don’t plan to honor it. Just thank them for their time.
Moral: Use the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
How do you request a bump of the bonus?
Send a Secure Message
I believe your best option is to start by sending a secure message through the credit card’s website. This way you have written documentation of whatever transpires.
Call Customer Service
If you don’t get the feedback you want, you can always call the number on the back of the card and they’ll direct you to the right place. If you have extenuating circumstances, you can mention them to the phone agent.
Use Your Twitter Account
I’ve never used this method, but I’ve heard of some folks having some positive results with Twitter accounts and direct messages to the company’s customer service Twitter account. It guess it’s worth a try.
In the end, I personally choose not to get worked up with some of this stuff. I may ask, but I’m not going to upset myself or get all worked up about it. When my wife signed up for the AMEX Premier, she got 25,000 American Express Rewards points. I then heard about all these people getting 75,000. She contacted American Express, but on two occasions was denied the bump. It’s too bad, but it’s also not the end of the world.
I’ve even tried calling Citi after having a card for 6 years. I called and said that I saw them offering all these new bonuses to new customers, and I was wondering if they’d offer me anything for being a good customer. They said no, but at least I asked!
What are you experiences bumping the bonus?