Which Citi Card Are You Applying For This Weekend?

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Citi is in the process of adding further restrictions when applying for their credit cards. Under the old rules you could only get a sign-up bonus on a particular card every 24 months, while under the new rules (which we understand take effect on Monday, August 29th) you can only get one sign-bonus per “type” of card every 24 months.

Citi also limits how often you can apply for new credit cards:

  • You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
  • You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days
  • You can apply for a business card no more than every 90 days

At this point, you only have time for one application, so will need to prioritize. I figured it would be helpful to go through the main category “types” and look at the current offers.

Hilton HHonors

The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card qualify as the same “type” of card, as both earn Hilton HHonors points. If you already have (or have recently had) one of the Hilton Citi cards, I’d consider applying for the other before the new rules take effect on August 29th.

75,000 points for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

Hilton’s no annual fee Citi product, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card, is offering an increased limited time sign-up bonus. The offer is for 75,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

 

Per the offer terms, the sign-up bonus is only available to those who have not opened or closed the card in the past 24 months.

The card offers the following points earnings structure:

  • 6x points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton portfolio
  • 3x points on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations
  • 2x points on everything else

Beyond that, the card offers some status benefits as well, including:

  • Complimentary HHonors Silver status for as long as you have the card
  • Fast track to HHonors Gold status after four Hilton stays within your first 90 days of card membership

On the one hand, this offer seems to come and go at least twice a year, so there will almost certainly be another chance to pick up this card at this rate.

On the other, 75,000 points is a great sign-up bonus for a no annual fee card. There’s huge value in holding onto no annual fee cards long term, and this is one of the better bonuses we’ve seen on such a card.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Personally if I were to just apply for one co-branded Citi Hilton credit card, it would be the Citi Hilton Reserve Card. While it has a $95 annual fee, it is better in just about every way, including:

  • HHonors Gold status for as long as you have the card (which gets you free breakfast/club lounge access and more)
  • HHonors Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year
  • A sign-up bonus of two free weekend nights at any property in the world (potentially worth up to 190,000 HHonors points)
  • An anniversary free weekend night bonus for any year in which you spend $10,000 on the card

Conrad-Koh-Samui
Enjoy two free nights at the Conrad Koh Samui

American AAdvantage

Citi has several AAdvantage-earning products, including the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard®, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, and the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®.

Of those, I think the Executive card has the most compelling offer.

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

The Citi AAdvantage Executive Card has been offering a limited time increased sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles upon completing minimum spend. This is 10,000 more miles than the previous bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage miles.

Through this offer you can earn the 60,000 mile bonus after spending $5,000 within three months. Ben values American miles at ~1.5 cents each, so those 60,000 miles would be worth ~$900.

 

The card does have a $450 annual fee, though it also has the single most generous lounge access perk of any credit card out there.

Specifically, those with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card receive an Admirals Club membership. But it gets much, much better than that. You can add 10 additional cardmembers to the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card at no additional cost, and they receive Admirals Club access as well, with each allowed to take two guests per visit.

With the Citi Prestige® Card no longer coming with Admirals Club access as of July 23, 2017, this card is even more interesting than in the past.

Admirals-Club-2
Get an Admirals Club membership with the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

ThankYou

ThankYou Points can be earned with the Citi Prestige® Card, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, and a an assortment of “Preferred” cards. I would only consider for applying for the Citi Prestige at this point, however, as the other cards have low-to-no bonus offers anyway.

Citi Prestige® Card

While the offer has recently changed on this card, and we’re seeing a scaling back of benefits, I still think it’s a great card, and is currently offering 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

You get complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges (through 7/23/17), and a Priority Pass Select membership giving you lounge access for yourself and two guests. There’s also a $250 annual airline fee credit, along with a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. And everyone’s favorite perk — the 4th night hotel benefit for any hotel stay at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige® Concierge.

Sheraton-Maldives-Ocean-Villa-16
I used the 4th night benefit in the Maldives last year

Beyond that, you get 3x points on air travel and hotels; 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment; and one point for all other purchases, and the ability to transfer points to airline partners.

Bottom line

Everyone’s priorities will be different, and it’s worth taking the time to think through which of these bonuses will be most applicable to your travel goals.

If you don’t have any of these cards, or any in the associated category “types” I would make sure to pick up the best bonus now. I’ve never had a Hilton product, for example, and think I’d rather get the two free nights from the Citi® Hilton HHonors Reserve Card than the 75,000 points for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card. It just depends.

Are you applying for a Citi card in the next few days? Which one?

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Comments

  1. Are there any data points on opening multiple Prestige cards? I’d really like a Thank You Premier, but with no sign up bonus, it doesn’t make sense to open one. If I could open a second Prestige card and then downgrade my first prestige card, that might make a difference.

  2. Every freaking article talks about admirals club lounge access and then puts up a photo of a sparse room with a few chairs.

    That photo doesn’t sell a card with 450 annual fee very well. Are American admirals lounges better than priority pass lounges?

  3. What about Citi AA Gold? 25k miles on $750 spend. The application page clearly shows the 24 month language though. Are you saying that even though that language is there, I will still get the bonus, even though I got the Platinum card 5 months ago?

  4. @ WR — The application pages were updated a couple of weeks ago, but according to the Citi media team that isn’t actually being enforced until the 29th. So I’d feel pretty confident, but that might not be a level of risk you’re comfortable with.

  5. is Aug 28th the confirmed effective date? as many Citi cards now already have the new T&C in the application page.

