Home Credit Cards Here’s My Citi Card Strategy After The ThankYou Card Devaluations

Here’s My Citi Card Strategy After The ThankYou Card Devaluations

by joeheg

When there’s a major change in the points and miles environment, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the new lay of the land. I don’t like to rush into making decisions and I’ve had some time to think about the news that Citi is going to eliminate all of the price & product protections as well as travel insurance benefits from their cards, including the Citi Prestige, as of September 22, 2019.

My gut instinct told me that the Citi Prestige wasn’t going to be worthwhile anymore and I’d cancel it. To make things more interesting, Citi is allowing people to cancel and get a prorated refund until January 1, 2020. I have my time limit where I’d need to make a decision.

If I am going to cancel the card, there are things I need to think about beforehand. I need to have a strategy and be smart about how I proceed.

Here’s my plan (subject to change):

Our current Citi card situation

Person 1

  • Citi Prestige
  • Citi Premier

Person 2

  • Citi Premier
  • Citi AT&T Universal Rewards

Person 1 is still under the Citi 24 month clock so is not eligible to get a signup bonus for a new Citi ThankYou card. Person 2 is out of the 24-month window and eligible to get a new card bonus.

Here’s the signup rule for ThankYou cards:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier/Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

Person 1 has all of the ThankYou points in the account associated with the Citi Prestige because with that card they are worth the most when redeeming directly for travel through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.

Available Options

There are two things to consider. What am I going to do with the Prestige card and what am I going to do with the points. Since the answer to the second question is dependent on the answer to the first, I’ll consider the pros and cons of each scenario.


Cancel The Prestige Outright

If I were to cancel the Prestige, it would trigger the start of a very important timer. The ThankYou points associated with the account would expire in 60 days after the cancellation. With other banks, you’d just need to transfer the points to a different account to keep them alive. However, ThankYou points are forever tied to the card you earned them with. When you cancel that card, you have 60 days to spend the points or transfer them out to a partner program.

There are several partners I could transfer the points to like Virgin Atlantic, Flying Blue and JetBlue. Singapore would be another option but points in that program expire in three years so I’d prefer not to send them there.

Canceling the card would also reset the 24-month clock again, pushing back the time where person 1 could get a ThankYou card signup bonus even farther into the future.

Product Change

Citi has a pretty liberal product change policy that even allows you to change your card to ones they no longer offer. That means the ONLY way to get some of these Citi cards is to change a card you currently have into one of them. Doing a product change would keep the points active as long as we transfer to a card that earns ThankYou points. I could then transfer points between ThankYou accounts when I need to redeem them. Some of the ThankYou cards I may be able to product change to are:

  • Citi Rewards+
  • Citi AT&T Access (or Access More)

Citi Rewards+

There are plenty of other options but these are the two that are interesting to me right now. Other cards don’t earn ThankYou points and that’s my main goal right now.

The big advantage of going with the Rewards+ card is that has no annual fee and you earn 10% back on points redemptions made with the card up to 10,000 points per year. It also has an interesting perk of rounding up to the nearest 10 points for each purchase meaning you earn a minimum of 10 points per purchase.

The Plan

I was going to try to go the difficult route and have Person 1 product change the Citi Prestige to the AT&T Access More if possible, or the AT&T Access card or different card if necessary. Reading the comments of Travel By Grant’s post, while this is possible I’m not willing to go through the possible stress and problems. If it was a card with no points, I’d go ahead but since the Prestige currently has the points stashed there, I’ll go with plan B.

Person 1 will change the Prestige to the Rewards+ card. When redeeming points, I’ll still have access to the transfer partners because I’ll keep the Premier. As a bonus perk, it’s possible the 10% rebate on redemptions will trigger even when transferring out points from the Premier card. I’m losing out on the 15,000 bonus TY points if I were to apply for the card but Person 1 isn’t eligible for those anyway. But those bonus points aren’t gone, enter person 2. I love playing in two-player mode as it opens up otherwise not available options.

