The annual fee posted recently on one of our 3 Citi AA Platinum cards, so it was time to decide whether to keep the card, cancel, or product change.
We didn’t put any spend on the card beyond meeting the minimum spend requirement for the sign-up bonus, and we don’t have any ongoing use for the card.
However, there are some other Citi cards that we were interested in. Each of these cards held more interest for us than keeping this AA Platinum card, even if we were to receive any retention offer within reason.
Thus, it was time to make a call to Citi to find out our product-change options, whereupon we could make a decision about what to do. Given the available options, we chose the Citi ThankYou Rewards+ card. In this article, we’ll tell you about what cards we were interested in and why, what options Citi gave us, and some further details about our product change to Rewards+.
What Citi Cards Interested Us?
We had a pretty good idea what Citi cards were interesting to us, and yesterday I brushed up on the details of the cards to make sure we properly prioritized them. Here are the cards that interested us, in reverse order of preference:
3 – Citi Double Cash Mastercard – Double Cash is a 2% cash back card – 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay. There’s no annual fee, so we could hold this card indefinitely and let the account continue to age. We don’t know of any “normal” situations where 2% cash back would be best-in-class earning for us. But last Fall, Plastiq ran a promotion with Mastercard where the Double Cash card would have been the best-in-class “killer” card to have. We had to use AA co-branded cards and earn 1 AA mile per dollar (worth about 1.25 cents) when 2% cash back would have been much better. It seems possible that an opportunity like this could arise again, so we wouldn’t mind having a Double Cash card in our portfolio.
2 – ThankYou Rewards+ card – This new card got a lot of attention from bloggers when it was introduced, primarily for its unique feature that it “rounds up” ThankYou Point (TYP) earning to the next 10 points. For example, if you buy a banana for 25 cents, you will earn 10 TYPs. Although this is a unique feature with a high % return, it’s really not scalable into a large TYP-earning machine (save perhaps for writing a script to repeatedly make tiny purchases, which would probably get you banned pretty quickly). For us, the feature that might be a true value-add is that you get a 10% rebate on your TYP redemptions, up to 100,000 points in redemptions (that is, up to a 10,000 point rebate). We’ll discuss this more later in this article. The Rewards+ card also has no annual fee.
1 – AT&T Access More card – We currently hold a Citi AT&T Access More card, it’s one of our very favorites, and we have written extensively about it (see (a) One Year of Experimenting and Earning with the Citi AT&T Access More – What Earns 3x TYPs as Online Retail & Travel? and (b) Did I Get an Awesome Retention Offer on My Citi AT&T Access More Card? Why yes. Yes, I did.) Its unique and most valuable feature is that it earns 3x TYPs for online purchases – and this feature creates some interesting opportunities. It also comes with a 10,000-point bonus if you spend at least $10k during your cardholder year. Finally, as our article mentions, we’ve received 2 awesome retention offers on this card that resulted in huge TYP-earning for us. We certainly wouldn’t mind having another AT&T Access More card for the 10k TYP bonus and the potential for more retention offers, even though it comes with an $95 annual fee.
We didn’t see any real downside to product-changing into any of these cards in terms of foregoing sign-up bonuses or making us ineligible for any bonuses we otherwise would have sought. If we apply for another Citi card in the near future, it will be for another Citi AA Platinum card, using a mailer with no 24-month-restriction language.
What Product Change Options Were Available?
I called the customer service number on the back of my Citi AA Platinum card and finally worked my way through the automated attendant system to reach an agent. I told her that I’d just received the statement where my annual fee posted, and I’m trying to decide whether to keep the card, cancel it, or change to a different product. I knew that I wanted to product change, even if I’d been offered a retention bonus within anything I could imagine, so the conversation quickly steered into product change options.
I asked about the 3 specific cards we reviewed above. The answers were:
- Citi Double Cash Mastercard – Yes, I could product change to this card.
- Citi ThankYou Rewards+ – Yes, I could product change to this card.
- Citi AT&T Access More Card – No, I could not product change to this card. However, I could product change to the no-annual-fee AT&T Access card.
I thought about this for a moment and decided to go for the Rewards+ card.
It was a close call whether to take Rewards+ or AT&T Access. If I took AT&T Access, I might be able to later product change to AT&T Access More given data points that I’ve read. That’s definitely an interesting possibility, and I actually plan to do it. I have another Citi AA Platinum card coming up on its one-year anniversary very soon, so we’ll simply plan to use that one to experiment with product changing to AT&T Access and then doing a second product change to the Access More card.
Right now, though, I wanted to get the Rewards+. And it’s not because I want to buy bananas one at a time at self-checkout to earn 10 TYPs at a time!
Our main purpose in getting the Rewards+ relates to the 10% TYP rebate. A question that I have not seen answered (and I have searched far and wide) is this – If you merge your ThankYou account for the Rewards+ card with an existing ThankYou account for other cards (we have one that collects points from the Prestige, Premier, and AT&T Access More cards), will the 10% rebate apply to all of your TYP redemptions, regardless of the card you used to actually earn the TYPs? In other words, can I earn TYPs on my Prestige/Premier/AT&T Access More cards, and get 10% back when I redeem them, by virtue of holding the Rewards+ card?
If so, then the Rewards+ card has a very valuable benefit for no annual fee. We easily redeem more than 100,000 TYPs in a year. Thus, we would get a rebate of 10,000 TYPs each year. At our baseline value of 1.25 cents per TYP, this benefit is worth $125 to us. That would be a very nice benefit for a no-annual-fee card, especially since it would require no extra effort on our part.
We want to know the answer to this experiment. And we want to report it to all Middle Age Miles readers. We’ll learn that either (a) we can get an easy $125 annual benefit on a no-annual-fee card, which is great; or (b) we can’t, in which case we can either just let the Rewards+ sit in the sock drawer or product change it to something more useful.
Other Things We Learned About This Product Change
Here are a few other points of interest that we learned during our research and call:
- The Rewards+ earns 2 TYPs per dollar at supermarkets and for gas, up to a cap of $6,000 per year; 1 TYP per dollar on everything else (subject to the rounding-up-to-the-next-10-TYP feature).
- When we make the product change, our account number will not change.
- The rep reconfirmed this to us multiple times – this may be important to others product changing different Citi cards and trying not to trip over the sign-up bonus limitations.
- The Rewards+ card will initially be connected to a new ThankYou account. We can combine it with our existing ThankYou account (the one with TYPs earned on our Prestige/Premier/AT&T Access more cards). We do so by calling 1-800-THANKYOU and working with customer service there.
- I have done this process before, and it has been pretty painless (although with Citi, you never know).
- It will take up to 11 days for the benefits on the new Rewards+ card to apply.
- I should receive the new Rewards+ card in the mail in 10-14 days.
- The product change will be irrevocably complete on April 20. Until then, I can revert back to the Citi AA Platinum card if desired.
- I also used this call to reduce the credit limit on the new card by several thousand dollars. In my recent Citi applications, I’ve had to interact with Citi underwriting and move credit around before I could be approved for a new card. I’m hoping that this reduction in credit limit will allow me to be auto-approved on my next Citi application.
We’re looking forward to learning the results of our Rewards+ experiment. Will we receive the 10% rebate on all of our TYP redemptions? Keep your fingers crossed. We will report back in another article after we learn more!
What do you think of our product change selection and experiment? Do you have any data points (or educated guesses) as to whether we’ll get the 10% TYP rebate when we redeem points earned on our Prestige/Premier/AT&T Access More cards? Please let us know in the Comments!
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