The amazing CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card. A deep dive.

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card

Would you pay $400 per year for $1,000 in airline gift cards, 48 Gogo wifi passes, 2 Priority Pass Select memberships that offer unlimited guests, and more?  Of course you would.  If you can get your hands on a CNB card, you can get all of that, but it is a big “if”.  More below.

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite: How to Get the Card

City National Bank charges $400 per year for the Crystal card, and that includes up to 3 authorized users.  In exchange for that fee, the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card offers a pretty spectacular mix of high end benefits including up to $1,000 per year in airline fee reimbursements (see the “Perks” section for more).

Further, CNB often offers a pretty attractive signup bonus for the card.  Here’s the latest offer:

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card
75K points
75K after $5K spend in 3 months.
(Offer Expires 12/17/18)

$400 Annual Fee

In my opinion, pretty much anyone who can get the card should get the card.  The problem is that getting the card isn’t easy.

While some have had success signing up for the card over email in the past, CNB usually enforces an “in-branch only” rule.  And CNB is hardly everywhere.  Here’s the latest branch map that they show on their site (locations.cnb.com)

CNB locations. CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card

If you live near one of their branches, or can stop by during a trip, that’s probably your best bet.

Apply via Phone?

CNB’s website implies that you can apply via phone, so that may be worth a try.  This is from the CNB website regarding applying for the card:

Contact your local City National banker, or call us at (800) 773-7100.

Apply online?

If you are already a CNB client, you can log into your account and apply online.  The CNB website states:

Already a City National client? Click here to log in to City National Online and apply.

You can become a CNB client by signing up online for a checking or savings account, but only if you bank in one or their supported states.  Their website currently lists the following:

City National Bank has office locations in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and Washington, DC.

The website, though, doesn’t ask which state you live in, but rather which state you bank in.  Can you pick one of these to bank in and sign up online even if you don’t live in that state?  Maybe.  If you try it, please let us know how it goes.

$100K+ income?

If you get through the hoops required just to be able to apply for the card (as described above), you still might not get approved.  CNB is looking for high net worth customers.  One banker I talked with wouldn’t give me a hard and fast rule, but said something like “$100K or more income would be good.”  I’m sure people have been approved with lower incomes, but if you earn much less than that, it’s probably not worth your time applying.

The hardest credit card application ever

Once you figure out how to apply for the card, you may be in for a shock as to how much info they request for your application.  A few years ago I signed up via email when that path was still available.  Here’s the info I had to provide in addition to basic info required in the application form:

Primary Cardholder (i.e. me):

  • Income Verification (Current) No older than 90 days (paystubs)
  • Verification of stated assets/liquidity no older than 90 days (statements for anything you listed under assets on the app)
  • employer
  • work address
  • occupation
  • place of birth
  • ID photo (I supplied a photo of my passport)

Authorized users:

  • A copy of primary id (drivers license or passport)
  • Employer
  • Occupation
  • Work address
  • Mothers maiden name
  • Place of birth
  • Home address
  • Contact phone
  • SSN

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Perks:

Why go to all that work to get one of these cards?  The reason is simply that the card’s perks far outweigh its $400 annual fee.  Take a look at these highlights:

