Can I change my rewards program without changing my credit card?
March 20, 2014 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a Visa credit card though an airline rewards program. I moved last year and have rarely been flying on that airline recently, since they don't have a lot of flights out of my current location. Since I'm not getting much out of the rewards, I'd like to change to another rewards program (not airline-related) that I'm sure to use more. I don't want to unnecessarily hurt my credit history by canceling the card and opening a new one. The new rewards card I'm interested in is also Visa, and offered through the same bank as my current card. Is there a way I can keep the same credit card account and simply switch reward programs?
posted by redlines to Work & Money (7 answers total)
This is a question for your bank. Call the number on the back of your credit card.
posted by stopgap at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's no way to do this without closing the old card. Your bank will probably be happy to do this in a way that is seamless for you, but it will show up on your credit report.

Just cut up the old card and open up a new one. If the accounts are with the same bank, you'll see both balances when you log in online, and can easily keep an eye out for fraud in the unused card.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 4:05 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Certain banks will indeed you to switch rewards programs while keeping the same account on your credit history and even the same card number. In fact I did just that with a Citi MasterCard about 8 years ago. The account shows the full, unbroken history in my credit report. But call and ask your bank about it first, YMMV.
posted by zsazsa at 4:13 PM on March 20, 2014

Depends on the bank and the card. A lot of companies will let you switch between similar cards without changing the account, but it you want to switch from a low interest card to a cashback bonus card they might make you change. It just depends.

I changed my mileage card to a cashback card with no problems with one bank, but MBNA wouldn't let me change my University Affiliate card to a travel reward card without closing the account.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:08 PM on March 20, 2014

cash out the rewards you have currently accrued in the old card in gift cards, then if it has an annual fee ask the bank to switch it to a similar no fee card and put it in a drawer or if it doesn't have a fee just put it in a drawer. Sign up for the new rewards card making sure to take advantage of any sign up bonus. Your credit history is mostly based on how long you've had your longest credit card. By cancelling your current card you are basically negating years of credit history, better to keep it around and not use it.
posted by any major dude at 6:49 PM on March 20, 2014

You might be able to. Call your bank and ask.

Unless you pay an annual fee, though, you might want to leave your current card open (for credit history and utilization purposes) and simply add the new card.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:02 PM on March 20, 2014

Nthing any major dude, and you can even get the bank to decrease the amount of your credit line on the card you don't want to use anymore (if having too much credit available is something you don't want to do).
posted by getawaysticks at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2014

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