Smooth Retention Process Leads to Cardmember "Save" at American Express
At the end of my last blog I mentioned that I had become a bit frustrated and disallusioned about my American Express Delta SkyMiles card. The reason has more to do with Delta than it does Amex, but it does affect my feelings about the card. The problem is the math doesn't really work well for me any more. With a card that charges an annual fee of $55 --it's fine that it's generating extra miles into my Delta SkyMiles account. However, with Delta limiting the amount of seat inventory for frequent flyer mile redemption--it's increasingly difficult to cash in your miles for an airline ticket. Delta's solution has been to provide more seats but at a higher redemption amount. So, the old average redemption amount of say 25,000 SkyMiles for a ticket now requires 40,000 miles. Problem solved, right? Actually no. The problem is based on the annual fee of the American Express card--the amount of SkyMiles generated by the card annually--and the amount of miles required to actually get a ticket to a reasonable destination--makes the math untenable for many people--and certainly for me.
I called American Express and essentially told them what I just explained and their initial response was to try to re-sell the benefits of the card. I told them I understood the card benefits but it didn't make economic sense any more. Once they got it, THEY GOT ON IT. My call was given a "warm" forward to another unit with the original CSR introducing me to the new one--which is the best way to do it. The receiving CSR had been briefed on my situation and she was ready. She proceeded to thank me for my numerous years of membership and asked if she could help me transition my account to another card product. She asked me a series of thoughtful questions about my card usage. My anwers enabled her to recommend a few card options and she patiently and professionally answered all of my questions about the various card options. I ultimately decided to go with the no-fee Open Business Card with a cash back feature. It has everthing I need without a fee. I will continue to accumulate Delta miles through my frequent flyer airline membership and any miles redeemed for a ticket are still a "win" as I will not have paid an annual fee to participate.
I applaud American Express for their smooth process as it enabled me to remain a satisfied cardmember--and American Express was able to retain a long-term customer that would have been expensive to replace. Sounds like a win/win!