How Does a Citi Card Product Change Impact Earning Future Sign-Up Bonuses?

How Does a Citi Card Product Change Impact Earning Future Sign-Up Bonuses?

Million Mile SecretsHow Does a Citi Card Product Change Impact Earning Future Sign-Up Bonuses?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Laura, sent in a question on Facebook:

I received the sign-up bonus from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.  The Citi rules say you can NOT get the sign-up bonus again on a Citi card if you opened or closed any card in the same “brand” over the past 24 months.

Does upgrading the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card to the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard re-start the 24-month timeframe?  Or does the clock only start once I cancel the card?

Excellent question, Laura!

The Citi rules restrict folks from earning a new card sign-up bonus if you’ve opened OR closed a card under the same family of cards in a 24-month timeframe.

I checked with Citi and a product change does NOT restart the clock.  But there are some exceptions.  This is generally good news if you’re planning on re-applying for the card in the future.

Citi Product Change Sign Up Bonus
Downgrading a Citi Card Will Not Restart the Clock for the 24-Month Waiting Period to Earn a New Cardmember Sign-Up Bonus

I’ll remind you about the Citi sign-up bonus rules and share tips to make the most of Citi bonuses in the future!

What Are the Citi Sign-Up Bonus Rules?

Link:   Citi Rules Restrict Sign-Up Bonuses to Once per “Brand” Every 24 Months

With Citi cards, you can only earn one sign-up bonus within the same family every 24 months.  This means you can NOT earn a sign-up bonus on a card within 24 months after you’ve opened or closed a card within the same brand.

These are the Citi card brands and cards impacted:

1.   American Airlines

2.   ThankYou Points

As an example, here’s how the new rule works.

If you have opened OR closed the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select Mastercard in the past 24 months, you wouldn’t be eligible to earn the sign-up bonus on Citi American Airlines Executive World Elite Mastercard.  Because these 2 cards are in the same family.

Citi Product Change Sign Up Bonus
You’ll See the Citi Sign-Up Bonus Reminder on the Card Application Page

The Citi rule applies specifically to earning sign-up bonuses.  So it’s still possible to apply and get approved for a new card within the same family.  But you’ll miss out on the sign-up bonus.

Completing a product change (downgrade) will NOT re-start the clock.  But only if you keep the same account number.

For example, let’s say Laura’s had the Citi American Airlines Executive World Elite Mastercard for less than 24 months.  Then, she completes a product change and downgrades to Citi American Airlines Platinum Select card.  She does NOT have to wait 24 months from the date of downgrading to re-apply and earn the sign-up bonus on the Citi American Airlines Executive World Elite Mastercard.

But if you product change from the Citi Prestige to a card within a different brand family like the no annual fee Citi Double Cash, you’ll likely get a new account number.  This means the 24 month clock WILL restart for earning the Citi Prestige sign-up bonus again.

Thanks to Million Mile Secrets reader Dave for clarifying the rules!

Strategy for Earning Citi Sign-Up Bonuses

Link:   How to Qualify for a Small Business Credit Card (And Why You Should Get One!)

Here’s a tip for timing your Citi sign-up bonuses.

Consider applying first for certain Citi business cards, which are not impacted by the rules.

For example, you’re eligible to earn the sign-up bonus with the CitiBusiness American Airlines Platinum Select World Mastercard, even if you have one of the other Citi American Airlines personal credit cards.

And remember you don’t need a huge corporation to get a business credit card.  Here’s a post with 10 activities that may qualify you as a small business.

Citi Product Change Sign Up Bonus
Folks Selling Items on eBay or Amazon for a Profit Might Qualify for a Small Business Card! This Can Be a Great Way to Earn an Additional Citi Card Sign-Up Bonus!

Plus, Citi small business cards don’t count toward Chase’s tougher application rules. so opening one won’t knock you out of the running for valuable Chase cards.

Bottom Line

Citi’s rules make it difficult to earn multiple sign-up bonuses for cards within the same brand or family.

Because if you open or close a card within the same brand, you’ll have to wait 24 months to be eligible to earn a new sign-up bonus on another card within the same brand.

The Citi brands include the American Airlines and ThankYou points cards.

That said, completing a product change (like downgrading) does NOT count as closing your account.  But you must keep the same account number.

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Hi Daraius. I currently have a Citi AAdvantage Gold World Mastercard. I am hoping this is not part of the family of City AAdvantage cards, but I think it is. I'd like to apply for the AAdvantage Platinum but I'm afraid that I'll not get the bonus. What do you think?

If I closed my Citi AA Plat Elite Business last Oct 2016, I would still qualify for the bonus now ?

Million Mile Secrets

It depends on the terms of the specific offer. Usually, the terms say you're not eligible if you've opened OR closed the card in the past 24 months. This means you wouldn't be eligible until October 2018.

What about when the old Visa AA Plat card was changed to Mastercard automatically? Does that reset the clock?

Million Mile Secrets

That shouldn't reset the clock.

So if I have one of these cards can I keep it open and apply for a second card after 2 years and receive the sign up bonus. And then close the first card if I want. Or can you only have 1 card at a time.

Million Mile Secrets

Yes, that's a great strategy to earn multiple sign-up bonuses with Citi cards because you can have different card products at the same time.

I had a Bank of America cash back rewards Master Card for many years. After seeing their ad for their new Travel Rewards VISA Card I inquired about acquiring the card for the 20,000 mile bonus after meeting the spending requirements and the $200.00 cash bonus. They approved my card at my previous APR and credit limit, issued my new Visa, with new number. I quickly met the spending requirement now they refuse to offer me the mileage or cash bonus saying it is MOT a new card but only carried over from Master Card ! What’s up with that. Very misleading!

Million Mile Secrets

That's definitely frustrating! It sounds like you may have completed a product change from one card to another. Typically, you'll only earn a sign-up bonus when you submit a new application for the card.

If you did apply as a new cardmember, I always recommend taking screenshots of the offer. This way you can send documentation to the bank if there are any issues with earning the sign-up bonus. Here's a post with more details:

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