AT&T Access More MasterCard from Citi Review – GSM Phone Offer (Up to $650)

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accessmore180Our partner Citi has launched yet another new card, AT&T Access More MasterCard® from Citi. This AT&T co-branded card obviously targets a niche, but read on if you will be in the market for a new GSM phone in the next year ($650 is the full price of a new iPhone 6). As such, this card took a little extra research and analysis. Be sure to read all the details before applying, so you understand how to get everything possible out of this offer.

“Exclusive New Phone Offer” details. Yes, the offer screams “new phone”! But lots of ads say that. What kind of new phone? Does it include iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6? What strings are attached? Do I need to sign a contract?

  • You must spend $2,000 in purchases with your AT&T Access More Card within 3 months of account opening. As with other sign-up bonuses, this is the spending hurdle. The application page also says “If you buy a new phone now it will count toward the $2,000 in qualifying purchases!”. At first, I read this to mean “buy a phone and you don’t need to spend $2,000 anymore”. Nope. It’s just reminding you that if, for example, you buy a $650 phone on this card, then you’ll only need to spend another $1,350 on the card to meet the $2,000 threshold.
  • You can get any new phone on the AT&T website. Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung S6, Samsung S6 Edge, flip phone, whatever.
  • They’ll give you up to $650 back towards a new phone bought full price with no annual contract… At first this may seem like a negative, man I have to buy it at full price? But that’s actually a good thing when the credit is for up to $650! For example, an iPhone 6 starts at $649.99 and Samsung S6 starts at $684.99. (Taxes, shipping, fees, and wireless service not included.)
  • … which also means lower monthly bills! When you essentially bring your own device (BYOD) buy buying the phone outright, AT&T will give you lower bills in the form of $15 to $25 off each month on their Mobile Share Value plans. Also, the $40 per-line activation fee is waived when you buy the phone at full price (and is not waived for 2-year contracts). More details on this below.
  • Since you own the phone and are not on a contract, you can also unlock it for use on any carrier. You can find unlock instructions at att.com/deviceunlock. are the AT&T unlock instructions [pdf]. Postpaid customers have an active account for at least 60 days, with no past due or unpaid balance. Non-AT&T customers can request a phone unlock before activating the phone on an AT&T plan. After submitting your request, the unlock should be done within 48 hours.
  • You must buy the phone using their special link. After you buy the phone, then activate it on an AT&T monthly plans of you choice for at least 15 days. Remember, you’re not bound to a contract after that. It’s easier just to quote from their Terms and Conditions:

    You must purchase an eligible phone from AT&T with your AT&T Access More Credit Card from Citi (the “Card”) using the Phone Offer Link created individually for you. This link may be accessible to you in several locations including, but not limited to, your approval screen at the time you apply, an email welcoming you to Access More Card membership (if you provide a valid email address) and through your Online Account at citi.com/att. You may redeem the Phone Offer using the link at any time after your Card account opening. Once you have made $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your Card account opening, and purchased and activated your eligible phone, Citi will credit your account for the cost of the eligible phone you purchased up to $650 (exclusive of taxes, fees, shipping and wireless service) within 1 to 2 billing cycles. If you choose to purchase an eligible phone which costs more or less than $650, your credit will equal the cost of the phone or $650, whichever is less.

Side question: How does paying full price for a phone compare with the subsidized 2-year contract or the AT&T Next plan? Most people don’t pay full price for a phone. It’s a lot of money. AT&T Next is basically like agreeing to pay full price for a phone but they let you pay in monthly installments instead. So the $650 iPhone 6 would $21.67 for 30 months (multiply that out and you get $650.10.) Nothing really special there. The traditional alternative is that you get a subsidized phone but you enter a 2-year contract at a higher monthly bill. Here’s how the two options compare:

  • The phone subsidy with a 2-year contract is $450, but you have a $40 activation fee. So the $650 iPhone 6 would only cost $200, plus a $40 per-line activation fee.
  • The monthly bill subsidy with a full price phone adds up to either $360 or $640 over 2 years. With the full price phone, there is no activation fee. If your Mobile Share Value plan comes with 6GB of data or less, you get a $15 discount per month per line. $15 times 24 months = $360. If your Mobile Share Value plan comes with 10GB or more, you get a $25 discount per month per line. $25 times 24 months = $600.

