AT&T Access Card from Citi review

Garrett Yarbrough  in  Rewards How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 - 850)

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Annual Fee:
None
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
13.99% - 22.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our no annual fee category page.

Best for AT&T customers

  • Rewards rate: 2X Citi ThankYou points on products and services from AT&T; 2X points on eligible online retail and travel purchases; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 10,000 points after spending $1,000 within first three months
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable

The AT&T Access Card from Citi earns tempting ThankYou point rates on AT&T, online retailer and online travel purchases at no annual fee. However, the slim reward opportunities and barebone features make this a better starter card to build credit with your cellphone bill.

Current sign-up bonus

New cardholders can earn a 10,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 within their first three months.

After redeeming your points, your sign-up bonus is worth a meek $100. Compared to other no annual fee rewards cards, you can still easily receive more valuable sign-up bonuses.

Rewards

The AT&T Access card earns ThankYou points like several other Citi cards. However, the AT&T Citi card is also a co-branded store credit card, so the ways you can earn points are a bit more niche.

Earning rewards

As a co-branded retail card for AT&T customers, you’ll earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar on products and services you purchase through AT&T, including new phones and your monthly cellphone bill.

Keep in mind that cellphone-related purchases are more occasional, so points you earn this way might be limited. If your wireless plan is $45 per month, that would only net you 90 points — worth 90 cents of cash back. Even buying a new $800 phone each year would only earn $16 in cash rewards.

The more valuable reward categories are the 2X points you’ll earn on eligible retail and travel websites, along with 1X points on all other purchases. Overall, online shoppers that frequently purchase upgrades for multiple cellphone lines through AT&T are the few people that can make the most of these specific reward terms.

Redeeming rewards

Citi ThankYou points are versatile rewards with a good variety of redemption options. Some of these options are closed off if you only have the AT&T Access card, including the abilities to transfer points to partner programs and shop with points at online partner retailers.

However, your AT&T Citi card can still use points for:

  • Gift cards
  • Travel bookings
  • Cash back or statement credits
  • Online Citi bill payments, including mortgages and student loans
  • Contributing toward minimum card payment (limited-time offer)
  • Sharing points with another account
  • Charitable donations

How much are points worth?

Citi doesn’t assign ThankYou points a set value, but the ThankYou Rewards program’s terms and conditions state that the point value may vary depending on which redemption option you choose and which card you hold.

Our partners at The Points Guy found all reward options with the AT&T Access card exchange points at a 1 cent value. This is because the AT&T card is one of two Citi credit cards that earn “basic” ThankYou points, which can only be redeemed at a 1 cent value unless they’re transferred to another “full-fledged” Citi account, such as the Citi Premier℠ Card, and transferred to a travel partner with a higher point value.

Benefits

Even compared to another basic Citi card, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, AT&T Access lacks any feature-specific benefits outside Citi Entertainment access. Citi Entertainment is a VIP access benefit open to nearly all Citi cards (including debit cards) that allows you to snag presale tickets and reservations to concerts and other experiences.

Other than that, don’t expect any perks beyond the standard $0 liability and digital wallet functionality.

Rates and fees

One of the AT&T Citi card’s highlights is that there is no annual fee.

Unfortunately, in case you had a big phone purchase lined up for a possible zero interest offer, AT&T Access isn’t currently extending any 0 percent introductory APR periods for purchases or balance transfers. You’ll start off with the ongoing 13.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR.

The good news is that this APR range can be much more comfortable than the infamously high retail card interest rates found on similar products.

Since you can earn rewards on travel websites, it’s also worth noting that there’s a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

How the AT&T Citi Card compares to other rewards cards

AT&T Access can be perfectly suitable if the specialized rewards structure matches your spending, but another Citi ThankYou card, the Citi Rewards+, earns 2X points on more common categories: supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year, 1x ThankYou Points on all other purchases. Plus, you may find the Rewards+ card’s 10 percent points back (for the first 100,000 points you redeem each year) and roundup (to the nearest 10 points on any purchase) features make up for the 1X points on AT&T.

On the other hand, the Citi® Double Cash Card cuts out the middleman if you’re only redeeming for cash back — it earns up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases (1 percent upon purchase, 1 percent upon payment).

The AT&T card is also a bit lackluster compared to other co-branded retail cards that earn rewards on online shopping. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 5 percent rewards at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores along with 1 percent on all other purchases.

Ultimately, you should look for a card that provides cellphone insurance if you’re looking for a card to finance a new cellphone. This feature makes the most sense for a credit card geared toward cellphone carrier rewards, and it’s available on several no annual fee cards like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. Unfortunately, this benefit requires cardholders to pay their cellphone bill with the respective card, so you wouldn’t earn 2X points on AT&T bills.

Here are a few alternatives if you’re weighing the AT&T Access card’s advantages:

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
  • 2X ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 per year, then 1X points)
  • 1X ThankYou points on all other purchases
  • Receive back 10 percent of the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year
  • Points earned are rounded up to the nearest 10 on every purchase
$0 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 within first three months
Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Up to 2 percent cash back — 1 percent when you buy, then 1 percent when you pay
$0 N/A
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
  • 3X Go Far Rewards points on dining, gas station purchases, travel and popular streaming services
  • 1X Go Far Rewards points on all other purchases
$0 20,000 Go Far Rewards points after spending $1,000 within first three months
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • 5 percent back in points at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • 2 percent back in points at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1 percent back in points on all other purchases
$0 (Amazon Prime membership required) $100 Amazon gift card upon approval

 

Best cards to pair with AT&T Citi Card

Because of AT&T Access’s narrow bonus category pool, cards that offer flat-rate rewards or everyday bonus categories would increase your reward opportunities. Other Citi credit cards in the ThankYou family would pair well since they can pool points — especially if the other card provides a 25 percent travel redemption boost or opens up transfer opportunities.

The Citi Premier card would be a great all-around rewards option because of its 3X points at essential merchants like supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants. The Premier’s 3X points on air travel and hotels would also complement its annual $100 hotel credit (on stays worth $500+) and the AT&T Access card’s 2X points on other travel bookings.

The Citi Rewards+ could be a cheaper alternative if you can’t justify the $95 annual fee, but the Citi Double Cash card might be a more versatile option. If you prefer ThankYou points to cash back, you can also convert your Double Cash rewards to ThankYou points.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the AT&T Access Citi card worth it?

It’s hard to take full advantage of this card’s rewards structure unless you’re a heavy spender with AT&T and specific online retailers and travel groups. Even in that case, the sparse benefits and basic ThankYou points you earn make other Citi cards more useful for day-to-day spending.

If you have limited credit history and your largest expenses so far are from online shopping and AT&T, the AT&T Access Card from Citi is a straightforward option that can help you build credit with your cellphone bill. Otherwise, explore the best credit card offers we’ve collected for a more valuable option.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited rewards on AT&T and eligible online retailer purchases
  • Diverse redemption options

Cons

  • Earns basic Citi ThankYou points worth 1 cent on niche categories
  • Nearly zero extra features like travel or purchase protections
  • Doesn’t offer cellphone insurance

All information about Citi Premier℠ Card, Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.