Who is Eligible to Get a Bonus on the Citi Premier Card?

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Citibank is currently running an all-time-high, 80,000-point offer for the Citi Premier® Card (our review). This is one of the elite travel cards with an annual fee under $100, and it earns some of the most valuable points out there.

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 80,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

But are you eligible to apply? And more importantly, if you're approved for a new Citi Premier card, can you earn the lucrative welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus ThankYou points?

In this post, we'll cover the rules for who can apply for a Citi-issued credit card—and who is eligible to earn a welcome bonus.

Citi Application Rules

Like many card issuers, Citi implements a few policies designed to make sure new card applicants are the type of customers they want to acquire. If you aren't already familiar with why these rules exist, check out our guide to creating a healthy relationship with the banks.

With Citibank, there are two important, but subtly different restrictions to understand:

  1. The first set of rules relates to when can you successfully apply for a card (the timing of your application). If you fail to follow these guidelines, Citi may not even process your application. These restrictions apply to all cards issued by Citibank.
  2. The second set of rules relates to whether you can earn the signup bonus being marketed to new cardmembers. Indeed, you may be able to apply for a card successfully. But, if you run afoul of this second type of restriction, you could end up getting approved for the card only to discover that you aren’t eligible to earn a new cardmember bonus.

When Can You Apply?

Citi's rules about application timing are best described as unofficial, internal rules. You won't find these restrictions published on Citi's website or application pages. But thanks to many applicants who shared information about their experience, the points-and-miles community has generally been able to agree on the following:

For personal (consumer) credit cards, Citi will accept a maximum of one (1) application in an eight-day period and a maximum of two (2) applications in a 60-day period.

In other words, your application will be rejected if either of the following is true:

  • You’ve applied for any Citi card in the past 8 days
  • You’ve applied for 2 Citi cards in the past 60 days (many sources advise waiting until day 65 to be safe)

For business cards, Citi will accept a new application only once per 90 days.

The restrictions described above are often referred to by the shorthand “Citi 8/65 rule”. So, to determine your eligibility, you need to track the dates you applied for Citi-issued credit cards. The date your application was approved or denied doesn't matter.

When Can You Earn a Welcome Bonus?

Much of the confusion about Citi's application rules centers on one's eligibility to earn a welcome bonus if approved for a new card. Citi groups its products into families of cards that earn the same type of rewards. For each family of cards, Citi publishes eligibility criteria stating who can earn a welcome bonus.

The confusing part is that your eligibility can be affected by two factors:

  1. When you last earned a welcome bonus from one of the cards in the family
  2. When you last closed a card account that belongs to the same product family

So, let's take a closer look at how these rules are enforced for Citi ThankYou cards.

Earning a ThankYou Rewards Bonus

Citi ThankYou cards are subject to a 24-month rule. This rule is generally disclosed on a card's application page with the following language:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+®, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

In this example, there are four rewards cards that can affect your eligibility for a welcome bonus on a new ThankYou card:

If you've ever had any of these cards, you need to determine when you earned a signup bonus (if at all) and when you closed your account (if applicable).

When You Earned a Welcome Bonus

With most new-cardmember offers, the welcome bonus is earned after meeting a minimum spending requirement—typically during the first three months after your account is approved. It should be relatively easy to pin down this date by looking at the transaction history on your ThankYou Rewards account.

If you aren't sure exactly when you earned a bonus, you can estimate the date by adding three months to the date your application was approved.

In the rare scenario where you opened a card but failed to earn a welcome bonus, most sources seem to agree that your eligibility will not be impacted. However, there aren't a lot of data points available.

When You Closed a ThankYou Card

The part about closing a card can be harder to wrap your head around. In simple terms, when you close a ThankYou account, Citi starts a 24-month countdown. You won't be eligible to earn a welcome bonus on another ThankYou card until at least 24 months after your closed the account.

Citi's restriction of bonuses for closing a card is unique in the points-and-miles world, and it creates some odd situations. For example, if you hold the Prestige Card, you're eligible for a welcome bonus on the Citi Premier as long as it has been 24 months since you earned your Prestige Card welcome bonus.

But if you close your Prestige Card account tomorrow, you'll instantly become ineligible to earn a ThankYou-point welcome bonus for two full years.

