Posted by Chuck on February 8, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on February 8th, 2019 | by Chuck

54

Language Change in the Citi 24-Month Rule and Implications (24 months becomes 27 months & more)

Citi has a rule that you can’t get a signup bonus on a card if you opened or closed that card (or any card in that family) within the past 24 months. Reader sdsearch picked up on a small change in the language of the terms. The change wouldn’t be on any normal person’s radar, but for hobbyists who like clarifying the terms minutiae, it’s interesting to note – see below for implications of the change.

Old Terms:

Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.

New Terms:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou®Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.

The new language has been there for at least a month, though I never picked up on it until reader sdsearch sent this in today. I’m going to guess that they changed the verbiage when they added ThankYou Rewards+ to the language. That card was launched in January. (My searches on Way Back Machine didn’t yield any good results since I can’t find any signup bonuses in the pages saved there.)

On other Citi cards, like the American Airlines card, it still shows the old language:

50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles can be earned by new Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® card cardmembers approved through this offer. American Airlines AAdvantage®bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a MileUp℠ or CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

Implications

  • Negative: The biggest implication is that you have to wait 24 months from the date you received the bonus, not the date the card was open. Essentially, the 24 month rule is now a 25 or 26 or 27 month rule since you usually get the bonus 1-3 months after signing up. Note: I’m not convinced that the internal Citi system actually changed their coding to deny you the bonus in such a scenario –  my gut feeling is that the system will still count the 24 months from date of opening. Even if that’s confirmed, personally, I’ll still wait the extra few months to fulfill the technical language of the terms in case there’s an issue with the bonus and I’m at the mercy of a human.
  • Positive: If you didn’t get a bonus on a card, that does not reset your clock. In the post Can you get a Signup Bonus if you Previously had the Card without a Bonus? we couldn’t find any data points, but noted that based on the language of the terms, you are ineligible for a bonus even if you didn’t get the bonus the first time, being that it depends on card opening. Going forward, ThankYou cards with the new terms should be eligible if you didn’t get the bonus the first time. (It’s quite possible that’s how it always was in the internal system, but now we have the language suggesting that as well.)
  • Positive: Conversions into a given card family should no longer reset the clock. For example, if you product change a Citi Dividend card to become a Rewards+ card (a card which is part of the ThankYou family), that should not reset your ThankYou 24 month clock since you did not “receive a new cardmember bonus” or “close” a ThankYou card. Note: it very well may reset your Dividend 24 month clock (in the hypothetical world that there was such a thing) since changing over the product may be considered “closing” the Dividend card. 
  • Positive: You may be able to open multiple ThankYou cards at once and get the bonus on all of them since you haven’t “received a new cardmember bonus” or “closed” a ThankYou card within 24 months. See discussion here.

My personal guess here is that they made this change when adding the Rewards+ card into the ThankYou lineup because they wanted people to product change to the card (sources indicate that they are pushing product changes to this card) without having to affect their 24 month status. As such, I’m unconvinced the negative change state above will actually materialize, but in any case, the technical terms imply that way.

Thanks again to reader sdsearch for sending this in.



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El Loco
El Loco

The corollary here is that you can open all the Thank You cards at once and get the bonus if you are outside the 24 months since last receiving or closing.

Dan
Dan

well you can open them, but you are going to receive one of the bonuses first, which means that may disqualify you from receiving a bonus on your other opened cards. it would be an interesting test case

Snorlax
Snorlax

^—— This.

El Loco
El Loco

Yes, it would be nice to test. Technically you could have the statements closing in the same day, but in the end it all depends on how the award system is coded. The best scenario would be something like what Chase does, in which the bonus is attached to the account at the opening date so you can double dip the sapphire cards for example.

Debit
Debit

Try arguing with citi. Last time they made this change I opened citi prestige just before the change. They held on to the application till the change went in effect and then approved it and denied me the bonus. Saying I had received a bonus within last 24 months. Bastards.

Johnny
Johnny

Is the any DP that shows if product change like changing from premier to TY preferred would count as an account close? Thanks in advance.

sdsearch
sdsearch

The opposite. There are at least two datapoints in FlyerTalk’s Citi forum about someone downgrading Premier to Preferred and not only keeping their points but their points not expiring. Downgrading within the same product family is a different case than downgrading out of one product family to another. It’s if you downgrade Premier to, for example, DoubleCash that not only do your points (if still left) expire soon after but it counts as a close.

