Disclaimer: The information provided on FreePassengers.com is for informational purposes only.  It should not be considered legal or financial advice.  You should consult with a financial advisor or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. 

Should I cancel a card before or after I open a new one?

Cancel it after. First apply for the new card, and then cancel the old one.

If you’re applying for a new card, you want to ensure that your credit score is at its highest when you apply for it to increase your odds of approval, and closing an account would counter that goal by lowering your score. Additionally, if both cards fall under the same issuer—let’s say American Express—they might notice that you recently cancelled a card and reject you from opening a new one. By following the right order, you avoid both of these risks.

In regards to canceling the card at all, make sure you have good reason to do so. Closing a credit card account hurts your credit and is often not necessary, so ask yourself these questions:

Does the card have an annual fee?

If not, why are you canceling it? If it doesn’t cost you anything to keep it open, avoid canceling it.

Do the benefits of the card outweigh the cost of annual fee?

Make sure you consider the perks you get from the card. For example, some hotel cards offer a free night every year when you renew your card. The value of a free night could be worth much more than the cost of the fee.

Have I considered a retention bonus?

Before canceling the card, call the issuer’s customer service department and see if they will offer you a retention bonus for keeping the card. Read more about retention bonuses.

Have I transferred all points or miles out of the account?

As soon as you cancel an account, your points or miles might either disappear or have an expiration date set. Make sure you read about the card’s policies and make any necessary transfers before you cancel.