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The wording of the terms and conditions for Citi credit card sign up offers has changed. Now you are only eligible to earn a sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card from the same type (brand or co-brand) within the last 24 months.  This is significantly different from the prior rule which only restricted you to earning a sign up bonus on a card 24 months after you opened or closed the same card.

Example of New Rule

Let’s say you opened a Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card seven months ago. That means for the next 17 months (a full 24 months after you opened it) you are not eligible for the sign up bonus from the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, the other Hilton co-branded card issued by Citi. If you close that Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, the 24 month clock will start over again and you won’t be eligible for any other Citi Hilton cards for 24 months past the date you closed it.

Take a look at the following screenshots from the terms for the various reward earning Citi cards to see further examples of the new rule. If a card earns the same kind of reward currency as another card, then they’re the same type. Click on the screenshots to see any of them enlarged.

Hilton HHonors Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.40.52 AM

Citi Hilton cards:

American Airlines (AAdvantage)Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.42.53 AM

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.04.23 PM

Citi American Airlines cards:

ThankYou PointsScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.44.36 AM

Citi ThankYou Points cards:

What about business cards?

Thankfully business cards are treated differently by the new rule, at least for now. When you last opened or closed a personal Citi card doesn’t have an impact on your eligibility for the sign up bonus on a business card. When you last opened or closed the same business card does follow the 24 month rule though.

Example: even if you have opened or closed a Citi AAdvantage personal card in the last 24 months, you can still get the sign up bonus on the Citi AAdvantage business card– as long as you haven’t opened or closed the Citi AAdvantage Business card in the last 24 months.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.48.39 AM

Bottom Line

This is not good news for churners, albeit not too surprising considering the tightening of rules across the board. Citi changed its 18 month clock for repeat sign up bonuses to 24 months back in April, Chase has 5/24, and Amex has the once in a lifetime bonus rule.

If you have signed up for or closed a Citi card in the last 24 months and were considering another, beware if they share the same brand or co-brand. You must wait 24 months after opening or closing a Citi card to be eligible for another Citi card of the same type’s sign up bonus.

Feel free to share your questions and comments below.

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