Posted by William Charles on March 5, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on March 5th, 2015 | by William Charles


Annual Fee Refund Rules For Each Card Issuer

A lot of credit cards come with annual fees, a lot of these annual fees are waived for the first year. Each credit card issuer is different when it comes to when these fees become payable and what date you need to cancel by to avoid the annual fee for the next year.

Before calling you should do the following:

  • Pay off your balance in full (apart from the annual fee)
  • Call before the statement closes
  • Transfer any points/miles that you need to before closing the account (e.g if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred you’ll want to transfer to one of the travel partners)

Below is a list of rules for each card issuer. You should always call the retention line to see if they will offer you a bonus or waive the annual fee before cancelling (even if you don’t actually plan on cancelling the card). I’d strongly recommend reading this post which relates to retention bonuses first.


According to our contact at Alliant they do not do prorated annual fee refunds at all.

American Express

American Express will refund the annual fee completely if you cancel the card within 30 days after the statement in which the annual fee hits. If you downgrade or product change the card you will receive a prorated annual fee refund (even if you do so within the 30 day window). When receiving the prorated annual fee refund they will based it on a month, even if you’re only a few days into your annual fee. For example if your annual posts on January 1st and you product change on January 2nd you’ll receive a prorated annual fee refund for 11 months instead of 11 months and X days.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to have at least one card open that earns Membership Rewards points open, otherwise you will lose any Membership Rewards points you have when you cancel. The AmEx EveryDay card has no annual fee, so you might want to consider downgrading to this card.

Bank of America

It seems to vary based on your banking history with Bank of America. If you made all your payments on time then generally they will refund the annual fee if you cancel within one statement period.


They will refund your annual fee as long as your card is cancelled within 60 days of it posting to your account.

Capital One

In most cases Capital One will offer to waive the fee on their credit cards as long as your payment history is intact. If your annual fee does post it looks like you have 30 days/one statement cycle to cancel and get the AF refunded: 1, 2,


Chase introduced a new policy of October 2016 regarding annual fee refunds. You now have a period of 30 days after your annual fee is billed to cancel and receive a refund. It didn’t seem to apply to business cards initially, but there is now a data point indicating that it does.


Citi has a similar policy to American Express, although it is slightly different. They will refund the annual fee entirely if you cancel your card within 30 days of it posting. After 30 days they will offer a prorated refund based on the month the annual fee posted (e.g if you have the Citi Prestige with a $450 annual fee and it posted in January and you cancelled in March you’d receive a 9 month refund which would be $337.5).

Update: When you downgrade a card, you usually won’t get it processed within 30 days and thus you’ll have to pay at least some of the annual fee.

This policy is different for the Citi Executive card, but I am unsure on their exact policy on this card currently. Update: according to one reader you have up to 37 days to receive a refund, although it looks like the AF is no prorated after this time. If you can confirm this, please do so in the comments below. Another confirmation.

Credit One

Credit One has a number of sub prime credit cards with high annual fees. Here is their refund policy:

The Annual Membership Fee is refundable as long as you cancel your Account and have not used your card for any Purchases or Cash Advances and you have not made a payment


Discover does not charge annual fees on any of its products at the moment.


Unknown, share your experiences in the comments.

U.S Bank

They will refund your annual fee in full as long as you cancel within 30 days of the annual fee posting to your account.

Wells Fargo

Up until recently Wells Fargo credit cards have not had an annual fee so we are unsure what their fee waiver policies will be.

We now have one report that they’ll refund an annual fee if the card is cancelled within 90-days of when the fee posts to the account.

Final Thoughts

This article could use a lot of improvement and the easiest way it can be improved is by you sharing your data points in the comments. If you have cancelled a credit card after the annual fee has posted, let us know if you were given a refund and how long you waited between cancelling and the annual fee posting. Hopefully, we can make this a great collaborative reference article together.

113 Responses to Annual Fee Refund Rules For Each Card Issuer

  1. Mike says:

    AMEX is no longer 60 days? It was a year ago.
    Also apparently they prorate the refund if you convert to a fee free card, even if you convert within 30 days. At least that was my experience 2 months ago.

    • Pretty sure it’s only one statement cycle, I’m confirming with American Express now. Thanks for the tip about the conversion as well.

      • Andre says:

        Any update re Amex? DansDeals claims that you have 60 days after the annual fee posts to get the full refund. After 60 days it’s pro-rated. Do you know if that’s correct?

  2. pv says:

    I had opened Citi Executive card in June 2014 and closed the account in Feb 2015. Am I supposed to received prorated refund of $450 I paid as annual fee?

