Posted by Chuck on April 11, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on April 11th, 2019 | by Chuck

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Demystifying Citi Annual Fee Refund Policy

Recently, I’ve had a few conversations with readers about Citi’s annual fee refund policy when closing, downgrading, or product changing a card. Due to the high degree of confusion on this matter, I sought to clarify the rules. Citi’s reps typically put it all in a single basket so that you have 60 days from when the fee posts to cancel or downgrade, after that there is no prorate. In practice, here’s my best guess/understanding of how it works:

[Note, some people have had success calling in and getting them to adjust for a full refund or a larger refund. Those are good data points, but aren’t the focus of this post: the goal here is to try clarifying how Citi’s automated system deals with product changes, downgrades, and closures.]

  1. If you close a card within 30 or 60 days, you get a full refund, not prorated. We used to put the number at 30 days, but multiple recent reports indicate that reps are saying the policy changed to 60 days. Reports indicate (1, 2) that cobrands get 60 days. I’m unsure if Citi’s own cards also get 60 days or if those only have 30.
  2. If you close a card at any point in middle of the year, you get a prorate from the date you called in to close the card. This works even in mid-year; I did this very recently with Citi Prestige and got a $225 refund on the fee. Multiple readers have reported (here and via email) Citi reps saying it won’t get prorated after the 60 day mark, but this does not appear to be accurate. I’m unsure if cobrands get prorated like Citi’s own cards or if those can’t be refunded in mid-year at all.
  3. If you downgrade within the same family of cards, e.g. Thank You Prestige to Preferred, the annual fee gets prorated based on the number of months the card was held. Downgrading takes a couple of months until fully processed (takes 50-52 days), and you’ll thus land up with an extra couple of month’s worth of fee than expected. This all holds true whether you downgrade in mid-year or downgrade soon after the annual fee posts.
    The same policy applies to cobranded cards: if you downgrade within the same family of cards (e.g. $99 AA card to no-fee card), it’ll take 50 days to process and the annual fee will be prorated.
  4. If you product change outside the family within 30 days of fee posting, e.g. you change a $99 AA card to a fee-free ThankYou card or you change a Prestige to a Dividend, there are numerous conflicting data points. Some have experienced the product change taking 50 days while others have not. Some have gotten (1, 2) a full refund while others have gotten a prorated refund (1).
  5. If you product change a cobrand into one of Citi’s own cards in mid-year, I believe the system won’t automatically give you any refund at all. You can try calling in to get a prorate.
  6. For the American Airlines Executive card only: If you close or the product change or downgrade the card after 37 days, you will not be refunded. Reportedly, you won’t even get a prorate in this scenario (though others have heard differently).

These rules stated above are my understanding from threading together numerous recent data points, and there may be inaccuracies here or additional scenarios we haven’t considered. Please drop a comment with your own recent experiences from the past year, especially if it’s a counter data point to anything stated, just try to be clear on the details since there are numerous variables here.



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AnameOfaguy
AnameOfaguy

I was told 60 days last week. I’ve been too busy and haven’t called back in. 30 days as lapsed, so we’ll see today.

Satellite
Satellite

Which card?

AnameOfaguy
AnameOfaguy

AAdvantage Plat (Biz and Personal). I didn’t get around to calling today. Hopefully I’ll find some time tomorrow.

Kevin
Kevin

Thanks Chuck. Btw has anyone successfully product change Citi Costco to a different Citi card? Last I asked, they don’t allow it.

Mike L
Mike L

Are you not a Costco member anymore? That’s a pretty good card…

My guess is that when Citi signed the agreement with Costco, there was some kind of exclusivity clause forbidding that. Costco was able to make a lot of demands because of their volume. Again, that’s just a complete guess, though.

imnotashopaholic
imnotashopaholic

When I removed an AU of my Prestige card, I was told that any fee refund within 30 days of the statement containing the fee will be in full. Any refund after that will be prorated. This was back in 2017 though.

Burton
Burton

Thanks Chuck, very timely. I have a Premier and plan to use the points to travel in June and the 1 year anniversary hits in August. Was planning to downgrade to Rewards+ or more likely try to switch to DoubleCash. I assume a switch from the ThankYou family to DoubleCash would fit under the last category so I should call within 30 days from when the fee posts and request the switch and if I had to pay the AF it will be reimbursed?

