If you’ve read any of my recent ranting posts you’ve likely heard me gripe about how credit card companies are always making things more difficult for us. All we want to do is sign up for credit cards over and over without paying any annual fees. Is that too much to ask? 😉
Changes to Citi Sign-up Bonuses:
Effective tomorrow, August 28th, you will have to wait 24 months to receive a sign-up bonus for Citi cards in the same family. The 24 month clock starts ticking when you open a card in the “family. The clock then RESETS for another 24 months when you close that card. This rule applies to cards within the same family such as; Hilton, Thank You Points, and American Airlines.
Let’s say you signed up for the Citi American Airlines Platinum card in October of 2015, you would currently be eligible to sign up for any of the other Citi American Airlines card and receive the full bonus points. Starting tomorrow, you’d have to wait until October 2017 to receive a sign-up bonus for a separate Citi American Airlines credit card, like the AA Gold card.
If you close your Citi American Airlines Platinum card in September of 2016, you’d reset the 24 hour clock and would not be able to get any of the Citi AA credit cards until at least September of 2018. These “changes” are going to make it very hard to churn Citi cards within the same family.
Last week I went into more detail on the changes that Citi is rolling out, you can read about it here. Since it makes sense to not close your Citi cards, make sure you take advantage of any retention offers. I paid the annual fee on my Citi Thank You Preferred card after they offered 6,000 Thank You points, worth at least $60. Not the greatest retention offer since I had to spend $1,000 but if it puts me closer to a sign-up bonus worth $500, I will live with it.
What does American Express have brewing?
Starting September 1st, American Express is making changes to the prorated refund of the annual fee. American Express currently has one of the most gracious annual fee refund policies around. If you signed up for the American Express Platinum card in January of 2016, you would’ve been able to cancel that card in July of 2016 and receive 50% of your annual fee back, $225. (fee is $450 for the year).
Starting September 1st, if you cancel that Platinum card after six months, you will receive NO refund of your annual fee. It would just make sense to keep the card until the 12th month and enjoy the card perks.
There is some hope, American Express will still allow you to cancel your card for a full annual fee refund 30 days after your statement closes. You are able to chat Amex if you want to easily close out a card, I happen to be doing so as I type this post.
If you paid an annual fee within the last 11 months on any American Express card you are eligible to cancel and receive a partial refund, through the rest of August. On September 1st you won’t receive any prorated amount back unless the annual fee was posted to your most recent statement in the last 30 days.
The Fine Print From American Express:
“Closing your Account Effective September 1, 2016, in Part 2 of the Cardmember Agreement, we are amending the Closing your Account sub-section in the Other important information section by inserting a new paragraph after the first sentence. If an Annual Membership fee applies, we will refund this fee if you notify us that you are voluntarily closing your Account within 30 days of the Closing Date of the billing statement on which that fee appears. For cancellations after this 30 day period, the Annual Membership fee is non-refundable.
If an Annual Membership fee applies to your Account, it is shown on page 1 and page 2 of Part 1 of the Cardmember Agreement. If your billing address is in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the time you close your account, this policy will not apply to you.”
As credit card bonuses become harder to receive and cards become more expensive to keep open, it is important to figure out alternative methods of racking up points. Check out my latest post of earning points and cash by reselling.