Fight for Your Right to Citigold Checking Account Bonuses 

Update: Success!

Earlier this year (and for parts of last year), Citibank had generously offered either 50,000 Thank You Points or 50,000 American Airlines miles for opening a Citigold checking account. While technically the terms stated that the offer was for “targeted bank cardmembers who receive this communication”, in practice anyone with a Citi ThankYou card or American Airlines card was eligible for the offer – and Citibank would confirm this in writing shortly after opening the account. For many people who applied last year there were no issues getting the points/miles posted. In short, back when you used to be able to fund these accounts with a credit card, this was a pretty amazing offer for opening a bank account.

However, Doctor of Credit posted some disturbing information yesterday that Citibank is now refusing to pay out the 50,000 ThankYou Points or 50,000 American Airlines miles that were offered as the signup bonuses on Citibank Citigold accounts for customers who did not directly receive the communication. While I safely earned and obtained my points last year, I didn’t open my wife’s account until December and to date, she has not received the 50,000 ThankYou points despite multiple confirmations in writing that she is eligible and promises they would post by 4/30/16.

CitibankConfirmation CitibankConfirmation2

I understand Citibank’s viewpoint that only targeted members who received a mailer should have been eligible but my wife, along with many others, got written confirmation they were eligible for this offer and thus, should be compensated accordingly in my opinion. My wife’s actions to keep the account open and use it were predicated on receiving the points – if I was told I was not eligible, than my actions would have been different and I would have most likely closed the account (and saved $30/month in service fees).

It’s fair to say I’m just a bit upset here and I plan to fight for her 50,000 points which are easily worth $500+. I’ve tried the secure chat/secure message/phone call route and I’ve gotten no where – all the reps keep asking for the physical mailer showing proof she was targeted. Even if I did have a physical mailer, I signed up for this account back in January and I’ve had two different Citibank agents confirm it in writing – why would I even keep said mailer? That by itself seems like an unreasonable request to me – even if I was truly targeted and had a mailer at some point.

Citibank Agents Love Repeating This...

Citibank Agents Love Repeating This…

So my plan to fight this is to file a complaint with the CFPB, better known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These complaints are usually taken pretty seriously but of course there is no guaranteed result. If this was over $20 or even $50, I wouldn’t bother. But a bonus worth $500 is significant to us and I know my wife wouldn’t have chosen to pay these service fees if she wasn’t getting the points.

I plan to attached PDFs of the written confirmation from Citibank (all of them) as well proof I met the terms of the conditions. At the very least, I want the monthly service fees refunded (which Citibank has also refused at this point) but I think my wife has a strong case here and I am hopeful the CFPB will agree & force Citibank to award her the 50,000 ThankYou points.

Oh Citibank, we used to be great friends with your credit card funding for bank accounts and generous offers on your Citigold product but I think it’s time to cutback on our relationship. Once I get my bonus points (and trust me, I will fight like hell until I do) you won’t have to worry about me having any of your checking or savings accounts. I’ll consider keeping your Prestige card but that’s about it. Your infamous $hittyBank service you are famously known for has struck again but I won’t put up with it. It’s time we Fight For Our Right to Party Citigold Signup Bonuses.

Do This Today: Hyatt Suite Upgrades (for 2017!), SPG Bookings and More

There are several promotions or other noteworthy items that are expiring or changing on March 1st so I put together a quick to do list as you are hopefully enjoying your Sunday.

1) Use your expiring Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrades (especially for March 2017 stays) – I don’t need to rehash the changes in full about the Diamond Suite Upgrades – in short, Hyatt is changing the policy that you can’t use them for stays after they expire. However, they are letting you book any remaining suite upgrades (the ones that expire tomorrow 2/29) for stays after they expire. My advice is to first use these expiring suite upgrades for any March 2017 stay first.

Why? When the new 2016 Diamond Suite Upgrades are released in March, I presume they will expire 2/28/17. With the new policy, you will not be able to book any trips for March 2017 using a DSU until the 2017 Suite Upgrades are released on 3/1/17 – that kind of stinks as it forces you to use it last minute (if even available) for a March 2017 stay. But you can book those March 2017 stays now using your 2015 DSU that expire tomorrow. It seems strange but it’s true. Unfortunately, you can only book 13 months in advance on Hyatt otherwise I would recommend this strategy for any possible 2017 stay. 

Hyatt DSU

Now I understand many people don’t know about their travel plans ~13 months in advance but if you have any inkling of a trip you’d like to take that would involve a Hyatt Diamond Suite upgrade, I’d book it now knowing you can always cancel it later for free (though you obviously lose the DSU at that time, which isn’t a big loss considering you are losing it tomorrow if you don’t book anything with it).

2) Book Starwood Hotels before the March 1st Devaluation – As part of their annual category changes, Starwood has released the list of hotels that will be either moving up or down a category for 2016. These changes go into effect for bookings made on March 1st so you can lock in the pre-devaluation rate if you book before March 1st, even if your stay is after that date. Some of the noteworthy hotels increasing in categories are:

  • The Walt Disney World Swan – Category 4 to Category 5
  • Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Maui Resort & Spa – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort (Cancun) – Category 5 to Category 6
  • The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach – Category 5 to Category 6 (particularly bummed about this one)
Westin Grand Cayman

Westin Grand Cayman

3) Consider Applying for a American Airlines Citibank Credit Card – All of the bloggers who have Citibank affiliate links have been posting non stop this week how the 50,000 mile offers on the Citibank Platinum Select and CitiBusiness AA cards are changing on Monday 2/29. While I don’t doubt they will have to take down their affiliate links for the 50k offer, I’m rather confident there will still be 50k links floating around as Citibank is known to do. It is usually possible to find a working link for many Citibank offers after they supposedly expire so I am not concerned about the change in offers.

I personally don’t think anyone needs to rush out and apply for either card today but if you are risk-adverse and want to guarantee an easy 50,000 AA miles, then I guess go for it. However, I will not be nor I am recommending it to any of my clients. Here is a non-affiliate link for the personal card and business card if you must.