Posted by Chuck on January 20, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on January 20th, 2016 | by Chuck

52

Testing Out My Shiny New AT&T Credit Card

When Citi launched the AT&T Access More credit card offering 3x ThankYou points for online purchases, there was a huge question mark written all over the card: what will count as an online purchase to earn bonus rewards?

Here’s the official wording of the offer: ‘Earn 3X points on purchases at AT&T and at retail and travel websites.’ And some additional details:

Retail websites are websites that sell goods directly to the consumer through an online website and include department store websites, specialty store websites, warehouse store websites and boutique websites. Travel websites are websites that allow you to book travel and include online travel agencies, hotel websites and airline websites.

Many people wondered about using the card as a means of manufacturing spend, but to me, it sounded great just for regular online shopping. I do many thousands per month in online shopping, and most of it goes on a 2% cashback credit card. ThankYou Points are worth a minimum of 1¢ each when redeeming for gift cards or mortgage payments. Even if you who have too many ThankYou Points to redeem for travel at higher values, we should all be able to get a 3% value from the 3x rewards. To increase my online rewards from 2% to 3% would be a nice accomplishment.

The purpose here not to attempt a complete list, just to give a feel for what does work and what doesn’t to earn 3x rewards, and to add some of my personal experiences with the card.

What Does Work?

Merchants I had success earning 3x:

  • Staples.com (MerchandiseSTATIONARY, OFFICE SUPPLIES AND PRINTING)
  • Target.com (MerchandiseDISCOUNT STORE)
  • Target.com paid with Paypal (DISCOUNT STORE)
  • Lastcall.com (MENS / LADIES CLOTHING STORE)
  • Neimanmarcus.com paid with Paypal (MerchandiseDEPARTMENT STORE)
  • Livingsocial.com (BUYING/SHOPPING SERVICES CLUBS)
  • Cardcash paid with Paypal (ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS)
  • Gyft paid with Paypal (ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS)
  • Swappable.com (ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS)
  • Visiondirect.com paid with Paypal (MerchandiseMISCELLANEOUS / SPECIALTY RETAIL STORES)
  • Groupon (ServicesREAL ESTATE AGENTS,BROKERS,MANAGERS)
  • Ebags.com paid via Paypal (MerchandiseMISC APPAREL / ACCESSORY STORE) Note: without Paypal will not work, reportedly
  • Apple/iTunes
  • Seashells (roundup app) appears to earn 3x
  • Egifter (with Paypal)
  • bjs.com 

What Doesn’t Work?

Merchants that did not earn me 3x:

  • Cardpool.com (MerchandiseMISCELLANEOUS / SPECIALTY RETAIL STORES)
  • Gyft direct payment, no Paypal (ServicesBUSINESS SERVICES,NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSED)
  • Shop.com (MerchandiseDIRECT SELLING ESTABLISHMNT/DOOR TO DOOR)
  • Starbucks E-gift card (ServicesBUSINESS SERVICES,NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSED)
  • Birchbox
  • Venmo (P2P payment)
  • Paypal person2person payment
  • Bluehost
  • Seashells (discounted gift card site)
  • BJ’s Checks online order
  • Cashstar (Best Buy e-gift card)
  • Plastiq payment for federal taxes (others have had success with some Plastiq payments)

Thoughts

As you can see, with regards to Gyft, only when paying through Paypal did it earn 3x, not when paying directly on the site. This is because Gyft direct purchases come up as ‘Miscellaneous Business Services’ (MCC 7399) and is not eligible; Gyft via Paypal comes up as ‘COMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS’ which did work.

Even more interesing is that Visiondirect.com worked and Cardpool did not, despite both of them coming through as “MerchandiseMISCELLANEOUS / SPECIALTY RETAIL STORES.” Apparently, there’s a more detailed merchant-category-code (MCC) which is the real decider, and the description doesn’t mean much.

Earning 3x on eBay?

