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Cards with Annual Fees

Frequent Contributor

Cards with Annual Fees

As I develop a plan for my next app-o-rama first quarter 2013,  I would like some input from my myfico family. I currently have a CSP and Chase Southwest Visa preferred. Both cards carry annual fees of $95 and $99 respectively. I would really like to have a JPM Select for the chip and hidden credit line. However, that card too has an annual fee of $95. This will most likely be my last Chase card and I want to be strategic about my next steps. 


Although I do love my cards and the perks that come along with having them, paying $300 annually seems like a lot. There's always the option of downgrading my cards to the regular versions or calling each year asking for fee waivers (not a permanent solution).  I see quite a few of you have any cards with hefty annual fees in your siggys. How do you guys/gals feel about paying annual fees?

Message 1 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

Well thats an easy question to answer so I'll ask you a few.


Have you ever called the CSP service line?

Was it easy to talk to an american?

Were they able to answer your question?

Would you pay $95 to keep a TL off your credit but be able to carry a balance?



The service is alone worth the $95 dollars a year to me.

The hidden tradelines are worth the 600 a year we are paying easlily.

No pressing 1 or 2 or 0 to mess with either is a nice treat.


Paying for a card with convinence is luxury item, do you need it prob not, is it nice OH YEAH~!

"As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance," he said. "We're still dancing."---Prince CEO Citi Bank

"Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the "gotta have it" scale". ~Zig Ziglar
Message 2 of 15
Super Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

You can always downgrade CSP to a regular sapphire, you miss out on some stuff but it has no AF. 

Message 3 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

It is all about balance. Take my BCP. AF gets totally eaten up in cash bak in no time, and the rest of the year is 6% cash back on groceries and 3% on gas when it is not a rotating freedom or Discover category.  


AF is also handed back to me by Chase for the Hyatt card with a free night every year.  The only real loss is my Gold AMEX.  I do not get that free back. 

Starting Score: 693 TU FICO, 679 EQ FICO
Current Score: FICO 8 = 844(9/15) EQ, 827 TU, 811 EX (7/15); mortgage FICO= 758 (9/15)EQ5, 797 TU4, 748 EX2 (7/15)
Goal Score: 750+, but shooting for the 800's
Hyatt Visa Sig ($23K), Amex BCP (24.8K), BofA Travel Rew Sig (22.5K), B&N World MC (22.3K), Amex RP Gold (NPSL w/ S&T), Cash+ Sig (20K),United Mil+ExpSig (16.3K), FNBO Visa (13.1K), Hilton Surpass (10K), Freedom Visa Sig (8.6K), Disc It (16.4K), Citi Dia Pref MC (3.7K),Sam's MC (10K), Wally (7.5K), JCP(5.3K), Costco (2K)
Message 4 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

I would consider calling chase and asking about converting your southwest card to jpm, or moving the CL from southwest to csp then closing. Unless you are on the border of elite status with southwest, the card is redundant with the csp. Both earn 2 points for southwest purchases and both can convert points to RR points. csp annual bonus .07 to each point earned, so is a better choice for uncategorized spend.

In wallet: Ink Plus 10k, AMEX TE 25k. In bag: CSP 16k, USAA WMC 15k, Hyatt 13k, United MPE 12k, AMEX HHonors 3k. In SD: Cap 1 QS 5k, Discover IT 7k. FICO 08 says my EQ is now 844, was 510 in 2010.
Message 5 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

I only have one card with an annual fee...Delta AmEx. By far I get my annual fee back. I get a free companion certificate, so someone flies free with that. I don't have to pay luggage fees. And I rack up airline miles.


This works for us because Delta is one of the main carriers in our rural area. I'd have to think twice about taking on another card with an annual fee...but this one really works for us.

Message 6 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

I don't only think about rewards when thinking of cards with annual fees.  I think sometimes people overvalue rewards in relation to other aspects of credit cards.  You have to look at other things too, like customer service and extra benefits.  For instance, nobody would get an Amex Platinum for the rewards program, there are far better options for rewards than the $450 Plat.  But, all the extra travel benefits of the Plat can be extremely valuable to the frequent business traveler and completely justify the high annual fee.  The thing is, for infrequent travelers and those who just look at rewards, the Amex Plat looks like a ripoff.  That's why those, "I just don't see the point of the Amex charge card" threads appear all the time.  Those elite cards with high annual fees aren't right for everyone, or even most people, but for the right person they are almost essential.


Back to the OP, if you want the Select, you can't use rewards to try to justify the annual fee.  You're not going to get any more points than just using the CSP (unless you can push $100K+ per year).  You have to justify it based on the chip and the hidden tradeline (there's also primary CDW though).  How often do you travel to countries where you need the chip?  How advantageous is that hidden tradeline to you?  If these can justify the $95 per year, then it is a good deal.  You could also look at your Southwest card and see if the extra benefits are worth the fee there, since I don't think you're really getting more rewards than you already get with the Sapphire Preferred.  I think out of those three cards, the Sapphire Preferred is generally the best value.  It's really a good card for $95 per year, it's probably the last AF I'd consider getting rid of.

FICOs (2/24/12): EX 752, EQ 740
Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom; American Express PR Gold, Blue Cash Everyday
Message 7 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

Depends if the benefit outweighs the fee.


The JPM Select that I got today is worth the $95 (first year waived) in order for me to be able to carry a hefty balance at a low APR without scaring/affecting my creditors in addition to all the other card benefits/rewards.


I'm sure the CSP pays for itself if you eat out a lot or travel.


There is also a cachet cost that is if you like to flaunt your wealth (or lack thereof) in the form of a wallet sized piece of plastic or metal. Ergo, the Centurion or Palladium.

AMEX SPG $30K | Citi TY Premier $20k | PenFed PlatRewards $25k | Barclay Arrival+ 40k | Chase Freedom $20k | BofA AMEX $15k | Discover IT $20k | | NASA Platinum-Advantage $20k | CapOne Quicksilver $15k | Amazon Card $10k |

My Journey from Sub-600s:
Message 8 of 15
Frequent Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

Thank you all for the fantastic feedback, this forum rocks!! It appears a PC from the Southwest Visa to the JPM Select will be the better solution. I can still retain all the benefits of the SW card with my CSP and more. Having the hidden credit line is very important to me, I don't mind paying for this particular feature. I would have never given up my CSP! I use it for personal and business. My employer reimburses me for all the business travel charges which enable me to accumulate points at a much faster rate. Hoping to travel abroad late mid 2013. As someone noted, being able to call and talk to a coherent English speaking person and not Peggy is invaluable!!! 

Message 9 of 15
Regular Contributor

Re: Cards with Annual Fees

The only card I have with an annual fee is the Sapphire Preferred as well. I'm not necessarily against paying annual fees on credit cards, but if I do, I make darn sure that I'm going to either exceed or obtain what amounts to that cost.  For example, I had a Discover Escape card with some nice benefits, but I never really used them, so I converted it to a More account (thanks Discover!). There's a lot of nice cards with good benefits out there that have AFs, but to me, unless you utilize the benefits a lot for each card that has one, it's usually not worth it. You can end up paying hundreds of dollars each year for AF credit cards. As one poster correctly stated before, these types of cards are not for everyone.  In my case, I justify the SP annual fee because I have already transferred quite a bit of points to my United frequent flyer membership for free flights, and I have a couple more that I'm planning to use before long. Plus, the superior customer service this card offers is probably enough for me, but I don't see myself getting another AF card anytime soon. 

Message 10 of 15