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Sometimes, the card you have in your wallet doesn’t serve you as well as it used to. Fortunately, there are other options besides directly canceling your card, which can potentially affect your credit score and forfeit all the rewards you’ve accumulated.

Let’s talk about when (and why) they downgrade to cards with the same issuer. We will start with Citi Strata Premier℠ Card (see rates and fees), a popular midrange travel credit card with a $95 annual fee that replaced the Citi Prestige Card in 2024.

While most cardholders are likely to get enough value from the card to justify paying this fee, for some, it may start to lose its luster. For example, the card’s $100 annual hotel savings benefit is somewhat limited, requiring you to book through Citi ThankYou. And Spend at least $500 (excluding taxes and fees) to receive a statement credit. While the card’s point transfer opportunities can be attractive, you may want to move on to a different transferable points program or earn cash-back rewards instead.

Whatever your motivation, let’s analyze when (and why) cardholders might want to downgrade from Citi Strata Premier to no-annual-fee Citi Rewards+® Card (See Rates and Fees).

You must keep your Citi ThankYou points

Instead of canceling your City Strata Premier card, downgrading to City Awards+ Ensures you don’t lose any of your hard-earned ThankYou® points in the process.

However, be aware that your ThankYou points will lose significant value once they are transferred to your Citi Rewards+ balance. That’s because Citi Strata Premier unlocks points transfer opportunities across 15-plus airline loyalty programs, helping you get closer to TPG’s July 2024 value of 1.8 cents per point.

Use your AAdvantage miles to book a seat for 25,000 Etihad Guest miles one-way in domestic business class. Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Citi Rewards+ doesn’t allow point transfers, but you have the option to move your points to JetBlue TrueBlue or Wyndham Rewards at a less attractive 5:4 ratio compared to 1:1 with Strata Premier. You can also move your points to Choice Privileges at a ratio of 1:1.5 with Reward+ compared to 1:2 with Strata Premier.

But if losing the ability to transfer points doesn’t matter to you, your Citi ThankYou points will be worth 1 cent — or less — with a Rewards+ card. As a cash-back card, your redemption options are buying gift cards for 1 cent per point or shopping with points at Amazon and Best Buy for less than 1 cent.

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Still, having these redemption options is better than losing your points altogether.

Related: What Credit Score Do You Need to Get a Citi Rewards+ Card?

The sign-up bonus on Citi Rewards+ is negligible

With Citi Rewards+, new applicants can earn a sign-up bonus of 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases with their card within three months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on hotels, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through December 2025. This bonus is worth $360 as of June 2024 from TPG evaluation

points cow

For comparison, the City Strata Premier Offers 70,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening — worth $1,260, according to TPG’s June 2024 valuation (higher offers may be available through

Following on from the previous point (get it?), you’ll be able to keep any ThankYou points you’ve earned through your Citi Premier when downgrading to Citi Rewards+, and completely eliminate the risk of losing your rewards balance.

Related: Who Should Get the Citi Rewards+ Card?

You’ll keep some of the same bonus categories — with a round-up benefit

Admittedly, the City Strata Premier Comes with one of the best rewards rates, offering bonus points on both travel and everyday purchases:

While downgrading to a no-annual-fee card means you’ll lose that entire earning potential, Citi Rewards+ preserves some of these rewards rates by offering 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations (first up to $6,000 a year, then 1 per dollar points) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

If your spending has dropped significantly — especially for travel — since the start of the pandemic, then Rewards+ will ensure you still earn bonus points on two common purchase categories.

What is unique about City Awards+ There is a 10% points bonus benefit. In other words, all purchases will be to the nearest 10 points. To illustrate this, imagine you buy a $1 bottle of water at a vending machine. You’ll earn 10 points on that purchase, though it typically earns 1 point with most other cards.

Although this benefit is minor, the chances of earning points can increase over time. Therefore, Citi Rewards+ becomes a useful card even for those small, routine purchases that you will make in your daily life.

Related: Citi Rewards+ Review

You will automatically earn 10% of all redeemed points back

Another unique advantage of City Awards+ On which is not found Strata Premier The ability to earn 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem each calendar year.

You can redeem your points at Citi Rewards+ for gift cards. Summer Hull/The Points Guy

Let’s say you’ve redeemed 50,000 points in a year with your Rewards+. You’ll get 5,000 points back, valued at $50 in gift cards. While not a huge perk, it’s a simple perk that requires no work on your part — a great feature for a card with no annual fee.

Related: City Strata Premier Review

Double down with both cards

Here’s an alternative strategy: double down with both cards instead. Here is a preview of the benefits of doing so:

points cow

Adding Citi Rewards+ can make your Citi Strata Premier even more valuable to carry, so it’s definitely worth considering if you’re on the fence about discontinuing your participation in the ThankYou program.

Related: Why You Should Double Up With Citi Strata Premier and Citi Rewards+

Bottom line

TPG staff are used to regularly assessing what’s in their wallets, making decisions to keep, downgrade or cancel cards when it’s time to pay the annual fee. If you’ve been carrying City Strata Premier for some time – and the $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) are going to hit your statement — know that downgrading to Citi Rewards+ is a worthwhile option.

Apply here: City Strata Premier
Apply here: City Awards+

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