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Old Feb 28, 20, 7:32 am   -   Wikipost
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Citi AAdvantage discussions have been split into TWO NEW THREADS. This thread is specific to the use of mailers and matching bonus offers. A general discussion of Citi AA cards and benefits can be found at Citi AA cards: General discussion and PUBLIC online offers.

Citi AA card discussion from 2018 is HERE

The Basics:
  • Starting in August 2016, Citi began putting language in all public offers that restricted customers from using those links to get a signup bonus if they had opened or closed a similar (i.e. personal or business) card in the previous 24 months. Updated: Around July 2019, Citibank introduced a 48-month restriction on some cards, however this appears to be based upon the card itself, not the family of cards.
  • It was discovered that most targeted offers sent via U.S. Mail with a 9-digit invitation code did not have this language and were usable by anyone to get a new card with a signup bonus attached to it. Updated: Around August/Sept. of 2019 it appears that the Business mailers will take you the application website where the 48-month restriction is in place.
  • Starting in November 2018, Citi began to restrict these mailers to a single use.
  • Although CIti has always matched higher offers with a one-time courtesy bonus, the specifics of their policy has become more clear.

How Mailers Work:
Be aware: E- EMAILERS actually expire at 11:59PM EST onthe day before the stated expiration date.

  1. Clear your browser's cache and cookies, or use private or incognito mode
  2. Go to the website listed on the mailer, usually
  3. Enter the 9-digit invitation code and the last name of the mailer recipient
  4. If the mailer is expired or has already been used it will error out
  5. On the application page the recipient's name and address will be pre-filled, and you can make any changes or corrections you need to on this page, and then fill in all of the other required information Updated: Pay attention to this page, as it may have a 48-month restriction window near the top.
  6. If you get to the application page, then the mailer is working and you will get the bonus if approved and you make the required spend in a timely fashion
  7. If you are not auto-approved (usually you get a '7-10 day' message) write down the application ID (which starts with 2 digit year, month, day), call Citi at 1-800-695-5171 (direct line to an agent for personal cards, open daily 8am-12 midnight EST, have your application ID ready), 1-866-541-7657 (direct line to an agent for business cards, open daily 7am-9pm EST, have your application ID ready), or 1-866-606-2787 (indirect line with prompts), and request status of your application (they need SSN of application ID). They will verify your identity, ask if you applied for the card, and normally try to call or text you at one of the numbers listed on the application. NOTE: Applications will stay in the Citibank system for at least 60 days. If you apply, do not get auto-approved, received denial letter in the mail, and more than 10 days has passed, and wish another RECON, call back in within 60 days of the APPLICATION DATE.
  8. As soon as you apply you will generally get an email acknowledging the application
  9. As soon as you are approved, you will probably get an approval email listing the last 4 digits of the card number
  10. About a week (East Coast) to ten days (West Coast) after approval you should get an application approval letter listing the bonus and a day or two later the actual card
  11. Activate your card and Chat or SM requesting a match to the highest available offer or 20,000 miles, whichever is lower. Chat or SM to reduce credit line to whatever you need if applicable. Setup auto-pay if applicable
  12. Matched miles should show up two days after the end of the next billing period
  13. Make spend prior to the deadline, and miles should post 2 days after statement closes during which spend was completed
  14. Lower the credit line to $2000 using Chat or calling Citi
  15. Close the card using the automated phone line (number on the back of the card), and if the system tries to transfer you to an agent, you can close over SM

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I get mailers?
  2. What restrictions are there on the use of mailers?
  3. I received an offer via email without 24-month language, will it work?
  4. How frequently can I apply for Citi cards?
  5. Do I need to close existing cards before applying?
  6. When should I close existing Citi accounts?
  7. What is the recommended application procedure?
  8. There is nothing on the application page stating the bonus miles. How do I know what the associated offer is?
  9. My credit limit is really low, what can I do?
  10. I applied but did not get auto approved, what should I do?
  11. After approval, how can I a) confirm the amount of the bonus I can earn and b) determine the deadline for completing the required spend?
  12. How do I match a higher offer and how much can I get?

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs below will almost certainly answer questions you have about Citi AA Platinum, Gold, and CitiBusiness cards. Do not post in the thread "just to double-check if the wiki is correct"; the wiki is here to avoid having people ask the same questions endlessly. With few exceptions, Citi CSRs and bloggers spread a great deal of misinformation.

1. How do I get mailers?
As a general rule, Citi marketing sends out offers to AAdvantage members who have not recently (or better yet ever) had a Citi AAdvantage credit card. Creating an AAdvantage account for someone in your household who is 18 years or older and has a separate email address not used on another AAdvantage account is a good way to start getting offers mailed to your address. Beware of 12-digit invitation codes and emailed offers, which do not circumvent the 24-month rules. Read the T&C carefully to make sure there is no 24-month language. Mailers usually start to show up a few months after an AAdvantage account is created. Frequency of mailers varies widely from every couple of months to a couple of times a month.

It is unknown how people get selected for business offers. They represent a fairly small percentage of total mailed offers and seem to follow certain people while others never get them.