Mike
Mike

DP: Eligibility is coded during sign-up. Earlier this year I was approved for TYP, and closed older TYP immediately after. Bonus just posted.

Andy
Andy

Does this mean I can open both prestige and premier within 9 days of each other and get the bonus for both?

mjonis
mjonis

I see this as a huge negative because the wording implies that once you receive a NEW cardmember ThankYou bonus, you cannot get them ever again. It then says “OR 24 months”. Which implies “either or”, IMO.

But perhaps I’m misinterpreting things.

Adam
Adam

You’re misinterpreting it. The last comma means that it’s either of the two options within the last 24 months.

XenaWP
XenaWP

I also worried the same thing. Truly who knows with Citi.

Dave
Dave

I second this worry…

Prov1
Prov1

I believe that you are overthinking the rule, if Citi wanted to effectively limit the sign-up bonus to one per TY family than the latter rule would be redundant (unless for the very small population of cardholders who opened a TY related credit card and never received a bonus – i.e. not meeting the minimum spend).

scott
scott

That’s what i was thinking. There’s no point in putting in language that you can’t get the bonus if you closed the card in the last 24 months. The assumption would be that if you have a card to close that you already received the bonus and are therefore disqualified.

Wes
Wes

Good points, Prov1 and Scott. However, this is Citi. Of all the big banks, they may have the most distant relationship with common sense.

My concern is that the language is ambiguous as to this point, which leaves the door wide open for citi to treat this as a “one card per card family per lifetime” rule on any occasion that they deem fit. That’s the biggest negative change that I see from this whole thing.

mjonis
mjonis

Ah, so what you’re saying is that it’s something like this?:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available: (if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou®Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards,)– in the past 24 months.

Adam L
Adam L

Yup

Dan
Dan

this is big for me. for whatever reason, citi EWS (early warning system) hates me and often requires sending in social security number verification when new cards are opened. When i opened thank you premier, a fraud hold was placed on my card and the information was requested by EWS again. somehow (i’ll blame it on citi’s IT) i got in an endless loop of getting the request for info, sending it in, them saying they didnt receive the second page (even though i sent it), and this loop went on 3-4 times over the course of 6 months. bizarre, i even tried sending a note with the form saying please make sure all forms get uploaded cause i have sent it in 3 times and something keeps getting screwed up. missed the bonus and its still unresolved and just trying to get the account closed, but even that has proven difficult. so glad that once this account is closed, i’ll still be able to try again to get a thank you bonus

Vic
Vic

I found out about this about 2 weeks ago but didn’t think of to tipping you :/
I thought it had always been like this and I had got it wrong all along.

William Charles

Never hurts to let us know =)

Matt
Matt

Would converting a Citi Premier into a Citi Preferred count as closing the card?

Dave
Dave

I believe yes. Was denied bonus on a TY Premier card because I had converted a Citi Prestige to a Dividend and forgot about it and they said they count conversion as closure.

J
J

Is the any DP that shows if product change like changing from premier to TY preferred would count as an account close? Thanks in advance.

Snorlax
Snorlax
George
George

I wouldn’t call a single iffy DP “discussed ad nauseum.” In that thread, all we have is Robert, who claims to have been told by someone that he would be ineligible after a Prestige>Preferred downgrade. Everything else involves PCs to a different card family.

Having just converted my Preferred to a Premier, I too would like to know when I can open a Prestige and earn the SUB.

Also, this all seems wildly unfair. I opened my Preferred back in ’13 and so would’ve been eligible for the Premier SUB, but chose to upgrade instead. My choice to convert SAVED them money, why the hell would they reset the clock on me?

Steve

If my Citi Forward card was forced-converted to ThankYou Preferred and they gave me a $50 credit for spending $500 on the new card, is that treated as a “new cardmember bonus”?

Snorlax
Snorlax

Good question, certainly a grey area.

Theo
Theo

No. I got my forward card converted to preferred card early last year, and applied premier card later and got my bonus.

Steve

I guess that’s a data point that the conversion didn’t count as opening a new card, under the old rules. But my concern now is whether the $50 credit after the conversion will cause a problem with the new rules that talk about “new cardmember bonus”, rather than opening.

Steve

Following up on my question: the $50 credit on 3/20/2018 after my Forward was converted to Preferred didn’t cause a problem for getting a Premier bonus.. I applied for Premier 2/9/2019 and got the 50,000 bonus on my 3/22/2019 statement (and got 10,000 points by asking to match the 60K offer through SM).