  3. Neil says:

    I thought Citi had a different rule for the AAExecutive Card (the one with the 100,000 mile bonus last year). Something like 30 to 37 days to cancel after it posts, but after that no pro-rated refund. Can anyone with actual experience on this clarify the actual rule? I am working on a short term AA Executive card incentive and know my fee will be hitting in April or May, so I’m hoping I’ll have time to let the bonus points post before canceling.

    • I think they do, not sure on this exact rule but I’ve updated the post to make this clearer. If anybody has any data points on how the AF on that card works let me know.

      • JOE LANDAU says:

        Wanted to share my experience with the AAdvantage citi executive card, i have spoken w many reps. & most of them will tell u that the AF will refund up to 30 days only, however I confirmed w them that they will only refund an AF if u cancel or conv. To a free or cheaper card up to 37 Days from the date it bills (like on all city cards) however, it won’t be prorated a if ur not doing so within 37 days (like they do on their other cards) & the “reason for that rule” is because they have to pay Immediately for the ADMIRALS CLUB MEMBERSHIP this card comes with that’s a high value benefit which they pay for it right away so they will be strict on this…!
        I opened 2 cards last FEB 2014 with the 100k aa miles bonus & just got the $450 AF which ill conve. to 2 free citi cards (as i don’t like to close cards & losing the credit limit)
        one impotent thing when u downgrade a card ill always go for a card which comes w “no sign up bounces” so u will still be eligible for the bonus when u sign up for that card as your not getting any bounces when you do a conversion.. (im sure that this is prob. discussed on this site somewhere…

      • JOE LANDAU says:

        & b t w, i gotta be thankful for this GREAT / RICH website, for all your gr8 adv. & tips on everything . i happens to be following a lot of websites like this & YOURS IS ONE OF A KIND i gotta say, very well written & to the point… i like the idea of getting the email once a week & have a quick look on the full weeks news, thanks a lot !!!!!!

  4. Neil says:

    Also want to add I love your blog – I’ve gotten scores of useful tips.

    Now can you please proof your “its” and “it’s” useage (see Discover, above and I’ve seen this again and again).

  5. bob says:

    What about Credit One?

    • Added this, taken from their own credit card agreement: ” The Annual Membership Fee is refundable as long as you cancel your Account and have not used your card for any Purchases or Cash Advances and you have not made a payment”

  6. Audrey says:

    My dad has the consumer United card and paid the annual fee in November. He applied for the business version last month and asked about cancelling the consumer card and getting the fee refunded, but was told he’d only had 60 days to cancel and receive a refund.

  7. Joshua says:

    Is there a typo above for Chase cards? Chase Freedom does NOT have an annual fee while your write that it has an annual fee.

  8. KJ says:

    I cancelled my Chase Sapphire card close to 180 day mark and still was given the entire annual fee of 95 back.

  9. I cancelled my Carnival Visa and all I got was a 5 minute free wifi voucher, boo!

    I am kidding. Just here for the backlink 😉

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  11. Spencer Thorpe says:

    So in theory, would it be better to wait a little less than two months (after the renewal) date on a chase rapid rewards card before canceling?

    You would receive the anniversary bonus, and also have a better chance at not get flagged for “chasing the bonuses” if you commonly rinse and repeat chase products?

  12. I Can See for Miles says:

    On Citi AA Executive cards you have 37 days from the annual fee posting date to receive a refund. I don’t know if you can receive a prorated refund after that.

  13. Nun says:

    ” it depends on the card you are wanting to cancel.”

    Gerund overuse is a pet peeve of mine. Why do so many people today speak like they’re from Delhi?

  14. Paul says:

    Is the Citi Prestige fee prorated or only fully refunded after 37 days (like the Citi Executive)? If follows the 37 day rule, is that after the account was opened or after the fee has posted?

  15. SSD says:

    My Chase Sapphire Preferred incurred an annual fee of $125 on 12/01/2014.

    Today (5/25/2015) I learned that Chase was ending our relationship (i.e – closing all my checking accounts, saving accounts and credit cards).

    My question is – am I eligible for a (pro-rated) refund on the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

    • Not sure what happens when it’s a forced closure like that, you should definitely be eligible though as they are giving you no choice but to close. Let us know what happens.

  16. Duston says:

    I am wanting to maximize my Delta Skymile bonuses. September of 2013 I got the Personal AE Gold Delta card, which I cancelled in the 11th month. Then in April of 2015 I got a Business AE Gold Delta card which has already gotten it’s 30k bonus miles. I am considering the Platinum Delta card for it’s 60k miles, but I am wanting to avoid the $195 annual fee or at least get it refunded. Would I be better of waiting until this fall when the 12 month wait period is over for my personal Gold Card? When I do get the Platinum card I plan to meet the qualifying spending the first week, pay it off and cancel or downgrade as soon as the bonus hits my Skymile account.

