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Cancelled my Oldest Credit Card…

This is a continuation of a previous post that I wrote about: End of an Era: Capital One World Elite Aspire Travel MasterCard.

Fair Warning: Bloggers often have to balance between sharing secrets for the benefit of everyone, versus keeping secrets, for the benefit of those who know about it (so that the benefit does not get shut down). For today’s post, I will be sharing my experience with the credit card (mentioned above) that really worked in my favour, which is why I kept it so long.  

I will be sharing my personal experience with this card in chronological order beginning with when I signed up for the card.

Origins

I originally signed up for this card in 2012, while it had the following highlights:

  • $120 annual fee
  • Receive 35,000 sign up bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Receive 10,000 anniversary bonus points
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Each point is worth 1 cent

There was a point in time that they offered a 50,000 sign up bonus, but I was still new and did not even know it existed. So great job for those of you who did take advantage of the offer!

Below was the redemption schedule at the time:

  • Up to $150 = 15,000
  • $150.01 to $350 = 35,000
  • $350.01 to $600 = 60,000
  • $600.01 and greater = Travel cost x100

This was a very annoying way to redeem for a flight, because for example, if your flight costed $352, you still needed to redeem 60,000 points because it was in that range. We could not redeem 35,000 points to cover the first $350. So it have been better to wait for a flight that was as close to $350 as possible without going over before making a redemption.

Annual Fee Rebates

Having a $120 fee grandfathered, as well as the 10,000 anniversary bonus points essentially made my out-of-pocket $20. I took it one step further, every year, I would call in to request statement credits to cover my annual fee. I received credits in increments of $10, $30 and $50, once or twice a year (over the past 8 years). These credits more than covered my net $20 annual fee.

These credits guaranteed that I would keep the card year after year.

Insurance Coverage

The credit card provides an extensive amount of travel insurance coverage. I like to think that I offset my annual fee rebates by never filing a claim. Because whenever I asked for a statement credit, they always highlighted the insurance coverages. Even though I never filed a claim, I was happy to have this safety net.

Referral Bonus

Capital One also offered a targeted offer to existing cardholders to refer new clients. The advantage was that each side would receive bonus 5,000 points (or $50). The new cardholder would receive 5,000 bonus points on top of the 35,000 sign up bonus, while the referrer receive up to 25,000 bonus points ($250 or 5 referral).

I was fortunate enough to be able to take full advantage of. I wish they had a higher limit as I ran out of referral slots.

Major Changes

In October 2015, Capital One made its most significant change by eliminating its tier redemption mentioned above. Going forward, we could redeem 1 point for 1 cent. So let’s say the flight was the same $352, but we only had 20,000 points. We can now redeem the 20,000 points for $200 against the flight to cover only partial costs.

Furthermore, most account holders are able to redeem multiple times against the same flight. For example, let’s say the flight was the same $352, but someone had 50,000 points. We could redeem 35,200 points to cover the entire cost, and then do another 14,800 points a second time on the same flight to clear the remaining rewards balance.

This loophole (whether on purpose or not) seems to be closing on existing cardholders, so take advantage if you still can, especially for those of you who are looking to liquidate the points and planning on shutting this card down.

However, the positive changes mentioned above came with other modifications:

  • $150 annual fee
  • Earn 40,000 sign up bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all purchases

Basically, the annual fee and sign up bonus went up. However, the lucrative anniversary bonus was discontinued.

Grandfathered Cardholders (Best of Both Worlds)

Capital One grandfathered existing cardholders in an extremely favourable way. Existing cardholders with the $120 annual fee continued to benefit from the lower fee as well as the 10,000 anniversary bonus points. Furthermore, grandfathered cardholders benefited from the new reward redemption system.

I really applaud Capital One for doing this favour to existing cardholders, which essentially sealed the deal for me to keep this card for as long as it stayed this way.

More Changes

I previously wrote a post about why I was cancelling this cardBasically, new changes came into force on August 5, 2020. The main changes are:

  • No more 10,000 anniversary reward points
  • Earn 1.5 point (instead of 2 points) per $1 spent

This made it difficult for me to justify the straight $120 annual fee. The 10,000 anniversary bonus was easier to swallow as I was going to be more aggressive with asking for statement credits.

However, dropping the earning ratios from 2 points per dollar to 1.5 point made my decision easy to decide to cancel.

Cancellation

The cancellation process was very straightforward actually, I was able to cancel my card without speaking to a customer service agent. I did so by calling in and selecting the buttons accordingly.

Many may argue that the most recent changes (from August 5, 2020 mentioned above) is going to push many cardholders to cancel because they want to clean up unprofitable cardholders. By not needing to speak with an agent, it tells me that they do not even want to fight to keep us, which leads me to my final point below.

Going Forward

I was extremely happy with this card, but Capital One has discontinued many products over the years. At this point, I just hope that Capital One finds a way to continue to operate in Canada. Part of me feels like they are closer to shutting down rather than introducing new products.

Here is hoping that they are cleaning house to come back stronger with new offers!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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