Posted by William Charles on February 14, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on February 14th, 2019 | by William Charles

88

Maximizing City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite Points (1.3¢ In Real Value)

A lot of readers have the City National Bank (CNB) Crystal Visa Infinite card, back in December Travel With Grant posted that points were now worth 1.35¢ each only to have this debunked by Frequent Miler. There is actually a relatively easy way to get a true 1.3¢ per point in value.

Travel Portal (1.35¢ Per Point, Inflated Prices)

If you book through the CNB travel portal flights will price out at 1.35¢ per point. The problem as FM mentions in the above linked article is flights show up more expensive than they should (e.g if you search for a flight on another site it will be significantly cheaper on that site).

Concierge (1.3¢ Per Point)

If you book through the CNB concierge they can book through their advanced live-inventory system and if that doesn’t show the flight you want or if it’s available at a price higher than normal they are also able to book directly with the airline. When doing this you receive a flat 1.3¢ per point.

Additional Concierge Benefits

In addition to booking through the concierge being better value, there are a number of other additional benefits:

  • They can combine other discounts (e.g the Visa Infinite $100 round trip discount)
  • You earn credit card points on the flight. When a flight is booked you’re charge the full cost of the flight to the CNB Visa Infinite and then at a later date they apply a statement credit, meaning you also earn 3x points on the flight booking
  • They sometimes give you random gifts/benefits. For example one reader received a United Club membership after booking a $1,600 flight through the concierge

If anybody knows any other tricks for CNB, I’d love to hear them.

Hat tip to reader AKSF



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Joe B
Joe B

Hey Will, in light of the AA fiasco, would you mid bringing back the CNB airline credit DP page? Thanks for everything

Kevin
Kevin

just google it..simple…

Joe B
Joe B

Great advice Kevin… read my comment again on why it should be updated

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

What AA fiasco ?
Sorry, I have been out of loop for couple of months.

HoKo
HoKo

AA changed the way giftcard purchases are coding – as a result it seems like these purchases are no longer triggering amex airline travel credits.

So joe b is wondering if the coding change will also impact cnb travel credits – it’s a fair question, i was wondering the same thing when the amex news broke

jeph36
jeph36

I used up all my AA GCs over the weekend to book some cheap summer-vacation tickets ORD-SYD for the family (<$400 per person! … in economy 🙁 ), so I just bought a $50 GC to see if it still works on CNB (I have not done any of my 2019 reimbursements yet). Will report back in a few days …

atinge
atinge

AA EGC works for CNB

Mike
Mike

It worked for me back in January. Got my $1000 in GCs and reimbursements without issue.

HoKo
HoKo

Are you able to tell how the January charges were coded? I’m wondering if perhaps you did your charges before AA implemented the coding change

HoKo
HoKo

Sounds good, IIRC CNB doesn’t post the credit until statement close date (I could be wrong on this though – don’t have time to go through old statements to verify this). Is your statement closing soon?

AKSF
AKSF

It’s not tied to statement closing date.

jeph36
jeph36

Update: My $50 GC has Trans Date of Feb 14, Post Date of Feb 18. The travel credit showed today with a Trans Date of Feb 17 and Post Date of Feb 20. So any changes AA made in how it codes GCs on Feb 08 (which caused failures on Amex Plat) did not affect the CNB credit system.

Raymond
Raymond

I purchased 1x$150 and 1x$100 AA egift cards on Feb 1. Got both credits last week.

Matt
Matt

CNB airline credit still works for AA, my 2/12/2019 AA gc rebate posted on 2/20/2019.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Awesome! Does this work with other travel besides flights? Hotels? Car rentals? Vacation rentals? Cruises (I think I remember a reader telling me that cruises do work)?

one
one

now that the cat is out of the bag, yes. Anything the concierge books that is travel can have statement points redeemed against it at a fixed rate

HoKo
HoKo

Thanks for the helpful info. Are there restrictions on what hotels the concierge can book? i.e. are they restricted to a certain booking platform or can they book any hotel by going to the hotels direct site?

AKSF
AKSF

Why did the cat need to be out of the bag on this? It’s a feature of the card, no need to keep things hidden.

HoKo
HoKo

+1

Wondering same thing

Yet Another Redditor
Yet Another Redditor

Any booking made thru the Concierge has a $20 modification/cancellation fee even if the target airline/hotel/car rental does not. Also, it takes a manual process to revert the points back to your account after cancellation.

https://i.imgur.com/gWACOyS.png

Overall, my experience with the Concierge does not reflect the fact that this is an ultra-premium Visa Infinite card.

shhhh
shhhh

FWIW I didn’t have any issues (or fee) with modifying/cancelling a flight.

“Also, it takes a manual process to revert the points back to your account after cancellation.”

Or just don’t get the points back and cash them out that way…

Shiv Kumar
Shiv Kumar

If you don’t mind me asking, where did you find the FAQ in the image? Cnb has a bunch of different sites for things so it can get confusing.

Yet Another Redditor
Yet Another Redditor

Sure. It is in the footer on CNBRewards.com. I found a direct link that works without having to log in https://rwcontent.awardcenter.com/images/Release/Documents/FAQ028-CNB_TravelFAQs.pdf

William Charles Somewhere in the CNB Card page, it may be worth noting that card holders need to create accounts on the following sites to manage their CNB CC account and its benefits –

CNB CC account – https://creditcare.cnb.com/
CNB CC Spend Alerts – https://citynationalbank.digitalcardservice.com/
CNB Rewards – https://www.cnbrewards.com/

Following accounts are needed for the other related benefits –
Priority Pass – https://www.prioritypass.com, Need Membership # and Website PIN from a letter
CNB Visa Infinite Benefits – https://myvisainfinite.com/cnb
GoGo In-Flight Wifi Passes – https://visa.gogoair.com/cnb

Jeremy
Jeremy

Will, do you think this is a good one and done card with this valuation?

