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This article was last updated Feb 21, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Odds are you haven’t heard of the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card — but, it is a valuable rewards card that can benefit frequent travelers. Similar to other travel rewards cards, the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card offers robust travel benefits, such as an annual airline fee credit and Global Entry application fee credit, high rewards on travel purchases, and more that can make this card a great choice.
However, you may have trouble applying for this card if you don’t live near one of City National Bank’s branches located in California, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and Washington D.C., since there is no online application.
We’ll review the benefits and potential drawbacks of the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, and compare it to popular travel cards.
What we like about the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card
No foreign transaction fee. Using a card with no foreign transaction fee is essential for purchases made abroad. Some other cards may charge a 3% fee per transaction made outside the U.S., but not the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card.
Numerous travel benefits and statement credit opportunities. This card has a fantastic range of travel perks that can add up to immense savings when you pay with the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card. From an annual airline lounge club membership fee airline incidental fee credit to discount air benefits, this card can save you money on flights. There are so many great perks, we dedicated a whole section to them.
Travel-centric rewards program. Cardholders can benefit from earning high rewards on dining, grocery shopping, airline, hotel and car services purchases. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gasoline, grocery, airline, hotel, taxi (including Uber and Lyft), limousine, rental car, train, bus, restaurant, fast food, and takeout food dining purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Low APR. This card has a surprisingly low 13.00% fixed APR. Most travel cards have APR ranges with maximum interest rates that can be in the mid-20s. This is a welcome change of pace for a travel card.
What we don’t like about the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card
$400 annual fee. This card has a high $400 annual fee that can put a dent in your wallet if you don’t take advantage of all the benefits. However, if you use all the statement credit benefits, the annual fee will be offset and you’ll come out ahead. Statement credit perks alone total up to $1,000.
Hard to apply. Unfortunately, you can’t simply apply for the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card online. City National Bank’s website states that you should “contact your local City National banker, or call us at (800) 773-7100” to apply. A CNB representative confirmed that there are no online applications and speaking to a representative or visiting a branch are the application methods. If you don’t live in a state with a branch, you may still be able to qualify, but will need to speak with a City National banker. Branches are located in California, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and Washington D.C.
Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gasoline, grocery, airline, hotel, taxi (including Uber and Lyft), limousine, rental car, train, bus, restaurant, fast food, and takeout food dining purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. This is a competitive rate compared to alternative travel cards and offers a wider range of categories that earn 3 points per dollar spent.
New cardmember offer: Earn 50,000 City National Rewards Bonus Points when you spend $5,000 or more within the first 90 days after account opening.
Points can be redeemed in several ways:
- Travel (with no blackout dates)
- Statement credit
- Charity donations
- Gift certificates and gift cards
Travel credits and discounts
- $250 airline incidental fees statement credit: Qualifying transactions made at eligible domestic airline carriers include: ticket change/cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, onboard food and beverage charges, airport lounge membership fees and day passes, onboard wireless charges (excluding Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi), and TSA Pre✓® membership application fee.
- Up to $550 airline lounge club membership fee statement credit: When you purchase membership for any airline club worldwide, you can receive a statement credit up to $550.
- $100 Visa Infinite discount air benefit: Use your Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card to book a qualifying U.S. domestic round-trip coach airline itinerary for two to five travelers, and you can save up to $100.
- $100 Global Entry application fee statement credit: Pay the application fee for Global Entry and receive a $100 statement credit once every four years.
- Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge access: Up to two cardholders and their accompanying guests can enjoy a global network of more than 1,000 Priority Pass™ Select airport lounges.
- 12 complimentary Gogo® in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year: When you fly on a Gogo-equipped aircraft, you can benefit from complimentary Wi-Fi access, for up to 12 flights a year.
- Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection: Benefit from exclusive perks at premium hotels when you book with your Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card. Perks include best available rate guarantee, complimentary continental breakfast daily, complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and VIP amenities when available, and more.
- Visa Infinite hotel privileges: At over 500 luxury properties worldwide, receive special benefits, such as a VIP welcome and complimentary breakfast at select properties with Relais & Châteaux.
- Visa Infinite car rental privileges: When you book a car rental with Avis, National and Silvercar with your Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, you can benefit from special discounts and upgrades.
- Groundlink® chauffeured black car service: Receive 15% savings and a one-time $30 promotional credit for future use when you book Groundlink® chauffeured black car service and pay with your Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card.
- Crystal Card® 24/7 concierge
- Crystal Card® experiences: Invitation-only access to signature events, such as luxury concert suites and premium sports packages.
- The Broadway League®: Cardholders receive the opportunity to purchase premium seating for Broadway shows in New York City and on tour across North America, as well as access to backstage tours and “meet and greets,” when available.
- Troon Rewards® and Troon Privé: Receive golf-related perks, including discounts on golf tee times, merchandise, and golf instructions, plus access high-end, private golf clubs around the country.
- Price protection
- Purchase security
- Return protection
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption protection
- Roadside dispatch
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Hotel theft protection
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Extended warranty protection
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Emergency evacuation and transportation
- Travel accident insurance
While the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card can be a great asset for frequent travelers, it’s a bit of a hassle to apply for. Plus, the $400 annual fee may discourage some people. Here are a few alternative travel cards you can consider:
Luxury travel card
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a well-rounded card that offers a seemingly endless array of benefits from a travel rewards program benefiting hotel and airfare purchases to an annual $200 airline fee credit and up to $200 in annual Uber savings. Cardholders earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. This card does have a higher $550 annual fee than the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, but it can be worthwhile if you take advantage of all the perks.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
No annual fee travel card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is a $0 annual fee travel card that offers a highly competitive rewards program: Earn 3X points on eating out, ordering in and popular streaming services, 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases. This is very similar to the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, and you may lean towards the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card if you want to avoid an annual fee. Just know, this card doesn’t offer annual travel credits or many of the other perks provide by the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card.
Travel card with redemption bonus
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a notable 50% redemption bonus when points are redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Cardholders earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. The redemption bonus can increase your rewards rate to an effective 4.5 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar spend on everything else. This card has a slightly higher $550 annual fee, but factoring in the $300 annual travel credit, the fee is offset to $150.
If you live near a City National Bank branch, the Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card can be a great option to benefit from annual travel credits, rewards, and a wide range of protections. Prospective applicants who don’t live near a branch may have to work a bit harder to apply, but contact a representative to see if you can qualify. If you prefer a card from a major bank or one with no annual fee, check out some of the alternatives we’ve mentioned above.