Updated 4/20/17

I tested out purchases at my favorite eBay sellers 🙂 and all four now earn 3x with ATT:

  • Giftcardmall (ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS) – earns 3x (paid with Paypal)
  • Cardency (MerchandiseMISCELLANEOUS / SPECIALTY RETAIL STORES) – earns 3x (paid with Paypal)
  • SVM Earns 3x (since they changed their category coding in March 2017)
  • Paypal Digital Gifts (ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS) – earns 3x (always needs to be paid with Paypal)
  • Nationalgiftcard – earns 3x

Where I remained utterly stumped was regarding earning 3x on purchases made on eBay from the Giftcardmall seller. I spent a lot of money at that merchant, and it clearly had been getting 3x rewards on previous statements. However, on my December statement, most of the Giftcardmall/eBay purchases did not earn 3x, whereas one $330 purchase did. I had a long back-and-forth with Citi over this issue and it was more-or-less confirmed that the $330 purchase did earn 3x and the others did not.

The Explanation

Via secure message, the rep explained that the Giftcardmall purchases on the December statement were coming up as card-not-present transactions. It seems that some online purchases don’t show up as regular online purchases, instead showing up as card-not-present, similar to a merchant who would key in your card number for a phone order.

Your online retail and travel category bonus is only available for eligible category purchases billed as online purchases. Purchases billed by the merchant as Card Not Present transactions are not eligible for the category bonus.

In other words, the category coding of Giftcardmall/eBay does earn 3x, it’s the card-not-present that’s hindering the 3x.

But why did some Giftcardmall/eBay purchases merit 3x and some not? It dawned on me that this is due to the new eBay checkout system. All my past Giftcardmall/eBay purchases were paid through Paypal, yet the recent ones were mostly paid directly on eBay. Looking through my records, it became apparent that the single $330 purchase that did earn 3x was when I went through Paypal (it was paid partially with a gift card which requires using Paypal) while all the other recent ones were paid directly on eBay.

Observations and Summary

  • Not everything coded as Services in invalidated from earning 3x. Conversely, not everything coded as Merchandise does earn 3x.
  • Seems like “ServicesCOMPUTER NETWORK/INFO SRVS” will earn 3x.
  • Gyft with Paypal and without is coded differently, causing Paypal transactions to earn 3x and non-Paypal transactions not to. Interesting to keep in mind that Paypal can change things.
  • Major retailers seem to be working to earn 3x both with Paypal and without.
  • eBay purchased paid directly on eBay – no Paypal login – probably will not receive 3x (that’s the case with Giftcardmall/eBay, and it may be the case with all direct eBay purchases); purchases made through Paypal will depend on the seller, and some will earn 3x.
  • For reasons that aren’t clear, some online merchants come through as card-not-present, and that invalidates the bonus points.

Final Thoughts

The ATT Access More card is a compelling product for someone who does lots of online shopping. Assuming $10,000+ in annual spend, there is a bonus of 10,000 points which will counteract the $95 annual fee. And it comes with $650 toward a new phone to boot – a bonus that even those who don’t intend on keeping the product may find interesting for resale. (Bonus fact: you can sell it without having to ever open the box.)

The key here is to use the card primarily for the 3x category as you’ll do better on other cards for regular 1x earn. It’s tricky figuring out what will score 3x, and it’s worth testing out the merchants you shop at often. The major retailers will probably work for the most part. Aside from that, don’t assume you’ll be getting the 3x unless you verified.

Note regarding clarifying what earned 3x: the chat reps don’t know what receives 3x and what doesn’t; some will admit they don’t know while others will think they do. Send a secure message and they’ll forward it to the rewards department, and you’ll get the correct info.



52 Responses to Testing Out My Shiny New AT&T Credit Card

  1. UBtraveler says:

    Does anyone know if using this card to fund a citigold account counts as 3x since the transaction is coded as “citi online” when I did it?

  2. raj says:

    Any ways to do MS on this card.? I dont have much of online spend, but got this card for the phone offer.

    GCM keeps on cancelling the orders. giftcards.com….tried it …but i couldnt figured whether it earned 3x or not.

    flyertal has a great thread , but mostly talking abt the phone offers

  3. Justin says:

    Has anyone tried to use this card for making rent payments online which might fall under the travel category?