    • Duston says:

      Last year the American Express Gold Delta Skymile Card had a one year wait period before you were considered a new customer. Is this still the case??? If it has changed, what is the new wait period???

  17. JR says:

    I really don’t like when these companies are tricky. Here’s a case in point:

    I wanted to downgrade my Amex Preferred Card to a Blue Cash Everyday Card. I opened the Preferred Card on Sept 19th 2013. On September 30th, 2014 I call to downgrade. This is within 11 days of the one year anniversary and within the same statement period. The representative says “no problem, we’ll refund the annual fee and downgrade you, you’re all set.”

    I happen to be looking at my account history today, not sure why. And I see $6.25 in fees in my history. I’ve never had a late payment, would never have a fee. So I check back and notice I was credited $68.75 on October 31, 2014 and therefore charged $6.25.

    By phone I was told they charged me for the 11 days of holding the Preferred Card in which I didn’t even use the card! They refunded the silly fee because I’m a “valued cardmember of 10 years” and it’s pennies to them.

    It’s not a big amount, but if they take $6 from everyone who believes they have one statement period to close the card and to people they told they’d refund the annual fee, they will make a lot of money on being tricky. Hence why I have no issue with this game. It’s rigged in their favor 🙁

  18. katye says:

    For the AMEX annual fee refund rule. Is it true even for the first year? I’ve had AMEX Platinum for 4 months and should have used the credit to buy gift card earlier. I am bummed that I won’ be get to use my $200 airline credit on anything at all this year, since all my travel are set for 2015. I am thinking that I will get $300 refund, which is better than $200 credit I will get next year if I keep the card. And I am not even sure I will be able to utilize those…

    I have AMEX everyday and AMEX business gold so I should be able to keep my points. Are there any other adverse consequences I should be aware of?

    I have about ~10 days before I hit the 4 month mark. Any advise will be appreciated.

  19. lid says:

    Regarding Wells Fargo, there is a report of having 90 days to cancel:

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  22. dustin says:

    Capital One’s policy is they will refund it if you cancel the account within 30 days of the annual fee charge.

    At-least that was the case with my Capital One QuicksilverOne mastercard. I called and cancelled it over the phone in an automated system. I tried to get the fee refunded first but no luck, so called back and cancelled it after making sure nothing was set to bill to it.

  23. Lezursuit says:

    Citi LiveChat agent re: AA Exec.Membership fee, stated that “Since it is part of the terms and conditions of your card it cannot be waived or refunded, I can certainly recommend our other card
    products that do not have a membership fee.”
    I don’t know why I would want to look at non-fee cards if I’ll have no chance of Citi refunding the fee. Oh well.

  24. Manny says:

    Can I cancel a platinum authorized user card and get the $175 refunded? How long would I have? Thanks.

  25. Pingback: Citi Prestige MasterCard 50-100k points after $3,000 spend. - Page 75 - FlyerTalk Forums

  26. Joe says:

    Amex green card $95 fee hit in June. Just called and they refunded $50 without any points. Took the deal.

  27. hsinaz says:

    What happens to the fee if I don’t use the card and let the fee sit for 2/3 months because I know they give me 180 days for refund? Does it collect other finance charges or late payment fees? Or should I pay the fee now and ask for refund later? Asking about Ink since I am in a position where I got hit on 1/1/16 with fee and I have no other Chase card to xfer 120K UR points to. I need to wait until my DW’s biz or Sapphire gets approved so I can xfer points to her. Don’t want to xfer to a travel partner now and get locked in with any one partner so soon.

  28. pointswithnick says:

    “This policy is different for the Citi Executive card, but I am unsure on their exact policy on this card currently. Update: according to one reader you have up to 37 days to receive a refund, although it looks like the AF is no prorated after this time. If you can confirm this, please do so in the comments below.”

    Confirmed. What should I do since I already paid AF, close for churning? Or keep it open for 11 months for admirals club access?

  29. Anthonymontana says:

    For the American express platinum, they no longer refund the 499$ annual fee, i am currently in escalation process, i didn’t even ask for a cancelation i asked for a product change towards the gold 120$ annual fee one and they said that a downgrade is not possible and that the annual fee is not refundable.
    Anyone else had any thoughts on this?