So if you compare the savings between the full price plan as 2-year contract, you’re either behind by $50 over two years, or ahead by $190 over two years. So worst case you’re behind by $50 at the 2-year mark, but if you kept your full price phone and cheaper-by-$15 plan for just an extra 4 months past the contract end date, you’d be ahead again.

Ongoing card rewards program highlights. This card also has a unique rewards program using Citi ThankYou points:

  • 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 you spend on purchases made online at retail and travel websites*
  • 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 you spend on products and services purchased directly from AT&T*
  • 1 point earned for every $1 you spend on other purchases*
  • 10,000 Anniversary bonus points after you spend $10,000 in prior cardmembership year*
  • $95 annual fee.

Here are snippets from the fine print that I think are helpful:

Retail websites are websites that sell goods directly to the consumer through an online website and include department store websites, specialty store websites, warehouse store websites and boutique websites. Travel websites are websites that allow you to book travel and include online travel agencies, hotel websites and airline websites.

AT&T purchases are AT&T consumer products and/or services purchased directly from AT&T. AT&T consumer products and services must be purchased from www.att.com, www.telephones.att.com, AT&T owned stores or AT&T customer service centers. Purchases from independent wireless dealers or AT&T resellers are not eligible, unless they are for payment of AT&T service.

That means you can get 3 ThankYou points per $1 of purchases at Amazon.com, Costco.com, Apple.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Expedia.com, and so on as well at your AT&T monthly service bill. Please see my Citi ThankYou Premier card review for details on redeeming your ThankYou points for at least $100 value per 10,000 points, but note that the special 25% bonus on travel redemption only apply if you also hold the ThankYou Premier card (you can redeem points earned from this card). Throw in the even-more special American Airlines flight awards from the Citi Prestige card and those 3X ThankYou categories start looking even better.

Bottom line. This is a niche card for folks that will soon be in the market for a new GSM phone, especially AT&T customers. (Non-AT&T customers can request a phone unlock before activating the phone on an AT&T plan, after which you’ll have an unlocked GSM phone that can be used on another GSM carrier. Afterward, you’ll still need to activate an AT&T plan for 15 days to get the credit.) If that’s you, then the sign-up bonus is very generous – up to $650 towards a full-price, no-contract AT&T GSM phone. Looking at all the scenarios above, even in the worst case you’d be behind $50 after two years vs. buying new AT&T phone via 2-year contract. There is also the $95 annual fee. That’s still a net benefit of over $500 and thus one of the top credit card sign-up bonuses currently available. The card then offers you ongoing bonus rewards on AT&T service as well as an interestingly broad category of “retail websites”. However, that $95 annual fee is rather high unless you spend $10,000 annually on the card and get the 10,000 ThankYou point anniversary bonus to offset it.

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Comments

  1. I am curious why you think this is good just for AT&T customers, did I miss something? From what I read, it seems like it is a good way to get a new unlocked phone for customers of any service provider?
    Thanks for the awesome find, I will be researching this a bit!

    • That’s true! This offer will work for non-AT&T customers, you’d still be able to get an unlocked GSM phone after paying for 15 days of AT&T service.

      Note that I believe the phone won’t work on Verizon or Sprint (or PagePlus, Virgin Mobile, etc that use those towers) even if unlocked. Remember that you still need to activate first on AT&T and pay one month of wireless service (or maybe less if they let you prorate the 15 days). With an unlocked GSM phone you could switch to T-Mobile, Straight Talk (AT&T towers), or other GSM-based providers.

  2. Jacob Blumberg says:

    could you just flip the phone on eBay seem like you could probably get $600 for a iPhone

    • You could certainly sell it on eBay, just have to factor in any eBay and PayPal fees. I see current listings for similar phones at $500-$600. I also looked on the used buyback sites Gazelle and you can get ~$400 from those guys. Here’s a link that will get you 10% extra on your buyback offer until May 10th, 2015:

      link

  3. Looks like a good deal. NIce find.

  4. Swappa is the better way to resell phones online. Way easier than ebay.

    Wife is wanting to switch to an iphone from our moto x phones. Still this could work for us. Get the phone, easily hit the 2k spend, sell the moto x for $150 (after fees) and then she’s got a new phone for about $200.

