New Citi application rule might be a net win

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Last Friday, Doctor of Credit reported what looks like a pretty positive change in application terms on many Citi cards. Specifically, Citi ThankYou cards have received a slight wording change in the terms surrounding the Citi 24-month clock that may not make it possible to open more than one ThankYou card at a time. Note that we will need more datapoints to know how the new wording is being applied, so YMMV for the time being.

The old Citi application wording said:

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.

In the past, if you had opened or closed any of those cards in the previous 24 months, you were ineligible to receive a new cardmember bonus on any of them.

The new wording sounds worse on the first read, but it’s actually better. Here it is:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou®Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.

At first glance, this looks a bit more restrictive because the terms now indicate that you can not have received a new cardmember bonus in the past 24 months. That means the 24-month clock is now based on when you received the bonus (which would be 1-3 months after you opened the card depending on how quickly you met the spending requirement) rather than on when you opened the card. That’s a slightly negative change as it means you’ll need to wait a little bit longer to apply again once you have received a new cardmember bonus.

On the other hand, a key positive change is that you’ll notice the terms no longer indicate that you are not eligible if you have opened any of those cards in the previous 24 months — only if you have received a new cardmember bonus or closed one of them.

That makes it sound as though it may be possible to open two ThankYou cards at the same time and receive the new cardmember bonus on each. Furthermore, a product change at least theoretically should not lock you out of a bonus for 24 months. Doctor of Credit reports that part of the impetus for this change was to enable people to product change Rewards+ card without worrying about resetting the clock. Finally, if you opened a card without earning a new cardmember bonus in the past 24 months but now there is a bonus available, you should be eligible to receive it (provided you have not closed the card).

Overall, this looks like a net win as long as the terms are enforced as per the new wording.

H/T: Doctor of Credit via Miles to Memories

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