ThankYou Cards that Aren't (Currently) Included in the 24-Month Rule

There are two cards that aren't affected by Citi's current ThankYou bonus restriction:

Both of these cards are related to the other ThankYou rewards cards, but both are designed as cash back cards. So, Citi hasn't included them in the 24-month rule. Earning a welcome bonus or closing one of these cards won't impact your eligibility for the Citi Premier or another ThankYou card.

Final Thoughts

When a bank offers a signup bonus, it's betting that it will be able to recoup that cost over the life of its relationship with the new customer. In recent years, we've seen increasingly sophisticated rules to exclude the customers that banks don't think will be profitable. These restrictions aren't always easy to understand, but learning the basics is critical to a successful points and miles strategy.

Along with Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards, Citi's ThankYou points are among the most valuable and versatile points you can earn. The current 80,000-point offer on the Citi Premier is one of those rare bonuses that should give all points and miles collectors a good reason to review Citi's application rules.

If you're eligible to earn this bonus, it's hard to imagine a better opportunity than this to apply.

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 80,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

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Comments

  • In the past 2 years, I have had 2 AA advantage Citi cards, closed one in the past few months, does that count against me for this offer?

    • Thankfully AA cards are treated separately from ThankYou Point-earning cards. So, these two cards wouldn’t factor into your Citi Premier bonus eligibility.

  • Thanks. My preferred awards programs are Chase UR and Amex MRs, followed by cashback programs, but it’s useful to remain abreast of the various available programs including Citi’s.

    • Exactly, for the sole reason that this landscape is always shifting to and fro. If you do this long enough, you will likely be presented with a legimtate reason to shift programs, weather it be a particularly valualbe offer or a positive or negative change in program terms.

  • Citi is slowly trying to compete with Amex and Chase. Maybe worth a second look.

  • Ariel Spagnuolo says:

    I can´t believe it! I will be rejected because I’ve applied for 2 Citi cards. They should reward old customers too, but I understand… =(

  • Still Citi though; not worth the terrible customer service.

  • My friend applied and was declined and reconsideration rejected her too. She had two recent credit pulls in the past 60 – 90 days. Looks like Citi is being difficult with new applications.

  • This is certainly a complicated set of rules but if you qualify, it is certainly a good way to get a big bonus for an annual fee that is under one hundred dollars.

  • TY. After reading this and knowing thecAFveas coming shortly on my now semi worthless Prestige, I successfully applied for the Premier. Will PC the the Prestige to DC. Prefer to keep the points alive for now.

  • Downgrading is the way to go, then you never close the account and are eligible after the right amount of time for new bonuses!

  • I opened Citi premier in Oct 2017, and open Citi prestige in Feb 2020. I got Prestige bonus on May 2020. Then I guess I can’t open Citi premier again till May 2022 to get a new bonus, right?

    • Did you close your first Citi Premier? If so, that would factor into this calculation. But yes, you’re prevented from getting a Citi ThankYou Point bonus through (at least) May 2022.

  • Polina Sayess says:

    Thank you very much for this article, very helpful!

  • Michael Marco says:

    I have 2 questions that I would appreciate answers to…please: 1) When using your Citi Card to pay taxes (e.g., itemized), do they code it as a cash advance or as merchandise? (The answer will be a deal breaker for me); and 2) If you had the card >24 months ago, are you entitled to a bonus of do they keep a long-standing record like Amex to prevent new bonuses?

    Many thanks…Michael

  • What about a previous product change to Rewards+ without welcome bonus? Would I be eligible for the Premier bonus now?

    • Generally yes. However, if Citi issues your new card with a new account number, Citi may consider your old card closed and a new card reopened for the sake of the bonus. However, you’ll generally be eligible for a new card bonus if you downgrade.

  • This is good information. I would suggest that in the “When you Closed a ThankYou Card” section you also talk about the case when you product change the card instead of closing the card and how it impacts the SUB eligibility.

  • Paul Davis says:

    If I have a premier card and it’s been more than 24 months since I got a bonus and more than 24 months since I closed a card can I get the welcome bonus? I think so.

    • Yes, unlike the Chase Sapphire bonus text, the Citi bonus restrictions don’t restrict current cardholders from earning another bonus. However, Citi may not approve you for a second Citi Premier card. And, you’ll need to be careful with downgrading. Sometimes that can cause your card number to change and the bonus “clock” to reset.

      • I had the Prestige and converted to the Rewards+ is that considered closing the account?

        • Probably not. The key question: Did you get a new account number? If you kept the same card number, it isn’t considered the same as closing an account. If the number changed, there are mixed data points.