  4. stvr says:

    Just spoke to five different Citibank reps. Not a single one was able to identify in their systems whether a merchant was listed as ‘card not present’ or not

  5. Olympia says:

    What about Nationwide Buxx (NW Buxx)? That could be very interesting…

  6. Matt says:

    Can confirm that this card earns 3x at simonmall.com. Stacks with ebates.

  7. csdx says:

    Aren’t all online transactions “Card Not Present” though, it’s not like I’m mailing my card to the merchant, or is there yet more in the way of credit card security nowadays where that term means something else?

    • Chuck says:

      The way I understand it is that some online transactions go thru as ‘official’ online transactions and other transactions go thru sort of like if you call in an order to your local restaurant and they manually key in your credit card number over the phone. It comes up somehow differently.

  8. D says:

    “You can sell it without ever opening the box” I guess that is possible but you must activate for 15 days and PAY for the plan you use up until then.
    Lowest plan is $40 and you are forced to buy it if you buy an iphone online with the card. Am I wrong? Did I get screwed?

  9. Max says:

    Hey Chick – How can u sell it without opening the box ? I thought it needs to be activated on AT&T service for 15 days .. even if u want to put a friends sim to activate you still have to open it (correct) ?
    Also whats the best places to sell brand new iphones for great return ?

    • Chuck says:

      A friend told me from personal experience that the whole thing can be done without opening the box.

      Not sure where to sell, I guess eBay or Amazon.

      • bams says:

        you can try selling the phone on swappa. i’ve used it to sell phones before and unopened brand new in box phones sell for near retail and they charge a flat fee.

  10. Harvy says:

    Raise.com did not give me 3x in the most recent statement. It was giving the 3x in the previous statement. So something changed there as well. This card is too unpredictable. Why should card not present be treated differently from Online?

    • Chuck says:

      Card-not-present is coded differently. Are you sure about the Raise? Seems odd. Can you SM Citi and ask if Raise earned 3x on the recent statement and report back?

      • Harvy says:

        SMed Citi. They are saying that for the previous transactions in November, the charges from Raise came through as Online, but the transactions I made in December and early January came through as a Manual.

  11. thershope says:

    What about amazon.com ?

  12. Harvy says:

    Chuck, could you please verify if Raise.com gave you 3x in December? I saw 3x in November, but not since. Thanks.

  13. Ash says:

    Does Radpad work for 3X? Anyone have experience? As they charge 1.99% for Mastercard, could be a very profitable one.

  14. joe says:

    So….buying Costco Cash Cards from Costco.com should be a go? for 3x?

  15. Jeff says:

    Has anyone tried buying points from points.com and seeing if those earn 3x?

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  17. Frank says:

    Does anyone know how it the RadPad charge shows up on your statement? What does the check look like? or what MCC it post under? Want to user my capital one venture card to get miles and someone posted that they post under travel so I want to make sure that is true. Also want to know what the check looks like so I know what to see in the mail so I don’t throw it out by mistake since I get a lot of spam mail.

  18. Ashker says:

    Miscellaneous REAL ESTATE AGENTS AND MANAGERS RENTALS

  19. Nico says:

    Quick question — I see you mentioned that NeimanMarcus came up 3x when using PayPal. Did it not work when paying directly at NM? Or did you not try?

  20. Zal says:

    Hi,

    There is a easy way to see what transactions eared 3x online!

    In your Citi At&t account, press “Points summary”
    Select your At&t Card and press “Continue”.
    You will see the amount of points you earned over the months you choose. Changing from “view by account” to “View as a List” will give you a list of transaction dates and a icon showing “3x” or “1x”.
    You cannot see the merchant, but you can see the date and amount of points earned, so its pretty easy to put 2 and 2 together.

    Gallery of screenshots: https://sli.mg/a/B4hQzr

  21. Sajer Guy says:

    Ebags.com via their website was only 1x. I should have gone through Paypal.

  22. cj says:

    You said that a gift card was used on a 3x transaction and not on the rest. was the fact that the gift card was used why you got 3x on ebay?

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