3 considerations in prep for Citi Prestige 75K

As we reported on Sunday, the Citi Prestige is set to be refreshed on Sunday with a new 75K-point sign up bonus. Are you interested in 75K points? Of course you are. But if you’re looking to apply when the new bonus goes live, there are a few key considerations in prepping to take advantage of the new offer.

Consideration #1: Citi 24-month rule

A signup bonus of 75K points is enough to turn anyone’s head — when we consider that 75K is potentially enough for a round-trip business-class ticket to Hawaii or 2 round trip economy class tickets to paradise (using Singapore Krisflyer), that signup bonus starts to sound downright fantastic. And those are far from the only or most valuable uses of 75K ThankYou points. So let’s not mess this one up — the first key term of which we need to be aware is Citi’s typical 24-month language that will surely accompany this offer:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Pay close attention there. If you have opened any of those cards in the past 24 months, you will not be eligible for the new bonus. If you have closed any of those cards in the past 24 months, you will not be eligible for the new bonus. So do not close any of those accounts before applying. If you have one of those accounts and want to close it, I suggest doing it immediately after receiving the sign up bonus for the next card you want in the ThankYou ecosystem. That is to say that if you have a ThankYou Premier open and want to close it, open the Prestige card next week and close the Premier card once you have hit the spend and received the sign up bonus on the Prestige.

You might wonder why I said I’d wait until you receive the bonus rather than just cancelling that Premier immediately after you are approved for the Prestige. I’d do it that way out of an abundance of caution. Since the terms state that the bonus points are not available if you have opened or closed one of those cards in the past 24 months, I would be extra careful not to close one of those cards before I received the bonus points (lest they say that I was eligible to receive the bonus points when I applied but wasn’t any longer eligible by the time I earned the bonus). The truth is that you could probably cancel the Premier card immediately after being approved for the Prestige….but I’m not going to put 75K points at risk on that assumption. Of course, if Citi didn’t give me my points, at least I know a good lawyer.

So what should you do if you currently have a Citi Prestige card that you opened more than 2 years ago?

The answer isn’t cut-and-dry. There are two possibilities I see:

1) Try to open a second Prestige card

2) Downgrade to a ThankYou Preferred

In the past, Citi has allowed people to hold more than one of some of their cards. It may be possible to have two Prestige cards, but I’m not sure. I would personally prefer to try Option #2 — downgrade my Prestige to a ThankYou Preferred. I would not recommend product-changing to a card outside of the ThankYou product family. For example, if you product changed your Prestige card to a Citi American Airlines card, I believe that Citi would mark your Prestige card closed and open a new Citi American Airlines account for you (something similar happened when I PC’d from the Citi American Airlines card to the AT&T Access More card and the two accounts now show separately on my credit report). If you stick within the ThankYou family, it should not result in a close/open situation (though YMMV).

You should be able to product change to a ThankYou Preferred this week and then apply for the Prestige next week. While I can’t guarantee that will work, I firmly believe it will.

Consideration #2: Yes, it counts against Chase 5/24

Chase 5 24 Rule

Opening a new personal credit card will count against your Chase 5/24 status — that is to say that if you have opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for certain Chase cards. Applying for the Citi Prestige will count as one of those 5 new accounts if your Prestige application is approved. If the Prestige will put you at 5/24, consider applying for a Chase card that is limited by 5/24 before you apply for the Citi Prestige. I’d consider the Ink Business Preferred for the 80K sign up bonus, the Ink Cash card for the ongoing 5X category earning, or one of the Sapphire cards if you spend a lot on travel and/or aren’t interested in a business card.

Consideration #3: You’ve gotta spend $7,500 in 3 months

While the sign up bonus is a monster, so is the minimum spend required to pull down that sign up bonus. Can you spend $7,500 in the next 3 months? Of course you can….but how are you going to do it? Have a plan. I recently had the good fortune to catch a mistake before I made it. I assumed I had hit the spend threshold for a bonus, but one day I had a random inspiration to double check it. I was incredibly lucky to think to do it on what I later realized was the final day of the spending window. When I added up my purchases, I was about $100 short of the necessary spend. With less than an hour left to spend. Amazon gift card to the rescue — but man, that was close. Know how you’re going to meet the spend and stay organized.

The good news here is that the Citi Prestige card is a Mastercard. This means that you can still use it to pay your mortgage via Plastiq. Readers with a mortgage or car loan (or other bills normally paid by check, such as bills for a contractor or utilities) could always use Plastiq to help meet the required spend. See our Complete Guide to Plastiq payments for more info.

