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
- Citi Prestige
- Citi Premier
- 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary