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How I canceled one of my Chase cards — and saved my score

Julie Sherrier

A very cool thing happened Thursday when I called to cancel my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. And for those Preferred cardholders who were approved for the much-lauded Chase Sapphire Reserve card with its 100,000-point bonus, take note. This tip could prevent a ding to your score if you no longer want to carry around two Chase Sapphire cards.

When I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card last fall, I was already a big fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards loyalty program, which was linked to my Sapphire Preferred card. However, once I got the new Reserve card, I knew having two Chase cards with annual fees (the Reserve annual fee is $450; the Preferred is $95) was silly.

However, since my Preferred card’s annual fee was still months away from being assessed, I refrained from canceling it out of fear that my credit score would dive once I lost that card’s rather large credit line.

You see, canceling a card typically damages your credit score as the disappearance of that credit line reduces your overall credit utilization – an important credit scoring factor. Plus, canceling the card would also reduce my overall length of credit history, but that was less of a concern for me as I’ve been using credit for a long time and my scores lie comfortably in the 800-plus range.

So, I waited.

When logging into my Chase accounts this month to pay my bills, there it was: a $95 balance on my otherwise $0 balance Preferred card statement. It was time to bite the bullet and cancel the Preferred card.

My remaining 20,000 points from the Preferred card to the Reserve card had already been transferred, so all I had to do was call and cancel – and lose an $18,000 credit line.

When I called customer service, I explained I wanted to cancel the Preferred card and have the annual fee removed, which generally is not a problem if you call within the month the fee is charged. The rep asked why I wanted to cancel the card; I explained I had the Reserve card and no longer had a need for the Preferred card. The woman congratulated me on being a Reserve cardholder (how nice is that?) and then offered to transfer any remaining points left on the Preferred card to the Reserve card, as well as … wait for it … the card’s credit line.

I jumped at the chance to retain that credit line, which I had never thought to ask before when I called to cancel one of two cards from the same issuer. This move would preserve my credit utilization! (Rewards card churners get excited about this kind of stuff.)

The result? I now have a card with the biggest line of credit I’ve ever had, and prevented any big hit to my credit score.

Booyah.

Have you ever had two cards with one company and canceled one? I’d love to find out whether it is common for card issuers to give their customers the same credit-friendly favor of consolidating two credit lines into one. Drop a note in below to share your experience.

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