Per Flyertalk rules, do not offer to sell, buy, trade - and do not ask for - surplus codes.

2. What restrictions are there on the use of mailers?
  • Mailers can only be used once. Trying the two-browser trick will fail on the second application
  • Mailers do not override normal Citi Application Rules
  • Use of a mailer or the opening of a Citi AAdvantage card by the mailer recipient will stop the flow of mailers to that individual
  • Mailers expire two months after the listed expiration date

3. I received an offer via email without 24-month language, will it work?
Maybe. The previous answer was no (even if the 24-month language was not in the email itself -- there was a link to T&C that contained the language, and it would NOT work)

However, several recent data points (starting around Jan 2019) indicate that receiving an email from AA (not from Citi) with a 9-digit code (not just an "apply now" link with no code) work the same as physical mailers (ie, you get the bonus). In summary, if all of the following are true:
  • the mailer is from AA (not from Citi)
  • the mailer has a 9-digit code
  • the "Apply Now" link leads to the same landing page as, with the 9-digit code (but not the last name) filled in
then several recent data points indicate that this WILL circumvent the 24-month language. This is a fairly recent development, so YMMV. Updated: For Business mailers, it appears that the 48-month restriction is in place and may not circumvent any 48-month language.

4. How frequently can I apply for Citi cards?
  • No more than 2 Citi applications of any kind in 60 days (65 days to be safe). Any kind includes personal and business, approved and denied, regardless of type (e.g. AA, TY, CostCo, etc.).
  • [In addition to the above:] No more than 1 CitiBusiness application in 90 days (95 days to be safe). Citi has been known to miscount in some cases. As a result, it is inadvisable to apply again exactly on day 60 or 90--thus the advice to wait 65 or 95 days.

For purposes of these rules:
  • count all Citi applications, including denials and/or applications for non-AA cards.
  • the only day that matters is the application date (not approval date, not activation date).
  • count all calendar days, not just business days.

If you get denied for violating any of these rules, you will probably have to wait the full time period (60+/90+ days) before trying again. Use this calculator to establish your dates:

In addition, FT lore has evolved into soft guidance that you apply for no more than one Citi card (of any kind) in any 8-day period. This is merely prudential guidance, not clearly established Citi policy; there are examples of people applying for two cards in a single day and being approved for the second. However, multiple Citi applications in a short time frame do appear, at least anecdotally, to increase the odds of the second application being denied. (You may see FTers refer to "the 8/65 rule," which refers to this soft guidance plus the strict 60-day rule noted above.)

An example of the guidance above applied in combination:

Day 1 Apply for 65K AA Personal Plat MC - Starts 60-day and 24-month clocks. No apps of any kind recommended for 8 days.
Day 9 Apply for 50K AA Personal Plat MC using Mailer - Restarts 24-month clock for personal AA card & resets 60-day clock.
Day 66 Apply for 50K AA Business - Starts 24-month clock for AA biz card apps, starts 90-day clock for CitiBusiness cards & updates 60-day clock. No apps of any kind for 3 days, recommended 8 days.
Day 74 Apply for 50K TYP Card - Starts 24-month clock for TYP & updates 60-day clock. No apps of any kind for 52 days, recommended 57 days.
Day 161 - Open Costco Business card/Close CitiBusiness AA card - Restarts 24-month clock for Business AA apps, restarts 90-day clock for CitiBusiness cards & updates 60-day clock. No apps of any kind recommended for 8 days.
Day 9 plus 24 months Apply for 50K AA personal plat MC - As long as you have not closed the Day 9 card in the previous 24 months (as that would have reset the 24-month personal card clock).
Day 161 plus 24 months - Apply for 50K AA Business . . .

Not sure what day you applied? The date is written year, month, day in the application number: 1902150000... means you applied on February 15, 2019.

5. Do I need to close existing cards before applying?
There is no requirement that you close previous personal accounts. In fact, with the new applications that include 24-month language, closing accounts will increase the time between applications. People have reported having 6 or more of the exact same card.

The rules for Business accounts vary by individual. Some people can only get a single business card in their lifetime. Others can only get a new business card if their previous business cards are closed. Still others can have multiple business accounts open. It is unknown why people end up in one pool versus another. The only way to figure out which pool you are in is to test it out. With the new 24-month language, it is safest to completely close business accounts as soon as the bonus is received.

6. When should I close existing Citi accounts?
Citi cards can be closed immediately after receiving a bonus and paying off the balance. There are no verifiable reports of Citi clawing back miles except in cases where charges forming part of the required bonus spend are later reversed (for merchandise return, etc.) and even this is rare. Opening and closing accounts has no effect on whether or not you get the bonus from a mailer without 24-month language. If you are getting these cards every 33 days, there is no reason to keep old cards active.

