Cnb crystal infinite card
A $350 annual airline incidental credit can partially offset the annual fee.
No current signup offer.Signup Bonus Chart
3x Travel (≈3.3%)
3x Restaurants (≈3.3%)
1x Everything Else (≈1.2%)
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Up until the end of 2019, the Crystal Infinite card was a very attractive premium credit card. It allowed up to 3 free authorized cardholders, and each cardholder was entitled to their own $250 airline incidental credit. As a result, it was possible to receive up to $1,000 in incidental credits per year, and twice as much in the initial year. It offered unlimited guests via its Priority Pass membership and was probably the best credit card option to take advantage of the Visa Infinite $100 airfare discount. Until towards the end of the year, it had a generous signup offer. Manufactured spenders could take advantage of its uncapped 3x bonus reward rate on groceries (and various bonuses for spending large amounts of money.
With the changes to the card, it is no longer very interesting. If you can take full advantage of its current airline incidental credit, the effective annual fee is only $50. This may be worthwhile for its remaining benefits. But given that it remains hard to get and doesn't have much in the way of signup bonus, most people should look elsewhere.
This guide describes the benefits of the card starting in 2020. But, there is still a little time to get the card with its existing benefits. If you get the card before the end of 2019, you can still receive the $250 per person airline incidental credits for 2019 and the $350 credit for 2020. If you can maximize these credits, a signup can still be worthwhile, even without a traditional signup bonus. Plus, you can take advantage of the old benefits until the end of the year.
Getting the Card
The Crystal Infinite Cards is a very difficult card to get. You need to apply in-branch. Most of the branches are in California and Nevada, but they have an “entertainment industry” branch in New York City, Nashville, and Atlanta, and a trust office in Wilmington. You are also likely to be asked for paperwork detailing your financial position, rather than just filling in a quick application form.
If you don't live nearby, you could try to pick one up on your next visit to one of these cities, like Las Vegas or New York City.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
When you use your points to purchase travel through CNB, they are worth more than 1 cent each. For travel purchased through their online website, you'll receive 1.20 cents per point.
However, prices in the portal are generally higher than what is available elsewhere, lowering the real value you are receiving. For airlines, according to calculations done by Frequent Miler, the website charges an extra $15 plus an extra 3%. The resulting value per point varies with the ticket price. A $400 ticket gives you about 1.1 cents per point, a $100 ticket gives you about 1.0 cents per point, and very expensive tickets max out at about 1.15 cents per point.
If you book through the concierge, rather than through the website, you'll pay the same inflated ticket prices, and you'll only receive an initial rate of 1.1 cents per point (rather than 1.2 cents). But, you'll pay for the ticket upfront (and receive reward points) and get a statement credit later, rather than paying directly with your points.
For hotels and car rentals, always check the rates against what you can find elsewhere. If you use your points for Amazon gift cards, you'll get just under 1 cent per point.
- It could be worth signing up for this card, just to collect the signup bonus. When signup bonus offers have been available they have been for 30,000, 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 points. In addition, the card comes with a $350 airline incidental credit, and because the credit is available every calendar year, you can earn it twice during your initial year. Since it can be hard to get full value from this credit, we value it at 50% of its face value.
- It is possible to qualify for the signup bonus multiple times. However, you aren't eligible for the signup bonus if you have had the card in the last 24 months, and it will probably be difficult to get reapproved.
Taking Advantage of the Airline Incidentals Credit
- Because the credits are issued on a calendar-year basis, you can qualify for two credits the first year you have the card. For example, if you sign up for the card in August, you can get up to $350 credit for purchases made between August and December, and you can get take advantage of another $350 credit, between the following January and August.
- You can only use the airline credits for incidental expenses like baggage fees, food and beverage purchases, and airport lounge memberships, not on actual ticket purchases. The credit for this card explicitly includes ticket change and cancellation fees, and preferred seating upgrades, which are often excluded from similar credits.
- You are not supposed to receive the credit when you purchase gift cards from an airline. However, in practice, you are often reimbursed. If you don't have an opportunity to use the credit naturally, you can typically purchase small denomination gift cards, get reimbursed for your purchase, and then eventually use the gift cards to purchase actual airplane tickets. This works on some airlines and not others, and you need to keep each purchase under an airline-specific maximum, so you'll need to search online, or do some experimentation. Get Full Value from Your Airline Incidental Credits.
Other Notable Benefits
- Airport lounge access. Like the other premium cards, you get free access to over a thousand airport lounges via a free Priority Pass membership. But unlike other cards, this membership only covers the cardholder. All guests will be charged. Up to one authorized cardholder can get their own membership, but authorized cardholders cost $95 per year.
- "Primary" rental car insurance. If you use this card to pay for your rental car, you'll get primary rental car insurance. Unlike the "secondary" insurance you get from most other cards, if you damage your rental car, you don't need to involve your personal auto insurance company. Credit Cards That Provide “Primary” Rental Car Coverage.
- In-Store offers. CNB operates its own card-linked offers program. For example, you can get 5 bonus points when shopping at a variety of stores, as long as you activate them first. Visit the "Rewards Plus" part of the cnbrewards.com to see the available offers.
- $100 TSA fee credit. Every four years, you can receive an automatic reimbursement of your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (up to $100).
- Broadway League membership.
- Airline lounge membership credit. Each year that you spend $50,000 with the card, you'll receive a credit, of up to $550, towards the purchase of any airline lounge club membership. Spending is based on a calendar year. Depending on when you sign up for your card, it can be hard to qualify during the initial year (and leverage your initial spending requirement).
- Car rental elite status. Like all other Visa Infinite cards, your card entitles you to elite status with National car rental. Instant Car Rental Elite Status.
- Visa Infinite Hotel benefit. Visa Infinite cardholders get access to the Visa Luxury Hotel program. At about 200 hotels, Infinite card holders get an additional benefit (typically some sort of $100 credit) on top of what is available to Signature cardholders. You'll also have access to the regular Visa Signature hotel program, which provides slightly weaker benefits at a much larger collection of hotels. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks
- Access to Visa Signature Offers. Your card entitles you to a set of special offers available from Visa.
If you spend $75,000 with the Crystal Infinite Card in a year, you can waive the $400 annual fee. You'll need to manually contact your banker, it won't happen automatically. Hat tip to Travel in Points.
- There are better options for travel and restaurant spending. The rewards from this card are more valuable than you would earn from a general-purpose reward card, but not as good as what you could earn from a card that offers good bonus rewards for each of these categories. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending. Best Credit Cards for Restaurant Spending.
- You don't want to use this card for your everyday spending. You'll earn higher rewards from a good general-purpose reward card. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
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