  • $250 Airline Incidental Fees Statement Credit (up to $1,000 total): Each year you can get up to $250 of airline fees reimbursed for each CNB Crystal card you have. So, if you have one primary card and three authorized users, you can get up to $1,000 in fees reimbursed each year.  This works with US domestic carriers only. This is intended to be for fees such as ticket change fees, checked bag fees, etc., but many things that aren’t supposed to get reimbursed do in-practice.  Readers have reported success with getting reimbursed when buying airline gift cards directly from airlines.  I’ve had a lot of success with charging Delta award fees to the card, as long as the fees were under $75 or so.  Very small airfare tickets would probably also work.  A reliable trick is to pay for most of a ticket with airline gift cards and the rest directly with the credit card.
  • Airline Lounge Membership Fee Statement Credit with $50K Spend: Reimburses up to $550 towards an airline lounge membership. Request for reimbursement must be made in the same calendar year in which the charge was recorded. In order to get reimbursed, you must have spent $50K on your CNB card in the current or prior calendar year.  Note that they will not reimburse the part of the lounge membership fee that was already reimbursed by the $250 airline incidental fee credit, so make sure to use up your airline fee credits before purchasing a lounge membership.
  • 3X Earning Rate for gas, grocery, travel, and dining: This is probably the most rewarding uncapped grocery spend card on the market.  Those who manufacture spend at grocery stores should take notice.
  • Points worth up to 1.25 cents each towards flights: Usually points are worth, at most, 1 cent each for rewards, but when you book flights with points, I find that the value typically ranges from 1.15 to 1.25 cents per point.
  • Priority Pass with unlimited guests: With your CNB card, you get two full Priority Pass memberships that each allow unlimited guests.  When you have multiple authorized users, the primary cardholder can choose which two cardholders get this benefit.
  • Gogo Infight Wi-Fi: 12 in-flight passes per year per card.  If you have 3 authorized users, you can load all 48 passes to your Gogo account if you want to, or each cardholder can get 12 of their own.  Each pass only works for one flight segment and they do not work for international flights (for international Gogo passes, you’ll want the Amex Business Platinum card).
  • Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit: Save $100 on each 2 (or more) person round trip domestic flight purchased through this website.  We reported this feature previously, here: Bet You Didn’t Know: A Repeatable Companion Airfare Discount with the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite.
  • Global Entry Application Fee Statement Credit: $100 per 4 years per cardholder
  • GroundLink: $30 one-time credit. 15% discount ongoing.
  • Troon Rewards and Troon Prive’ Golf Privileges:. Save on golf tee times, merchandise and instruction. Automatic Silver status with Troon Rewards (or upgrade to next level if you already have status).
  • Personal Identity Theft Protection: CNB reimburses expenses incurred to restore your identity, up to $15,000. Covered events include theft or unauthorized or illegal use of your name, transaction card account or account number, Social Security number, or any other method of identifying you.
  • Miscellaneous: Broadway League, Crystal Card Concierge, Crystal Card Experiences, Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Infinite Hotel Privileges, Visa Infinite Car Rental Privileges

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Travel Protections

Unfortunately, CNB’s travel protections fall well short of best-in-class protections.  You can find a comparison here: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.

You must pay for travel in-full with your CNB card for the following travel protections:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Primary coverage.  Not available on cars with retail values above $75K.  No benefit is provided in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation: Up to $10K. Secondary coverage.
  • Hotel Theft Protection: Up to $1,000.  Valid for hotels in the US and Canada only.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Up to $5,000.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $1M
  • Trip Cancellation / Interruption: Up to $5,000.
  • Trip Delay: Up to $500 per ticket for trips delayed 6 hours or more.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: You get to talk to someone over the phone for free, but you’ll pay for any services they refer you to.

CNB also offers Roadside Dispatch for towing, tire changing, jump starting, lockout service, fuel delivery, and winching, but they charge $59.95 per service call (several other premium cards offer this for free).

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Purchase Protections

You must pay in-full with your CNB card when purchasing items in order to get the following protections:

  • 60 Day Price Protection: Reimburses difference if price drops. Max $1,000 per item, $4,000 per year.
  • 90 Day Purchase Security: Covers items stolen or damaged.  Max $10K per claim, $50K per year.
  • 90 Day Return Protection: Covers your cost If you are unsatisfied with item and merchant won’t accept a return. Max $300 per item, $1,000 per year.
  • 1 Year Extended Warranty: Covers up to original price of item. Max $10K per claim, $50K per cardholder.

Wrap Up

The CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card offers benefits that make the card worth far more than its $400 annual fee.  The airline fee rebate alone (worth up to $1,000 per year) makes the card a keeper even if you never use the card for spend.  And, if you do use the card for spend, you can do really well with its broad range of 3X categories: gas, grocery, travel, and dining.  And, if you use the card for lots of spend ($50K+ per calendar year), you can get reimbursed for airline club membership up to $550.  This can be a terrific perk for those who frequent airports not supported by Priority Pass.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Rob
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Rob

Don’t forget that it is also now a nice looking heavy black metallic card. The VGC cash-out rate worsened from .95 cents per point to .77 cents per point a couple of years ago. But with even one authorized user, the airfare credits alone offset the annual fee. Occasionally they will offer some bonus points for spending a few grand on the card too.

