Posted by Chuck on December 3, 2015
Checking Accounts

Published on December 3rd, 2015 | by Chuck

63

PSA: Don’t Close Citigold – Downgrade It!

Many of us signed up for a Citigold checking account within the past year for one of a few different bonus offers, see Step-by-Step Guide to Citigold 50,000 Points Checking Bonus.

So we’re now holding after getting the bonus. Time to close the account, right? It has a $30 monthly fee after all.

Not so fast!

The Citigold account package comes with a $30 monthly, and when you close out the account Citibank apparently charges that fee for the month the account was closed. Not only will you get hit with a $30 fee after the account is closed, you may also get hit with a $34 overdraft fee as well.

The best way out of this mess is simply to downgrade from the Citigold package to the Citi Basic package. To keep the Basic account package fee-free, there needs to be $1500 in the account or have a direct deposit and bill pay.

Be sure to put $1500 in the account, and then downgrade it. A month later, it should be safe to close out and request a check for the balance. I verified with Citi chat that if there is a balance in the account you can request to close the account, and you’ll get a check within 5-7 business days.

We wrote in the previous post a more creative reason to keep the account as a Basic without closing it. Whether or not you plan on keeping the Citi Basic account (and tying up $1500), you definitely want to initially downgrade and not close. Save the hassle of having to deal with those fees.

On a related note, we’ll mention here that it’s worth doing the downgrade well before the end of the month since it’s not instant and you want to give it time to settle before the monthly fee comes due.

HT: Reddit

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Ralph
Kate
Kate

Please clarify for how much should the Citygold be funded to a Citigold 50,000 Points Checking Bonus? I opened the account last month but haven’t funded it yet.

Kate
Kate

I understand that service fees are waived if you maintain $50,000, but how much is required to maintain for the 50,000 bonus points?

William Charles

You don’t need any minimum balance for 50k points, just need the CitiGold ccount open.

Al
Al

I need to do this soon. If I downgrade from Citi Gold to basic, well my account number remain the same? I am hoping it well, as I have direct apposite and bill payments that I do automatically.

Yumeng
Yumeng

Any idea if you still qualified for the $100 discount for the Prestige card if you apply for it after the downgrading?

Chucks
Chucks

I continue to be recognized as Citigold months after closing the account. We’ll see.

Alonso
Alonso

Agreed, I downgraded my account, it was a painless process when done via chat.

Here’s hoping the Prestige benefit continues when I get hit with the AF this upcoming year!

mike
mike

what account should we downgrade that has no fees at all?

Irene
Irene

How far in advance did you downgrade before the 2 months of fee waived was up? if you downgrade before they provide the points will that be any issue?

Ted
Ted

Still have not gotten my 40k thank you points yet.

Opened in July, bill paid in July and August. $30 already charged…….

Now this crap

Max Loranzo
Max Loranzo

Try calling Citi. On one of the two accounts I manage I got the AA bonus miles posted very quickly after completing the requirements. On the other account I didn’t get the bonus, even after 90 days passed, so I called and the issue was fixed.

John
John

I don’t see a problem with the flow – Just follow the rules. But what is puzzling me is how come you paid $30 only once in close to 5 months of having the account and how come you have not received the bonus yet. You may have skipped a step somewhere.

Ted
Ted

I had 20+ citi credit cards in the last couple years. Their bonuses have been posted with no issue. Been calling a few times, they see I have met the requirements they just keep doing the it will post next month thing.

savemesf
savemesf

I guess I was lucky – got the points and closed the account before any fees hit.

I think it’s too early, but has anybody had success double dipping on the TY points bonuses? I.e., got the 40K points from the “small business” offer earlier in 2015, closed the accounts, and then opened new accounts to get the current 50K bonus offer?

Mike
Mike

Not a good idea. If Citi deems you to have earned the equivalent of $600 or more in checking account bonuses in a year they will inform the IRS and you will owe taxes on those points. Wait for an offer in 2016.

