Quick Guide to Citi Product Conversions & Credit Line Shifts

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citi product conversion

Citi Product Conversions & Credit Line Shifts

A few days ago I wrote about an interesting idea I had to convert an existing Citi card to the ThankYou Preferred in order to get one of the very lucrative retention offers that they have been handing out. This past weekend I answered a lot of questions about it at Family Travel for Real Life. I also noticed a few questions on the original post so I thought it might be a good idea to go a little more in depth on the subject.

Product Conversion vs. Credit Line Shift

Citi Product Conversion

A Citi product conversion is when you change from one Citi product to another. For example, I recently converted my Citi AAdvantage Executive card to a ThankYou Preferred card. In most cases you can convert any Citi card to almost any other. A simple phone call can take care of the conversion and the phone rep will be able to tell you which products you are and are not able to change to.

When doing a Citi product conversion, your account number and account history remain in tact. Citi does not run your credit when you convert from one product to another and an account generally needs to be open for a year before it can be converted.

Credit Line Shift

A credit line shift occurs when you want to reallocate a line from one open card to another card. For example, if you have a low limit on a card that you are using often, it may be beneficial to shift the credit so you don’t come close to the limit.

Unfortunately Citi almost treats credit line shifts as a new card application. If you decide to shift credit from one card to another, they will run a hard credit inquiry and ask you questions as if you are applying for a new card. For example, they often ask people for their income.

Citi is also very generous in allowing credit line shifts when applying for a new card. If you have hit the maximum allowable credit with them, you can call to have a shift done in order to get your new application approved. In these cases, they will have already done a credit check for your application and you won’t receive a second inquiry.

Product Conversions & Bonuses

citi product conversion
Three of the Citi no annual fee cards that you can convert to.

One other angle I want to cover with Citi product conversions is sign-up bonuses. You should always keep in mind that converting to another product may make you ineligible to receive a sign-up bonus for that product.

For example, “if you have had a Citi ThankYou Preferred card opened or closed in the past 18 months” you would not be eligible for a bonus on that card. Since the rules differ by product, the best thing to do is consult the fine print on the application.

My Thoughts

Converting annual fee cards to no annual fee cards can be a good way to lengthen your account history and strengthen your average age of accounts. Of course, keeping those cards open also means that it is less likely Citi will approve you for new cards in the future and you may become ineligible for sign-up bonuses on some converted products as well.

Some people prefer to close cards in order to bolster their chances of approval with Citi. I tend to think it is better to keep cards open as long as possible and I have never had an issue shifting credit in order to gain an approval.

Under no circumstance would I recommend doing a credit line shift with a hard inquiry. It is ridiculous that Citi wants to do this, since they have already extended that credit to you on a different card. Getting a hard inquiry without any type of bonus is not acceptable in my opinion.

Conclusion

Hopefully this answers a few of the questions that people have about Citi product conversions and credit line shifts. I highly suggest you don’t shift credit lines unless you are doing so on a new credit card application. It just isn’t worth the hard inquiry for basically nothing.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and everything mentioned here is a personal decision that you will have to make based on a number of factors. Please let me know if you have any questions.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this. I had the same question to JAPTA on her blog post a few days ago. I don’t have a Thank You card and am still contemplating whether I should get it or not; however I do have another Citi Exec card’s annual fee coming up in 2 months. Perhaps I’ll try converting that to a Thank You card and hope that I’d still be eligible for the bonus (I never had the TY card so I *should* be eligible.)

  2. Shawn: for conversions, what about changing brands of Thank You cards, for instance going from the low version to the highest version? Will that allow for getting the sign up bonus for the new card (one you haven’t had before)? or does Citi treat all Thank You cards as one card in that sense?

    • The language varies by product, but it seems that the rule is 18 months for both the Preferred and Premier products. (If you have opened or closed within the last 18 months you aren’t eligible for the bonus.) I wasn’t able to find any language for the Prestige.

  3. Shawn,

    I am kinda worried now, last week I called to close out my Citi AA Executive and asked the agent to move all of the $8000 credit line into my Citi Double Cash card. The agent said the max she can move is $3000 ….. she asked me the income information like how much is my income and how much is my rent. At that time, I haven’t find your post, so I have no idea that credit line shift would be hard inquiry. But because she asked me my income information, I was suspicious and asked her if this would be a hard credit inquiry or hard pull, and she said no. So I gave her the info, then at the end she repeated all my info and asked me if it’s correct and she will submit those for credit line shift. I asked and confirmed with her again: does she sure this won’t be a hard pull, she said yes she is sure this won’t be hard pull.
    Now I found this post….and very worried now since it would affect my plan to apply for Citi Preferred and Prestige (would like to use your affiliate link of course!). I just applied and got approved for Citi AA platinum business card on March 9. So if the credit line shift last week caused a hard pull, there would be 2 applications already with Citi and I have to delay to apply Prestige or Preferred 🙁
    What’s your thought on this, really appreciate your advice in advance!

    • I would check to see if there is a hard inquiry on your report. If there is, then I would call in and ask to speak to a supervisor. Call centers generally keep recordings of the past 30 days, so they should be able to pull the call and remove the inquiry.

      • Thank you Shawn. This might sound like a silly question but I am still a newbie and just started this hobby so please bear with me: how do I check if I have a hard credit inquiry from Citi or not?
        By the way, I really like your blog and quality contents! this is what make you different from other blogs. Keep up the good work!

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