Citi App Strategy BEFORE New Rules (8/28): What to Consider & How to Maximize Apps

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Citi Application Strategy Before New Rules
Photo from: Credit Cards on Flickr

Citi Application Strategy Before New Rules

This morning I covered the news that Citi has implemented new language on their applications limiting bonuses by product line. Specifically, you cannot get a bonus for a card if you have opened or closed a card within that same product line within the past 24 months. The product lines that contain the new language are:

  • Expedia+
  • AAdvantage
  • Hilton HHonors
  • ThankYou
  • AT&T

One interesting tidbit of news did come out later in the day today. Doctor of Credit reported that a media rep at Citi told him these new rules won’t go into effect until August 28, 2016. I trust Doctor of Credit as a source, but I have not personally confirmed this and thus recommend you try to confirm this yourself before applying. If this is indeed true, I think there are some interesting things to keep in mind before that date hits.

Overall Strategy

First off, Citi will only allow you to get one card per day, however you can get two cards eight days apart. (Day 1 and Day 9) That simply means it should be possible to fill in your product portfolio twice before the new deadline hits. This is really good or at least good compared to where we thought we were this morning.

Given this news, you could:

  1. Get two cards within the same family if you are interested in those type of points.
  2. Get a single card within two types of families in which you have opened other cards in the past two years since on the 28th you will no longer be eligible to get those cards.

For example one, let’s say you really love Hilton and you currently don’t have either of the Citi Hilton HHonors cards. You could get both of those cards before the 28th providing you qualify. When the new rules go into effect you won’t be able to get both products without waiting 24 months.

Example two is fairly simple as well. Maybe you applied for the ThankYou Premier six months ago when it had a bonus and now you want to pickup the Prestige before you get locked out. Additionally, you also have the HHonors Reserve and want to pickup the Hilton HHonors Visa Signature to get those points before you can’t get them either.

Both of these scenarios are ones that I think many readers are likely considering. So then which cards to get and what scenario to choose? Well, that will be largely up to you, but let’s look at what is available in each family. Before we do though, remember that under the current rules you cannot get a bonus on a product if you have opened or closed that same product within the past 24 months.

ThankYou Cards

  • ThankYou Preferred – 10K after $1K spend + $100 credit after $100 LiveNation spend.
  • ThankYou Premier – No known current bonus
  • Citi Prestige – 40K after $4K spend.

Analysis: This one is easy as there is really only one card to apply for right now. The Prestige is changing next year, but it still has a lot of value until next July. This is probably a card you will want to get before those changes anyway. Keep in mind if you get this card now, you might keep yourself from being able to get a bonus on the ThankYou Preferred or Premier cards if they bring one back.

AAdvantage

  • AAdvantage Executive – 60K after $5K spend
  • AAdvantage Platinum – 50K after $3K spend
  • AAdvantage Gold – 25K after $750 spend

Analysis: Ah the card family that many people are blaming for all of this mess. It has been possible in different ways to earn a lot of these miles through various Citi cards, but that is about to stop. Now might be the time to pick the last AAdvantage card you will get for awhile. Keep in mind that the Executive card does come with Admiral’s Club membership which might be important given the upcoming changes to the Prestige card.

Hilton HHonors

  • HHonors Visa Signature – 75K after $2K spend
  • HHonors Reserve – 2 free weekend nights + $100 statement credit

Analysis: The 75K no annual fee offer is the highest it has been and is a great deal in my opinion if you want to grab some points. I think it is worth a look for people who have opened the Reserve recently since they will be locked out of the Visa Signature card for awhile. On the flip side, the Reserve is nice as it comes with two free weekend nights and Gold status. If you don’t have a need for a ThankYou card, the double Hilton card strategy might be worth a look.

Expedia+

  • Expedia+ Voyager – 25K after $2K spend
  • Expedia+ Card – 15K after $1K spend

Analysis: Neither of these cards is great and I can’t see someone really needing both. I personally would focus on other programs where it pays to get multiple cards in the same family. You can always get one or the other of these cards down the line.

