Why Should You Keep A Discontinued Credit Card?

by joeheg

Once you’ve been getting credit cards long enough, one of the cards you have will be discontinued. You’re in credit card limbo once the bank stops accepting new applications. Most of the time, banks will allow you to keep the card open with the same benefits as before. This can be for months, years, or even decades after the card is initially ended.

The most common reason for a credit card to be discontinued is when the bank decides to refresh a product and relaunch it with a new name and benefits. However, sometimes a bank may decide that a particular credit card is no longer a good fit for their portfolio. Another reason is contractual, such as when AMEX lost the Costco contract or when Citi’s Hilton agreement ended. In these instances, you’re not able to keep the old product and will be offered a different card from the old bank or the equivalent card from the new bank.

Back to discontinued, yet still active, cards. Should you keep them? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

I have a collection of cards in my drawer that are no longer available for new signups. They’re not ones I use all the time or hardly at all, but I have reasons why I haven’t canceled them yet.

IHG Rewards Club Select


What can I say about the IHG Rewards Club Select? I’m keeping this card as long as Chase will let me. I’ve already given a full review of the card, but as a reminder, for a $49 annual fee, you get several benefits, including Platinum status, a 10% rebate on award stays and a free night certificate (good at hotels costing up to and including 40,000 points per night).

I could upgrade to the IHG Rewards Club Preferred, but that card has a $99 annual fee and provides a fourth night free on award stays and the same free night certificate. Instead, both of us applied for that card and now have both since the benefits stack (Book a four-night award stay, get the 4th night free and a 10% rebate).

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card

a card with a graphic design

This is all that remains of the SPG Amex. While it’s taking up an AMEX space in my wallet, there are several reasons I’m keeping this card. For the $95 annual fee, I get a free night certificate to use at any Marriott Bonvoy property worth up to 35,000 points. This can come in handy when you need a single-night stay at a hotel that otherwise would cost over $200.

In addition, having a personal Marriott co-brand card provides 15 nights of credit towards status.

American Express Optima Platinum Card


See that I’ve been a Member since 1992? That’s the main reason I keep this card. For those who remember, the Optima card was American Express’s first dabble into the credit card market, as they previously only issued charge cards (here’s the difference between a charge card and a credit card). Since I had a Green Amex card, they offered this card to me.

It earns Membership Rewards points at one point per dollar spent. For a while, it was worthwhile to keep because I was able to sign up for AMEX offers with this card (until AMEX shut down adding offers to multiple cards). It occasionally will get offers targeted to this card that I don’t see on my AMEX co-brand cards, so it does have some value. For now, the only other reasons I keep it are because the long account history helps my credit rating, and I’m also able to transfer some of my credit lines to this card if I’m looking to cancel one of my other AMEX cards. Eventually, it’ll go away, but for now, I keep it for sentimental reasons.

Final Thoughts

Si there are three different reasons to keep a discontinued credit card. You could categorize them as follows:

  • Benefits not provided by the replacement card
  • The negative impact of applying for a new card
  • Length of account history (negative credit score impact if closed)

Like all my other cards, I review these cards once a year to see if they fit into my card portfolio. I have no reason to cancel the no-annual-fee card, but the IHG and Marriott cards need to earn their keep, or they’ll end up meeting the shredder.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Alex H March 20, 2024 - 6:34 pm

Same reason why I have my chase slate card. It initially began as a Providian card way when I was back in college in the mid 90s then eventually got bought out by Chase lol. It’s my longest running card history of almost 30 yrs. So 0 annual fee. It eventually became a chase Slate card so I’ll keep it. It has some good offers once in a while like pay over time for 0% on large purchases. Like car repairs etc. So I keep it


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