Jay
Jay

I did this product change, Premier to DC, 2 years ago right after the annual fee hit and it took 30 to 60 days to show up on my statement but they eventually gave me a prorated annual fee reimbursement for 11 months. I wasnt in the mood to fight for the one month they didn’t reimburse, didn’t argue the matter.

Burton
Burton

Thanks Jay – I haven’t done a product change before, does everything carry over so you just get a new card but the statement/autopay continue or is it closer to getting a 2nd card with the same bank? I assume I need to spend down all my ThankYou points or I’d lose them vs converting to cashback.

RC
RC

Hey Chuck i think this language is a bit confusing but the DPs you link to help: “If you product change a card outside the card family, e.g. you change a $99 AA card to a fee-free ThankYou card, the product change will also take 50 days, BUT you’ll get a full prorate.” Basically you are saying that the 50 day product change time does not impact your refund. If the rule is 30 days and you PC on day 29, then you get a full refund. Citi doesn’t look at it like closing day 79 (29+50) and then pro rate your AF refund. Am I getting that right? Thanks for this post

Steve

I think instead of “full prorate” he meant to say “full refund”.

Dan
Dan

This is the most bizzare mess of a policy ever.

Joe
Joe

Yeah their conversions take like 2 months and you have to pay the AF for those 2 months. It sucks.

RC
RC

Thanks Joe that clarifies things. Crummy move by Citi.

Satellite
Satellite

Would PC-ing 2 months before AF hits make sense? Any penalties for doing so (like with Amex)? E.g. at 10 months after getting a card.

Kasey
Kasey

From what I’ve heard they won’t let you downgrade a card until you’ve had it for a year. Could be wrong though

Gadget

Satellite , Kasey is correct. 12 months must pass to product change, because otherwise when you call they will just say nothing is showing up. You can close tho. And Citi doesn’t have the 12 month must keep open rule, that I know of anyway. The sooner you close some of them, the better, as they have the 24 month rule on getting the bonus since last open/close in same family.

Lee
Lee

FYI…when i downgraded my AA to the MIles Up no AF card it took 2 months and they refunded me the prorated amount. However, i called in and within a minute they refunded the remaining 2 months of AF.

aubergine
aubergine

At times the cutover for PC can take even longer than the official 50 days. We once had an old Hilton card (whatever gave gold) take 4+ mos to turn into a DC, and we got charged for the whole time of that, even though we’d requested the PC right on day 2 of AF posting.

My last PC of an old AA Gold to an ATTA took 40ish days although the website changed quickly.

Vic
Vic

Just adding to the last category:

I recently PC-ed AA to Rewards+ but it didn’t take the usual 2-month time. The Rewards+ Cardenas mailer very quickly and received in one week or so.
A few others reported similar experience.

Spencer
Spencer

Also PC’d AA Plat (but to Double Cash) very quickly. Got my full $95 refunded

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

Thanks Chuck for the timely article.

Rob
Rob

This was a few years ago, but I cancelled the Citi Prestige around month 11 and still got a prorated annual fee back.

SC
SC

I went from Prestige to Double Cash a few months ago and got dinged for a month’s cost of annual fee. I pushed the issue with one of the chat reps, who didn’t refund it…she did give me a nice bonus cash reward instead.

Raj
Raj

Asked for a PC to no fee AA card after 30 days of AF posting. The card is still being changed (50 days not yet passed), but I was refunded the full fee.

Stefan
Stefan

Regarding point 3 – Downgrading a card:

I have on a few occasions (over the past couple of years) been able to message them and get the entire AF refunded based on the date that I called in to close the card. Initially they refunded me the prorated amount and then refunded me the remaining amount after arguing that I initiated the product change before the 30 day window.

mishyq
mishyq

same here. in my case it was AA card and downgraded to outside the family

Matthew

I just canceled an AA biz and it was just after the 30 days, so I was worried I wouldn’t get it all back, but was hoping maybe the 37 day rule applied like the Executive. In the end, I got it all refunded.

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