Last year, Citi tightened their application rules. And now, you can’t receive the bonus on a card if you’ve opened or closed a card under the same family of cards in the last 24 months.
But what about a card conversion? How does that affect your ability to be approved for another Citi card?
Million Mile Secret Agent Pat asked:
I’d like to apply for the Citi ThankYou Premier card in Spring 2018. Because by that time, it will have been 24 months since I last opened or closed a Citi ThankYou points card. And I should qualify for the bonus.
That said, I just got a letter from Citi indicating they will be converting my old Citi Forward ThankYou Visa card to a Citi ThankYou Preferred MasterCard in January 2018. And I’m concerned this conversion will impact my eligibility to earn the sign-up bonus on the Citi ThankYou Premier card.
It’s easy to understand why Pat is concerned. And why there’s confusion about card conversions. But here’s the deal.
Citi Application Rules
If you convert from 1 Citi card to another, but keep the same account number, you should be eligible for another sign-up bonus within that family of cards. But if your conversion results in a new account number (which is more common than not), it DOES reset Citi’s clock. And you’ll have to wait 24 months to be eligible for a sign-up bonus from a card in that same brand.
In Pat’s case, the fact that Citi is converting the card from a Visa to a MasterCard is a sure sign that the account number will change. So it WILL affect eligibility for the Citi ThankYou Premier card. And if possible, Pat should get the Citi ThankYou Premier card before the conversion goes through.
Otherwise, Pat will have to wait another 24 months!
If the timing doesn’t work, Pat could consider other great rewards cards that earn flexible points. Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Capital One Venture card, or The Platinum Card® from American Express.
It’s also worth noting that currently, the Citi ThankYou Premier is NOT offering a sign-up bonus. So unless there’s another reason for wanting it, Pat might want to skip applying – for now anyway!
And remember, just as there is a strategy to maximizing your miles & points to get Big Travel, there is also a strategy to applying for credit cards. Because each card issuer has their own rules that can affect whether you’ll be approved for their cards. And you’ll want to make sure you’re earning the biggest sign-up bonuses you can!
Citi will NOT allow you to earn the sign-up bonus on certain credit cards if you’ve opened or closed a card in the same family of cards in the past 24 months. And this rule includes card conversions, unless your account number stays the same.
Because of rules like these, it’s important to keep each bank’s individual application policies in mind when deciding on your credit card application strategy.
Thanks for the question, Pat!