I recently decided that I wasn’t getting much use from my Citi Premier card. My annual fee of $95 came up a few months ago and I decided to call the number on the back of my card to speak with an agent. Once connected, I let the agent know I was thinking of closing the card because the categories are similar to the ones on my Citi Premier card and asked if there were any retention offers available on the card. The agent gave me an offer to spend $1000 in the next 90 days and get 5,000 bonus Citi TY points. That’s not a great offer, but I accepted anyways because of another email offer I received on my account.
The email offer was to get 5 bonus Citi TY points for using the card to pay for a Hilton stay. That would come out to 8 Citi TY points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels. I had a Hilton stay coming up and I knew I’d be spending a decent chunk of money. The 5,000 bonus Citi TY points retention offer and the Hilton offer combined were enough for me to pay the $95 annual fee.
Fast Forward 2 Months
I started to read more and more about the Citi AT&T Access More credit card. This card has been unavailable for new sign ups for quite some time. The sign up bonus used to be something like $650 towards a new phone from AT&T. That was a great offer and I guess Citi decided that it was too great and took down the application for new applicants.
The ongoing benefits (and not the sign up bonus of the card) are what really peaked my interest in this card. The card offers 3x TY points per dollar spent on online retail purchases. Not everything gets counted as 3x (like Amazon), but a ton of stuff does. This thread on flyertalk has a great list of online merchants that have been reported to give 3x TY points with this card. A bonus benefit of this card is that if you spend $10,000 in a card member year, you get 10,000 bonus Citi TY points. That means if you spend exactly $10,000 on online retail purchases in a given cardmember year, you are essentially earning 4x TY points per dollar spent! That is a phenomenal return on your spend.
I read numerous posts online (like this recent post) that while it was not possible to sign up for the AT&T Access More credit card, it was still possible to product change an existing Citi credit card into the AT&T Access More credit card. A credit card product change is when you convert one of your existing credit cards with a credit card company to a different credit card that the same credit card company offers. This is usually done to avoid an annual fee and to keep the account open to increase the average age of your accounts.
I’d already gotten the retention bonus and the bonus points for my Hilton stay on my Citi Premier card. Those had been the only two reasons I wanted to keep my Citi Premier card. With those gone, I decided that I wanted to convert my Citi Premier.
The First Agent
I called the number on the back of my Citi Premier and was connected with an agent. I explained to the agent that I would like to product change my Citi Premier to an AT&T Access More card. She worked for a few seconds, then said it was not possible because of the phone credit on the AT&T Access More card. What????? I explained that I understood that I would not get the sign up bonus for the phone, but would like the card for the ongoing benefits. She stood firm and said it was not possible.
The Second Agent
About 30 minutes later, I called the number on the back of my card again. I explained to the agent that I would like to product change and convert my Citi Premier into an AT&T Access more card. She said “give me a second…” About 30 seconds of silence pass and I’m thinking, “She probably is going to come back and say it’s not possible.” “Hold on a few more moments,” the agent whispered. About 15 seconds pass. “I need to read you a few statements about your conversion to the AT&T Access More card.”
YAY! The second time is the charm I guess? This proves something that is often true in the miles and points world. If you get an agent that cannot do what you want, hang up and call again (HUCA as they call it). This time I did make sure to use the “convert” word that I did not use with the first agent. However, I am not sure if this made a difference between the two agents being able to help me.
The conversion from the Citi Premier to the Citi AT&T Access More is probably one of the easiest conversions due to some aspects of the cards being very similar. I’ll go through some of the considerations that crossed my mind. These considerations are always applicable when you decide you want to do a product change with one of your credit cards.
1. Annual Fee
When you product change and convert one credit card into another, it is usually to avoid an annual fee by downgrading to an annual fee free credit card. In my case, I was not doing this; I was doing it to get a card with different benefits. The annual fee of both the Citi Premier and the Citi AT&T Access More credit cards is $95. Since I paid the annual fee on the Citi Premier about 2 months ago, I won’t have to pay the annual fee for the AT&T Access More for about 10 more months.
2. Rewards Program
When you product change and convert a credit card, you sometimes get a card that is part of a different rewards program. In my case with this conversion, both the Citi Premier and Citi AT&T Access More credit cards earn Citi TY points. This means that the rewards associated with my Citi Premier account will seamlessly transfer over to my new Citi AT&T Access More account.
The agent let me know that if I had converted my Citi Premier to a card that does not earn Citi TY points, then I would have only 60 days to use my existing points before they disappear. Lucky for me this does not apply!
When you product change and convert a credit card, your card benefits will be changing. You need to understand how your benefits will change before you make a product change. The one drastic change in my benefits is that to transfer Citi TY Points to travel partners (like Singapore, FlyingBlue, Hilton, ect.) you need to have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. This product change gave up my Citi Premier. I still have the Citi Prestige, so this means I need to keep the Citi Prestige in order to get the highest value from my points.
My annual fee is due in a few months on my Citi Prestige credit card. My annual fee has been $350 in the past because my Citi checking account was considered a CitiGold account. I am pretty sure it is no longer considered a CitiGold account (I don’t want to get into nitty gritty details…). I hope somehow my annual fee remains $350, but I have a feeling it will raise to $450. Citi is also reducing the Citi Prestige benefits drastically this July. Even with these these negative changes, I would want to keep the card if the annual fee was $350. However, if the annual fee is $450, I am not sure if I would want to keep the card. Now it doesn’t really matter – even if I don’t want to keep the card, I’ll be keeping it so I can transfer the points earned with my Citi AT&T Access More to travel partners.
4. Citi Application Rules
This bullet point is only relevant for when you do a product change between Citi credit cards. Citi will not give you a sign up bonus if you have opened or cancelled a card in that product family in the past 24 months. Since I converted my TY point earning card to a TY point earning card, I do not know if this will reset my Citi application clock for earning sign up bonuses on TY point family of credit cards. If I had converted my Citi Premier to a credit card that does not earn TY points, I would have reset my Citi application clock for TY point earning credit cards and would have to wait 24 months until I was eligible for a TY point sign up bonus.
Product changing and converting one of your credit cards to a different credit card that your credit card company offers is a great way to get a new card without getting a hard pull on your credit report. Before you do a product change, there are a bunch of considerations you need to look at. In my case, I looked at all of the considerations and determined it was worth it to product change and convert my Citi Premier into an AT&T Access More Credit card.
I also proved that it is still possible to get the AT&T Access More credit card! I have some pretty cool ideas for how I’m going to incorporate this card into a new points earning system. But that’s for another post…
Any questions about the conversion process or the AT&T Access More credit card?