New Citi Rule: Only One Sign Up Bonus Per Brand Per 24 Months


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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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  1. Scott, Within the last year I have opened and closed the Citi Aadvantage Gold card. If I now want to get the Citi Aadvantage Platinum, will I be denied since it falls in the same brand?

    If I apply for the Citi Aadvantage Bus. card, will that rule still apply to this card?

    • They are in the same card family (both co-branded with American Airlines) so you won’t be eligible for the sign up bonus. You could still get approved for the card, this new rule only applies to eligibility for sign up bonuses.

      You can still get the sign up bonus on the AAdvantage Business card. 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.

  2. As you said, not too surprising. I don’t really app new cards at a rate high enough to be affected by this, but with rules tightening across the board, it does make decisions more complicated. The puzzle is getting more and more pieces all the time.

    I use news like this to motivate my friends who are sitting on the sidelines to get in the credit card game! It’s not getting any easier, so why wait!

    • We had closed my wife’s AA card several months ago. She kept getting those mailers from Citi showing that if she would sign up using the url they provided she would get 50K added to her total. We applied, she got approved, so time will tell if she does get those points or not. I also applied for the Platinum which I had not had and I am hoping to get those miles added. Planning on going to Copenhagen next June for a Baltic cruise. It looked as if Bus. Saver is wide open and looks like we avoid those nasty fuel charges by flying into Copenhagen even though plane lands in Heathrow and we change to another plane. Would that be your understanding also?

    • Quynh, it’s already in effect as it’s part of all the cards listed above’s terms and conditions.

  3. So if I already have this Citi Aadvantage card that has been open for a year, is it better to close it (which would reset the 24 month clock for another sign up bonus) OR keeping it open for another year, in which case I would reach the 24 month period sooner, but I would already have this card, so would I be able to apply for another card if I already have this card? I had called to cancel this card to avoid paying the annual fee, but they offered to refund the fee, so I did not close it. This is my dilemma, and I would appreciate any advice.

  4. It seems to me the best strategy for maximizing bonuses on 2 cards in the same family is to open a card, followed immediately after by closing another card…and repeat, every 2 years. For example, if Anne has the Aadvantage Gold for a year, she should keep it for another year, and then open the Aadvantage Platinum, followed immediately after by closing the Gold. Then 2 years later, open the Gold, followed by closing the Platinum.

  5. I have Both cards now so at 11 months Cancel the Bus card and Keep the personal Card .That way u can get the 10 percent Rebate ..CORRECT ?

    • Yep, unless you want to get the citi aadvantage personal card again in the future. In that case it would be better to go ahead and close to get 24 month clock running.


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