  30. TimmyD says:

    To add another data point, TD Bank, which I had the Aeroplan card; I called to cancel when the statement with the annual fee had just closed (beginning of year two with card), meaning the annual fee charge had just shown up and was due in a few weeks. I noticed by chance several weeks later that I had a balance on the account with late charges and interest. Apparently they expected me to pay the annual fee even though I had closed the card. I complained a decent bit (without being too rude) and they told me that they would consider removing it. When I checked a couple days later, the balance had been reduced to zero. Be careful with this bank.

  31. Trup says:

    A Chase CSR told me with 100% confidence that the British Airways card can have its fee fully refunded within 180 days of the AF posting

  32. Hunter says:

    Called Chase to try to get a retention bonus on the CSP twice. No go both times. Ask both representatives how long I have to cancel before annual fee is refunded. First said 30 days after posting, second said 90 days after posting. Hoping it’s either 60 or 90 days, as 30 days is coming soon.

  33. Jon says:

    Just canceled my Wells Fargo World Propel card at about 35 days after the fee posted. Was told by the CSR I was well within the 90 day waiver period (from the date the fee posts) and sure enough the fee refunded the next day.

  34. Jeff says:

    Here is a data point for AMEX Platinum card:
    I just called AMEX to discuss the annual fee on the Platinum card. I was informed AMEX will refund the annual fee if I cancel the card within 2 months of the statement month that the annual fee posts. In my case the annual fee will post in May, my statement closes on May 28th, so I have until July 28th to cancel the card and get a refund on the $450 annual fee.

  35. Neil says:

    Called last week to downgrade Ink Plus to Ink Cash. Was told in January I’d have 6 months to do so and get full rebate of annual fee (as reported in your original post) but current rep refused to do, saying you only have three months to get full rebate of annual fee. I had confirmed the six months full refund back in January. 2nd rep said full refund isn’t available but they could prorate the fee. After enough time on the phone I accepted – is anyone still getting a full six months to get annual fee fully rebated on conversion from Ink Plus to Ink Cash?

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  37. David says:

    Called in to cancel Barclay aviator red which had the fee post 47 days ago. Was told by the rep that they couldn’t refund the fee since it was after 45 days. Not sure if this is a new policy change?

  38. V says:

    Called about retention offers for an Ink Plus that had its annual fee little over a week ago. No retention offers and was told I had 90 days to get annual fee refunded. New policy or should I HUCA?

  39. Mickey says:

    Hello. I signed up for the Citi Prestige in July 2016. I am planning to use the fourth night free benefit on a trip in August 2017. After that though, I want to cancel the card and switch to the new CSR. Can I wait for the 4th night free refund to process on the prestige billing statement and then cancel either for free if it’s within 30 days of the AF posting or for a pro-rated refund? In other words, can I use the 4th night free benefit during the new annual fee cycle and then immediately cancel without loosing the 4th night free refund? Thanks!

  40. Pingback: Citi retention offer reports (All cards) - Page 50 - FlyerTalk Forums

  41. Kasey says:

    Chase just changed their policy to 30 days for prorated refund…. fuck that shit

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  44. Tony says:

    Also agreed with Kasey. Chase section of AF refund rule needs to be updated.
    a DP on CSP cancelation and downgrade. I assumed they are the same as other banks but I was wrong.

    I also got a prorated refund on CSP annual fee after I downgraded it. I was surprised.

    I then got a clarification from them:
    If CSP canceled, AF will be auto refunded in full within 60 days but could be manually refunded in full up to 180 days.
    If CSP downgraded, AF will ALWAYS be prorated.

  45. wheelingit says:

    Agree w/ the above. Chase Sapphire Preferred no longer honors 60-days and has changed to pro-rated refund after 30 days if you downgrade. We just downgraded our Sapphire Preferred on day 45 after the fee posed and we were only offered 11/12 of a refund on the fee.


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  50. Andrew Park says:

    Just spoke with Chase Sapphire Preferred after upgrading to the Reserve. No refunds on the annual fee, even though it was within the 180 day policy.

  51. TutuB says:

    Interestingly enough, with Chase cards, not all the reps know about the 180 day policy. Apparently to
    actually do it for a customer, it is a manual operation and many don’t know how to do it. IF you reach a road block on this, ask for a supervisor or call again. Found this out the hard way.

    Also can this whole article be updated?? Thank-you! Its nice to have this info all in one place!

  52. Liam says:

    Chase policy has changed to prorating the annual fee within the first 30 days after posting, and no refund after that. Confirmed through personal experience and also written about here:

    Pretty crappy that Chase are choosing to nickel and dime customers like this – closed my checking account as a result and will also probably close my wife’s…

  53. Nick says:

    Is a prorated annual fee refund processed automatically? Or do you have to call/secure message a request (and when?)? And if you received an offsetting statement credit while the account was open, does that negate a prorated refund! Thank you.

