Your Credit Card Benefits Just Got Cut. What Do You Do?

Your Credit Card Benefits Just Got Cut. What Do You Do?

In short, federal regulations exist to protect you from predatory practices, but not so much from changes to your Centurion Lounge access or your frequent flier miles.

But even when it feels like your card issuer is taking away the small things that bring you joy, you’re not exactly powerless.

First, decide whether your card is still worth keeping in its current incarnation, particularly if it has an annual fee. If you decide to break up with your credit card, you have three main options.

In some cases, you may be able to downgrade your card to a similar, no annual fee version offered by the same bank. (For example, because the $450 Chase Sapphire Reserve will now cost you $550, you could consider downgrading it to the $0 annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited.)

With most banks, you can call customer service to make this request.

Pros of downgrading your card: Whether you don’t want to cancel your card and lose your line of credit, or you just don’t want to forgo the points or miles you’ve accrued, downgrading to another card from the same bank might mean you can keep your existing rewards, as well as your line of credit.

Typically, downgrading (or upgrading) your card keeps your card number and account history the same, and it usually won’t result in another inquiry on your credit report. But it does mean you get an updated C.V.V. (a three- or four-digit anti-fraud security code) and expiration date.

Cons of downgrading your card: Banks aren’t legally required to offer you the option to downgrade, so there’s no guarantee that you can do this. If that’s the case, you’re better off just canceling your card. Also, in some situations, downgrading could cause your points to lose some of their value. For example, if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 50 percent more when you redeem them for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which means one point is actually worth 1.5 cents. But if you downgrade to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you lose the ability to spend your points via Chase Ultimate Rewards, so each point is worth just 1 cent.

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