Tips, Tricks & Tactics: Why I Product Changed to a Discontinued Credit Card with No Initial Bonus

I just executed what is known as a product change, where you exchange one credit card for another from the same issuer. Specifically, I product changed from a Citi Double Cash Card to a Citi AT&T Access More Card, a discontinued card that I cannot receive an initial bonus from (which PREVIOUSLY was a $650 credit towards a new AT&T cell phone). Why? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Citi AT&T Access More (Master)Card. Image Credit: courtesy of Citi, mastercard and AT&T.

The Citi AT&T Access More Card has a very specific spending bonus that is highly coveted in the travel hacking game: 3x (Citi ThankYou) points on purchases made online at retail (and travel) websites. This is a unique feature in the credit card landscape. And, since I pay for my mortgage on the Internet via Plastiq, and my 1.5% promotional service fee expires later this year, I have two choices: start paying for my mortgage like a regular (sane) person via check or electric funds transfer; or, find some method of credit card payment that will offer a spending bonus greater than the 2.5% regular service fee. And, so my solution: 3% spending bonus minus 2.5% service fee leaves me collecting 0.5% on every transaction. There’s a $95 annual fee and a bonus 10,000 ThankYou Points for spending $10,000 in a calendar year to consider, but they’ll basically cancel each other out.

So, let’s say my mortgage was $1,000 a month: after 12 months of making payments, I’d have earned $360 in spending bonus and spent $300 on service fees.

…wow, that’s a lot of effort for $60*.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing, I guess.

Product changes can be executed through most credit card issuers, generally by calling customer service. There will be some limitations, including poorly informed customer service agents. These requests are often made when downgrading from or upgrading to an annual fee-charging card. Consider a product change instead of an outright cancellation of a credit card. This action will not count as a new credit card, result in a “hard pull,” or otherwise affect your credit score.

Meanwhile, if you want to try Plastiq out yourself, here’s a referral code. For a limited time (expiring 4/18/17), you’ll get 400 fee free dollars after your first $20 payment (that is, $400 that will not have a 2.5% fee attached).



* It also should be noted that ThankYou Points earned with the Citi AT&T Access More Card cannot be transferred to hotel and airline partners unless you also have a Citi Premier or Prestige card.


Questions, Comments or Criticisms?