If you applied for a new travel credit card with big plans to use it for a now-canceled trip, you might be wondering: Should I also cancel that card?
Here are the issues to consider before making your decision:
Will closing the card hurt your credit scores? In general, closing credit cards can have a negative effect on your credit score because it lowers your total available credit. It may also affect the length of your credit history; if it’s a card you have held for a long time, the impact will likely be bigger.
That’s why many credit card experts suggest closing cards only if the gains outweigh that potential impact, and to think carefully about your timing. “I’d never suggest closing a card before you are going to apply for a loan or another card,” credit expert John Ulzheimer says.
Does the card charge a hefty annual fee? Some premium travel cards come with large annual fees, north of $500. That fee can quickly pay for itself if you are a frequent traveler and big spender. But if you are staying home right now, you probably aren’t using all of those benefits.
Canceling your card might also mean that you lose any accrued points and miles, so you might want to consider using them — potentially for nontravel-related redemptions such as cash back — before canceling.
Are you planning to return to traveling as soon as possible? The pandemic has temporarily halted most travel, but at some point, those restrictions will lift. If you are already planning to rebook your trip as soon as you are able to, then you’re well-positioned to get the most out of your travel card soon. So keeping it on hand probably makes sense.
Does the card offer other, nontravel-related benefits? Travel cards sometimes come with other perks, such as rewards for ordering from restaurants or food delivery services. Some cards are also dangling retention offers and other incentives in response to the pandemic, such as annual fee credits. If your card issuer hasn’t offered one of those benefits to you, you can always call and ask.
Can you switch to a cash-back card instead? Instead of closing your card, it might be possible to call your card issuer and ask if you can switch to a different product, such as a cash-back card that comes with no or a lower fee.
“Contact the credit card company and request the company change your current card to one that carries no annual fee,” suggests Sam Boyd, a certified financial planner and senior vice president of Capital Asset Management Group, a financial planning firm. This strategy recently worked for him.
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