Which Citi Card Should You Sign Up For First?

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Update: This offer for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is expired. You can find the current offer details here.

Citi has been really aggressive since early last year with their consumer credit card division, so we’ve seen some great sign-up bonuses. I’d argue the single most compelling card right now is the Citi Prestige Card, which has a great sign-up bonus, offers a fantastic return on everyday spend, and comes with great perks.

The card’s sign-up bonus is 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within three months, though we don’t actually know how much longer that offer will be around.

There are two other limited time offers from Citi which I’ve written about recently:

With that in mind — given the excellent sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige Card, for which we don’t have an end date, and then the officially limited time sign-up bonuses on the Citi Business AAdvantage and Citi HHonors cards, which would I apply for first?

It’s worth keeping in mind Citi’s policy for new card acquisitions:

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

With that in mind, which of these Citi cards would I recommend applying for first?

Assuming you don’t have any of the above cards and haven’t applied for any Citi cards in the past 65 days, I would get the Citi Business AAdvantage first, since the sign-up bonus will be pulled on Monday (there might still be some “phantom” links after that, but I wouldn’t count on them sticking around), and it’s an excellent offer.

But the next card I’d probably apply for is the Citi Prestige Card. That’s because I wouldn’t necessarily assume the current bonus will be around for another 65 days. I suspect we’ll get a week or two notice of any changes, but I wouldn’t count on 65 days notice.

Beyond that, the Citi Prestige Card is actually compelling to hold onto long term for the perks. The fourth night free hotel benefit has saved me thousands of dollars, and I find the card to be worthwhile for the lounge access alone.

If you don’t plan on getting the business card and haven’t applied for a Citi card in the past 65 days, I’d probably apply for the Citi HHonors Card first, as it offers a great sign-up bonus with no annual fee, and there’s so much value to your credit score in holding onto some cards long term.

Bottom line

I guess several good credit card offers is a good problem to have. The bottom line for me is that I’d apply for the cards which we know are limited time first, but I also wouldn’t count on the Citi Prestige Card sign-up bonus necessarily being around for at least two months. Given Citi’s parameters for applying for cards, I’d keep that in mind if you’ve been considering applying for any/all of these cards.

Are you considering applying for any Citi cards, and if so, in which order?

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  1. I did it the other way around, but didn’t have an impending offer change to consider.

    My logic was that when I finish with Premier and Prestige, I would have the points from both accounts worth more. I’m unlikely to keep the prestige as I can’t use the 4th free night on business, and invariably using points on vacation.

  2. There have been phantom 50k links for the AA business and personal cards for at least the last 3 years, why would you assume they’re going away anytime soon?

  3. I just recently signed up for the Citi AAdvantage Mastercard with a 60k mile bonus for spending $3k in the first three months. I spent that in the first month, and earned 70k miles.

    I’m relatively new to this game!

  4. I did a PC from Executive aa to Premier and preferred. Can I app for these two if I’ve never applied for one before only product changed to it. Should I cancel them first?

  5. When comparing these deals there is a tendency to look at the number of points or miles on offer and do a direct comparison. But their value can vary hugely by program.

    In this case the Citi HHonors program gives you a generous sounding 75,000 points. But that will not even get you one night at a better Hilton property. And the lower value of HHonors points become evident if you try and convert them to another program.

    Example: Want to convert your HHonors points to BA Avios? It’s a 10:1 conversion. Each HHonors point gets you 1/10 of an Avios mile.

    Put another way, the sign-on bonus is 7,500 Avios, compared with the 50,000 bonus Avios on offer for taking out the Chase BA visa card (albeit with an annual fee).

  6. FYI, it looks like the sign-up bonus of the Premier is back up to 50,000 although that’s after $3500 in the first 3 months vs. the old $3k in those same months.

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