    $650 phone
    $50 tax
    $95 annual fee
    $50 month att service
    Total = $850
    -$650 credit
    -$150 sale of old phone

    Not bad, $50 to switch phones.

  5. Just realized the $750 spent on the phone/service also counts toward 3X points on ATT. Confirmed with them. So that’s 2250 thankyou points right off the bat.

  6. What if I’m already an AT&T customer? Can I still take advantage of this deal?

  7. I did not see a link in my approval screen, and one has not yet been sent to me (though I did receive a congrats email). I figured it would not be made available until after I received the card. My tip would be to thoroughly review the approval screen in the event it is located there. Otherwise, you may be waiting for your card to arrive. Also, Citi said they would not expedite the card, so probably 7 days before arrival.

    • Please keep us posted on which phones are eligible. Thanks much!

    • Jayanta says:

      Same with me. I got a welcome email after 3 days of being approved and so far have not got the link. I think I will get the card sometime this week. Please let us know if you get the link and how did you get it; in email or along with the card in mail when it arrived etc? Thanks!

      • IDK if you already figured it out but if you haven’t, login to your citi credit card on citi.com and once you connect your credit card to that account, on the account home page, there will be a little blurb under your card that says, “Take advantage of your AT&T Access More Phone Offer.” click on “View offer” underneath and it will link you to AT&T.

  8. I thought unlock is only possible after 60 days with AT&T? No?

    • So per att.com/deviceunlock, postpaid customers need 60 days of active service before they can request an unlock. But then it also says that for non-AT&T Mobility customers you can request an unlock if “You’ve never had an AT&T wireless account and you meet the General Requirements for unlock requests.” The General Requirements don’t require AT&T service. So I read that to mean you could unlock the phone first after purchase and before activation on AT&T (if you aren’t an AT&T customer). Then you activate your phone, and the 15 days activation requirement qualifies you for the $650 statement credit. Does that sound right?

  9. 1. Buy the phone
    2. Request AT&T to unlock it. Per AT&T, you can do that
    >> If you’ve never had a wireless account with AT&T however, your device is locked to and designed for use on our network, your device may be eligible for unlocking.
    http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB414532&cv=820&br=BR&ct=9005510&pv=2

    3. Activate your phone

    @Jonathan,
    Great find! Thanks

  10. an anyone share if Iphone 6 plus is eligible for this promotion?.. Also, how can I get postpaid service for 15 days without being bound to a contract?. Thanks.

  11. Just got the card, only welcome email and no link to buy the phone. Activated 5 min ago, maybe that’s what triggers the email.

  12. Thanks for share the info with us! I already got and activated this card, but I have a question that, if I want to wait till the next iPhone comes out, which is going to be more than 3 months later from now, will the offer still redeemable? Thanks!

    • You do not need to use the special link to buy the phone within the 3 months, that is only the spending hurdle to qualify for the credit. You can buy the phone after that. There is no expiration that I could find listed on the application fine print, but I probably wouldn’t want to wait longer than 2 years. The application says “Use your card, now or later, to buy a new phone from AT&T, at full price with no annual contract.”

      • No, you guys need to be careful about that. Read the fine print again. It states that phone purchase needs to be made during the first 3 months of account opening to be eligible for statement credit.

        I am, however, intrigued by what Jonathan proposed regarding unlocking and then activating. Anyone done that yet? I’m still waiting for my phone and will take that route.

        • I disagree. Where do you see that? The spending requirement has to be done within 3 months to be eligible for the credit. The phone purchase does not have a stated deadline.

        • “To earn your AT&T Access More Phone Offer credit (“Phone Offer”), you must make $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening (which can include your eligible phone purchase). ”

          The operative word is that your $2,000 in required spending within 3 months *CAN* include your eligible phone purchase. It is not a *MUST*.

          • You are right.

