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Citi is converting AAdvantage Visa cards to MasterCard

by on Mon August 17, 2015 • 19 Comments
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Citi recently signed an updated deal with MasterCard that includes migrating more of its credit card users over to MasterCard.

And Flyertalk users are reporting Citi is starting to move holders of legacy American AAdvantage Visa credit cards over to MasterCard when their anniversary date comes up.

What does this mean?

If you’re not interested in sign on bonuses for new cards, it doesn’t mean much. Visa and MasterCard have similarly large worldwide acceptance, and the underlying features of your cards won’t change. You’ll still pay the same annual fees and earn the same number of miles from your spending.

But your card will have a new account number, so you’ll have to change that for any recurring billing.

On the plus side if you get switched to a MasterCard World Elite you’ll be eligible for some additional travel perks like car rental elite status.

What about bonuses?

Today, Citi only issues MasterCard accounts for new Citi AAdvantage cards. So if you apply for a new one it will be a MasterCard.

What’s interesting is that Citi, like some other banks, considers a Visa and MasterCard version of a card a different product.

And Citi only lets you earn one bonus on a type of AAdvantage card if you haven’t held the card in the last 18 months.

No need to spell things out, but if you let Citi convert your Visa to a MasterCard it will then be the same product as the equivalent card available today. Your old Visa would have been considered a different product for the purposes of the 18 month rule before conversion.

Is Citi giving up on Visa?

Not entirely. The new Costco card coming next year from Citibank will be a Visa, and Costco will only accept Visa cards starting next Spring.

But the merchant networks are always fighting for their share of business from the banks, so MasterCard appears to have sweetened the pot for Citi to switch cards over to MasterCard.

Though it’s going to be harder to use your Citi card at Costco unless you sign up for the new Costco branded card with fewer Citibank branded Visa cards in circulation.

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19 thoughts on Citi is converting AAdvantage Visa cards to MasterCard

  1. Will

    If V and MC are considered 2 products. I cancelled V a week ago and planning to open a MC next month. Will I still be eligible for the bonus points.

    Reply
  2. Will

    I have cancelled by Visa a week ago, when I reapply for a Mastercard next month or so will I still be eligible for bonus points. Does Citi considers it as 2 different products or 1 ?

    Reply
  3. Bea Gold

    I will leave as well if I can not keep my Citibank Visa card. Have one from Costco with no annual charge. This is bAd customer service .

    Reply
  4. John

    Agree with you all. 25+ years was a good run, but I don’t want what I don’t want, especially when it’s forced it on me…Adios Citi!

    Reply
  5. Antoniohg

    Got a new mastercard (after having a visa for 10 years). Called citi and the operator told me was not my decision. Well I decided to cancelled it… So it was my decision after all.

    Reply
  6. +-+-+-+

    I have had a Citicard VISA since 1983.

    The switch over from VISA to Mastercard has been a disaster.My VISA card was due to expire on 11/16. On 8/31, 2 months prior to expiration, I was notified that I would be switched from VISA to Mastercard in 3 to 5 weeks. Instead of following their own communication, Citicard opened the new Mastercard account on 9/4 and transferred subsequent VISA transactions to the new Mastercard account without notifying me of opening the new account, new account number or transfers. (I had not even received the Mastercard yet.)

    On 9/10, 6 days after opening the account, Citicard supposedly mailed a new Mastercard to me via regular USPS without notifying me. On 9/13 I received my Citicard statement with a new last 4 digits in the account number (only 4 digits are revealed for security purposes) and my Quicken update downloaded garbage for the transactions after 9/4. This was my realization that something was very wrong. On 9/14 I called Citicard to ask what had occurred. I did not know the Mastercard account had been opened already and I had not received the new card in the mail at that time. I was completely in the dark. All they could tell me was the date the new account was opened and the date the card was sent. They could not tell me my new account number because I had not activated the new Mastercard which I still had not received!!!!!!! This was 10 days after they opened the Mastercard account and they could not tell me my account number!!!!!!! I cannot switch my autopayments with vendors because I do not have an account number!!!!!

    This is an operational disaster. It is inconceivable that Citicard can be this incompetent. This also signals that they have absolutely no regard for their customers and their customers’ time.

    Reply
  7. georgia

    I am firing them as well. I don’t like mandated changes when I am the customer–they get money from me and can make a change without my explicit approval or request? We are done!

    Reply
  8. Jim

    Leaving Citi because of this Visa card change. I already have a MasterCard and American Express. After using Citi for 30+ years, they can kiss my bank and credit card account goodbye.

    Reply
  9. Jeffrey Firth

    The arrogance of Citibank is unbelievable. They decide to change for their advantage, not for their clients, and without previously consulting their clients they just send them a renewal for a different credit card. Great client relations! Hope you lose lots of accounts for your arrogance.

    Reply
  10. Nicolas Rebaza

    Hello Guys,
    I have a AMEX AA CITI since 2008 , year ago i applied for a MC AA CITI , just to get the bonus miles .

    Why they dont change the AMEX also ?? or its because i have one MC Citi AA already and i Cant have 2 ??

    That AMEX citi AA has Chip technology also?
    I feel i have the same card from 2008 🙂

    Reply
  11. Des

    Since inception, Citibank has not allowed product changes (PC) from its City “Simplicity” card to any other Citi card? Will it now allow a “product change”/”conversion”?

    Reply
  12. jane schneider

    I am having trouble even getting someone on the phone! the company should be ashamed of themselves i have no interest in switching and if forced to do so will leave citi and bank somewhere else. Totally not acceptable

    Reply
  13. Jane

    Don’t like it. Think the customer should have a choice or be paid an incentive. I’ve been loyal; why can’t Citbank?!

    Reply
  14. Mike C

    After 25 years with Citi Visa, Costco finally taking Visa but Citi changed my card to MasterCard.
    Dumping Citi Visa the second my last mile is used.

    Reply
    1. Tim D

      Just dumped mine today. I have no faith in Mastercard; it gets hacked so frequently (speaking from experience). Citibank managed the transition really poorly, poor communication to customers… made us feel like hostages. The miles you have earned stay on your American Advantage account but make sure you use them; some obscure 18 month catch.

      Reply
  15. Tom

    The arrogance of this move is appalling. I told Citi I was not interested in a new account, let alone MasterCard, which I consider an inferior card. Even though I rejected the card, they converted over my webiste and billing, showing all my Visa purchases as if I purchased through MasterCard with under a new MasterCard bill. No meaningful disclosures. I understand the Citi — MasterCard arrangement must be a big plus for Citi, but what about us consumers who, at a minimum must notify multiple vendors of the new account? When I spoke with a supervisor, he said customers have no choice. He was completely at a loss for words when i suggested we do indeed have a choice, and that is to leave Citi and the AAdvantage card.

    Reply
    1. Adela

      Absolutely agree. I just had the same conversation. I have two citi cards one visa one master, one is my husband’s the other one mine; we both have extensions and we use one card for certain charges and the other for others. Now, we have to pay attention to the numbers, and yes its not hard to make that change, its just annoying how arrogant this compulsive change is!

      Reply
  16. Jacob

    I think Mastercard has been making serious gains at Visa’s expense, and I think it has something to do with the addition of Chip-And-Pin technology. I’m not sure if banks consider Mastercard’s Chip technology superior or just cheaper, or if they are simply using the switch to Chipped cards as an excuse to move away from Visa.

    Reply

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