Can You Convert Citi Executive Card Into Citi Prestige Card?

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Update: The Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou® Premier now offer 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.

One of the hottest credit cards at the moment is the Citi Prestige® Card, which is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months.

While the card has a $450 annual fee, it’s still a great value, given that it offers:

  • A $250 annual airline credit
  • A fourth night free hotel benefit
  • The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
  • A $100 Global Entry fee credit
  • A great points earnings structure
  • No foreign transaction fees

The timing of this offer couldn’t be better, given that I was looking for a replacement for my Citi Executive AAdvantage Card. Early last year the card offered a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus, which many people jumped on. The card comes with Admirals Club access, so is super-valuable for those of us who are loyal American flyers.

That being said, given the lack of other perks, I couldn’t really justify renewing the card with a $450 annual fee, which is why the Citi Prestige® Card is so awesome. It comes with Admirals Club access as well, except offers so much beyond that.

I just picked up the Citi Prestige Card last week, which is great timing since I got notice of my annual fee coming due on the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card (which I won’t be renewing).



So one question I’ve received over and over is whether the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card card can be converted into the Citi Prestige® Card. Yes, you can convert the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card into the Citi Prestige Card. But should you?

Pros of converting cards

The main benefit of converting cards is that you won’t be hit with a credit inquiry, and your account won’t be closed, which means your average age of accounts will continue to grow (that’s one aspect of your credit score).

Cons of converting cards

By converting your existing card you’ll be forgoing the sign-up bonus on the card. Unless specifically otherwise stated, you don’t earn the sign-up bonus on a card when you convert it as opposed to applying for the card “fresh.” So by converting the card you’d be giving up a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, which I value at $800+.

Do you have to close the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card first?

So in the event that you decide to apply for the CCiti Prestige® Card, do you have to cancel your Citi Executive AAdvantage Card first? Nope, not necessarily. You should be able to cancel the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card before or after — it shouldn’t really make a difference, unless you have a ton of Citi cards (in which case it could make sense to close it first).

Bottom line

While you can convert the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card into the Citi Prestige® Card, I think you’re much better off applying for the card “new” so that you can earn the sign-up bonus.

If you take a balanced approach towards credit card applications then your credit score should be good, and the average age of accounts should be a non-issue (this is why I keep some no annual fee cards long term, since it helps keep up my average age of accounts).

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  1. It has other advantages no one is mentioning. The card will also get you bumped into the elite car rental membership levels for National, Avis, and Sixt. I got my card on Wednesday and as soon as I signed up with Sixt I was in the top tier rental category and made a rental booking that saved me 13% over what was otherwise on the website.

    It also has primary collision insurance without country limitation, missed event protection, damage and theft protection, extended warranty, etc.

  2. Hi Ben. GREAT article. Been debating about the prestige card and I have the executive card as well. So here is a question, I have an excellent credit score, and I intend to apply for the prestige card. Once I get it can I transfer my balance from the executive to the prestige card and cancel the executive card?

  3. Ben: Your primary reason for this card seems to be for AC membership.Given the amount of AA flying you do you must have a boat load of Business Extra points. We use ours for AC membership. What do you use your AA Business Extra points for?Just curious.

  4. @ pssteve — Perhaps embarrassing confession. I have a friend’s Business Extra number on my account, so I don’t even collect my own points. Oops?

  5. @ andrew — Yep, I believe you should be able to transfer your available credit from the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card, assuming it has been open for a minimum amount of time. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  6. FWIW, there is a targeted offer with a 100k bonus for the Citi Prestige card being sent out. Not sure how to induce it or if it will eventually open up to everyone.

  7. You write that it’s the most comprehensive lounge access. Isn’t it PP select which the other cards also offer?

  8. @ me — Except you can take up to two guests for free. With other cards offering a Priority Pass Select membership, you’re charged for guests.

  9. You can only move limit to a Citi card if your card application is processed over the phone with an analyst. Otherwise it will require another hard pull. Maybe if you request it within 24 hours, they might not do another hard pull, but certainly not after a week or so.

  10. @Mike B How did you find out about the extra benefits you mentioned? I’m not seeing elite car membership, primary rental insurance, theft and extended warranty protection, listed on the Citi site for this card.

  11. Data point: I was able to convert my Exec AAdvantage card to a Citi Prestige (we are likely to be buying a house in the next year, so trying to limit hard pulls), but for some reason my wife was told no when she asked the same. Possibly because our attention slipped and the payment for her new annual fee had already been made?

  12. I tried to just convert the card, but met with nobody who would do it at Citi Bank. So I just applied for the new one and will cancel the old one. Got approved immediately.

  13. Regarding lounge access, secondary cardmembers get Priority Pass lounge access but not Admiral’s Club.
    I just had this discussion with Citi when they told me they would not prorate my annual fee on the Exec card if I cancelled.

  14. @ Rod — They are indeed offering retention/spending bonuses in some cases, but nothing I’ve heard of that’s enough to make me keep the card.

  15. My Citi AA Executive was just renewed last February and they charged me the $450 fee. If I cancel it now will they pro rate that fee back to me? Just checking since I don’t want to cancel the card if they do not give my money back.

  16. One thing that makes the exec worth keeping over the prestige is the 10k EQM for $40k spend. A smaller benefit is the discounted award redemptions. You can also get these with the $85 citi AA card, but if you also have the aviator card, there is really no teason to keep the $85 citi aa card.

  17. I also am trying to decide whether to get the citi executive or citi prestige. Main purpose would be to maximize advantage miles. Which card would be better for that?

  18. @ Lisa R. — Citi Prestige points can be redeemed towards the cost of a paid American ticket, though not towards an American award ticket. If you want to earn American miles with your credit card, the Starwood American Express is your best option, since you earn one Starpoint per dollar spent. Starpoints can be transferred 1:1 to American, and for every 20,000 points you transfer, you get a 5,000 point bonus, which means you’re basically earning 1.25 American miles per dollar spent.

  19. The Citi executive gives 2 miles for every dollar spent so I would think that would be better. Currently a 50,000 mile sign on bonus as well. Thanks for clarifying.

  20. @ Lisa R. — Where do you see the two mile per dollar figure? The card awards one mile per dollar spent on everyday spend.

    It awards two miles per dollar spent on American, so maybe that’s what you’re thinking about?

  21. You are correct. My mistake. I also want to take advantage of admirals club membership , no mileage cap, no foreign fees. Do u still recommend the Starwood American Express? I already have the American Express platinum card. Also have the united mileage plus club card. Thanks

  22. @ Lisa r — Personally I’d do a combination of the Starwood AmEx (for everyday spend) and Citi Prestige (for lounge access and other perks). You’ll still end up paying less out of pocket for those annual fees than you’d pay for the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card.

  23. I was on the phone with citi and cancelled my wifes executive card and was told she could not apply for the prestige card for 18 months from the date she was approved for the executive card. Is this info correct?

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