Earlier today, we published an article about the apparent demise of conversions to the Citi AT&T Access More card (ATTAM).
Sadly, in addition to depriving us of a second card of this valuable product, the unavailability of the ATTAM card thwarted an interesting and grand experiment we were going to carry out.
What Was Our Planned Experiment?
The basics of this experiment were as follows:
- Convert (either directly or indirectly) a Citi AA Platinum card to ATTAM
- Acquire a 2nd Citi Premier card (either through conversion or direct application (even though I wouldn’t be eligible for a sign-up bonus))
- Acquire a 2nd Citi ThankYou Rewards+ card (again, either through conversion or direct application)
- Merge all 3 of these cards into a single ThankYou account, which would be my 2nd ThankYou account, separate from my existing account
- Make redemptions from this 2nd ThankYou account to try to get the 10% Rewards+ rebate, up to the cap of 10k TYPs/year, twice
- That is, get the 10k rebate once on my original ThankYou account, and then get another 10k on my 2nd ThankYou account)
I’ve had this experiment in mind for several months. I strongly suspected that adding a 2nd Rewards+ card to an existing ThankYou account that already included a Rewards+ card would not allow you to earn the 10k rebate twice. My educated guess on this point was proven true, as illustrated in Greg the Frequent Miler’s excellent article, Can you double the Citi Rewards+ 10K rebate by getting two? (July 3, 2019). In the comments to that article, I even talked about this very experiment of having 2 separate ThankYou accounts with a Rewards+ card in each.
What Were the Benefits If This Experiment Had Succeeded?
The pairing of these 3 cards I contemplated in this experiment – ATTAM, Premier and Rewards+ – would have made for a nice complementary package. With the ATTAM card and its 3x bonus category for online purchases, I could earn lots of TYPs – enough to redeem 100k TYPs in a year and thus max out the 10k cap on the Rewards+ 10% rebate. (I’d also receive the ATTAM card’s 10k TYP annual bonus if I spent $10k on it during my cardholder year.) With a Premier card as part of the mix, all of the TYPs I earned could be redeemed at 1.25 cents per TYP through the Citi travel portal, which is how we redeem the majority of our TYPs. I’d also be able to redeem TYPs by transferring them to Citi’s airline partners.
The combination would have worked great. The ATTAM card’s 10k TYP bonus would have easily covered its $95 annual fee, and the 10k TYP rebate on the Rewards+ would have covered the Premier card’s $95 annual fee. This plan would be in the money even before we considered potential retention bonuses on the ATTAM and Premier cards, and even before we considered how well we could do using the ATTAM card’s 3x earning in the online retail bonus category.
However, by not being able to have an ATTAM card in the mix, it would become significantly harder to earn enough TYPs to make this experiment worthwhile. The economics would further suffer because of the Premier card’s $95 annual fee – without a big TYP-earning card like ATTAM to pair with Premier, I wouldn’t be generating enough TYPs to get much benefit out of the increased 1.25 cent redemption rate and/or points transfers to airline partners. Ultimately, for me, this situation kills the experiment. And for sure, it kills the main potential upside of the experiment.
Could the Experiment Still Be Carried Out?
In theory, the experiment could still be carried out to at least determine if you can earn the Rewards+ rebate more than once if you have separate ThankYou accounts with a Rewards+ card in each. In fact, it could be attempted with a single card – simply acquire a 2nd Rewards+ Plus card, keep it in a separate ThankYou account, earn some TYPs, make a redemption, and see what happens. But there are a couple of challenges, or at least issues that make this experiment quite a low-value proposition.
First, you’d have to earn enough TYPs on this Rewards+ card to make a redemption. That’s not a super-attractive thing to do, as the Rewards+ is not close to best-in-class for any spend category other than purchases of less than $3, and it would take a lot of these transactions to amass enough points for a meaningful redemption.
Second, redemptions of TYPs also aren’t too attractive if you only have the Rewards+ card. I haven’t studied all of the ins and outs, but I believe the best you can do is redeem for 1 cent per TYP through the Citi travel portal.
I’m thinking about taking one for the team and moving forward with this experiment – but as I’m sure you can understand, I’m not too excited about it. And without being able to get an additional ATTAM card or having another way to earn a substantial number of TYPs, to what end would I be working toward? I’m inclined against doing this, but I haven’t completely ruled it out.
Any other ideas for useful experiments with Citi cards? Anything I’m missing here that should cause me to reconsider? Please let me know in the Comments!
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