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Citi is converting AAdvantage Visa cards to Mastercard

by on Mon August 17, 2015 • 40 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  from Citibank is a Visa, and Costco now only accepts Visa cards.

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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40 thoughts on Citi is converting AAdvantage Visa cards to Mastercard

  1. Disgruntled

    I have been wanting to move away from the AA mileage programs that expire and are hard to redeem, and move to the cash back rewards cards. But I have up to this point been reluctant to make a change because I have a dozen monthly payments linked to this card, and I can recite the account number in my sleep. Thanks for making this an easy decision, AA holes.

    Reply
  2. John

    This is total BS! Just got my new unrequested Citi-AA MC’s in the mail. I’m a Citi-AA Visa card holder since 1990. I don’t want the MC’s (already have one), so now I get to call all my travel and service providers, where I spend $7,000 to $10,000/month, and change all my account numbers! Just called Citi’s 24-hour customer service to complain, advised to call back, so not really 24-hour service! Great customer concern and service! Time to go shopping for a new Chase or AMX credit card!

    Reply
  3. J B

    Citi AAdvantage Visa since 1993 (24 years). When you make a supplier change affecting clients, especially to lower costs, you explain it and share the savings. You never impact clients for a change that you alone benefit from. Years ago, Citi similarly ruined the Citigold program for me when my wealth was growing. Now, I’m well into 8-digits with another firm.

    Reputation is important. Citi may become regarded like AMEX, Comcast, HP, BofA – Merrill Lynch, KB Homes, SeaWorld, etc.

    Reply
  4. Cathy Cinotto

    I’ve never liked MasterCard and don’t appreciate Citi presuming that I would be alright with this change. The credit card competition will make it easy to stop using Citi’s MasterCard.

    Reply
  5. Susan Ligara

    I and my husband had an American Airlines Advantage Visa card since 1987. I called Visa probably over 10 times, starting when I first received from Citi Cards a letter in December 2016, stating that my Visa Signature card will be converted to a MasterCard. My husband did not yet receive such a letter. That letter never gave a very clear in its explanation as to why my card was being converted to MasterCard. I also American Airlines, who was not able to give me any explanation. You would think that if either American Airlines and/or Citi Cards was making a change with Citi Cards, that an initial letter to all customers in the program would be mailed indicating the reasons why the Advantage Credit Card would no longer be a Visa Signature Card. In reading the comments from other customers, I did not want a MasterCard either. At some point, I was assured that everything would remain the same except for the account number, expiration date and security code. I felt that I had no choice in the matter. I did receive my statement having my new account number with MasterCard and with that statement, I received my new MasterCard. And yes, everything else was the same. Now my husband is waiting to receive his notification of the conversion of his card. Only time will tell if everything will remain the same. However, I feel that the yearly fee of $95 should have been credited to our statement this one time. Instead, they are giving us a $5.00 credit for each payment made on our new MasterCard in certain categories, up to $25. This ends May 31, 2017. Again, I feel that the $95 yearly fee should have been credited this time – a one time only – for our inconvenience of the conversion. Those new people who sign up for a AAdvantage MasterCard now will automatically receive the first year free. I believe that this is one way to help ease the aggravation that we all have endured in having to contact those vendors who automatically charge our credit card. Anyone else agree? Hope the new MasterCard will be just as good for my next 30 years!

    Reply
  6. Andy & Margaret

    Just spent an hour on the phone with my bank (Wells Fargo) and Citi. WF was told to change my account number and remit payments somewhere else. I told WF that I didn’t request this, and to change it back. When I called Citi, I was told “so sorry, but there’s nothing we can do; you should get your new card in 4 to 6 weeks. Have a good day.” No, I’m not having a good day. Just like many other people, I have to contact the companies that I have enrolled with, to change the credit card information on file, AFTER I get the “new” credit card. Also, since Costco doesn’t accept Mastercard, I have to look for another payment method. What an absolute disaster!

    Reply
  7. Randal Embrey

    Not happy…..no advance notice about this change. I already have a MC with another bank. I do not need 2 MC credit cards. Furthermore, I get to spend half my day changing my account number with 10-15 vendors such as airlines, hotels, rental cars, gym, Netflix, Amazon, etc. Believe me I have more important things to do.

    Reply
  8. Jim

    I just got new MC cards (7-27-2017). My current visa is good until 12-31-2017. Can I use my visa until then?? I just made a bunch of reservations in Ireland and Scotland for June 2017 using the Visa.

    Reply
  9. Elly

    Just got the new card in the mail. I now have to contact 14 vendors (Netflix, gym, charitable orgs, etc.)who charge me automatically. Guess how long that will take? Only nasty four-letter words can express how I feel about Citibank (cardholder since 1988).

    Reply
  10. Linda

    I am also cutting ties with Citibank following the Visa conversion to MasterCard. I had a small balance on my Visa at the beginning of February and now all the same charges have been added to the MasterCard. I tried to discuss with numerous customer representatives, but was told I will need to wait until I receive the new MasterCard in April. I advised them I do not want a MasterCard, but they repeat I will receive a new card because of the conversion. Obviously, customer service doesn’t even understand what the conversion means. This situation is so frustrating.

    Reply
  11. William

    Forty years as a Visa card holder – 26 of which as an AAdvantage Platinum Visa member, and I get just TEN days notice of a forced move to a Platinum World Elite Mastercard card I’ve NEVER wanted.

    It’s making me seriously question that long-term relationship, let alone significant travel on American Airlines as an elite flyer – nearly all first class.

    Moreover, as I’ll be forced to change auto-payments, then I might as well change it ALL to Delta Amex card, including future travel.

    Pathetic.

    Reply
  12. Gregg

    I left Citibank checking and savings after 25+ years. Now with this change to MC, and the very poor preparation with customers about the change, I am moving on.

    Reply
  13. MIKE

    After 27 years I will also drop CITI. Do NOT want a MasterCard period. Been there, done that.
    MC is NOT accepted at far too many businesses/locations around the world, or even the U.S as far as that goes. I will take my money elsewhere.

    Reply
  14. jocelyn

    this is also a no win for us. Can’t use mc at Costco. Can’t use it overseas. Can’t use it lots of places. Ironic they are opening up visa cards at Costco, but no aadvantage cards. Will look into other visa cards such as banco and with Chase. Over 40 years at Citibank, but no more.

    Reply
  15. Skip

    Well they finally did it…and so will I. After 31 years of being a loyal CitiBank AAdvantage VISA card holder I do not want MasterCard and will dump them. Probably go to Capital One or whatever Consumer Reports research recommends. Screw em.

    Reply
    1. Keith E Crilow

      Loyal customer for 22 years – CitiBank Platinum Advantage VISA CC card. I do not want Master Card period. I have never liked Master Card -they are not accepted everywhere like Visa is. Forcing a change to customers is a lousy way to treat customers. They have lost me if the insist on the change.

      Reply
  16. Carole

    Just got notified in the mail of the conversion. After 40 years with visa I don’t want the change. I already have a master card. I will be dropping them also when my visa expires in April.

    Shame on you, crappy customer service if you ask me!

    Reply
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. +-+-+-+

    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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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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