  6. @Tiffany do you have some link from the media team that I can reference in case of dispute, or is this your own personal correspondence with them, which unfortunately won’t help me? I am going through a similar thing with Schwab checking, they won’t give me $100 bonus because I already had a brokerage account, even though bloggers said that I should still get the bonus. Somehow the banks don’t take what bloggers write as valid evidence.

  7. No Citi cards for me anytime soon. Fiancee and I got Premier, Prestige, HH Reserve, HH Visa in the last year. Got our awesome bonuses and done.

  8. @Credit – yes generally speaking admirals club are better than most domestic PP lounges. If you’re familiar with delta lounges they are similar but not as good IMO but are better than the majority of PP lounges. AA is starting to revamp and remodel many of their clubs so hopefully they become even better. PP is good for when you have no other options domestically (and can get to their terminal) or international destinations.

  9. +1 for using the Citi Prestige 4th night free at the Sheraton Maldives last year. You had better value than I though, as I was only a measly SPG Gold.
    I already applied/approved for the Citi Hilton Reserve earlier this week thanks to the new rules. Will be using it and my mound of Hilton points at the Conrad Maldives next year. Thought about having the hubs apply for the Executive AAdvantage, but since we already have Prestige, and thus AA and Priority Pass Lounges as well as Global Entry – I really don’t see AAdvantage miles are that valuable since the deval. At the end of the day, I’d rather stock Alaska Miles and Chase UR.

  10. BTW Tiffany I just wanted to say I always love reading your posts. They are always well written and well thought out.

    Nice job!!

  11. Basically a $450 expense for a Business class ticket to India/Middle east assuming you make another 10K AA Miles via spending.

    But like many folks out there, I’m in a dilemma to hold out until we are back to 4/24 or less so that we can get Chase branded cards

  12. I applied for the Citi Prestige just now and got approved on the spot.
    Originally I wasn’t going to bother till next year, but the new stupid rule forced me to apply for it today.
    Obviously the welcome bonus is not as attractive now, but still better than nothing IMO.

  13. Just downgraded my Prestige to a Preferred (already have Premier), and so I will be laying low for a while on Citi cards. Also AA miles have lost attractiveness with me when not travelling to Asia. I’d prefer to concentrate on earning for Star Alliance awards at this time.

  14. Could someone help break this down for a newbie? I desperately need to re-stock my AA miles after using before the devaluation.

    So the strategy now would be to apply for the AA Plat Select now before these new rules apply. Then in a few weeks apply for another AA Plat Select with the new rules. And then cancel both after the annual fee hits and then start the 24 month waiting period?

    Thanks!

  15. @Tiffany help please!

    So if I sign up for the Hilton 75k bonus today, I can still get the other Hilton card after waiting the 8 days for citi’s 8/65 rule? Thanks!

  16. @DJ @ JJ-NA — Okay, so starting Monday, if you have opened OR closed any card within a type, you have to wait 24 months to get another bonus within that group.

    As an example, I closed an AA Executive card in July of 2015. If I were to apply and be approved for some other AAdvantage card before the 28th, I’d be eligible for a bonus on that card, but wouldn’t be able to earn a bonus on any other AAdvantage card until September of 2018. After Monday, the rule will be 24 months within a type, so if I don’t get another AA card before Monday, I would only have to wait until August of 2017.

    If you get a Hilton card today, then you’ll have to wait 24 months before you can earn the bonus on another Hilton card.

    Does that help?

  17. Not signing up for any of the Citi AA cards, waiting for that new contract to go into effect in January and hoping they have new product available to review.

  18. I see bonus has just gone from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Citi AAdvantage PlatinumSelect so I guess it’s time to apply. I have the (now grandfathered) old Barclaycard AAvantage Silver Aviator that I plan to keep forever.

    @Tiffany – any issues with AA having both the Barclaycard and Citi card?

  19. If I apply for Prestige today do I still get the increased value for Redemtion on American flights through next July?

  20. The Hhonors Reserve is just not competitive anymore with its high annual fee and high spend requirement (in a world where MS is relatively lots morevdifficult) to get a free (weekend) night. I’m dumping mine soon.

  21. Meh… I’m finding Chase’s offerings more appealing for now.

    Between the Sapphire Reserved, Freedom, Ink, and Freedom Unlimited, earning 5x UR points on many purchases and a minimum of 1.5x UR points on non-bonus purchases is the new/current standard. Now, if Citi decided to allow people to use a Double Cash card as a 2x TY points, then they’ll see plenty of spend.

    AA’s Admiral’s Lounge has a very small footprint (~50 worldwide), even adding in oneworld you’re only up to about 600. Priority Pass lounges aren’t always the best, but at least you’ve got ~900 of them to choose from, and you can use them irregardless of which airline ticket you’re holding that day.

  22. Tiff –

    I am looking to apply for Prestige, but have opened Thank You Preferred within 24 months. I was going to open this weekend based upon what you wrote, but then I saw….

    “Earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.2 Points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
    Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

    Can you clarify? Would you also still open this card if I just opened the Chase Reserve?

  23. @ Dan — Yep, that’s the new language that supposedly isn’t being enforced until Monday. I would personally go for it, but everyone has to determine their comfort level for themselves. 🙂

  24. Tiff: thanks for your posts! I was approved for Citi Exec card tonight although new language was clearly marked. If they try and hold me to new language instead of starting on Monday do I have any recourse you’d recommend to get my bonus? Perhaps don’t activate card?

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