          • Just want to make sure everyone gets the correct info 🙂

          • Just a heads up that I successfully unlocked the phone before activating it, so now I’m expecting to get thru 15 days and then switch to T mobile. Tested it with T mobile already and it works. Just make sure to submit unlock request and do as the instruction says before activating the phone.

      • Matt Arnold says:

        The other thing would be if you don’t get the phone within the three months, then you have to spend the whole $2000 without using the phone purchase to meet part of it.

  13. If you cancel before a year do you still have to pay the 95 dollar annual fee? Im assuming you still get to keep the phone credit if you already used it?

    • You will get to keep the statement credit even if you cancel within the first year. But you will still have to pay the $95 annual fee.

      • When I signed up there was no annual fee.

        • As far as I know, the AT&T Access More card with the free phone offer has always had an annual fee. The regular AT&T Access card does not have annual fee, but no free phone.

          The current application page with the Free Phone offer clearly states a $95 annual fee, not waived for the first year. It will usually be charged on the first or second statement.

          • You are right, I must have signed up for the Access Card, not the Access More. Reapplying now.

  14. Got approved and got the letter in the mail but no card or link. Do you have to activate the card to get the link?

  15. Hi Mika,

    I am going to do something similar. Can you help me with the steps. What im looking to do it use my existing number thats with a metropcs phone, get this new phone, use the service for 15 days, then activate the phone with metro PCS, using my existing number. Want to make sure im following the correct sequence.

    1) unlocked the new Iphone in my case from this offer
    2) which Service are you signing up for with At&T for 15 days? (the cheapest $45 one?)
    3) Did you port your number over to AT&T?
    4) Cancel service after 15 days?

    • Jj,
      The only difference is that I went completely anew with ATT, not porting any number to it. But I think it’s the same. Just make sure to unlock it before even turning on the phone. Wait for the unlock instructions from ATT and follow them. Once unlocked, turn on the phone and activate it, and then see if your old number gets transferred. I’m using the $45 plan and will cancel after 15 days. Keep us posted.

      • Hi Mika,

        I have a question about unlock the phone. You said we can unlock the phone right away after we get the phone. Here is my problem, I’m a AT&T customer now, and also when we apply to unlock our phone, we need to enter our name, so I’m wondering if I can enter my friend’s name who is not a AT&T customer? Thanks!

        By the way, for convenience, would you contact me through email in case I have more questions. nicgilbert12@gmail.com.

        • I replied to you here as more people are able to see. Do you remember whose name you put when buying this phone? Did you enter any of your info or log in coz you’re already their customer? If not you can try what you suggested, but if you did I think the chance gets slimmer. Anyone who can shed more light?

          • Hi Mika,

            I haven’t bought the phone yet. I just applied the access card. I should receive the card in the following days. The card is under my name. I don’t know what the link looks like when you buy the phone. So can I use my access card to buy the phone, but put others name to log in, and use others name to unlock the phone, and then activate the phone with my name? I dont know if the name matters when unlock the phone by choosing the non-AT&T customer.

          • Btw, which kind of phone did you purchase? I contacted AT&T customer service, they said only Nexus6 can be unlocked right away, other phones should wait until 60 days later. I want to buy a iphone 6 plus, I’m not sure if it can be unlocked right away.

          • And also, when you bought the phone, what kind of info do you need to fill out? SSN? Cuz I’m thinking if I use others name, what information do I need. Like you said, you can apply to unlock your phone right after you get the phone?

  16. Yes, you have to provide SSN and pass credit check, so you do need to use your own name. My assumption is that if you use your own info ATT will know whether you are their customer or not, so this might not get bypassed. I bought an iPhone 6, and had it unlocked once I received it. You can try using other people’s name when submitting the unlock request and see what happens.

    • Thanks, Mika. When you bought the phone, did it ask you to choose a plan at the same time? Like for 300MB data, it’s 45/mo….? Do you think it will pass if I only enter others name during the unlock process? I dont know if the name matters when unlocking. Also, is there a SIM card inside the phone when you get it?

