Is It Tacky to Get an Annual Fee Refund After Receiving Renewal Points?

Well, IMO it definitely falls into a gray area, so I’m curious to see what readers think. I had a conversation with a fellow blogger few days ago, and wanted to share the gist of it. I won’t name names because I’m not writing this post  as some sort of “calling out.” I really don’t want to embarrass anyone or put them on display.

Anyway, the conversation had to do with my post on Club Carlson credit card. I mentioned that it might be worth paying $75 to renew it so one can get 40,000 points out of the deal. My fellow colleague said that you can basically have your cake and eat it too by getting the renewal points and then immediately canceling the card. In fact, that’s what he/she did recently and the agent offered to refund $75 which, of course, he/she accepted.

The thing is, the annual fee is technically not considered a payment for the points. The points are simply a perk in exchange for renewing the card, just one of the benefits. Once they hit your loyalty account (in this case Club Carlson) and you redeem them, it would be very hard for bank to claw them back even if you cancel the card and get a refund of the fee.

Back to the blogger story. Nothing wrong or devious going on here and if I’m being honest,  if the bank rep really wanted me to have the money back, I would have graciously accepted. Our whole hobby revolves around finding loopholes and taking advantage of banks’ generosity. No need to pretend, I am a bit of a parasite.

Still, I like to think of myself as a parasite with principles. Don’t get me wrong, I have done things that smelled a little bit rotten. But one thing I don’t  do is call the bank after receiving my renewal perk and ask for  an annual fee refund. I don’t know, it just feels wrong.

Let me draw a real-life parallel. Say you are single and this guy asks you out.  You don’t really like him that much romantically, but he is very nice. One day he makes an offer to take you to this fancy restaurant. He says there  is no obligation, he just wants you to get to know him better. In fact, if you only want the free meal, that’s fine with him. Well, the truth is, you only want the free meal, but he just keeps on asking.

Ok, you go, get a  fancy dinner and  even though the guy is nice, it’s clear there  is no potential for a long-term relationship. So, when he asks you if you would  be interested in dating, the answer is No. But, he is a  friend, so you offer to meet him once a year  at the same restaurant (when there is a special deal going on) and split the check. You like the food, you want to be on good terms with the guy, so it’s a win-win. It’s kind of like that with getting  a sign-up bonus and then renewing the card while paying an annual fee.

To me, getting a refund on the fee  after collecting the points equates to agreeing to a second date, letting the guy pay the bill, and then dumping him right afterwards. Is it wrong? Well, no. Is it a little tacky? I think so. Speaking of, have you seen Weird Al parody of the song “Happy,” called “Tacky” ? LOL


That said, maybe I’m just overthinking this whole thing.  Obviously, banks are not single, desperate  guys who are looking for love. They are for-profit institutions. As long as you play by the rules, who is to say what’s tacky and what’s not?

So, readers, what is your opinion? Are you tacky and proud of it? Don’t hold back, no judgement from me.

P.S. See this post on Doctor of Credit for annual fee refund rules for each card issuer.

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5 thoughts on “Is It Tacky to Get an Annual Fee Refund After Receiving Renewal Points?

  1. I recently downgraded my Club Carlson Card to avoid the annual fee. I wish I would of thought about canceling the card after receiving the 40,000 bonus points and getting the fee refunded. I see nothing wrong with that its just part of the “game” we play.


    • Rich, thanks for your comment! The expression “tacky and proud of it” was made in jest. I don’t mean to imply that my readers are tacky. What you said makes sense, it is part of the game. Plus, it’s not like you are breaking rules or anything.
      Don’t feel bad about converting the card. From what I’ve understood, you only have 30 days with US Bank to get a refund of the fee. The points would have to post right away, which doesn’t always happen. It can take up to 2 months.


  2. Yeah. I think the rules are the rules. If the bank allows it, that’s their problem. If they don’t like it they should change their own rules.


  3. Pingback: Debating Between Chase British Airways Visa Signature and PNC Premier Traveler Card | Miles For Family

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