Why I Didn’t Apply For the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card

by joeheg

I was right there on 6th Avenue in Manhattan, across the street from the City National Bank branch. One of the only three locations in New York where you can apply, in person, for the City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite card. I was prepared. I had a copy of my most recent pay stub from work. A copy of my passport. Ability to pull up my investment portfolio on my phone and print if needed.

So why, if I had everything ready, didn’t I go into the branch and apply? I’m not even sure if I made the right choice. All I can say is that I hesitated and went for an easier offer.

Before leaving for New York, I warned Sharon that I wanted to stop by a bank branch during our trip to apply for a card and she might need to come with me. I tried to explain why but I know that after some point, I just need to pull out “you just have to trust me.”

I’ve had my eye on this card for a while. Besides being able to make money on the travel credits alone, the ability to save $100 on each set of round trip tickets we buy could save us a bunch of money every year. The sign-up bonus is currently 50,000 City National Rewards bonus points once spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.


I referred to Frequent Miler’s post in order to learn about all the benefits of the card. The stars were aligning and we were on our way. What happened?

On the way to the branch, I checked the headlines from some other blogs. I saw a headline on One Mile At A Time that caught my attention.

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 3.53.13 PM

Now that the Marriott Bonvoy credit card portfolios from Chase and American Express have combined, American Express is offering select cardholders of the old Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX an offer to upgrade to the luxury version called the Bonvoy Brilliant. I pulled up Sharon’s account on the AMEX app and she was eligible for the upgrade offer. 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $5,000 in the first three months after upgrading. What to do?

I had to make a snap judgment. We only had an hour until the City National branch closed for the weekend and we wouldn’t be able to return for the rest of our trip.

While I had done research on the CNB Crystal card, I still had some unanswered questions. Much of the value is unlocked by having three authorized users. While Sharon was with me, I’d also like to add my dad and his wife. I have some of their personal information but not much. Would I be able to add them? Do they need to go to a branch? What could I redeem the points I earn with the card for?

On the other hand, I just made a reservation for a trip where I’ll need most of Sharon’s Marriott Bonvoy points. That will leave us short for the other trip I planned for us to stay at an NYC hotel for 60,000 points a night before the prices go up and we’ll never be willing to pay to stay there again.


Meeting two concurrent $5,000 spending bonuses, while possible, is over our current spending patterns. With American Express denying sign up bonuses even if you buy just a single gift card to hit the requirements, I want to make sure all of the charges are normal. The Marriott offer is also time sensitive, only good until the end of April.

So while I wanted to get the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card, it’ll have to wait for another time. We’ll be back in New York three more times this year, so I’ll have to plan another trip to the branch and maybe I’ll get answers to a few of the final questions I have before applying.

I’ve learned to make decisions like this and not look back. I can’t kick myself if it wasn’t the best move. All I can do is realize what happened, good or bad, and use that information the next time I need to make a decision. There’s always something to learn. I just hope I made the right choice this time.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary




Steve March 1, 2019 - 9:23 am

4 travel credits are nice, but for me not worth the hard pull, annual fee, plus the annoying bankers and phone calls who will want all your business. The CNB for me is 7 miles away and I haven’t considered it.

Boraxo March 1, 2019 - 1:33 pm

Even with only 1 authorized user you just left $1700 on the table (at least that’s what I netted in 4 months). 75k Signup bonus points are worth $900 if used for airfare. 4x$250 travel credit per card per calendar year (2018 & 2019 for me)= $1000. 2x$100 global entry credit (we had 4 to renew) =$200. Annual fee was $400. And this is assigning zero value to priority pass unlimited guests, $100 credit on 2 tickets, etc.
Let me know what card provides $1700 after annual fee.

Stefan Krasowski @ Rapid Travel Chai March 17, 2019 - 3:03 am

Be your own AU if you like.

Debit March 24, 2019 - 11:41 pm

Are you sure you can add yourself as the AU?


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