AT&T ThankYou

  • AT&T Access More – No known application
  • AT&T Access – 10,000 bonus points after unknown spend (Bonus isn’t mentioned on app.)

Analysis: If I had to choose between the lesser Access card and the Access More it wouldn’t be a contest. Right now there aren’t any known Access More application links, so I would probably hold off and pray that one returns. There are only two cards in this family and the More card is the one I would want. I wouldn’t prohibit myself from getting it by going for the lesser version right now.

Conclusion

As always I recommend only doing what you are comfortable with and staying within your own plan when it comes to credit cards. You don’t need to apply for two Citi cards just because it might be possible and just because the rules are changing. With that said, if you feel comfortable and if it makes sense for you given your personal situation, then now might be the time to formulate a Citi strategy for the next couple of weeks.

What are your thoughts? Are you going to apply for two cards? Which families are you looking at? Share with us in the comments!


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44 COMMENTS

  1. I opened AA Platinum in 2014 and closed in September 2015. If I open one this August- would I be eligible for bonus miles? I was under impression that I still have to wait 24 month since the closing of Citi AA card – no?

    • No the clock on the Platinum would have reset in Sep. 2015. Under the old rules you would still be eligible for bonuses on the AAdvantage Executive and AAdvantage Gold cards if you haven’t had those.

  2. I’m kinda interested in applying for the prestige but don’t really know how to play it. You have to call, right? I’m just nervous when it comes time for my bonus to post, how will you be able to show the language on the landing page didn’t apply to me? And even if call, should I have the conversion recorded for proof?!

    • You don’t have to call, but considering the language is on the app page now, I suggest being cautious. I trust DoC, but without being able to confirm it myself in writing I feel it is my obligation to warn everyone. In other words, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

      Hopefully we will get more data points and maybe even something public from Citi in the next couple of days which will make this all easier.

  3. I applied and got approved last night for a prestige. Great timing 🙁 Anyway the page said I wouldn’t get the bonus if already had it but I missed this on the offer page. Now you are saying this rule won’t be enforced until Aug 28.how do you k ow thia is true?

    • as shawn earlier wrote, we all won’t know for sure til an official confirmation from citi hopefully early next week

  4. A few months ago I converted an AA Plat. card to a Double Cash card. Does that count as a closure that would disallow getting the bonus again for the AA Plat. now?

  5. Anyway to tell when you last had a card? Had the executive aa card when the 100k bonuses came out. Forgot when I cancelled…

  6. My wife was approved for the Citi Plat Select Aadvantage consumer on 5/8/16 but her 50k bonus didn’t post when expected. It’s over 2 year since she closed this same card before but less than 2 years since she closed her Citibusinss Aadvantage. I’ve sent secured messages, chatted and called customer service and they are all telling me she won’t get the bonus on the consumer account because she closed the business account < 24 months ago. I've reminded them they are different products but apparently it doesn't matter. Here is the latest response from them.. "This account is not eligible for the offer you mentioned because you
    have had the same or a similar offer on another account that has either
    been opened or closed within the last 24 months. Unfortunately, this is
    not limited to the same card type".

    • That is definitely strange and you may look into escalating this via the CFPB or other means. The language in May definitely didn’t apply across product lines like it does now. I would start by writing a letter to the Executive Department at Citi (you can Google the address), but based on my understanding of the terms and based on how they have been enforced for me and others, this shouldn’t be the case.

  7. Shawn, thank you very much for this insightful post! I currently have the Prestige, AT&T Access More (2 of my favorite cards) and the AAdvantage Platinum. Hyatt is where my loyalty lies but Hilton is my backup. Not interested in Expedia. I’ll probaby get the AA Executive one last time to earn the 10k EQMs but having a hard time deciding on the 2nd card. I really wanted the Premier but mostly for the bonus. Without a bonus, I’m uncertain as to my 2nd card. Any thoughts or advice?

    • actually I already had the AA Exec card earlier this year so I still won’t get the bonus bc of the 18 month rule. I suppose I can wait to apply later when I need the EQMs. So I’ll probably get the AA Platinum (a 2nd one) and either the AA Gold or one of the Hilton cards. If i dont need status and already have the Amex Surpass, which Citi Hilton card bonus is better?

