Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Reggie, commented:
Great question, Reggie!
There will be no changes to Reggie’s scheduled flights if he cancels the Citi ThankYou Premier card.
When Reggie booked flights through the Citi travel portal, he essentially paid with a cash equivalent.
If he needs to change or cancel the booked flights in the future, he’ll deal directly with the airlines. So it won’t matter if his Citi card is active.
I’ll explain why booking through credit card travel portals can be a good idea. And what Reggie should consider before canceling his Citi card!
Use Credit Card Points for Flights Through Bank Travel Portals
Major banks like AMEX, Chase, and Citi have credit cards that earn flexible points. Usually, you’ll get the most Big Travel by transferring these flexible points directly to airline and hotel partners.
But sometimes, it makes sense to redeem credit card points through the bank’s travel portal, like with Citi. This can be a good deal if you:
- Don’t have enough miles to book a regular award flight
- Use fewer points than a regular award flight
- Want the flexibility of NO blackout dates
- Want to earn elite qualifying miles toward airline status
For example, I searched last-minute holiday flights from San Francisco to New York (JFK) on the Citi travel portal. And you can use Citi ThankYou points for flights that might otherwise be blacked-out for award travel.
And folks like Reggie can get a better deal booking flights this way. Because rewards points on certain credit cards are worth more through bank travel portals.
For example, when booking flights through the Citi travel portal, Citi ThankYou points are worth:
- 1.25 cents each with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
- 1.33 cents each with the Citi Prestige® Card for all airlines except American Airlines
- 1.6 cents each with the Citi Prestige® Card for American Airlines flights
Note: Beginning July 23, 2017, Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige card will be worth 1.25 cents each toward flights.
Using points to book through bank travel portals is basically the same as paying with cash. This means you can use credit card rewards points, then cancel the credit card. And nothing will happen to your flight plans.
Keep in mind, there’s no scenario where you can get your credit card points back. If you booked a flight but plans changed, you’ll be subject to each airlines’ policy for changing or canceling paid airfare. You’ll likely have to pay a fee to change your flight or request a credit for future travel.
3 Things to Consider Before Canceling a Credit Card
Reggie plans to cancel his Citi ThankYou Premier card because the annual fee will hit soon.
But before he does, there are things to consider.
1. Retention Bonus
First, Reggie can call the bank to see if they’ll consider waiving the annual fee.
If not, he can see if they’re offering a retention bonus. Sometimes getting extra bonus points makes it worth keeping the card open another year.
Folks interested in retention offers should check the FlyerTalk thread to see what others got on the same card.
2. Future Sign-Up Bonus Eligibility
Remember, Citi now restricts new sign-up bonuses to folks who have opened OR closed ANY Citi ThankYou card in the past 24 months.
So if Reggie closes his Citi ThankYou Premier card, he will be unable to earn a new ThankYou points sign-up bonus for 24 months.
If Reggie hasn’t already had the card open for 24 months, he might consider waiting until then to cancel. Because after 24 months, he can apply for another Citi card that earns ThankYou points, like Citi Prestige.
This way he’ll be able to earn a new sign-up bonus. And have the option to cancel his old Citi ThankYou Premier card to restart the 24-month cycle.
3. Downgrade to a No Annual Fee Card
Because converting to a no annual fee card does NOT require a new credit pull. And you can keep your existing credit line! This helps you build a long-term relationship so you can get approved for more cards in the future.
For example, Million Mile Secrets team member Keith downgraded his Citi ThankYou Premier card to a Citi Double Cash Card to save on the annual fee.
Remember you’re not eligible to earn a sign-up bonus on the new card you downgrade to.
You don’t have to worry about changing your flight plans if you paid with rewards points from a credit card you canceled.
Before canceling a credit card, always remember to check with the bank for retention offers. Or see if it makes sense to downgrade to a no annual fee card so there’s no impact to your credit score.
Thanks for the question, Reggie!