Posted by Chuck on July 21, 2017
Manufactured Spending

Published on July 21st, 2017 | by Chuck

30

[Changes Tomorrow] Citi AT&T to No Longer Earn 3x on Gift Cards and Rent – What that Means for Us

[Originally posted on 7/13/17. Reposting on 7/21/17 since the change goes into effect tomorrow. Let us know your experiences in the comments.]

At&t Card Changes

Citi sent out an email today indicating that the Citi AT&T card which earns 3x for most online purchases will no longer earn 3x on the purchase or reload of gift cards, nor on rental and real estate payments.

Beginning July 22, 2017, gift cards and rent will only earn 1x with the AT&T card. The card will continue to earn 3x on ordinary online purchases.

The same changes hold true for the no-annual-fee ATT Access card (the non-More version) which earns 2x online purchases. Beginning July 22, gift cards and rent will only earn 1x.

Sample Changes

Here are some of the real-world ramifications for us; all of these will likely change on July 22:

Notes

It’s important to note that the change will only affect those sites coded correctly as gift card sites or rent/mortgage/HOA payments. Some sites might not come through as gift card or rent, and some sites might be part of a larger business. These won’t necessarily change.

I’d also assume, that buying or reloading Amazon gift cards will continue to earn 3x since it won’t be pegged as a gift card transaction. Similarly, if you buy a Macy’s gift card from macys.com it should still code at 3x.

The rent/mortgage payees are less likely to remain since those payments are so large Citi might be able to pick up on them and individually code those businesses not to earn 3x.

Regarding Plastiq specifically, it seems that most avenues are sealed shut: ATT probably won’t work anymore after this change, CSR stopped coding at 3x for rent/mortgage, CIP is a Visa card which won’t work in most cases for rent/mortgage, and PPBDC is being charged 2.5% now like a credit card. The only angles left that I’m aware of with Plastiq are:

  • CIP on rent/mortgage if  it’s coding for you at 3x and your payee is somehow going through despite being Visa (both of these things are YMMV)
  • If you want to cash out the travel rewards on a Visa credit card with that kind of rewards program (BofA TR, Cap1), these things might still work

Final Word

While these changes mostly close the door on using the Citi AT&T card for purposes of manufactured spending, remember that it still earns 3x on ordinary online purchases which is quite generous. Further, there might still be some codings which fall through the cracks and continue to work. Personally, I intend to keep the card with it’s $95 annual fee for those reasons.

An easy rule of thumb is that if you think you’ll have $10k in annual purchases it’s worth keeping the card since it comes with a 10,000 points annual bonus for those who spent $10,000 over the course of the cardmember year. If you’ll be spending less than $10k, it might not be worth keeping. It’ll depend how much you plan on spending and how you value ThankYou points.

Remember to get your last Plastiq or whatnot charges in before July 22nd. Will also be interesting to see if the ATT Access More card becomes available for signup again now that they tweaked the rewards program.



30 Responses to [Changes Tomorrow] Citi AT&T to No Longer Earn 3x on Gift Cards and Rent – What that Means for Us

  1. Tony says:

    I’m perfectly ok with this. Get rid of the abusers while not devaluing the card too much for those who actually get good value organically.

    • Chuck says:

      I wouldn’t say I’m okay with this 🙂 but, yeah, I’d admit I’m impressed that they came up with a way to keep the card as advertised and just knock out the MS angle.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the card up for applications again soon.

      • Tony says:

        Exactly. They easily could have just discontinued the card altogether.

        I guess this is a nice middle ground since there was probably no way this could have continued indefinitely.

    • Dave C says:

      Yea you’re awesome

  2. Chong says:

    ATTAM is very hit or miss. Even when it comes to organic spending at online retailers. Many retailers, especially smaller shops don’t code as online but instead put their physical location which makes it appear as if it were an in-store transaction. B&H is one major example of this.

