My Strange Citi Retention Call & Insights About Their New Retention Process

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citi thankyou premier retention offers

New Citi Retention Process

Citi has been one of the most generous banks when it comes to retention offers this past year. Twice my wife has received 3X everywhere retention bonuses on the ThankYou Preferred card and we have also received credits to offset annual fees on a number of cards as well.

Today I called in to inquire about any available offers that might be available on my ThankYou Premier card. I really do enjoy the card, but the $95 annual fee was just charged so I wanted to go over my options. When I applied for the card a year ago, it had a split 50K bonus with 20K being earned in the first year and 30K in the second year after $3K in spend.

ThankYou Premier Retention Call

citi thankyou premier retention offers

Obviously it is in my best interest to keep this card in order to claim the second half of the bonus, but that didn’t stop me from asking for a credit to offset the fee. To reach Citi I called the number on the back of the card and was then asked a few questions by the automated system to confirm my account. Eventually the system asked for the purpose of my call and I simply said, “agent”. This was to avoid having my account accidentally closed like others have experienced.

To Citi’s credit I was immediately connected to an agent without any further questions. Once connected, the very pleasant agent asked how he could help and I informed him that I was concerned about the annual fee and wanted to go over my options. Without hesitating he went into a pitch about converting my card to a no annual fee product such as the ThankYou Preferred.

Getting to a Retention Rep

Since I knew he was just a front line rep, I asked to speak to someone in retention. At that point we hit an impasse of sorts. He said, “Are you planning to cancel your account”? It was clear that he needed to hear this from me before moving further along in the process. I clearly didn’t want to say I was cancelling outright, so it took a little back and forth before I found the magic phrase. “If I don’t get an offer that makes sense to me, then I am going to cancel my account.”

Once he heard those magic words, he then input something in his computer. The reason I know he input something is that he narrated his actions to me. I thought maybe the computer would give him some offers for me, but after about a minute of processing he transfered me to a “specialist” in South Dakota. Without too much further conversation the retention agent presented me with four offers.

Citi ThankYou Premier Retention Offers

citi thankyou premier retention offers

The ThankYou Premier retention offers available to me were:

  • $95 statement credit + 1,000 ThankYou points for making $1,000 in purchases each month for the next 3 months.
  • $95 statement credit for making $3,000 in purchases in the next 3 months.
  • $50 statement credit for making 5 purchases of $10 or more in the next 3 months.
  • 5,000 ThankYou points for making $3,000 in purchases in the next 3 months.

You might think that I took the first one, but I actually chose offer number 2. Simplicity is important to me and I don’t want to have to track purchases for the next 3 months. I would rather just spend the $3,000 and get it over with. That $3,000 in spending will get me the credit plus 30,000 points from my sign-up bonus. That is good enough for me.

Takeaways

Citi has definitely added more hoops to jump through in order for you to get to a retention specialist. I have no issue with this since they really seem to be doing a good job of attempting to get you into the product that makes sense for you.

From now on, I think the best process for getting to Citi retention is:

  • Say “agent” when asked what you want by the automated system. Do not say “cancel” or you risk the system shutting down your account.
  • When speaking to the first agent say, “I want to cancel my account if I cannot get an offer that makes sense for me.” (Or something along those lines.)
  • Make sure to ask the retention specialist for all available offers so you can weight your options.

Conclusion

Citi continues to be one of the most generous banks when it comes to retention offers. While most of their offers now require a certain amount of spend, they are still very competitive compared to other banks. With the improvement of their product lineup, a solid selection of sign-up bonuses, friendly phone agents and overall generous retention offers, Citi has definitely grown to become one of my favorite banks to deal with.


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33 COMMENTS

    • Yeah it could have been better, but some banks (cough Chase) aren’t even offering anything. I’m glad to get the annual fee waived for spending I was already going to do anyway.

  1. Just called today for retention offer on my Citi AA Platinum Select card. The first four agents told me nothing to offer. One asked me if I want to cancel, one told me she could not transfer me to the account specialist because I am not eligible. The last agent told me she could offer 2,000 AA miles. I said no and had her convert the card to Citi Dividend.