  17. Thanks, Mika. When you bought the phone online, does it also ask you to choose a plan at the same time like we usually do on AT&T website? You said your plan is 45/mo, is it the one has 300MB data? Is the phone you received has a sim card inside? How many days until you get the phone? Can I order it online and pick it up at the store?

  18. Michelle says:

    Hi, I was wondering if i already have a mobile share family plan with at&t, if i get the new phone and activate it through adding a line to my mobile share, would that be consider as postpaid ?

  19. Thanks for the info! I have a question about the reward. If I buy something in bestbuy.com, to get the 3% reward, I need to check out directly. If I use Paypal checkout, I will get 1% reward. Am I right?

  20. I hope somebody is still subscribed to this post and reads this – I want to order the iPhone through apple.com (they are sold out on the at&t website). Anyone try this or know if it will work? I called and they said they “can’t guarantee that it will work”

    • 99% guarantee it won’t work. I haven’t read the rules recently but I remember it saying you have to buy it from the att website using the special link they send you (or you find on your account when logging into citi.com). I understand it to be that it wouldn’t even work at the store.

  21. Hi Jonathan or Others,

    If I am currently an AT&T customer with the 45 dollar prepaid plan, can I still take advantage of this deal for a new phone? I will be keeping my service with AT&T, so it sounds like I would just pay 650+tax for the phone, with a 650 credit. Everything else would be business as usual for me, correct? Spend 2000 total including phone cost, pay 99 dollar fee, cancel after rebate. Am I missing anything?

    -Justin

  22. Guys… this card is very attractive. We 6 friends applied for this card and bought iPhones through the link provided. However, none of the orders went through with just one reason “your identity can’t be verified. Please visit AT&T store to place your order”. And AT&T reps are useless fellows.

    So we 6 say, STAY AWAY from the card and Citi+AT&T combo. Sucks Sucks Sucks!

    • Yes…that’s a trap being played by AT&T guys. I received the card and when applied for iPhone…thru the link provided…it didn’t go through 2 times…saying …we re unable to verify ur identity, though the credit card gets approved pretty soon.
      It happens for all guys applying new connection. One friend of us got and he was already a AT&T customer.

  23. After unlocking the phone and then turning it on and activating with AT&T do I have to wait 15 days before I can activate it with Tmobile ? Put it another way, after activating with AT&T do I need to have my att sim in there for 15 days or can I start using it with tmobile sim right away ?

  24. FWIW, I decided to not go with this credit card and enjoy one of the other many $500+ offers out there. This one seemed like too much trouble with a stronger likelihood of it not working out…

  25. Hi I just brought Citi Access more card, i brought phone through special link provided by Citi. But problem is I brought the phone in already existing family plan, for the family plan my friend is the primary owner. So phone receipt came with his name on it. I am worried if that would be a problem when it comes to receiving the credit back. Do we need to have card member name on the phone purchase receipt? Or there is no condition like that?

    • Hi Dinesh,
      I am curious to know what happened to your case. As i am in the same situation as yours. I am authorzied used in the plan owned by my friend.

      Whether the citi has accepted your case and gave you the $650.

  26. Well, I goofed up on this one. I purchased a phone through the link provided and paid the $2,078.33 I owed on the card approximately one month after opening it. What I failed to realize though was that that amount included the $95 annual fee putting me $16.67 short of the spend requirement. I could have easily met the spend requirement if I’d realized this but completely overlooked it and instead patiently waited the 8-12 weeks for the statement credit to appear. When it didn’t show up, I called Citi to inquire and that’s when I realized I’d made a mistake.

    Despite calling several times to explain the situation, being very polite each time, offering to charge more to the card, and speaking with a manager, Citi refused to budge or have any sympathy.
    I realize it was entirely my fault but, in my opinion, Citibank’s refusal to honor the promotion –considering my spending on the card within the first 35 days clearly indicated that I had every intention of meeting the spend requirement and the fact that I was short by the trivial amount of $16.67– was extremely unreasonable.

    I truly believe that if I operated my own business with the same lack of empathy, inflexibility and unreasonableness that Citi demonstrated in this situation I wouldn’t be in business much longer. I guess all I can do is kick myself for my own mistake and move forward knowing Citi lost a good customer with a high credit score and outstanding credit history.

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