If you are serious about your credit card rewards and striving for an optimal strategy then you will no doubt have to make a decision on product changes at some point. In this article, I’ll break down what to do when you face this decision with respect to the popular Citi Premier.
What is a product change?
First, the basics so we make sure we are on the same page.
Product changes are when you change from one credit card to another. This could be an upgrade, a downgrade, or it could be changing to a different type of product line (American Airlines card to a cash back card).
For some banks, the consequences of product changing are pretty minimal.
You can proceed without having to think through your strategy too much and enjoy the benefits like avoiding the annual fee or jumping on a more premium credit card option.
But for other banks, such as Amex and Citi, you really need to think through the consequences of a product change. If you make the wrong decision, it could cost you a lot of bonus points in the future.
By the way, I recommend that most people use the app WalletFlo to track all of their product changes. It will allow you to track as many product changes as you need for a single card and it will help you keep up with your credit history in that regard.
Citi Premier options
If you hold the Citi Premier, you might be tempted to product change to a few different options. If you wanted to go to a more premium card, you could look into upgrading to the Citi Prestige.
But a lot of people who are product changing the Premier card actually want to lower or remove the annual fee so they will look for other options. One of the most tempting options is the Citi Double Cash but you should think twice before you product change to that card.
The reason is that if you product change from the Premier to the Citi Double Cash, your credit card number will likely change. And if your credit card number changes, it will probably reset the 24 month clock on your eligibility for a ThankYou bonus.
This means that you will have to wait an additional two years before you can receive a ThankYou bonus (*no thank you*). This could be a huge bummer if you have already been waiting a while for your ThankYou bonus eligibility to reset.
The best product change options
But there are a couple of cards known for NOT giving you a new credit card number and those are the cards you should be trying to probably change to if this is a concern.
These two cards are the:
- Citi Rewards+
- Citi ThankYou Preferred
Both of these credit cards have no annual fee and data points show that typically you will not be issued a new number for them. I said “typically” because a lot of things like this are YMMV. In other words, it’s hard to know for sure that you will not be issued a new credit card number but it seems like you certainly increase your odds of keeping your number if you go with these cards.
If you had to choose one of these cards, I would probably just go with the Citi Rewards+. I like that it earns 2X on groceries and gas but it also has a cool feature that rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. So if you make a lot of smaller purchases, this can be a nice way to rack up more points.
It also offers you 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points you redeem per year, so for a no fee card it packs a good amount of value.
Overall, product changing with Citibank can be a little bit tricky sometimes. This is especially true with the 24-month ThankYou bonus rule. But by switching to the right cards, you can increase your odds of avoiding that reset and hopefully earn a bonus a lot quicker!
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.