I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Several banks in Canada and around the world offer cards that are a notch higher — Visa Infinite — but it hasn’t taken hold in the US. I vaguely recall that US Bank used to offer a Stratus card that was Visa Infinite. Now there’s a Visa Infinite US card.
Visa Infinite, the more exclusive tier, is now available in the US from City National Bank: the Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card.
But does Visa Infinite mean it’s a valuable product?
The card comes with:
- Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access, including two free guests per visit (like Citi Prestige)
- Triple points on travel and dining (which includes “airlines, hotels, taxis, limousines, rental cars, trains, buses, gas, restaurants, fast food and takeout food dining establishments”). Searching through the airfare search tool you should get between 0.9 and 1.1 cents per point on tickets.
- $250 per card airline fee credit each year
- Global entry enrollment fee credit
Not hugely exciting, though there are more benefits I’ll talk about below. What’s interesting is that the card’s website didn’t mention the annual fee, which they can do because you can’t apply online you have to call. So I called and asked about the fee and was told it’s $0 the first year then $400. They had to research and call me back when I asked whether additional cardholders had an annual fee.
They rang back to let me know that additional cardholders are fee free. That’s very interesting because the benefit guide says that “each cardholder under the Crystal Visa Infinite card account may receive a discount up to $250 per calendar year for qualifying airline purchases…” So this fee credit appears to scale without additional annual card fees!
Additional card benefits include, among other things:
- The rental car collision damage waiver is secondary (so not as good as what’s offered by Chase Sapphire Preferred whose coverage is primary), only valid for rentals up to 15 days inside the U.S., and doesn’t provide coverage in Israel, Jamaica, Ireland, or Northern Ireland.
- National Car Rental Executive status (which American Express Platinum also offers)
- $100 off domestic airline reservations for 2-5 passengers, when booked through the cardmember portal at myvisainfinite.com/cnb
- Fast track to Relaix & Chateau Club 5C status after 2 nights in 12 months
This is not a great rewards card, but there’s value here. Largely you make $250 (or 250 per cardholder on the account) off the airline fee credit in the first year where the fee is $0. Plus you pick up National car rental status (not hugely valuable, but it’s a nicer car from the Executive Aisle instead of Emerald Aisle) and there’s a domestic airfare savings when traveling with another person and booking through their portal which can be used as many times as you wish.
It also provides you that premium Priority Pass Select membership with free guests, which is the cheapest way by far to access Alaska Airlines lounges.
I don’t think this card is anywhere in the league of Citi Prestige, but ‘first year free’ lets you milk some real benefits.
I haven’t done any business with City National Bank so don’t know whether they’ll approve people that aren’t bank customers. I also don’t know whether their gift card option (“Don’t forget to ask about ordering Gift Cards in bulk”) will allow credit card purchases.
(HT: Steve T)