When it comes to churning cards, 2016 has been a tough year. American Express went systemwide with their once-per-lifetime bonus rule (except in some targeted cases), Chase rolled out their 5/24 rule that denied applicants a new card if they have had 5 new accounts opened across all banks in the last 24 months, and Citi changed their 18 month rule on new cards to 24 months.
New Rules for Churning Citi Cards
But, now a new rule has come out that impacts churning Citi cards and it is much more restrictive than it was before. As found by heads up work by Doctor of Credit in this post, Citi has changed their terms to not allow customers to get any card if they had a card in that same family opened or closed in the last 24 months (with the likely temporary exception below).
For example, Citi has 2 Hilton cards. If you have opened one of them or closed one of them in the last 24 months, you will not be able to get the other card now. The same goes for all of their products with the exception of their business cards (for now, apparently).
Here is how the new language reads for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card.
American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.
Here is the new language for the Citi Prestige card.
Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.
This is obviously will put a dent in many people’s system for their card churning with Citi. It had gotten a bit harder before but now this makes it even harder.
The co-branded sites – like AA and Hilton – still have the older language about the particular card. But, when you click on the application, it takes you to the Citi page that has the new language. I am not sure if there is something that can be claimed if you have screenshots of the partner page or not but something to at least think about.
What You Should Do About Churning Citi Cards
The way Citi words this is to encourage card loyalty. It does not say you cannot have the card – it says you cannot have closed or opened one in the last 24 months. This means that you should strive to not close your Citi cards if you can at all help it. If you have a fee card, call and try for a retention offer (miles/points or a statement credit). If you really do not want to pay the fee, downgrade the card to a no-fee version within that family.
Remember, as long as you have not opened or closed a Citi card in the particular awards family (ThankYou points, AA, Hilton, Expedia) in the last 24 months, you can still go ahead and apply for one. Just be very careful which one you select and what the offer is to make sure you are getting the best offer possible.
Word of Caution
This includes clicking on affiliate links from blogs and other websites! If you go through my credit card page, you will find just about all the credit cards of interest on those pages but I have no control over what offers they show. There are many times that offers in the affiliate channels offer fewer points/miles than other publicly available offers. Before you click and apply, check to see if there are other, better offers. I will be running a series of posts soon on the best offers by each bank around right now so you can pick the one that works for you.
As always, if you know of a better offer than what is available on my site in the ads or on my affiliate page, please leave the details in the comments to help other readers out! With it becoming more difficult churning Citi cards, getting the best offer is going to be even more important!