3 Reasons Not to Close Your Travel Credit Card While You’re Not Traveling

For many frequent flyers, whether for business or pleasure, 2020 was unfortunately grounded. While things are slowly returning to normalcy, not everyone will feel comfortable traveling again in 2021, either.
After this long gap without travel, your travel credit cards may be burning a hole in your pocket. Why pay an annual fee when you’re not using your perks or miles? But here’s 3 good reasons not to close that travel credit card yet.
1. Closing a credit card will (probably) lower your credit score
There are a few reasons that closing a credit score is usually bad news for your FICO credit score.
Having an open card, even one that you don’t use, adds that card to your total credit limit. The total amount of credit you’re actively using is calculated as a percentage of the total amount of credit you have available, and the lower that number is, the better.
Your credit score also wants to see accounts with a longer history. Having older credit cards increases your average account age, which can help even if you also grab a new credit card.
Finally, credit bureaus like to see a credit mix — which means a variety of sources of credit. That could be student loans, a line of credit, personal loans and your credit card. If your travel credit card is your only credit card, closing it can diminish your credit mix.
2. Keep your hard-earned points
Many major credit card issuers have points that never expire. That includes Discover it® Miles, Citi ThankYou Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards.
However, in order to keep your points, you need to have an active account in good standing. That means closing your only account with the card issuer may lead to losing your points. Be sure to check out the details with your card issuer if you are thinking about closing your card.
3. Consider a product change instead
Sometimes keeping an old credit card just isn’t worth it — especially when there’s an annual fee involved.
However, a better solution than closing a card is often asking for a product change. That means instead of closing your account an opening an entirely new card, you transfer your account to a different card with the same issuer.
If your card is from a major card issuer with a variety of card offerings, look through their catalog and see if a different card appeals to you more. Many will have cashback cards or cards with no annual fee that may meet your needs better.
Going through a product change instead of closing your account avoids most opportunities for potential credit damage — your account age will stay the same, and your payment history will be preserved. Your valuable points will most likely remain intact as well, although you should confirm that with your card issuer.
Depending on the issuer, you may even qualify for your new card’s welcome offer — adding an extra incentive to switch over to the card that meets your current needs.
Source: iQuanti, Inc.