    Surprisingly almost no offer at all, maybe because I never used this card since i finished spending requirement for signup bonus.

    Would call in April for retention offer on ThankYou Premier. I am curious what kind of offer I can get. I had put 16k spending on ThankYou Premier within eight months.

  2. The fee on my biz AA platinum card posted and I called. (Thanks to your past earlier, I said “agent.”) I haven’t used this card since meeting the minimum spend a year ago to get my 50K bonus miles. The first agent had to transfer me to a specialist. I was offered:
    1. refund the $95 fee if I spent $3k in the next 3 months
    2.$50 refund if I spent $50 in the next 3 months.

    I had to ask about a no fee card and suggest a Thank You points card. I got 3X points on several different categories each quarter for the next year. I forgot to ask if it is capped. I was very happy with that resolution.

  3. Tried retention offer with Chase this month and they wouldn’t even put me through to the retention department.

  4. Shawn –

    I got 2 offers to choose with Citi AA. $95 statment credit or 7500 bonus with AF. Which one is a better offer after AA devaluation?

  5. Used to work in retention at Citi – technically it has always been a requirement that the customer state that they had an intention to close the account before being transferred to retention. The customer service rep then hits close account and if eligible for retention then they will get a message to transfer to retention (either in SF or Jacksonville). If you are not eligible for retention then a message will pop asking them to confirm closure. Some reps are/were lax in the past though on following protocol.

  6. I got those exact same offers beginning of January. I called in hoping to get a 3X bonus offer like your wife got (it was you who gave me the idea to try), and I got those instead. I thought the $95 plus 1,000 bonus points sounded pretty good, especially since I had was making some travel plans that I anticipated would result in travel-category purchases that I would have placed on the Citi card ANYWAY. I expected those purchases would be happening mostly in January and February, with possible spillover into March. How perfect can you get?

    Anyway, I failed to clarify whether it was a calendar month or a month that began and ended on the date of my call, but I DID clarify that any purchases I made the day of my call would count – which was great for me because I was about to make a $550 purchase that afternoon – not a travel purchase, but over half the first month’s requirement, boom.

    As of January 28, I was just $2 shy of meeting my January requirement. I went out and ate at a restaurant, over-fulfilling the requirement. Then, as it happens, I also found a deal I couldn’t wait until February to pay for, so I bought that, too. I thought I was golden for January.

    But those credits haven’t posted yet, and it’s February. I did not clarify whether the date charged or the date posted counts. So I’m worried.

    All that babble is to say, well, maybe I made a mistake and maybe you made the smarter choice with the simplicity 🙂

  7. I’ve got the latest World Elite upgrade, so I was going to re-up for the AA Platinum Select if it’s still around when I return to the US in the spring after a winter blowing points in South America. But like many, I’ve just about decided Chase isn’t really interested in keeping me as a customer any longer, while Citi seems to be. Since I’ve banked a few hundred thousand AA miles over the recent Barclay-Citi run, what Citi card most closely mimicks the Chase Sapphire Preferred for general travel use to augment the airline miles? Also, in closing out Chase, what would you suggest would be the best transfer partner for about 140K UR points? Never managed to get the Ink Card.

  8. Both my husband and I had no luck getting retention offers on our AA Platinum MC – a couple of weeks apart. We both cited having Citigold accounts, didn’t say we wanted to cancel but inquired what CITI might do to incent us to keep the cards, etc. (read your earlier advice). In the end we both downgraded to free AA Bronze MC just to keep the credit lines open and the age of our accounts. Have done this before and will wait out the 18 months and see what the signup bonus is then.