William f
Guest
William f

The airline credit is probably 90% of the value for most heavy credit card churners. How are people planning on taking advantage of the authorized users? I feel comfortable with my gf, but are people adding close friends/family as authorized users? Seems like a win/win because I know friends who’d like the lounge access.

Also, does anyone know if the authorized users will see a credit pull on their credit report for taking one of the cards? I was annoyed to see a credit pull show on my account when I was added as an authorized user (to a different credit card) in the past.

5inkaddict
Guest
5inkaddict

The whole point of this card is the airline credit… I would love to hear from others or others who can give a link where someone shows how they bought a gift card and it worked… if it is – then this is worth it. But if not… then it really isn’t for me. I don’t spend almost anything at airlines beside for the ticket itself.

So any data points of people buying airline gc with this card and getting it back?

A few more questions –

Is there a business version of the card?
Can I take out an AU for my 3yr and my 4 weeks old? hahah (seriously though – I am asking..)

FYI… I live right next door to a branch.

asc
Guest
asc

On my application, minimum age said 15 years old.

Mo2
Guest
Mo2

Is it free to add authorized users?

J L
Guest
J L

free to add, limit of 3 AUs.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Do AU’s have to 1) have ID and 2) be at the same address?

king
Guest
king

This card is applicable only for US Citizens, not for resident aliens

Tommy
Guest
Tommy

Edit, wrong post

Steve
Guest
Steve

Any knowledge of how Citi Nat’l treats MS spend on the card?

Rob
Guest
Rob

Similar benefits to Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) so another reason to drop CSR as dining now goes to 4x AMEX Gold. Not leaving Chase Ultimate Rewards system but don’t need to pay another premium card’s annual fee (effective $150 AF).

For the Crystal Visa Infinite card, can a primary cardholder be an authorized user on someone else’s Crystal card and vice versa? At the moment, not sure I need up to $2,000 in airline credit as other we hold other cards that offer airline credit. But this info is good to know for the future.

Dan
Guest
Dan

With the important distinction that trip insurance on the Crystal Visa may not work with award tickets since you’re not paying the whole price with the Crystal Visa. I keep my CSR vs. the other premiums almost entirely for the ability to ‘pay partial’.

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[…] morning, Greg went head first into The amazing CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card. A deep dive. He had great timing with that, because this afternoon he received a mailer offer for a bonus offer […]

Jeff
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Jeff

How can points be used? Through a designated website for flights purchase? How competitive is their pricing?

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[…] ✎ 消息來源 FrequentMiler […]

Renee
Guest
Renee

Thanks for the information. Do you know if you can use the 250.00 credit from Amx platinum to purchase an airline lounge membership. I know it comes with Priority Pass, but I just flew from LAX to Portland and both directions Alaska Lounges had signs out front saying that they where “full” and not able to accept priority pass people. I was really upset and felt that the value of my Amex was not there.

DBo
Guest
DBo

FYI – The map above shows states where there are branches, not necessarily a branch map. As Greg mentioned you have to click on the link. Just wanted to note that in case people think the only branch in California is in the middle of the Sierras. LOL!
I applied for this card last week and it arrived today. Going to the bank later to pick it up.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Anyone try applying over the phone?

DBo
Guest
DBo

On the phone they suggested to go in to the branch. I have a branch close so I didn’t push the issue.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Just approved in Cali. Can each AU use Visa infinite $100 airline booking credit or only account holder???? Why is everyone ignoring this potentially amazing benefit???

brian
Guest
brian

Terms say cardholder has to be primary passenger on itinerary.

DBo
Guest
DBo

FYI – I got $75 fee for heavy baggage on Southwest credited back to me. It took just over a week to post.

ray
Guest
ray

do u know if the primary rental car coverage is for authorized users too or only primary cardholder?

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[…] If you make around $100k (congrats!), I recommend this post on Frequent Miler blog which has all the details you need: The amazing CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Card. A deep dive. […]

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[…] Pass access, the Visa Infinite $100 companion travel discount, and much more.  Please check out Frequent Miler’s post and Doctor of Credit’s post to learn more about this credit […]