What’s up Wise Flyers, today we are talking about the five common mistakes that people make with Citi Credit Cards and Citi ThankYou points. I know CitiBank doesn’t shine as much as Chase and American Express, it’s kind of in third-place behind those two big banks, but there is still a lot of value to be had with Citi Credit Cards. So, if you have any Citi Credit Cards or are thinking about getting one, make sure you pay attention to these five mistakes so that you don’t make them.
First Mistake: Ruling Out Citi Credit Cards
The first mistake is completely disregarding Citi Cards in general because of all the changes that were made to its travel insurance and other perks. Recently, Citi announced that they are cutting a lot of benefits from their cards such as worldwide rental insurance, trip cancelation and interruption protection, Citi Price Rewind and baggage delay protection. Because of this, a lot of people got upset and don’t want to use Citi Credit Cards at all anymore. I don’t think that is the right way to look at Citi Credit Cards. I still think that there is a lot of value in them, you just don’t use it for these travel purchases. A lot of people forget that American Express has no travel protection or insurance but they’re still using an American Express card. So, even though a lot of benefits were cut with Citi, there are still benefits worth going for.
Mistake 2: Not Knowing Citi Credit Card Application Rules
The second mistake is not knowing about Citi’s basic application rules. There are 24 month and 48-month rules depending on which Citi Credit Card are applying for or have. Citi doesn’t have a strict limit on how many credit cards you can have with them but the major restriction is how many credit cards you can apply for in a certain time frame. You can only apply for one Citi Credit Card every eight days and you’re allowed to be approved for two Citi Credit Cards in a 65 day period. Since there’s no real limit to the amount of Citi Credit Cards you have, the limit is based on the amount of overall credit that Citi will give you between the cards that you have. This is based on your income and other data points.
With the 24 and 48 month rules that Citi has, it’s not so much based on the approval of getting the credit card but more about the sign-up bonus that you could get. First, let’s take a look at Citi’s 24-month rule. This means that you can’t get a particular card if you’ve opened or closed that certain card or a card in the family in the past 24 months. Thankfully, Citi doesn’t have a once-in-a-lifetime signup bonus restriction. Similar to American Express, it’s just down to 24 months or 48 months. If we look for example at Citi’s most popular cards, the Citi Premier, the Citi Prestige, and Citi Plus Rewards card, if you’ve received a card bonus on any of them in the past 24 months, then you won’t get that sign up bonus.
Now, it’s important to differentiate between the opening date and when you got the bonus and/or if you’ve closed any of these cards 24 months. The 24-month rule starts when you get the bonus or when you close the card, not when you open the card. To put this in context, if you currently have the Citi Premier card and you want to get the Citi Prestige card and you’ve got the sign-up bonus of the Citi Premier card over 24 months ago, you are eligible to get the Citi Prestige Card.
Citi’s 48-month rule applies specifically to American Airline credit cards. For example, with the Citi Aadvantage Platinum Select Card, personal or business version, you won’t be able to get that sign up bonus if you’ve received it in the past 48 months. It used to be 24 months but is now 48 months. This isn’t for all of the Citi American Airlines Cards though. The Citi Aadvantage Executive Card, which has an annual fee of $450, still falls under the 24-month rule. Also, the Citi Aadvantage Mile Up Card falls on the 24-month rule but has no annual fee. So, if you have this card you are better off keeping it or product changing it over to a Double Cash or Rewards Plus card. Just make sure that you know that you can’t get certain sign-up bonuses if you product change them.
Mistake 3: Letting Your Citi ThankYou Points Expire
The next mistake is letting your Citi ThankYou points expire. You can transfer up to a hundred-thousand Citi ThankYou points from one Citi ThankYou account to another for free each year. But, once you transfer the points, they expire in 90 days from the day of transfer. There is nothing you can do to extend the expiration date so if you are going to transfer them, make sure you are using those points before they expire.
Mistake 4: Using Citi ThankYou Points For Cash Back
Another mistake is using the Citi ThankYou points for cashback or a statement credit. There are other programs out there such as Chase where you are getting one cent per point when doing cashback which is very straight-forward. This is not the case with Citi ThankYou points. If you have a lot of points and want to redeem them for cash back or a statement credit, you are only getting 0.5 cents per point so 10,000 Citi ThankYou points would be equal to only $50. It is not worth losing the 0.5 cents just to get a statement credit or cashback. You’re better off using the Citi ThankYou points through the Travel Portal which will give you 1.25 cents per point or transferring it over to transfer partners and getting even more value. It’s important to know with the Citi Prestige Card you can get one cent per point if you decide to use the cashback or statement credit option, but I think there are better options such as the transfer partners.
Mistake 5: Using Citi ThankYou Points For Merchandise
The next mistake with Citi ThankYou points is using it for merchandise purchases. If you shop on Amazon you have the option to use Citi ThankYou points but it is a really bad deal. Your Citi ThankYou points are worth around 0.8 cents towards merchandise at stores like Amazon, Best Buy and 1-800-Flowers, but I still think that a horrible use, especially if you worked hard to get your points through everyday purchases. Sometimes there are targeted offers to get one cent per point on Amazon purchases but still, I think you’re getting a lot more value if you use the points through the travel portal at 1.25 cents per point or transferring it over to transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio like Air France and Singapore Airlines. This is especially valuable if you can combine your ThankYou points with other rewards programs such as Chase Ultimate Reward and American Express Rewards. They all have common airline partners like Air France where you could pool all those points together.