Citibank Stork delivers news

38

A couple of days ago, I received this letter in the mail:

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It was from Citibank.  It said, “exciting account changes are coming soon.”  Uh oh, I though, this can’t be good..

On the back it said:

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“A more rewarding experience begins July 28, 2013.”  OK, I thought.  I don’t know what this is, but I have about two months until the shoe drops…

Inside was a letter:

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I can now get 2X on dining and entertainment.  That’s nice except that I already get 5X for those categories with my Citi Forward card. 

Wait a minute…  Entertainment now includes museums, amusement parks, and sporting events.  That’s new!  2X isn’t exactly exciting, but it’s better than a hole in the head.

It is the back of the letter where things get really interesting:

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I know you can’t read that.  Sorry.  Here’s what the first paragraph says:

Citi ThankYou® Rewards is offered to certain cardmembers (“you”) at the sole discretion of Citibank, NA. (“we”), the issuer of your card account (“Card Account”). ThankYou® Rewards or any portion (hereof may be revised or terminated with 30 days prior written notice. Any revisions may affect your ability to use the ThankYou® Points you have already accumulated, If ThankYou Rewards is terminated, you will only have 90 days from ThankYou Rewards termination date to redeem all your accumulated ThankYou Points (“Thankvou Points”). Rewards offered by ThankYou Rewards and the ThankYou Point levels required for specific rewards are subject to change without notice.

OK, they’re basically telling us that they can do away with ThankYou awards at any time with 30 days prior written notice and then we would have 90 days to redeem our points.  Got it.  Nice cheerful message.

The next section says:

Unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn:

Wait, stop.  I am participating in a limited time offer.  I signed up for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card with a 12 month offer for 5X points at gas stations, groceries and drug stores.  So, does this mean that the new terms don’t apply to me?  I don’t think I’ll know for sure until my statement closes after July 28th.

Here’s the rest of that section:

Unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn:

• 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at restaurants and on select entertainment merchants, including sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores and video rental stores:

•1 ThankYou Point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.

OK, so that’s good to know.  I’m not aware of any other card that offers bonus points for “sports promoters,” “theatrical promoters,” etc.  Citi gives more detail next:

Restaurants are classified as dining establishments that primarily prepare food and drinks for immediate consumption by consumers, either on the merchant’s premises or packaged for takeout, and include bars,cocktail lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, taverns and fast food restaurants. Sports promoters are classified as merchants that operate and promote live sporting events
(professional or semi-professional), and may also include sports stadiums. Theatrical promoters are classified as merchants that operate live theatrical productions or concerts, and include ticketing agencies. Movie theaters are classified as establishments that sell tickets and refreshments for movie productions. Amusement parks (including zoos, circuses and aquariums) are classified as establishments that operate parks or carnivals and offer mechanical rides and games and/or live animal shows. Tourist attractions and museums (including art galleries) are classified as establishments that operate attractions and exhibits for tourists. Record stores are classified as establishments that sell COs and related items, including online record stores. Video rental stores are classified as merchants that rent DVDs and/or games and related equipment for consumer use, including online video rentals.
We do not determine how merchants or establishments are classified: however, they are generally classified based upon the merchant’s primary line of business. We reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for this offer. Purchases not eligible to receive the additional ThankYou Points include, but are not limited to, purchases made at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores.

OK, so that wasn’t interesting at all.  Sorry.  I hope you skipped over it.

The next part is interesting given the apparent fact that Citi has been closing people’s accounts left and right:

You may earn ThankYou Points as long as your Card Account is open and current. If your Card Account is closed, you will not be able to earn ThankYou Points and you will lose any accumulated ThankYou Points that have not been transferred to your ThankYou Member Account. …

There seems to be a grain of hope in there.  It says that you will lose ThankYou points that have not yet been transferred to your ThankYou account.  So, by implication, you get to keep the points that have been transferred.  Right? 

Not so fast…  It goes on to say:

ThankYou Points may not be redeemed and may be lost if your Card Account is not open or current.

OK, so you “may” (read: “will”) lose points pretty much no matter what happens.  There’s more…

Your Card Account may be closed based on signs of fraud or abuse relating to the earning or redeeming of ThankYou Points. If your Card Account is closed for any of these reasons, you may not be approved in the future for a Citi Credit Card account.

Reiterating… “If your Card Account is closed for any of these reasons, you may not be approved in the future for a Citi Credit Card account.”  Ooh, bad news for those who get shut down.  I can see why they put all of this stuff in the back in tiny font.

Returning to the front of the letter, here is the Stork’s signature:

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Did you get this letter from Citibank?  What are your thoughts about it?  Did you notice that while there is a picture of the “Preferred” card, they only refer to the card in text as the ThankYou card?  I’m thinking that Citi is in the midst of rebranding this card…

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