WorldTraveler
WorldTraveler

I know that not all bank bonuses are informed to the IRS. However, I believe that all bank bonuses are supposed to be filed as taxable income, so you owe taxes on those points anyways.

Mike
Mike

The difference is the IRS will know about it now whereas they normally wouldn’t.

Citi is definitely one of the banks that will inform on you if you go over $600. Google it for other reports.

savemesf
savemesf

If one signed up for new accounts between now and the 12/31/15 deadline for the current 50K TY points offer, the the bonus would not be earned / paid until 2016. So there’s not any 1099 issue.

Just curious if anybody has been able to churn the bonus. I think a couple people in the other thread were going to try.

Max Loranzo
Max Loranzo

A few more public service announcements:

1) To downgrade the account you need to call, the chat doesn’t work.

2) Before downgrading, make sure you have some checks or order them (they’re free). I believe the Basic account doesn’t give you free checks.

chris
chris

I had no problem downgrading my Citigold to the Basic via chat just now and it took about 5 minutes. (And I’ve been told by more than one person I’m definitely not special.)

Leon
Leon

Hi Chuck, a short question! I tried finding the answer online but couldn’t 🙁

I currently have a basic checking account with Citi but I want to get into the Citigold promo but the rep told me I won’t be qualified for the promo. The T&C doesn’t seem to prohibit churning, so is it possible to close this account and then open Citigold and receive the bonus? Thanks!

Vic
Vic
snoptro
snoptro

Thanks for the good advice Chuck!

Anthony
Anthony

No one has mentioned what happens to the points if you close the account. I was under the impression that you lose the points if the checking account is closed. The points do not mix with points earned on a credit card and are categorized separately. It seems though, that everyone is closing their accounts quickly before the fee hits. What happens to the points then?

Phil
Phil

Can anyone confirm if the points stay intact after a downgrade?

Theo
Theo

The points will expire 60 days after you downgrade the account.

Aaron
Aaron

You are talking about the Thank You points, not AA miles right? I don’t think the AA miles expire after account closing.

Phil
Phil

Yes, I mean the TY points. Good to know the expiration. Thanks!

M
M

After downgrading, my points are still intact and not shown as expiring in 60 days.

J
J

Yea I think the OP meant after an account closure, not an account downgrade.

Adam
Adam

Also, you can ask for a fee stop to be placed on your account. The rep that I was speaking with put a 6-month fee hold on the account I guess. I’ll be checking in a couple weeks just to make sure that everything is finally closed out.

Matt B
Matt B

Is the 50k TYP offer still going for those of us that haven’t taken advantage so far?

Dan
Dan

Yes, until 12/31/15

David
David

Great advice! I got hit with fee #1 for the 30k AA offer which I applied for a month before the 50k offer hit. Still no miles. They’ve confirmed I met the requirements twice and swear they’ll post this month.

trackback

[…] Also, note that even if you plan on closing out the account completely, it’s worth downgrading first to a Basic account and then closing it out a month later. This will help you avoid fees as we described here. […]

trackback

[…] The downside to both of these offers is that they require a Citigold checking account to get the maximum bonus, this account has a $30 monthly fee which can be waived but the requirements are quite high. Thankfully the first two months are free, so my suggestion would be to complete the requirements as quickly as possible and hopefully it won’t be too long until your bonus posts. I’d also recommend downgrading your account instead of closing it outright, more on why here. […]

PaulSu
PaulSu

Today my wife tried downgrading citigold account, after she combined 40k thankyou points to her citi thankyou premier credit card account. The rep said there is a block (lock) on her gold checking account and performed some review. After that, the rep asked my wife if she was taking advantage of the promotion. My wife’s English is not good and did not know how to answer the question properly, so she halted.

Is there any rule to apply lock on the account from closure or upgrading for the gold checking account which already has been used for promotion?

PaulSu
PaulSu

To make my question more specific:

1. is it possible my wife’s citigold account was locked because she combined points earned by gold account to other credit card account?

2. any advice on how to ask for a account downgrade?

(Reviewed the account’s disclosure and did not find there is anything saying you can not close or downgrade the account after promotion is got.)

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