Person 2 will apply for the Rewards+ card, earning the 15,000 points since they aren’t under the 24-month clock. Since the clock has reset, time to make some other changes. Here’s where I’ll try to change the AT&T Universal card to the AT&T Access More.

I still haven’t decided what to do with the Premier card for person 2. Should I keep it? I’m thinking about changing it to the Citi Double Cash since that card doesn’t typically have a signup bonus and I’m not sure if I’ll keep the Arrival+ once the annual fee hits. Maybe I’ll change it to the Citi Dividend card for the rotating spending categories and the $300 cash back I could easily earn every year.

Final Thoughts

Now I have a plan. I’ll get rid of the Prestige since it’s no longer worth the annual fee after losing all the benefits I kept the card for. I’ll pick up the Citi Rewards+ card which has no annual fee but will provide 6,000 bonus miles when I finally transfer out the points left from the Prestige.

And if all goes to plan, I’ll also pick up an AT&T Access more card which earns 3x ThankYou points for online purchases and a 10,000 point bonus when you spend $10,000 on the card in a year as well as getting either the Citi Double Cash or Citi Dividend cards.

Time to start putting the plan to action.

A-Team plan

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


George July 3, 2019 - 1:41 pm

“As a bonus perk, it’s possible the 10% rebate on redemptions will trigger even when transferring out points from the Premier card.”

I’m not following the whole process, so I can’t for sure say this applies, but here’s a DP: My wife “shared” points earned with her Rewards+ with me, and, having the Rewards+ myself, the redemption of those points triggered a 10% rebate on them. It hasn’t posted, but I got an email saying it will.

joeheg July 3, 2019 - 3:32 pm

The interesting thing is that if you transfer out points from a Citi Premier you apparently still get the 10% back if you also have a Rewards+. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

George July 3, 2019 - 8:57 pm

Transfer out to where? An airline? Yes, that counts as a redemption, and 10% of those points should be rebated, as long as the two cards are tied to a single ThankYou account. Look for Middle Age Miles’ post on the subject; between them and a different source (which they link to as well), both portal redemptions and point transfers were confirmed to be uhh… rebatable?

PS: The rebate for the points I redeemed were just deposited sometime in the last few hours. That’s like half a day after the Rewards+ statement closing. Not bad, my booking was only a few days prior.

Grant Thomas July 3, 2019 - 2:07 pm

Thanks for linking to my Citi AT&T Access More post 🙂

I have a Citi Premier CC that I have had for 2+ years. My plan is to apply for a new Citi Premier CC and then downgrade the old Citi Premier CC to the Citi Rewards+ CC.

joeheg July 3, 2019 - 3:31 pm

See, I never would have thought of applying for a second card that I already have. Citi lets you do that?

Grant Thomas (@travelwithgrant) July 3, 2019 - 6:57 pm

Yes, based on Citi rules, you can’t have opened or closed a CC in the last 24 months, so I usually wait 24+ months and apply for another Citi CC. Then downgrade the older card.

Steve Case July 3, 2019 - 2:53 pm

Here is something to think about regarding the Rewards+ card, it is NOT FTF free. I won’t be using this card in the UK next week. I read through all the documents that came with the card and there was nothing about being FTF free so I called Citibank. They confirmed my gears, they chai FTF. What kind of reward card in 2019 that still charges FTF? I go my sign-up bonus and that is it for me on Rewards+.

joeheg July 3, 2019 - 3:30 pm

I wouldn’t think about using the Rewards+ overseas. The main usage would be for small purchases to take advantage of the 10 point round up and getting the 10% back on redemptions.

OR97 July 4, 2019 - 8:33 pm

Going to maximize my 4th night free stays for the next year, making those prior to September when that changes, hold the card until those are all done, and then product change. I have heard mixed success on getting the ATT access more; Frequent miler has a post suggesting that it may be successful if you product change to the ATT Access card; then product change that to Access more.

Joe P December 13, 2019 - 10:51 am

Hopefully you were aware that the ONLY transfer partner for the Rewards+ card is JetBlue


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