Jr
Jr

Good news everyone. I got approved for this card and activated and confirmed with prestige cs that ONLY the 24 month rule is enforced. So its the time that counts not the bonus. She confirmed she did see on my account my eligibility for the bonus.

Corridor
Corridor

I have a screen shot from 1/5 showing the old terms. It had to happen some time after that.

Billy bob
Billy bob

A bit off topic… I have a Citi American biz card (has a ~$95 AF) that is almost 2 years old. Can I get the bonus again soon? Either by opening a second card (I can use a new EIN) or product changing to a no annual fee version. Or am I SOL bc I will have to close this card (to avoid AF) and can’t hold two of these cards?

Matthew

You can, but you would have to wait until after the 24-month period to apply. I would recommend 26 or 27 months as I’ve heard people having trouble doing it exactly at 24-months.

sdsearch
sdsearch

The business card offers say::”This card is not available if the business already has a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® account. Bonus miles and any additional special offer not available if you have had any CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® account opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

So your only chance seems to be to keep it open for 26+ months (even if that means paying another AF, assuming you can’t get a retention bonus), and you’d have to use a different EIN and hope that Citi doesn’t get mixed up about that. But while the EIN seems to be used for the first part (“if the business already has”), the SSN is used for the second part (“if you have had”), so you’ve got avoid having either an open or a close ANYWHERE NEAR 24 months (which as others have said, means wait until 26+ months to be safe).

You can close the card you have as soon as you’re approved for the new card. You should close the new card a while after your signup bonus posts, to maximize how soon again you’ll be able to apply for yet another one.

Byron

I am waiting on my old Prestige and Premier to hit the 24 month clock. Citi confirmed to me that whichever of these was the last one CLOSED, is the one that reset the 24 month clock, not when I got the bonus. The learning is to actually close both cards about the same time for future bonuses. I closed those two cards about 6 mos apart, meaning one card will have been close 30 months when the other one hits 24 months. The learning was that it was when the card was closed and not when the bonus was earned. This came from Citi Supervisor that went and checked on this while I was on hold.

sdsearch
sdsearch

The terms have included “since last open and since last close” for several years now. What changed is that “since last open” changed to “since last signup bonus earned”, but the “since last close” didn’t change. And since you can’t close a card before you earn the bonus (since you don’t earn the bonus if your card is closed), the closing (if done) is obviously the last possible of those events! So IF you closed, then, yes, of course it measures from the close date. It’s only if you HAVEN’t closed that it now measures from the bonus rather than from the open.

So your example has nothing do with this change in terms. This change in terms only matters if the card is still open.

Snorlax
Snorlax

It’s been this way for the last few years.

Lantean
Lantean

I volunteer to be the guinea pig to test if we can get two sign up bonuses per card family.

Next week I will apply for Citi Premier and then 9 days later I’ll apply for Rewards+.
Curious if I get the second bonus. If not, it’s only $1k spend, not a huge deal.
Unless you guys think I should apply for different card or in different order?

Lisa
Lisa

Please let us know what you learn. Thanks.

Brokenarcher
Brokenarcher

Did you get both bonus? I’m considering doing the same. Thanks!!

MrDioji
MrDioji

update please!

Lantean
Lantean

Lisa
Brokenarcher
MrDioji

Hi guys,
Sorry for the tardy response… I was waiting for the 60k offer to come back on the Premier card. I applied for it as soon as it was available and 8 days after approval I applied for the Rewards+.

So… I was approved for both cards. Before I received my Premier I received a welcome letter from Citi confirming the bonus. I have already spent $3k+ on this card.

Today I received a welcome letter for my Rewards+ card… and indeed it does say I will receive 20k bonus after $1k spend.
So I don’t have the bonuses yet but it is looking good.

jason
jason

UPdate?

Ken
Ken

Any data points on whether the eligibility date is from the account opening or bonus award date?

Taylor
Taylor

Interesting DP here: I product changed my TY Preferred I’ve had from 2013 to the Double Cash after I learned that you can transfer Double Cash to TY. Called twice and talked to 3 CSRs about whether it would reset my 2 year clock. A TYP agent spoke to a supervisor who said that because my card was over 3 years old the transfer would not count against me and I would get an intro offer if I applied.

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