  8. Citi tried really hard to get out of giving me the bonus on my Citigold checking account for Aadvantage miles even though I documented everything and did it completely right. They delayed so much that I ended up paying around $90 in monthly fees before I could close the Acct to guarantee the miles were deposited properly. That experience was so bad that now I would not count on Citi doing anything they said they would do. Even having screenshots of chats and copies of my bonus agreement that came with the account weren’t working for awhile. Buyer beware!

  9. Shawn: I currently have the Hilton Reserve and the Hilton Signature (I got both on July, 8, 2015) . You have indicated that the change does not go into effect until 8/28. If that is the case

    (1) If I close both Citi cards prior to 8/28 when do you think I would be able to apply again for a new Citi Hilton card and receive the bonus?

    (2) If I chose to keep the Hilton Signature open and close the Reserve prior to 8/28 when do you think I would be able to apply again for the Reserve and receive the sign-up bonus (hotel certificates)?

    Thanks so much for your time

    Mike

    • If you keep them both open, then you will be able to get a bonus when it has been 2 years since you opened your last Hilton card. If you close one of them then that 2 years starts over again. Unfortunately closing the Reserve now will start the clock for both Hilton cards.

  10. A couple questions:

    1) Wife and I both have AAdvantage Platinum Select. Both just got hit with annual fees 3 or 4 days ago. Going to call and cancel soon. Tips for when to do so? Does it matter given the following apps below?

    2) Wife and I both will apply for CitiBusiness AAdvantage. Would be first time cardholders. Is that the same ‘family’ as AAdvantage Platinum Select? Does it matter if we apply before or after 8/28? What about before or after canceling Platinum Select?

    • I probably would apply before cancelling and use the other cards as leverage. You could offer to shift lines and/or close them down completely since you will be doing it anyway. Citi’s language does state that the AA business card is outside of these new rules, so you should be able to do it after 8/28 if you want.

  11. In light of the upcoming change, I have a question regarding timing for a new card with sign-up bonus in the future. The current rule is 24 months since opening and the new rules is 24 months since opening or closing within the same family. So based on that, does that mean that if I close my AA platinum prior to 8/28 and do not open or close any AA cards that I could get a new AA platinum with bonus after 11/4/17 (the 2 year anniversary of when I opened my current AA platinum) but that if I close my AA platinum after 8/28 and do not open or close any AA cards that the 2 year clock for getting a bonus for any new AA card would be 2 years from when I closed the card? If that is the case, then it would seem to me that people should close cards that they do not need or were planning to close prior to 8/28 or risk a longer period before one can get a bonus again. Thoughts. Thanks so much for your time. Much appreciated!!!

    • The current rule is 24 months since opening or closing the same card. The new rule simply expands that to other products within the same family. Unfortunately you won’t be able to close a card and get the bonus before the new rules come.

  12. I am working on collecting AA points for a trip next year and was planning to sacrifice a hard pull to get the Citi AA Gold card. When I went to apply, this is what it said:

    American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

    Does this mean that the new rule is already in effect or am I misunderstanding this? Was hoping to do this before 8/28.

    • The new language has been there since last week, however Doctor of Credit has reported his source from Citi said they won’t be enforced until 8/28. As mentioned in the article, I cannot guarantee the rules won’t be enforced and recommend you contact Citi yourself to find out more.

          • I could be wrong but i don’t think this new citi rule is preventing you from being approved because I was also approved for a citi prestige friday and closed a citi preferred where I got a 40000 thank point bonus, last year. They aren’t atopping people from paying them $450 to get the card. The question is still whether they are gonna give the bonus. I tried to message them to ask using another account (since i don’t have the new card yet) , but I got no response.

          • I should clarify and say that I was approved and I confirmed my eligibility to receive the bonus

      • Makes sense now. I had read your article a few times but was a little confused still. Thanks so much for replying and all your helpful info 🙂

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