    Unless you check the list of retailers that work specifically to code as 3x or first-hand experience, you’re playing roulette with receiving either 1x or 3x. Even worse, they reward points after statement cuts and don’t itemize bonus points.

    Way too much of a hassle. Closing it down before AF hits.

  3. Amy says:

    Is AT&T Access still keeping 2% without any change?

  4. DT says:

    I think someone from Citi is reading all these MS discussions.
    Thie way this email was written is the proof.

    • Pepe says:

      While I have no doubt that Citi is reading these and similar forums they could just as easily deduce these angles by looking at the spend patterns on their cards. They have all the info they need to figure out what we are doing.

      As an aside it is interesting that 7/22 is essentially when the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier and both ATT cards all get their respective devaluations. Funny timing especially since the Prestige devaluation was scheduled a year ago.

    • Frank says:

      Every bank has employees reading all these MS discussions. If you assume they aren’t aware of all these loopholes going on, you are too naive. Do you believe Amex doesn’t know Platinum credit can be used to purchase gift card? Do you think Chase has no idea people are using ink cards to MS in staples?

  5. NinjaX says:

    so who is STILL arguing that public discussions are okay? how much more proof do you need?

    fukn pissed about this, but like someone earlier said, its good for our game.

    • Frank says:

      It is ok because even if you don’t talk about it, other people will do it anyway. And do you think bank will have no idea what we are doing if we keep the talk in private? That’s naive. Simple data mining can easily detect MS. See what US bank has done for its new premium card. Accounts are being closed for only one transaction.

      Banks are not stupid. For less sensitive banks like Citi and Amex, a small group of people play this game is totally fine. They make changes only if more and more people get involved in the game and at some point, they start to see a slash of revenue. That’s when they start taking actions. This time for AT&T card, This is exactly what happened.

  6. Mr. Emoji says:

    Amex 2MR is gonna rule!

  7. Igor says:

    Nerfed.

  8. chaseaholic says:

    I hope you’re right and the card becomes available again for new sign ups.

    I imagine from now on what does still work with the card will be less openly discussed.

  9. chenyuetian says:

    With mortgage payment it’s easy to be greater $10K per year. But w/o it I would say I wouldn’t keep this card

  10. DT says:

    Don’t forget that if you need to top up spend to $10000/year buying VGCs w/o fee would accomplish it and offset the annual fee.
    In that case the card could be still kept for organic online spending bringing 3 TYP/$1.

  11. Citibank Spy says:

    I Approve of this message

  12. Jeremy says:

    Should I convert my forward card to this? We rarely use forward anymore, except for occasional Amazon purchase. We do quite a bit of online shopping from other sources though.

    • Chuck says:

      Sounds like a plan. I believe some people are still having success doing product changes to the card. If you’ll spend $10k+ annually on the card (in bonus and non-bonused categories combined) it’s a no-brainer.

      • Jeremy says:

        I would lose the 1200 points/year on forward though.

      • Ivan X says:

        I’d heard that too, but since Oct 2016 I’ve tried to change an old card to AttAM a half dozen times and was told each time that the card didn’t come up as an available conversion option. One time I was flatly told “We no longer perform conversions to that card.”

        I attempted from an AA Bronze, a DC, and a TY Preferred (all same old account, I kept PC’ing in hopes it would work from a different card).

  13. S nack says:

    My rent payment was charged yesterday and since today is Friday so it’s probably not going to post until Monday. It was processed as misc government service and has been earning 3X gonna give it a month and see if Citi caught this one.

  14. Beach Miles says:

    There is always hope for us miserable MS’ers. Some supplier of Gift Cards could code sales improperly, and the Garvey would continue to flow. But I’m not expecting that outcome. But, I will test it.

  15. Mark says:

    Anyone know if you can PC to the no AF AT&T card from a diamond Preferred?

  16. Shalabh says:

    Retention might be a reason to keep it if you can get one..

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