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Combining Product Changes & Retention Offers
Just over a year ago Citi blessed us with an amazing opportunity to rack up hundreds of thousands of AAdvantage miles in the form of their Executive card. For a $250 fee ($450 AF – $200 statement credit) upfront, you could earn a 100,000 AAdvantage mile bonus. Cha-ching!
In addition, Citi allowed most people to get the card over and over. While I know some people made the decision to cancel their cards once the bonus posted to avoid the $250 fee, others are coming up on the end of their first year. So what should you do?
Cancel, Keep or Change to a Different Product
Since the Citi AAdvantage Executive card carries a $450 annual fee, it really isn’t a great card to keep. While I have enjoyed having Admiral’s Club access the past year, it just isn’t worth that fee to me. If I was going to pay $450, it would be for an Amex Platinum, although I am not sure if that card is worth the money either.
So my decision is now whether to cancel the card or convert it to another Citi product. The main choices for conversion are:
- Double Cash – 2% cash back on all purchases
- Dividend – 1% cash back with 5% rotating categories each quarter
- ThankYou Preferred – 2 ThankYou points per dollar on dining & entertainment, 1 point on everything else
The Double Cash card is probably the best overall card out of these three since it earns 2% back on all purchases, however one of those cards is known to have amazing retention offers.
ThankYou Preferred Retention
Back in January I wrote about my wife’s amazing retention offer for her ThankYou Preferred card. For keeping the card, Citi offered her 2 extra points per dollar on all spend with the card for the next 6 months with no cap. (Many others received valuable offers as well. You can see some good examples in the comments of this Frequent Miler post.)
This offer equates to 3X ThankYou points earning on all purchases and 4X on dining and entertainment. Guess which card quickly made its way to the top of her wallet for everyday spend?
Converting Now for Retention Later
What if you converted your Citi Executive card to a ThankYou Preferred now and then waited a few months to see if you are eligible for one of those nice retention offers? (Some experiences suggest you wouldn’t need to wait that long.) Now there is no guarantee that you will get an offer as good as 3X with no cap, but it is worth a shot and you are likely to get something decent.
The Double Cash card is tempting, however I already have an Arrival Plus and there are other Citi cards I can convert in the future if needed. Additionally, the Dividend is a nice card, however the bonus categories are a little weak this year.
Benefits of Converting Over Closing
Remember by converting an existing account to another product, you are extending your average age of accounts which accounts for 15% of your FICO score. Since there isn’t an annual fee on any of the three cards I mentioned, you could keep this account open indefinitely. (Although Citi has been known to cancel accounts without activity, so make sure to charge something once in awhile.)
Also, by keeping your account open, the credit line is available to shift around if needed when you apply for new Citi cards. I have had to shift credit several times in the past and Citi makes it very easy. They want to approve you!
By thinking outside of the box and taking advantage of the knowledge that others are receiving lucrative retention offers for the ThankYou Preferred, you may be able to get yourself a great deal down the line.
Even if that doesn’t happen, by converting your Citi Executive card to another product, you are helping to extend your average age of accounts and keeping credit alive so it can be used to shift around later if needed. Convert me to a ThankYou Preferred!
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