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Last year I applied for a credit card (Delta Gold Amex) in order to get 50K bonus miles with the first year annual fee waived. I'm about to cash in the miles and I have never paid a dime in interest. I want to close the credit card before the year is over to avoid the annual fee.

Do people typically need to cancel the card for some time period in advance of the date in order to avoid getting billed for the annual fee?

I realize that all these cards have different terms, but I was wondering if there a common answer across all card carriers.

  • The fee is usually billed on the first day of the billing cycle following your 12th monthly statement, and so cancelling after you receive your 11th monthly statement (but before the 12th billing cycle closes) ought to work. But just in case your card jumps the gun and the fee appears on your 12th monthly statement, move things up a month to be sure. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 4 '15 at 2:49
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    @DilipSarwate That looks like a good answer to me. – Ben Miller Jul 4 '15 at 5:00
  • But make sure you use those miles before you cancel the card, or they could disappear. – mhoran_psprep Jul 4 '15 at 10:17
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Converting comments of Dilip Sarwate and mhoran_psprep into answer

Generally the fee is usually billed on the first day of the billing cycle following your 12th monthly statement, and so cancelling after you receive your 11th monthly statement (but before the 12th billing cycle closes) ought to work. But just in case your card jumps the gun and the fee appears on your 12th monthly statement, move things up a month to be sure.

Also make sure you use those miles before you cancel the card, or they could disappear

  • I usually call to cancel once the fee appears. Sometimes they just refund and cancel the card, sometimes they try to be nice to me and wave the fee for another year. The fee is charged for the coming year, so if you cancel the card you most definitely should expect refund (but do verify with the bank ahead of time). – littleadv Aug 6 '15 at 7:28
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    My previously successful experience with previous cards was: call when the fee appears on your bill. However, I had a Discover card, and the fee was billed, and it took two months to fully cancel for some reason. So I paid the bill with the fee, and then got 10/12ths of the fee refunded later. It might have been my mistake for getting a replacement Discover card without a fee; It's possible just canceling would have been faster. – stannius Apr 26 '16 at 17:03

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