Reasons to keep accounts open:

  • Having large credit lines improves your utilization percentage.
  • Maintaining old cards improves average age of cards, although cards are not removed from your credit report for 10 years.
  • Credit lines can be moved from old cards to new cards.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that Citi counts the credit lines of recently-closed accounts for 3-6 months against your total available credit. You can call/SM/chat to reduce credit lines instead or prior to closing to free CL more quickly.
  • You can receive retention offers once every 6 months per card. See this thread for details on the latest retention offers.
  • Closing cards now resets the clock for future applications for the same type and category of card.
Reasons to close accounts:

  • Having a large amount of available credit with Citi will eventually reduce your chances of instant approval. You may end up with 1K/2K credit lines, especially on Business cards. You can also SM and request that your CL be reduced.
  • There is little incentive to keep a card with an annual fee if Citi does not offset it with a credit.
  • Citi has become stingier with retention offers and credits to offset annual fee.
  • Having a large number of open Citi cards may affect non-Citi applications.
  • Closing multiple accounts of the same type and category simultaneously resets the clock only once. Doing so shortly after opening a new account minimizes the wait for future churn eligibility.
  • The actual effect on your credit of closing cards as soon as the bonus is received is negligible.
  • Citi has not reacted negatively to people churning and closing cards on a near monthly basis.

7. What is the recommended application procedure?
Clear cache and cookies prior to applying or use an incognito or private browsing session to apply. Failing to clear cookies/cache has resulted in people receiving a lesser offer or no bonus at all. Opening multiple, different apps in different windows or tabs will not circumvent the one-use restriction on mailers.

8. There is nothing on the application page stating the bonus miles. How do I know what the associated offer is?
The bonus listed on the solicitation is the bonus associated with the application. As long as you cleared your cache first to make sure you are not pointing to the wrong offer then nothing will change the offer associated with the application. See below for ways to tell whether or not you are eligible for the bonus.

9. My credit limit is really low, what can I do?
Citi limits your total credit lines across all cards based on a number of factors, including income. Normally, they will extend something in the high- to mid-teens on a new card if it will not go over the total limit they are willing to extend to you. It is advisable that you lower credit limits immediately upon activation to what you actually need and reduce it again to $2000 prior to closing the card. It is also recommended that you close cards once the bonus has posted and the balance is paid off to limit the amount of outstanding credit and increase the chance of automatic approval and reasonable credit lines.

10. I applied but did not get auto approved, what should I do?
If you have a large total credit line from Citi or you have applied for a number of Citi AAdvantage cards in a short period of time, you are likely to stop getting auto-approvals and instead get a 7-10 day message. Closing cards and reducing credit limits can reduce this risk as can slowing down the tempo of applications. However, this is not a denial. Normally, Citi will just need to verify your identity and that you applied for the card. They can do this by mailing a letter or calling you and leaving a 4- or 5-digit code. This can be done while you are on the phone if you have call waiting or call from a different phone than the one listed on the application, or can receive a text to the listed phone.

Expect to be asked for name, address, date-of-birth, SSN, and whether or not you applied for the card. If they are unable to call you, they may ask for a credit card number from a different issuer, who they will call with you on the phone.

If you are not auto-approved call Citi at 1-800-695-5171 (direct line to an agent for personal cards) or 1-866-606-2787 (indirect line with prompts).

11. After approval, how can I a) confirm the amount of the bonus I can earn and b) determine the deadline for completing the required spend?
For personal and business cards, you can always Chat with Citi through your online account to confirm your bonus amount and deadline. (You must first activate the card and set up online access, either by creating an online account or by linking your new card to your existing online account. Unlike some other banks, Citi does not automatically add your new card to your existing online account.)

In addition, for personal cards only, the approval letter for a personal card will confirm the amount of the bonus for which you are eligible, but not the spend deadline. Note for business cards only: Approval letters for business cards do not confirm the bonus.

Note that these are the only reliable indicators. Asking a Citi phone CSR immediately after you are approved is NOT a sound approach. Such CSRs can only tell you what the bonus offer terms were, not whether you are eligible. (This is because Citi will issue you a card even if you are ineligible for the signup bonus.)

12. How do I match a higher offer and how much can I get?
After you activate and link your new card to your online account, use Chat or send an SM with some variant of:

"I just activated my new card and I heard about a higher offer for XX,000 miles and I was wondering if you could add XX,000 miles as a one-time courtesy to match that higher offer?"
You have to have a bonus on the existing card. You do not need to explain where you saw the bonus. You do not need to lie, simply read about current bonuses in this thread. The highest offer you can currently match to is 75,000 miles and the most you can match is an extra 20,000 miles. The total bonus is used on tiered offers like 50,000 miles for spending $3000 in 3 months and an extra 10,000 miles for spending a total of $6000 in 12 months is a total offer of 60,000 miles and can be matched for an additional 15,000 miles to the 75,000 mile offer. Update: Citi, as of July 2019, is no longer agreeing to give these extra bonus miles.

The bonus miles normally appear two days after the end of the next billing cycle.

If you are rejected, send a new request. If rejected more than once, try sending at a different time of day, use different wording, etc.

If you get a message that you were not selected for that offer and please send a copy of the offer to which you are requesting a match, then you probably asked for too much or did not carefully word your request with the amount of miles requested and the total of the offer you are trying to match.
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