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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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