  54. Dave C says:

    Citi CSR just informed me that I have 37 days after AF posting to cancel my Prestige to get AF refunded. He also said that I can get it prorated if I wait to cancel it. He was trying to sell the Admirals Lounge access until July. I have a round of golf that I booked with the benefit tomorrow, so going to wait until tomorrow after the round to use it (AF posted 1/4).

  55. James says:

    DP: In December 2016 I converted my Ink Plus to Ink Cash and got a prorated AF refund.

    My friend just closed his Chase Southwest Business Premier and got a prorated refund but was told he would not get a refund on his Personal Southwest Premier because it was past 30 days.

    Seems like all Chase business cards would get a prorated AF refund.

  56. james says:

    Closed my Chase INK Preferred after 4 months and they will not refund or prorate AF. Refund only within 30 days.

  57. benjinito says:

    Just got off the phone with Wells Fargo and rep also said the timeline is 90 days after fee posting

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  59. wayne says:

    Just got off the phone with Citi.

    Have the prestige. tried to close account after they posted my annual fee charge.
    They said they cannot close the account after it is posted…
    So now i have to keep it open until the next year.
    at least they offered $200 for basically $12000 in 3months lol. probably wont be able to make that.

  60. moxi says:

    I just tried to get my AE SPG cancelled today, which is 2 week passed the 30 days. I can confirm they will not either refund or prorated, after talking to an AE manager (Natile, from Nashville Florida), she insisted with the same policy. So better cancel card within 30 day of post date, gotta stuck with it for another year, sigh.

  61. P says:

    For Chase, do you have to ask for the annual fee refund if you close the card within 30 days of the annual fee posting, or is this automatically done by the system?

  62. Ben says:

    DP: I don’t know if what Citi Rep told me accurate or not but I was interested in closing prestige early to get a prorated AF refund. I SM’d Citi to ask if I would receive prorated refund and response was that I would NOT get any refund if I closed card more than 30 days after annual fee posted.

  63. Ben says:

    Another DP: Just product changed sapphire reserve to freedom unlimited and received a prorated AF refund shortly after.

  64. deborah says:

    I called Bank of America to ask why I couldn’t see all my accounts on my profile page. They had just disappeared. Find out that they have closed 4 of my 5 accounts without any notice. 1 of them is my oldest credit card. (that’s going to ding my score!) The other 3 were opened in 2016 or 2017. Received letters today saying they were cancelled because I have had too many inquiries during the last 12 months. My credit score is over 800. However, 2 of the cards have a $75 annual fee that I paid and I haven’t even had those cards for an entire year. Is there anything I can do? I am so frustrated and have NO idea where to even turn.

  65. frequent_flaya says:

    I don’t think the AMEX section is entirely applicable to all products. It’s correct for the Platinum based on my experience but I just closed my SPG and was able to get it prorated well past the 30 days.

  66. Jeff says:

    Hi, I downgraded my CSR today to the CFU. About how long until the pro-rated refund posts to my account? I am 9 months into my first card year technically. Will it be soon or when a new statement closes? Thanks

    • Ben says:

      I got mine real quick. Seems like around a week. Not sure if my statement just happened to close right after i downgraded.

  67. jF says:

    I just cancelled a Citi AA Business Platinum Select card. The annual fee had posted around 24 days earlier. The CSR said he could not issue any refund for the card’s annual fee (not just proration, but no refund at al), but put a request in for the amount to be refunded.

    I’ll likely have to call back to verfiy and get it refunded. But this runs counter to all the other comments here — possibly Citi’s policy is different for business cards.

  68. brian ran says:

    Data Point for Capital One. Had a Venture card and the annual fee was billed. Attempted to change to Quicksliver to get it waived. After changing the card they said that this would not waive the annual fee, only way to waive it was to cancel the card.

    • Elena says:

      They might have changed something internally… Capital One made me change my AF rewards CC to Quicksilver in order to avoid paying the fee, it was last year. I called them to get the AF waived but they couldn’t so they suggested to change the type of card (account age on the credit report didn’t change, so it was a change not a close/open activity).

  69. Alex says:

    DP for Chase Ink+: Annual fee posted 7/1/17. Statement closed on 7/26/17. Product changed to Ink Cash on 8/17/17. Inquired about retention offers 4 or 5 times within this time period. Each rep indicated the full annual fee would be refunded. Received prorated annual fee. Was told now SM and supervisor that business cards do give the 30 day grade period that personal cards do.

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