Often times, it is credit cards with annual fees that offer the best sign-up bonuses and cash back.
After all, they’re offering you something other issuers won’t, so they need to recoup some of the associated loss.
Unfortunately, this causes a bit of a catch-22, seeing that the cardholder will want the credit card but not if the annual fee is being charged.
To resolve this age-old conflict, many credit card issuers now waive annual fees for the first year of cardmembership.
This makes both parties happy, especially if cardholders hang onto their credit cards well after the first year. It’s a hassle to cancel a credit card these days.
That being said, I wanted to keep track of credit cards with annual fees that are waived for the first year.
I’ve broken it down by credit card issuer to make it super easy to follow. Aside from the offers listed below, keep an eye out for targeted offers that may just apply to you.
Also be on the lookout for seasonal offers that come and go. It’s pretty common for card issuers to waive annual fees for a limited time to bring on new customers.
Lastly, if you want to avoid annual fees, you can cancel your card before the fee is charged or try to negotiate with the card issuer to get the fee waived. It’s certainly worth the phone call to try.
Read more: Are credit cards with annual fees worth the cost?
Annual Fee-Free Cards During Year One
Business Green Rewards (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Business Gold Rewards Card (waived first year, $175 thereafter)
Gold Delta SkyMiles (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Gold Delta SkyMiles Business (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Platinum Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial ($0 first year, then $450)
Plum Card (waived first year, $250 thereafter)
Premier Rewards Gold Card (waived first year, $175 thereafter)
Starwood Preferred Guest (waived first year, $65 thereafter)
Starwood Preferred Guest Business (waived first year, $65 thereafter)
Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard (waived first year, $89 thereafter)
Spark Cash for Business (waived first year, $59 thereafter)
Spark Miles for Business (waived first year, $59 thereafter)
Venture Rewards (waived first year, $59 thereafter)
British Airways Visa Signature Card (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Hyatt Credit Card (waived first year, $75 thereafter)
Ink Bold Business (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Ink Plus Business (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card ($0 intro fee for the first year, $49 thereafter)
Marriott Rewards Premier (waived first year, $85 thereafter)
Sapphire Preferred (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
United MileagePlus Club Card (free first year if logged in to United MileagePlus, $395 thereafter)
United MileagePlus Explorer Card (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
*Watch out for Chase Ink cards with $150 annual fees or $95 the first year!
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage World MasterCard (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
ThankYou Premier Card (waived first year, $95 thereafter)
Business Platinum Visa ($0 annual fee with one purchase per year)
FlexPerks Business Cash Rewards ($0 annual fee with one purchase per year)
FlexPerks Business Travel Rewards ($0 annual fee with $24k in purchases annually)
FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card ($0 first year, $49 or 3,500 FlexPoints thereafter)
FlexPerks Travel Rewards American Express Card ($0 first year, $49 or 3,500 FlexPoints thereafter)
Propel 365 (waived first year, $45 thereafter)
Propel World (waived first year, $175 thereafter)
If I’ve missed one, please comment below so others can benefit from this list.
How to Get a Credit Card Issuer to Waive the Annual Fee
- I plan on canceling the card
- The fee is too expensive
- There is a competitor offering a better card with no fee
- I’m a good customer and deserve the fee to be waived
- Pretty please?
- I’m in the military
Assuming there is an annual fee the first year (or after year one), you might be wondering how to avoid it. One simple method is to call your credit card issuer and ask them to waive the fee.
Basically, you want to express to them that you’re a good customer and someone that they want to hang around. After all, you use their credit card all the time and always pay in full each month.
If you truly are a good customer, they should at least consider waiving the annual fee. And if you have an argument, say that there’s a competing card with no annual fee, they might oblige.
Just do a little homework before you call to determine what alternative card is similar to the card you want the fee waived on. From there, it’ll just take some convincing. Yes, you’ll need to seriously contemplate canceling the card if they won’t budge, just to show them you’re serious.
But as always, be polite, patient, and courteous to the person on the other end of the line to boost your chances of getting what you want.
If they still won’t budge, maybe it does make sense to close their card and open a competitor’s, assuming the sign-up bonus is lucrative enough. You can always re-apply for your current card in the future, and even get the sign-up bonus a second time!
Tip: If you’re active duty in the military (or even a veteran) you might be able to get the annual fee on your credit card waived, though it’s definitely a YMMV situation.
Incredible how many cards give you awesome sign-up bonuses and waive the annual fee. Didn’t realize there were so many out there, I gotta go, I need to go apply for some!