Does Citi Include Product Upgrades/Downgrades in the 24-Month Rule?

Jul 31, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

The big 75,000-point sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige is only available for a limited time, and you’re eligible to get it if you haven’t opened or closed a ThankYou card in the last 24 months. But what if you’ve “product changed” one, as a number of TPG readers like Clem have asked us…

I haven’t opened or closed a Citi account in the past 24 months, but I did a product change just a few weeks ago (namely, I downgraded my Prestige for a Premier). Would I be eligible for the 75,000 point offer or does a product change count as an account closing?

TPG Reader Clem

This is an important question, and data points from others have been a bit confusing, but we’ve managed to get a little clarity on the matter from Citi. First though, let’s review what the terms and conditions say on the Citi Prestige’s 75,000-point sign-up bonus offer.

We already know that opening or closing a ThankYou card in the previous 24 months makes you ineligible for the bonus. But what exactly is a “ThankYou card”? Does it include just the three main Citi ThankYou products or does it also include previous credit cards which earned ThankYou points but are no longer offered, such as the Citi Forward?

Fortunately, that answer is pretty clear — if you dig into the terms and conditions on the Citi Prestige offer, it states:

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

So we’re only talking about the Preferred, Premier and Prestige, and not any other old Citi cards even if they earned ThankYou points.

But what if you’re in a situation like Clem and you had one of these three ThankYou cards but called or emailed Citi during the last 24 months to convert it into a different type of Citi credit card, which is what we mean by the term “product change”? This could be converting your card from one type of ThankYou card to another ThankYou card, as Clem did from a Prestige to a Premier, or it could mean changing a ThankYou card to an entirely different type of Citi card, as I recently did when I converted a Citi Premier® Card to a Citi® Double Cash Card.

There have been a lot of theories on this, so we reached out to Citi to get the official answer. Here’s what they told us:

If they have converted but their account number has not changed, they will still qualify for the bonus.

When will a Citi product conversion will result in a new account number? If you’re converting from a Visa to a Mastercard or vice versa, then you’ll undoubtedly get a new number. But other product conversions may or may not have the same effect. I recently changed from a Prestige to a Citi ThankYou Preferred Card and was issued a new account number, so even changing within the same family of cards doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to keep the same account number.

However, if you’ve already done a product change, it’s obviously easy to check if your account number has changed — even if you’ve destroyed the old card, you can look at an old statement and see if the last four numbers have remained the same. If they have, you’re eligible for the 75,000-point bonus according to Citi.

While this might not make it possible to predict whether a future product change will lock you out of a new bonus, it should make it easy for readers to see if a past product change makes them ineligible. Thanks for the question, Clem, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

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