  9. I’ve had chase giving me a $100 credit on the the United card about 3 months ago. The agent made me threaten to close the account to be able to offer the $100. He was like he wanted to make the offer but couldn’t till I threaten to close the account

    AMEX SPG also gave a $100 credit about 2 weeks ago

    Barclay Arrival only offered me a CL increase without a HP got $4000 increase about a week ago

  10. Annual fee for my AA Plat card was here so I called in and told agent #1 that I was evaluating my credit cards and was considering cancelling my AA Plat due to the fee, but would consider keeping it if there were any offers. Nothing available so I said I needed some time to think about it. HUCA….same deal with Agent #2 the next day so the next day I sent a secure email using the AA website and was told to call by phone. Ended up cancelling the card. I used the card for $5K per month until Redbird died, then nothing since then. I guess I wasn’t profitable enough to deserve a retention offer. Meh.

  11. I also had to say I was considering closing my Citi HHonors Reserve account to be transferred to a retention specialist. Even though I spend a bit over $10K/year on the card (to get the annual free night certificate) the offers were underwhelming – no statement credits; only HHonors bonus points worth $10 to $20 at most. The call was not worth the time it took.

  12. Data Point: I called on 5/12/2016 to Citi in regards to my Thank You Premier. I have had the card 1 year, opened at about the same time as a Citi Hilton Reserve, with under 5K total spend. Have two previous canceled cards with Citi. I spoke for a few minutes to the front line CSR and then transferred to a Retention Specialist. Both CSRs were very pleasant and helpful. I received the EXACT same offers as Shawn listed in the OP. I took #2. I had also recently been targeted for the “Add an AU” and receive 5K TYP after $1000 spend which I was going to work on anyway so the offer made sense to me.

  13. Annual fee due on May 8 and I paid for it. Called to Citi twice and every time I was told there is no offer for me because I took an offer of 15,000 bonus points with $6,000 spend in last August. Ugh.

  14. I just called Citi about my annual fee, and it seems that the offer has changed. They will give me a $95 statement credit if I spend at least $200 in each of the next two billing cycles; they also will give me an extra 500 points if I spend more than $500 in any of the next 16(!) billing cycles.

    Very happy I called, and happy Citi CS was so easy to work with! I ended up canceling my Chase Sapphire last year because they wouldn’t budge on the annual fee.

  15. I just followed your advice and called Citi because my fee will come up next month.
    Got three offers, two of which are the same as above:

    1. $95 if spend $3000 in next 3 months

    2. $50 if make 5 purchases of min $10/ea in next 3 months

    3. 7,500 points if spend $1000 in the next 3 months

    Obviously I picked the last one since points toward travel are worth $0.0125/ea, and that is about $93 value.

    Thanks for the post

      • Read your site, called Citi. I have a Platinum Card, had it for years, pay on time. I expressed my concerns, got transferred immediately and was offered a full credit of $95. for charging $95. in 30 days. certainly not a problem. I asked how long the promotion was in effect, agent said, it has always been in existence. Where is the dividing line for a quick offer, such as mine, vs an alternate, I do not know? I do know they want to retain business. The agent was very courteous. Maybe I should have called years ago?

  16. I just called them but they said the customer specialist could not give the credit, thus the person recommended me to call back once charge is being applied to my Citibank Thank You Premier card. Would you suggest to call again before they actually charge the $95 annual fee or prior to that?

  17. no luck, never made it past the first agent. i probably screwed up in my wording, i mentioned wanting to waive the fee (fee had already been charged). He looked into it, said there was no offers and tried to convince me to stay on the current card. I declined so he downgraded me to the no-fee version. Oh well.

  18. Can I anyone share some experience in terms of timeline and day when calling the CSR to get the annual fee waived on your cc? Did you call during normal business hours on weekdays?

  19. I was able to get a $95 statement credit for spending $500 a month for 3 months. I was also given 500 bonus points if I was able to meet this criteria

  20. Called Citi for Cti Thank You preferred card and received four offers as below.

    1. $500 or more for 3 months get a $95 Statement credit + 500 TY points
    2. Make 95$ or more per billing cycle for 2 cycles –> Receive the 95$ credit AND for next 16 months for 1000$ or more spend every billing cycles receive 1000 TY bonus points per cycle – So potential to earn 16000 TY bonus points
    3. Make 3000 in 6 months –> 1000 TY points
    4. Make 1000 in 3 months –> receive 5000 TY points

    I choose offer # 2.

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