The Citi August 28 Deadline for 24-Month Brand Rule and My Go-Forward Citi Plan

Doctor of Credit reported that Citi is broadening its 24-month rule to cover any card within a given brand. That means any American Airlines card opened or closed without 24 months will prevent collecting a sign-up bonus on another. Same for Hilton cards, ThankYou cards, and Expedia cards, respectively. Previously, each individual card could be had every 24 months. Further reporting from Doctor of Credit is that the Citi system changes for this will not take effect until August 28, 2016, despite application language already reflecting this.

Citi Product 24 Months

This language specifies opening or closing a card within 24 months, so the common strategy of closing a card after the first year to avoid the annual fee will start a new 24-month clock. We do not have guidance from Citi on product conversion/downgrade rather than closure. FrequentMiler’s theory is that changing within a product brand such as ThankYou Premier to the no annual fee ThankYou Preferred might not trigger a new 24-month clock, while changes outside a brand may do so. That is a plausible theory that awaits more data to substantiate.

Personal and business cards are separate under this policy, so it is possible to get one each of American Airlines or ThankYou in 24-month period.

Don’t Forget 8/65:

Additionally, Citi does not approve multiple applications per day. The consensus data points of the ‘8-65 rule’ indicate you can get a card day 1, another day 8, next one day 65, and then another roughly every 30 days provided no more than 2 cards in a 65-day period. Further one only business card in any 90-day period. Under new rules this is less critical long-term, however may be critical in the short lead-up to August 28.

My situation:

ThankYou: Citi could have been considerate to hold off a week. My prior Citi Prestige was approved 9/2/14, so will not be heading to the branch for another 50k bonus and $350 annual fee. My prior Premier was approved 8/17/15. My 3 Preferred are all 24+ months so can get one.

American Airlines: I got an AA Platinum Visa on 2/13/15. I closed my last AA Executive on 6/20/14 so can get one.

Hilton: I got a Hilton Visa Signature on 4/2/16. I have not opened or closed a Hilton Reserve in 3 years so can get one.

Expedia: I have never gotten an Expedia card.

Business cards: my prior AA business card was closed 10/18/13 and I have never had a ThankYou business card so can get both.

My plan:

Like many I am holding off other applications until August 21 for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I am way over 5/24. At least I can not have an application from a few days prior since both Chase and Citi pull my Experian report.

On August 21 I will apply for one Citi card after my Chase application. Which card should it be?

ThankYou: I am shut out of ThankYou other than lame offers for Preferred. I will focus on retention offers for this year’s jumble of annual fees and next year when I hit 24 months, go for a new Prestige or Premier.

American Airlines: I will go for a 60k AA Executive card, earn the bonus first month and cancel the card, getting the annual fee back. It will be nostalgic.

Hilton: the Reserve card doesn’t excite me. Weekend certs that expire inspire rationalizing a trip to feel like I am maximizing the value. I will wait until April 2018 to get another Hilton Visa Signature. I might have convinced myself if not waiting for Chase, since I could apply AA Exec today and have 8 days before the August 28 cutoff.

Expedia: pass. I don’t use Expedia and don’t want to have another program to learn. Maybe I am missing out.

Business cards: this exercise reminds me I am due for another AA business card. I will add one soon and start that 24-month clock. I will periodically drop by Citi branches to see if the ThankYou card has better bonuses than the current 20k. I won’t apply for less than 40k.

Retention offers: I will continue to aggressively chase retention offers at least twice a year. Here are my offers from February. I am due for another round. I have heard reports of crackdowns on retention offers and indeed, for my Premier that just had the annual fee billed the only offer the retention department (recently reopened) could locate was for a balance transfer. I am going to try back after 8/24 which would be 6 months and the end date from my longest outstanding retention offer, which is on my Prestige card. Maybe that will reset the clock. If not, will try in March 2017.

Readers, what is your Citi plan?

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  • AnonCHI

    Despite spending 20K+ on my Citi Prestige, got no offers this time around. Last time I had the 7x TY points on all travel up to 35,000 bonus TY points which I maximized. Good luck and thanks for sharing the plan.

    While the HHonors Reserve is not that inspiring, everyone in my family that I manage cards for has had the HHonors Regular NO AF card recently so will have to just do a few Reserve apps on 8/21 along with CSR

  • WR

    I’m trying to figure out what to do with my Citi AA Platinum WE, opened in 4/16. If I close now, then can I bypass waiting 24 months, since I would have closed it before the new policy goes into effect? Or will that simply start the clock at 24 months from today? Either way, might be worthwhile to close it now to reset clock, as there is no way I am paying AF on it next year, and I don’t have any upcoming AA flights where priority boarding/baggage benefits are compelling.

  • @WR – closing would start the clock from today. Usually with AA card they are more accommodating to waive the annual fee or other offer. Have you gotten the 10% award rebate, which is up to 10k per year? That is worth something if redeeming awards and automatically processes.

  • WR

    @Stefan OK, so then it might make sense to redeem as many of my AA miles as possible first, get the 10% rebate, then close the card. I am not interested in holding on to the card simply for an annual fee waiver on anniversary, since I won’t use the card unless there is some spend bonus I’m working towards…but if there is some anniversary bonus miles in the mix, then maybe.

  • @WR – if you have trips you plan to redeem it can make sense get the rebate now, maybe even next Jan for another 10k, if you don’t have plans for them maybe it is best to close now or even add a quick Executive card before 8/28, use the month to spend off the miles on your first card, then close both and start a new 24-month in Sep/Oct.

  • Andrew Tomlin

    I called Citi Prestige today and asked about the new bonus rules. The nice customer service aganet told me that the new rules are in effect immediately, there is no 8/28/2016 deadline for applying under the old rules. Bummer…

  • @Andrew Tomlin – the reporting from Doctor of Credit, which cited a PR source at Citi is that agents have already been giving training so a phone inquiry such as you made will likely be told the rule is in place, however that the application system will not be updated until 8/28 so if that is correct, it should still be possible to get the bonus if auto-approved or processed by the system.

  • WR

    @ Stefan Thanks for the intel. I already have the Prestige, and am going to try for the CS(R), so I’m not sure about yet another $450 AF card like the AA Exec. Unfortunately no other TYP cards with a bonus it seems, so I’ll just grab the Citi Hhonors Visa before the 75k offer expires on 8/31.

  • T.

    Like you, I am planning to apply for Chase Reserve on the 21st, and right after on the same day – for AA Executive World Elite. I am well over 5/24 but – with very good FICO score and income – remain hopeful.
    If I am NOT instantly approved for Chase Reserve – should I still apply for AA Exec the same day or should I wait until I get a decision? I mean- would applying for another card hurt my chance of getting the approval for Chase Reserve?

  • @T – once Chase pulls your credit report for that first application, they will not see subsequent for other applications. If you later call Chase reconsideration, I am not aware of cases of them pulling your report again. Some banks, such as Barclaycard, may do this. You are good to go and wish you success.

  • P T

    Stefan, question on the AA Exec card: Earn bonus in first month (30 days after approval?), cancel (when? after bonus shows up or after complete spend?), and get AF refunded ( By when would you have to cancel to get AF refunded?) I guess that is three questions…..

    Thank you

  • @PT – meet spend first month, bonus should post with first statement, one you gave the miles, close it, the cutoff for time of fee billing to last day to cancel seems to be a moving target, at minimum you have until next statement close.

  • P T

    Thank you. Your advice is always rapid and valuable.