Shiv Kumar
Shiv Kumar

What airlines can the concierge book? For example, would Southwest be an option?

AKSF
AKSF

They have a tool they use so anything in that tool. If something isn’t in the tool, they told me they can book directly with the airline (they go to the website just like you would, and they purchase using your card). Not sure if Southwest is in the tool or not, but they did tell me specifically for SW they could book on the site. The charge posts to your card and then you get a statement credit from points.

Jeremy
Jeremy

This could be game changing when combined with companion pass. 1.3 cpp x 3 = 3.9 cpp. If you get double that with CP, you’re looking at 7.8 cpp!

William F
William F

Why would it be 7.8cpp? The companion isn’t charged anything so how are you getting additional points for the companion booking?

trvl4fs
trvl4fs

Do you have to tell them something in particular to have them charge the credit card and then later deduct the points?

AKSF
AKSF

No, that’s just how booking through concierge works as far as I understand.

Jeremy
Jeremy

So booking through the concierge will always automatically use your points?

AKSF
AKSF

That’s my understanding.

Grant

I’ve had very good success with the concierge but they are not open 24 hours a day, so you may need to call them during normal business hours.

HoKo
HoKo

Do you know what their hours are?

Grant

No, I think they work from 7am to 9pm PT, but I really have no idea.

RC
RC

Crud I now realize I just redeemed cash and 20k points at roughly 1.1cpp. Didnt check the flight price on google first so mea culpa but it was indeed 1.35cpp using CNBs portal prices.

LLcoolJ
LLcoolJ

Any DP on combining with the $100 Visa Discount Air benefit? The concierge told me the exact opposite, that is only available when booked through the portal.

HenryWeinhard
HenryWeinhard

I just got off the phone with the concierge. They said you CAN use the $100 discount in combination with points, but they can’t do it for you. They asked me to make the booking myself, give them all the details (dates, flight numbers), and promised that the points would be deducted and applied to my account by Monday.

Pretty sweet deal, thanks for making this post!

aubergine
aubergine

That is amazing. Last Visa Discount Air Benefit I did it just came through though as ‘travel agency’ and didn’t get coded up for 3x. Also didn’t get the (sometimes reported) off label benefit of the tix being coded up as two transactions, and sometimes the smaller (discounted) tix getting reimbursed under the air incidental credit separately..

payyoutuesday
payyoutuesday

Excellent tip, Henry! I will be using this. Makes me wonder if you could make any kind of travel booking (like a hotel) and get the concierge to apply the points after the fact.

payyoutuesday
payyoutuesday

As a followup, the hotel that I wanted to book was not available through the travel portal. The concierge was able to book it for me at a rate of 1.3 cpp. They charged my card for the booking and are supposed to subtract the corresponding points from my account and give me a statement credit for the booking in the next 7-10 days.

A couple of items: To do things this way, the booking must be a nonrefundable rate. Also, the concierge books directly with the hotel, so you get whatever benefits/discounts that entails, and you avoid portal markup and availability issues. For example, I booked a 4-person room for 3 nights. The Citi TYP portal listed only a 3-person room at a rate (in dollars) that was 42% higher. The Chase UR portal had no availability at all.

Based on this, I suspect that the concierge could use points at 1.3 cpp to book just about anything that’s not available directly through the CNB rewards portal.

DS
DS

They specifically said non-refundable hotels?

HenryWeinhard
HenryWeinhard

Followup: The credits posted today. The concierge purchases coded as “travel services” and did not earn 3x points.

Sruly
Sruly

Are you saying you can pay with points and also get the $100 off?

vipul
vipul

There seems to be a $25 fee, so its not exactly 1.3 cpp

AKSF
AKSF

I didn’t get charged a fee when I did a booking.

H Xu
H Xu

anyone can help me understand this “You earn credit card points on the flight. When a flight is booked you’re charge the full cost of the flight to the CNB Visa Infinite and then at a later date they apply a statement credit, meaning you also earn 3x points on the flight booking”

AKSF
AKSF

Let’s say you book a $1000 flight. Your card gets charged $1000, meaning you earn 3X on it, so 3000 points.

They then give you a statement credit, using your points, to offset the $1000 charge. So they’d deduct 76923 points and post a $1000 statement credit to the account. End result is you get the flight for free (with a point value of 1.3), and you also earn 3X points on the transaction.

Also, you don’t have to have enough points to cover the entire charge. If you purchase a $1000 flight but only have $800 worth of points, that’s fine. Your card gets charged $1000, you get a statement credit for $800, and you’re basically out $200 out of pocket.

H XU
H XU

got it, thanks a lot

Points
Points

I just read about this card. Is it true that they give 1 incidental credit for primary user and 3 for AU? Thats $1000 in credits and annual fee is only 400. How is it posible? They would be losing money, wont they?

Jeremy
Jeremy

One of the major reasons this card is recommend.

T
T

1. The intended use for the credit is not as easily maxed out.
2. Not everyone will get 3 AU
3. Loss leader is common tactic… Like CSR for Chase.

Blake
Blake

When I called yesterday, the concierge booked the flight for me right then. I’ve tried twice today, and both times they sent me straight to the travel center, where you do get charged the $25 fee. I wonder if the increase in calls as a result of this post has driven some type of policy change?

ssss
ssss

Are CNB’s points only used through the agent or concierge? Can they erase a fee booked online?

Ed
Ed

I am particularly interested if the concierge can book SW and if so can they attach your RR number and earn RR points in addition to the 3x at CNB?

AKSF
AKSF

Should be able to.

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