The big news from yesterday was that you can no longer fund a Citibank bank account with a credit card. I have written about this quite extensively in the past as seen here, here, and here. Some of these posts are still among my most viewed posts on a daily basis – especially funding a Citibank Savings Account with a credit card as I think I was among the first bloggers to blog about that specific deal.
With all the time I’ve spent on the topic and recommending it others, you’d think I would make sure to maximize this promotion for my wife and I. While it’s true we both got new Citigold Checking accounts and I got my own Savings Plus account in the past year, I never got around to setting up a Citibank Savings Plus account for my wife. There was no good reason to delay it other than the thought I’ll get around to it next weekend (or the weekend after that) as I (stupidly) thought this “deal” would always be available. I ended up dragging my feet on this and with a newly increased credit line on my Citi Prestige, I could have funded this account up to $25,000. My procrastination is going to cost me at least $400 (based on 1.6 cents a point in value) for at most 10 minutes or so of work.
I imagine someone will make this argument in the comment section so I’ll head it off now but no, I do not think I killed this deal. My traffic is nowhere near the levels of Million Mile Secrets and other big blogs who posted about this deal in the same level of detail. Their daily traffic levels are over 10x what I receive so I refuse to believe it was my post that killed this deal for anyone.
Over the past year or so, I’m sure Citibank saw a huge increase in both 1) the number of accounts funded with a credit card and 2) accounts closed shortly after opening. It is probably the second point that killed this deal as Citibank was losing on the credit card processing fees but hoped to recoup that customer acquisition cost by having new, long term Citibank customers. I’m quite confident that many of us in this game opened the account with a credit card and then closed it within 6 months to a year – thereby making this quite expensive for Citibank (especially if you opened a Citigold account under the 30,000 to 50,000 American AAdvantage or Thank You point offers).
I want my readers to takeway the following from this post. Within the past year, we have seen many of the easy routes for free and/or cheap manufactured spend disappear, often with no warning like this. The game keeps evolving & combined with the devaluation of frequent flier / hotel loyalty programs things have certainly gotten tougher for many travel hackers as compared to 12 months ago. Please take my advice and don’t procrastinate when a valuable deal is staring you in the face – jump on it and take advantage while the proverbial “iron is still hot”. Additionally, always have backup plan – whether it is to simply to meet a minimum spend requirement or liquidate Visa prepaid gift cards.
Now as Jay Z says, On To The Next One