UPDATE from the OP Josh
Hello, all–this was my and my wife’s story. I wanted to update everyone on what ended up happening.
Presumably as a result of this post, I got a call from a Citi account manager yesterday taking responsibility for the prior representatives’ errors and apologizing for the inconvenience it caused us. They offered to credit back the annual fee on both my card and my wife’s card ($85/card, posting within 2-3 days), and at my request, they also agreed to give us each 5,000 AA miles for the trouble. As part of that deal, we ended up keeping the original Visa Signature cards rather than converting them to the Bronze. So, in total, we’ll receive a statement credit of $170, 10,000 AA miles, and we’ll keep the cards with the better benefits (though to be clear, I would’ve already been refunded the prorated annual fee, ~$140, in June based on the conversion to the Bronze card, so the net credit would actually be ~$30–still, this is a good deal).
To me, this was a very fair resolution, and I appreciated the representative’s sympathy and tone. Kudos to Citi (and American Airlines) for taking the extra step to make it right. Thanks also to Rick and Howie — we wouldn’t have gotten here without your help and the great community at frugaltravelguy.com!
UPDATE: The AAdvantage team has provided an official response confirming the information provided by the CSR and supervisor were incorrect.
This is a new one on me and may be a recent change in policy or a truly uninformed CSR and supervisor. Note in Josh’s email he did the right thing and escalated to a supervisor and re-questioned several times. We Need Feedback from fellow frugal travelers. Has a conversation similar to this happened to you? Here is Josh’s surprising email to me:
Just wanted to pass along this information to see if you had heard of anything like this, or maybe as a warning to people planning to just cancel their Citi AA cards when it comes time to renew them?
Anyway, my wife and I had signed up for Citi AAdvantage Platinum Visa Signature cards this time last year when the 75k miles offer was still active. Got the miles, no problem. Annual fee hit the statement this month, so I called Citi to convert the card to a no-fee card (I was going to convert to a Citi Forward card).
They were running through the speech about how this card will differ from my current card, just typical stuff, but then they casually mentioned “and you will lose your American Airlines account number.” This seemed unclear/strange/incorrect, so I questioned her further on it. She said that, in fact, I would be giving up my American Airlines frequent flyer account number along with any miles I’ve earned up to that point, including any miles I’d earned for flying/shopping portal purchases, etc.
I assumed that there was no way that was correct, so I asked to be transferred to a supervisor. Upon speaking with the supervisor, she told me that, yes, the original representative’s statement was correct, and I would have only 30 days to use any miles in my account. To be absolutely sure, I said “you’re telling me that Citi has the authority to essentially tell American Airlines to delete my account number and earned miles, even apart from anything earned from Citi??” And, she said “yes.”
However, she also suggested that, rather than converting to a no-fee Citi Thank You Preferred (the AAdvantage Platinum Visa Signature card wasn’t eligible to be converted to the Citi Forward for whatever reason), I could convert instead to the “Bronze AAdvantage” card, which has no annual fee. She said, so long as I have an active AAdvantage citi card, my number won’t get deleted. So, that kind of worked itself out.
As an added inconvenience, I’m apparently going to have to pay the annual fee even though I’m converting to a no fee card. The supervisor cited the new Durbin law as not allowing them to convert cards immediately, so my conversion won’t be effective until mid-June. She said I would be credited back only a pro-rated amount of the annual fee (only $70 of the $85 annual fee), but she also implied that if I called back in, they would probably be able to take care of that.
Ever heard of any of this stuff? Nothing earth-shattering there, but I figure it’s good anecdotal information, if nothing else.
Anyway, thanks again for all you do. My wife and I are going to Europe for 2 weeks this summer for peanuts thanks to your guidance (with hundreds of thousands of points/miles left over for future trips)!
I agree entirely with Josh, that this is hard to believe. In fact I thought the Bronze card was non-existent? I see several websites that list it as active but not the actual Citibank site. Chime in hear will you and let’s clear this rumor up.