Two great Citi offers may soon be gone. What to do?

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Great Citi offers 50K or free phoneCiti’s AT&T Access More card and its free phone offer is still alive… barely.  For the last few months, public links to sign up for the card kept disappearing.  Each time one would go away, a different working link was found. Now, all that is left is a link uncovered by US Credit Card Guide.  This link most likely won’t last long.  And, when this one goes away, I have little hope of a new link being found.

Piling onto the AT&T card situation, One Mile at a Time reports that the Prestige card’s 50,000 point signup offer will change next Tuesday, July 19th.  He doesn’t actually know whether it will change for the better or worse (or in any significant way for that matter).  But, we do have reason to fear the worst.  Another Citi card — the Citi Premier card — used to have the same 50,000 point signup bonus as the Prestige card.  Then it changed to a 40,000 point bonus.  And then the bonus disappeared altogether.  You can still get the card, but without a signup bonus.  That’s no fun.

I have no idea why Citi eliminated the signup bonus from the Premier card, but it was not the only card that Citi treated that way.  The no-annual-fee Citi Preferred card used to have a standard 20K signup bonus (and an occasional 30K promotional bonus), but like the Premier, Citi eliminated the Preferred card’s standard bonus.  Today there is an offer for that card that includes 10K points after $1K spend and a potential $100 statement credit, but that too may be a short term promotion.

The elimination of Citi signup bonuses appears to be specific to their ThankYou Rewards cards.  Offers for Citi AA and Hilton cards have continued on unabated.  That, in my mind, gives credence to the fear that the Prestige ThankYou bonus will be eliminated as well.

At this point, you might be thinking that you should hurry up and signup for both cards, but there’s a catch.  Citi doesn’t allow an individual to sign up for more than one consumer card in an 8 day period.  If you sign up for one card now, the other offer may be gone by the time your 8 day window is over.

What follows is basic info about each card offer to help you decide which, if either, you should apply for before its too late…

AT&T Access More

citi-att-access-more-credit-card

The standard offer for the Citi AT&T Access more card has been a free phone after $2K spend in 3 months.  The card’s $95 annual fee is not waived first year.  The free phone bonus (up to $650) requires AT&T service, so the signup bonus is especially good for those already with AT&T or otherwise interested in switching to AT&T.  Like the Citi Prestige, Premier, and Preferred cards, the Access More card earns Citi ThankYou Rewards.  In general those points are worth up to 1 cent each, but it is possible to transfer points to a Premier or Prestige card in order to get more value for travel related rewards.

AT&T Access More key benefits:

  • 3 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T
  • 3 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites
  • 10,000 anniversary bonus points after $10,000 in annual spending

3X for “online retail” is a broad category that offers a huge amount of value to those who can find good uses for it (hint: it’s worth subscribing to the Frequent Miler Laboratory comments so as to learn about successful experiments with the card).  And, for those who find and use those 3X options, the card’s 10K point anniversary bonus more than makes up for its $95 annual fee.

My take on the AT&T Access More card and free phone offer: This is a solid card which is best used for online purchases.  It is also a great companion to the Premier or Prestige card since those cards make it possible to unlock greater value from earned ThankYou points.  And, if you need a new phone, and have or want AT&T service, the $650 signup bonus is pretty sweet.

Prestige Card

CitiPrestige_big

The standard offer for the Citi Prestige card has been 50,000 ThankYou points after $3K spend in 3 months.  The $450 annual fee is not waived first year.  CitiGold checking customers are charged a lower annual fee ($350).  In the past it has also been possible to qualify for a $350 annual fee by signing up in-branch, but I honestly don’t know whether or not that’s still an option (it’s certainly worth checking if you live or work near a branch).  Even better, if you have a Citi branch nearby, you can sign up for the card in-branch with the $350 annual fee even if you do not have CitiGold checking (Surge, thanks for confirming!).

Prestige Card Key Benefits:

  • $250 air travel credit (including airfare) per calendar year
  • Free lounge access: AA AAdmirals club access, and Priority Pass Select membership which includes the ability to bring guests in for free (that makes it better than the Priority Pass Select membership which comes with the Amex Platinum card)
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
  • Use points for 1.33 cents value for any flight; or 1.6 cents per point value on American Airlines; or transfer to airline partners
  • 4th night free hotel benefit
  • Free golf benefits

My take on the Prestige card and its 50,000 point offer:  I’m a big fan of this card.  For those who want to simply earn the bonus and enjoy its perks for one year before cancelling, the annual fee should be of little concern: you can get the $250 air travel credit both this calendar year and next (for a total of $500 back) before cancelling the card.  Many others (like me) will find that the card is worth keeping long term.  The annual air travel credit effectively reduces the annual fee by $250.  And, the 4th Night Free benefit can be huge for those who often pay for hotel stays.  Plus, if you fly AA often, the ability to buy flights cheaply with ThankYou points and get free access to the AAdmirals club are amazing perks on their own.  The card’s 50,000 point signup bonus is also excellent.  Those points can be transferred to a number of airline programs, or can be used directly to buy up to $800 worth of AA flights, or up to $665 in flights with other airlines.

What will I do?

My son needs a new phone, and I’d like to upgrade mine, so the AT&T Access More offer is extremely tempting (my son can take my hand-me-down).  I can’t personally get the AT&T offer, though.  I opened the card less than a year ago to get a phone for my niece.  And Citi requires waiting 24 months from opening or closing an account before you can get a bonus again.  Similarly, I may not be able to get the Prestige card bonus right now since it has been less than 24 months since I signed up.

That said, my wife hasn’t previously signed up for either card.  So, she could go for either the AT&T offer which is worth $650, or the Prestige offer which is worth up to $800 (or more, depending upon how you value points transferred to airline miles).

It’s a tough decision, but since I’m still sitting on hundreds of thousands of ThankYou points from past promotions, we don’t really need those 50,000 ThankYou points from the Prestige card.  However, a $650 credit for a new phone will come in handy right away.  Its time for my wife to sign up – and to hope that the application link is still alive…

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