City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite Card – Family Travel Review


Staff member

One of my resolutions for 2019 here at asthejoeflies is to write more content that families that want to travel will find useful. To that end, I’ve decided to try on a new format for credit card reviews. In today’s installment we’ll take a look at the City National Bank Crystal Infinite Card, one of two cards I applied for after some reconsideration back in the fall. Since I don’t earn any commissions from the banks, I feel free and clear to give my honest opinions.

So let’s break down the aspects of the card I find most important for family travel. Note – I won’t be doing half stars, so bear that in mind. Also all opinions are my own yada yada yada.

Quick Scorecard

Overall family travel score

Sign Up Bonus

Bonused and Everyday Spending

Ease of use for family travel redemptions

Value for family travel redemptions

Family travel benefits

Annual fees and hidden costs

Fast facts

Card name: Crystal Visa Infinite Card

Issuing bank: City National Bank

Sign up bonus: 50,000 points after $5K in spending in 3 months

Family travel redemption options: Redeem for travel or gift cards by paying with points through travel portal or on phone (up to 1.35 cents per point)

Bonused spend options: 3X points on gas, grocery, food, and most travel, 1X everything else

Key family travel benefits:

  • $250 annual travel credit for card member AND authorized users (up to 3)
  • Priority Pass Select card for card member AND authorized users, unlimited guests
  • No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $400, not waived

Sign Up Bonus

The current sign up bonus is 50,000 CNB reward points after $5000 in spending. While the sign up bonus has been has high as 100,000 points in the past (and 75,000 recently), 50,000 points is still a pretty good sign up bonus. You should be able to easily get $500 of travel out of the sign up bonus and close to $660 if you maximize your redemptions. I’d say that’s competitive with a lot of the cards out there right now, though not outstanding.

Bonused and Everyday Spending

The Crystal Visa Infinite Card offers 3X spending in a variety of categories. The most exciting categories are gas and groceries, which families obviously spend a lot of money on. You can also get reimbursed for restaurants, eating out, and travel. 3X is pretty good as an all around card, though individual cards out there can do better if you single out categories. Still, I put a lot of spend on this card just because it’s convenient and at the top of my wallet.

Ease of use for family travel redemptions

Redeeming travel for your family is very straightforward. You first need to set up a rewards account here, which probably is the most difficult part of the process. After that you can book your travel through their online travel portal or you can call 1-855-853-5496. Note every travel booking has a booking fee of around $15-$25 and this fee increases if you book over the phone. But for families looking for simple redemption options, you can’t beat this system.

Value for family travel redemptions

Your points have a maximum value of 1.35 cents per point (which actually comes out to a little less when you factor in the booking fee). So you’re never gonna get “book business class for coach prices” type value. However, what bumps up the value in my mind is the ability to book Disney vacations at a discount. You can apply the value of your points to essentially anything Disney you can book online through the Disney website including tickets, hotels, vacation packages, or cruises. See this post for details. Getting almost 1.35 cents per point for Disney provides a lot of value for families who want to cut costs going to visit the mouse. And of course, I’m biased towards loving a good family Disney vacation, so I find good value in the ability.

Family travel benefits

A $400 annual fee is nothing to scoff at, and airline travel incidentals generally just mean you’re paying for your travel with cash. However, the fact that every authorized user gets a $250 travel credit makes a huge difference. If your kids are 13 or older, you can make them authorized users. A spouse and two kids gives you $1000 in travel credits to offset the $400 annual fee.

The Priority Pass benefit is probably best in the business for two reasons. First, you don’t have to sign up it gets automatically sent to you, which means you have one less thing to worry about (looking at you, Chase). Secondly, you get unlimited guests, which means you won’t have to choose which of your children to leave in the cold, dark halls of the airport alone (looking at you, AMEX).

Annual fees and hidden costs

In terms of hidden costs, you have to factor in the booking fee if you’re calculating the value received from the card. The best thing to do is to avoid low cost redemptions. To offset the annual fee, see above. It’s still a high annual fee and families will have breakage which keeps this score lower.

Another thing that brings this score down is CNB’s sort of actually yes it indeed is quite annoying online system. You have to create three separate logins, one for your credit card account, one for your rewards, and then one to learn about your Visa Infinite benefits. The interface for the CNB based websites are a little behind the times, so that can be pretty annoying.

I probably buried the lede a bit, but this card also is very difficult to get. For starters, it’s only available to people who earn a lot of money (probably > $100,000/year) or people who have a lot of money. They go through a pretty thorough underwriting process that will require a bunch of your information.

You also cannot apply for this credit card online. City National Bank branches can only be found in a few locations (see the map here). However, a helpful banker reached out to me and helped me apply via e-mail. If you’re interested, I can put you in touch, e-mail me asthejoeflies AT gmail DOT com.

Overall family travel score

I know most people won’t even be reading this, but let me say right here and now that this is a 5 star card for me hands down. The multiple airline credit benefit, priority pass, and ability to book Disney trips with uplift make this an incredible family travel card.

However, since not everyone will be able to access the card and since it can be so difficult to use, I have to give it four stars. If your family can use it, the card is amazing, but if your family can’t get it then the card is useless to you.

Still, I would say if you can get this card, it combines both ease of use with great value – a killer combination for families.

Did you jump onto the Crystal Infinite bandwagon? What are your thoughts on the card? Let me know in the comments!

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Level 2 Member
I like it that you don't have to declare an airline for the travel credits, as AMEX requires. Rather, the requirement is that it be a US airline. I don't use mine for much ongoing spend as I prefer Ultimate Reward points, but I am careful to get my full benefit from the travel credits.


Level 2 Member
Besides the online interface, one of the things I dislike the most is being unable to link to Mint. I like to check my CCs daily and monitor charges. The card will be at the bottom of the heap because of that.

For those that are retired, tax records are sufficient to submit with the application and investments are factored in with your debt/income ratio. You can also add AUs that aren’t in your household.

There’s a $100 unlimited travel credit, but I suspect we won’t use that.


New Member
I have been looking to sign up for this card for a while now. The biggest hinderance for me has been the requirement to sign up in branch. I have a busy day job (which thankfully more than takes care of the income requirements) but there is no way I can make it to my local branch by 4PM closing time!


Level 2 Member
I have been looking to sign up for this card for a while now. The biggest hinderance for me has been the requirement to sign up in branch. I have a busy day job (which thankfully more than takes care of the income requirements) but there is no way I can make it to my local branch by 4PM closing time!
As Joe mentioned, you can apply vie email through a banker. That how I did it, since there’s no local branches. Under “Annual Fees and Hidden Costs” Joe gave his email. If you’re really interested, contact him.😊


New Member
This is a great card! Have a friend who raves about it!

I recently (back in Nov) applied to the City National Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card under the 75k promo.

However they denied me and did list a reason nor do they have a reconsideration process...

Looking online, i've seen a lot of success with people with a similiar income level / credit cards / credit score as mine.

Wondering if anyone (perhaps people who were denied before) had any luck reapplying again?

If not, I guess I'll have to be a DP soon.

Thank you!