Bottom Line

Those things considered, does it still make sense to apply for the Citi Prestige 75K offer? Of course it does. That”s a lot of ThankYou points, and despite not quite being the #1 transferable points program by most measures, I’ve still found ThankYou points incredibly valuable for the right situations. At the very least, there is value in diversifying. Sometime last year, I needed some more Singapore Krisflyer miles. While I could have transferred points from Chase, I needed my Chase points to transfer to Hyatt for a stay. I could have transferred points from Membership Rewards, but I wanted to leave my Membership Rewards balance intact to take advantage of the (since-changed) pay-with-points rebate. Having ThankYou points as a third option turned out to be a great way to keep all of my points in place to give me the most value out of each separate program. And if you’re looking to amass Singapore or AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue points for a big award, this signup bonus can help you get one giant step closer. Provided you plan appropriately, you should be able to take advantage of the new offer and position yourself for a nice balance of Citi points.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Miles Hustler
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Miles Hustler

Are you sure a product change from the Citi Prestige card to a thank-you Premier would not count as a closure (i.e. opened or “closed”) for purposes of the 24-month rule?

Tom
Guest
Tom

Directly from the article: “If you stick within the ThankYou family, it should not result in a close/open situation (though YMMV)… While I can’t guarantee that will work, I firmly believe it will.”

Daniel Kimberlin
Guest
Daniel Kimberlin

That $7,500 spend in 3 months would make me nervous. The 4K on the reserve was bad enough but 7.5k is quite a bit. Thankfully Plastiq is an option. I think I’ll pass on this one though.

Jan W
Guest
Jan W

I’ve not used TY points before and don’t have an open citi cc right now. Are they dependent on the credit card–do I have to keep the card open to keep the points active? Do you have a link reviewing TY points? Also, what’s the AF? Thanks

Matthew
Guest

I’m still on a Prestige with a $350 AF bc of an old Citi Gold account. Although I won’t be eligible until Feb 2018 (2 years after Premier opening), I think I would rather try option 1 to keep my $350 AF and then downgrade the new Prestige. I’ve had multiples of Citi’s cards before and still received the bonus. I hope some data points come in!

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Good point. I’m in the same boat so may do the same

Matthew
Guest

My biggest fear is when I was going to cancel an AA card, the agent convinced me to do TY Pref. I really should have done a Dividend, but I was hoping for different quarterly bonuses on the card. I am really hoping this isn’t considered opening a card since it was just a conversion, but now I’m even more fearful since like stated in the post, conversion between products has possibly more reason to count as a new card. I think to be fair, they should count “opening” a new card as when that card was first opened. The card will be over 2 years, so I guess I will be my own data point! Not looking forward to it, but I will try to get my spend done before the refund option of the card disappears. Sigh.

Kroozer
Guest
Kroozer

Option #1 to open a 2nd Prestige card is possible. I have a Premier and Prestige open since May 2015 and opened 2nd prestige in early July. However, it seems that I may still not receive the bonus. Details here:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28533204-post1972.html and following few posts.

Speculative reasoning on why I may be ineligible for the bonus:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28549982-post1989.html
It may be better to count 24 months completed after Annual fee bills on existing cards in the family.

Matthew
Guest

Wow, how complicated. But good to know, thanks!

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Carol
Guest
Carol

Greg, do you think purchasing Visa GCs for the min spend will cause any problems with this card? TY

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

That should work. I don’t anticipate problems with that with Citi. That said, of course, it could change at any time

London
Guest
London

Does anyone know if you still earn stay credits and loyalty points through that hotel’s award program now that you have to book the hotel reservation through Citi’s online portal??
Under Citi’s old model where you’d call in, you would get stay credits and hotel points for ALL 4 nights, then Citi would credit you back later on your statement for the 4th night.
Now that Citi makes you use their booking portal, does that mean they’re operating as an OTA (like Expedia), and that you no longer will earn hotel points and stay credits?
Also, since they’re now crediting you for the 4th night at checkout, does that mean that you only earn hotel points and stay credits for 3 nights instead of 4??
These really make a huge difference between keeping/applying for the card and not.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

You can still call in (or email) as before and you should earn stay credits and points. Citi claims that you’ll earn those when booking online as well, but time will tell whether that’s true.

More here: https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/the-complete-guide-to-citi-prestige-4th-night-free/

2nd Prestige
Guest
2nd Prestige

DP

Just approved for a 2nd Citi Prestige after waiting slightly over 2 years after opening my last TYP card (Citi Premier). I’ve kept both open for 2+ years.

My current Citi Prestige annual fee is due very soon so this is good timing to close or downgrade it and get the bonus points and benefits with a new card.

I was explicitly told by the CSR that I would received 75,000 after $7500 in spend and should according to Citi’s rules, but we’ll see.

Matthew
Guest

Did you get the letter confirming bonus yet? Excellent that the CSR was kind enough to confirm. Letter showing bonus is considered a confirmation that the computer system will award points automatically. Good luck and thanks for the DP!

2nd Prestige
Guest
2nd Prestige

You’re welcome, Matthew.

Literally just applied today so no letter yet, but thanks for the tip.

michael chill
Guest
michael chill

I just got approved for a second citi prestige card so I will have 2. I am citigold so I only pay $350 and I will get to use the credit this calendar year and next for $500. It is after that point I am conflicted. Can I close it and because I still have a prestige card keep all my points or would I lose them in 60 days? I want to close as soon as $250 credit hits so I can reset the 24 month rule.