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Navigating Citi’s New Bonus Rules – The Results
A couple of weeks ago I talked about Citi’s new credit card bonus rules and how they can be a bit difficult to navigate. Basically they won’t allow you to have a bonus if you have opened or closed a card within the last 18 months. Here is the exact language:
Bonus offer is not available if you have had a (insert Citi product name here) account that was opened or closed in the past 18 months.
This policy opens up a sort of sweet spot if you keep a card longer than 18 months, but want to cancel or convert it before paying the 2nd year annual fee. This was exactly the situation I was in, so I decided to do an expirement.
My wife had a Citi HHonors Reserve card that she had kept past the first year following a retention offer. The card was 24 months old and thus was coming up on the 2nd year’s annual fee. She wanted to cancel or convert it, but that would mean she wasn’t eligible to get a bonus on the Reserve card for 18 months.
I theorized that applying for a new HHonors Reserve card before cancelling the other card would work to earn the bonus. Even though that should be evident based on the language, Citi has been erratic in the past with enforcement and I wanted to confirm this for myself and everyone else looking to do the same thing.
My wife applied for the new HHonors Reserve card on the last day before the annual fee was due on her old card. The application went to pending, so she called in and verified some information for them before being instantly approved.
The very next day (the day the payment was due on the annual fee), she called Citi and decided to ultimately convert the old Reserve card to a Dividend instead of closing it. Fast forward a few weeks later and the new Reserve card has come and I have verified in writing with Citi that she is eligible for the bonus on the new card.
Now that we know Citi’s new bonus rules are being enforced as written (at least in this case), we can begin to carve out a strategy like I laid out in my original post. There is a lot of value in being able to get a bonus more than once and knowing a bank rules is valuable.
Do you have a data point to add to this discussion? Let us know in the comments!