If you’re like us, credit card application rules aren’t even close to the top of your list of things to memorize. However, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of them — and an easy-to-reference resource — so that you can make smart card application decisions.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the ins and outs of the Citi application rules to help give you the best shot of approval and make sure you’re eligible for the sign-up bonus.
While this isn’t the exciting part, credit cards the tools of the trade so knowing these can help make your miles and points journey just that little bit easier.
Let’s get into it!
If you’re going to get a new card, you might as well get a sign-up bonus on top of the benefits. With Citi, the first you need to understand is how they group cards together into families. Before we talk about the most important rule, we need to talk about the most important card families.
A card family is simply a credit card that earns the same type of points or miles as other cards. For Citi, their flagship product is ThankYou Points portfolio of cards. Each card that earns ThankYou Points is considered to be in the same family.
These cards include:
- Citi Prestige
- Citi Premier
- Citi Rewards+
- Citi Rewards+ Student Card
The Citi AT&T Access Card also earns ThankYou Points but is not included in this family of cards. You need to pair it with a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier if you want to be able to transfer points to airline partners.
Don’t miss our 10 brilliant ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Points.
Similarly, Citi’s co-branded American Airlines credit cards are part of the same family with one exception. These :
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
The two co-branded American cards that are not included in this family are the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select and the American Airlines MileUp Card. These cards are not considered to be part of a card family.
As a result, if you’ve opened or closed the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for the sign-up bonus. This has no impact on any other co-branded American cards and the same is true for the MileUp Card.
Check out our complete guide to redeeming American AAdvantage miles.
When it comes to the 24-month rule, you’ll want to remember how card families work as you are restricted to receiving one sign-up bonus per card family per 24 months. However, there is a subtle difference in how the rule is applied to ThankYou Points cards and AAdvantage cards.
With Citi ThankYou Points cards, you are not eligible for a sign-up bonus if you’ve received one in the last 24 months. So, if you get the Citi Premier today, you would need to wait at least 24 months from the date you receive the bonus to be eligible for the Citi Prestige’s sign-up bonus.
Note, that the clock starts from the date you receive the bonus rather than the date you applied for the card.
With the Citi AAdvantage cards, the 24-month clock starts from the date you open or close a card rather than the date you receive the sign-up bonus.
Timing Your Applications So You Get Approved
On top of the bonus, there are a few rules around the timing of your applications. This is especially important if you’re hoping to get a couple of cards within a small window of time.
The main rule for opening personal credit cards with Citi is often summed up as 8/65. Of course, this means nothing to most people so let’s break it down.
You can only open one personal card from Citi on any given day. Once you’ve applied for a card, you then must wait 8 days before you will be eligible for another card. Clearly, there’s no point in applying until you are eligible.
Finally, if you apply for a second card after waiting 8 days, the clock then starts again except, this time, you need to wait 65 days before you apply for your next card. Basically, over the course of 65 days, you can apply for 3 cards but you have to space them out according to these rules.
Technically, it’s 60 days but Citi has been known to miscount which can cause quite the hassle for you and it’s best just to avoid it.
Keep in mind, these rules apply even if you aren’t approved for a card. So, even if you are denied a card after waiting 8 days, you’ll still have to wait at least 65 days to try once more.
Citi handles things a bit differently with business cards — it’s simpler but more restrictive. You need to wait at least 90 days between business card applications. However, it’s best to wait 95 days just in case Citi miscounts.
Some Overlap Between Business And Personal
You can apply for a personal card and business card on the same day but there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved for both.
However, some data suggest that applying for a personal card and a business card will then require you to wait 65 days for your next personal card.
Some Rules Are More Like Guidelines
Citi has a couple of restrictions that don’t seem to be applied to all applicants but are still worth a mention to prevent any confusion.
Six-Inquiry Limit Per Six Months
Many have reported being denied for a Citi card for having 6 inquires across all banks on a credit report in the previous 6 months. Keep in mind that inquires rather than approvals are what matters for this one.
Since Citi doesn’t pull all three of your credit reports — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, it all comes down to how many inquiries you have with the credit bureau Citi uses for you.
One Personal Card Per 60 Days?
Some people have reported only being able to get one personal card within 60 days. This could be a result of short credit history or applying for a card within the same card family.
Match To Better Offers
One of the things we appreciate about Citi is that they’ve been good about matching better offers. So, if you open a card and then see a better offer within 30 days, reach out to Citi and ask them to match it.
Business Cards Don’t Count Toward Chase 5/24
Citi does not report your business cards to your personal credit report so they won’t impact your 5/24 status with Chase. This is important if you’re just starting out with credit card rewards or haven’t yet hit 5 cards in 24 months.
As we’ve discussed previously, it’s ideal to start with Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to ensure you don’t miss out on some of the valuable points out there. For that reason, we think it’s best to hold off on Citi personal cards at the start.
Between earning ThankYou Points and American AAdvantage miles, Citi credit cards provide some great opportunities to earn valuable points and miles that can be used for some amazing travel.
As with all bank rules regarding applications and sign-up bonuses, we see exceptions to the rules. However, having an understanding of these rules should provide a solid background and make your points journey just a little bit easier.