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For the frequent traveler who wants to kick things up a notch, the City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card provides an unparalleled number of luxurious perks, with a hefty annual fee of $400 to match. But as with any elite club, you have to go through a stringent initiation process to earn your spot.
Here are five things to know about the card.
1. Submitting an application takes considerable effort
Forget clicking a few buttons online and getting approved instantly. The City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card is going to make you work for it. While you don’t have to live in a city with a City National Bank branch, you do have to apply in person. City National Bank has branches in only the following locations:
Virginia (coming soon).
You can contact customer service to make an appointment before you take a road trip. The in-person application appointment takes about 15 to 30 minutes. Prepare to provide a lot of personal information beyond what you’d provide for a typical credit card application. In addition to your Social Security number, annual income and occupation, the bank employee assisting you may also ask for:
A photo ID like a driver’s license or passport.
Proof of income. If you’re not self-employed, this can be a pay stub showing income for at least the past two weeks (bring in several pay stubs to be safe). If you are self-employed, bring your most recent tax return.
The average balance for your banking and investment accounts. While you won’t need to show statements, having statements on hand will ensure that you’re providing accurate information.
There’s no specific minimum income required to be eligible for the card. Instead, your overall financial picture will be considered, including your debt-to-income ratio, debt-to-asset ratio and credit score.
2. There’s no sign-up bonus, but the ongoing rewards are generous
Once you’re approved for the City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, you’ll earn:
3 points per $1 spent on airfare, hotel stays, taxis and ridesharing services, limos, rental cars, trains, buses, restaurants, fast food and takeout.
1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Cash back is not an option, but you can redeem points for things like travel, gift cards and merchandise (point values may vary and are subject to change). You can book travel on most airlines with no blackout dates.
3. Travel credits help offset the annual fee
The City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card offers a number of statement credits and discounts that can help take a bite out of that $400 annual fee:
Up to $350 in statement credit per calendar year to cover qualifying incidental airline fees. This cap is not for each authorized user, but rather the cap for the total account.
A statement credit of up to $550 per calendar year for any airline lounge club around the world after spending $50,000 that year.
A $100 statement credit to cover the Global Entry application fee.
Cardholders get two complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships per account, with unlimited free visits. If either member brings a guest, they’ll be charged $32 per guest, per visit.
12 free passes per year for Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi.
4. Additional upscale perks are plentiful
Upgraded hotel stays and car rentals
The City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card entitles you to VIP treatment at hotels that are part of the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Relais & Chateaux, including properties like the Park Hyatt and the Peninsula. You’ll get amenities like free breakfast and Wi-Fi.
You can also get discounts and upgrades when you rent a car from Avis, National and Silvercar, as well as 15% off and a one-time $30 promotional credit for future use when you use your City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card for GroundLink chauffeured black car service.
Concierge service and unfettered access
A concierge is available at your beck and call, 24 hours a day, for help with airline and hotel bookings, restaurant reservations and more. Your City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card also grants you access to “signature events” including concerts and sporting events and Broadway shows — and not the cheap seats, either. Golfers can also snag savings and special access to high-end links via Troon.
Travel and purchase protections
When you travel, you’ll have rental car collision coverage, reimbursements if your trip is delayed, interrupted or canceled (or if your luggage is lost), hotel theft protection, travel assistance services, emergency card replacement and more. Your purchases will be covered by an extended warranty, as well as price protection (a perk that's become harder to find in recent years).
5. All things considered, it’s an inexpensive card to carry
If you travel often and you’re the type to use every benefit a rewards card offers, you’ll find a lot of value in the City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card, even with its $400 annual fee. The travel-related statement credits and discounts alone are worth $1,000 before you even factor in Priority Pass Select lounge access and free in-flight Wi-Fi passes.
This card is geared toward high spenders, and that sometimes means carrying a balance after making a major purchase. The City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card has a surprisingly low interest rate. The ongoing APR is 22.25%-26.25%, Variable, which is below the typical interest rate for travel rewards cards.
Homebodies and strict budgeters who won’t squeeze every drop out of the City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card will have better luck with a more modest travel rewards card, or even a cash-back card. But if you want a taste of the high life, the City National Crystal® Visa Infinite® Credit Card opens doors.