Grrr: I Had 71K+ Citi ThankYou Points Expire

Grrr: I Had 71K+ Citi ThankYou Points Expire

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I’m kicking myself over this, though hopefully my mistake will prevent someone else from making the same mistake.

Citi ThankYou points expiration policy

All of the major transferable points currencies have different policies when it comes to points expiring. I’d argue that Citi has the most restrictive policy in this regard with its ThankYou points currency — Citi ThankYou points expire 60 days after you close your account, regardless of whether or not you have another card earning Citi ThankYou points.

For those of us with multiple cards earning Citi ThankYou points, that means if you close an account you can’t simply transfer those points to another card and keep them there indefinitely (as is the case with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, which let you pool points). Rather you have to redeem those points within 60 days, or else they’ll be forfeited.

Citi ThankYou points expire 60 days after you close an account

The Citi ThankYou points mistake I made

I had several cards that earn Citi ThankYou points, including the Citi Prestige Card, Citi Double Cash Card, and Citi Rewards+ Card. However, as I wrote about in early April, my Citi Rewards+ Card was closed on me because I wasn’t using it enough (that’s the first time something like that has happened to me).

It’s fair enough that the card was closed on me, as that’s totally within Citi’s right. What slipped my mind, however, was that I had 71,000+ Citi ThankYou points connected to my Citi Rewards+ Card (most of which were earned on the Citi Premier Card, which I then product changed to the Citi Rewards+ Card), and the clock has been ticking on those points expiring all along.

Well, sure enough, just last week I noticed that my Citi ThankYou points balance decreased by 71,000+ points, and then it dawned on me — I forgot to transfer out those points after Citi closed my account, and they had expired after 60 days.

I take responsibility for this, in the sense that I knew the policy and this just slipped my mind. I think because the account was closed on me (rather than me choosing to close it), I never really considered the points implications, since I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel like the execution of Citi’s ThankYou points expiration policy is rather punitive and customer-unfriendly:

  • Personally I think it’s bad form to expire points for existing customers who still have cards with you that they spend a lot on
  • My much bigger issue is the complete lack of communication about points expiring — the Citi website is terrible about listing points expiration dates, and I was never emailed or warned that my points were about to expire

In other words, Citi is completely within its rights to expire my points, though I feel like the company could do a better job communicating with members in these cases to avoid that. Virtually all loyalty programs will email you before your points expire to remind you that’s going to happen, while Citi seemingly doesn’t.

Over 71,000 Citi ThankYou points expired on me

Can expired Citi ThankYou points be reinstated?

I decided to call up Citi and explain the situation — essentially I’m still a customer, a card was closed on me, and it slipped my mind to transfer out the 71,000+ points, not to mention I wasn’t given any sort of warning or reminder. I asked if there was any way for the points to be reinstated so that I could immediately redeem them.

The agent understood the situation and opened a case. He told me that within five business days I should be notified of the outcome of this. I’ll report back on my experience, and in the meantime would be curious to hear if any OMAAT readers have had luck with having expired Citi ThankYou points reinstated.

I’m hoping my points can be reinstated so I can transfer them out

Bottom line

Citi ThankYou points expire 60 days after you close an account (or in my case, have an account closed on you). While I was aware of this policy, unfortunately it slipped my mind, and I had tens of thousands of points expire this past week.

I’m going through the process to see if the Citi ThankYou points can be reinstated (and I’ll report back), but if nothing else, this is a reminder to please not make the same mistake that I did.

Has anyone else had Citi ThankYou points expire? If so, were you able to get them reinstated?

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  1. Pete

    Wow - really inexcusable mistake for one of the preeminent points gurus!

    I guess this is the points gods taking back a small fraction of the points you've earned effortlessly over the years through referral bonuses!

    1. JW

      Hey Pete, remember no one is perfect. You, like I, will make an 'inexcusable mistake' at some point, if not already.

  2. Zymm

    They claim that they aren't able to give you information about expiring points due to nebulous 'privacy reasons' but really it's just because their IT architecture is awful. There is one place in your ThankYou account where they give the date and amount of the next expiration, but there is no way to set up alerts or even to see expirations after they happen. It's truly primitive.

    I have three ThankYou accounts because they...

    They claim that they aren't able to give you information about expiring points due to nebulous 'privacy reasons' but really it's just because their IT architecture is awful. There is one place in your ThankYou account where they give the date and amount of the next expiration, but there is no way to set up alerts or even to see expirations after they happen. It's truly primitive.

    I have three ThankYou accounts because they aren't able combine accounts that include my middle initial on the card with those that don't (another feature of their poor system architecture) so I no longer consolidate points unless I am going to transfer them immediately. About the only good feature they have is they do use expiring points first

    1. Devi

      Where is that one place you can see expiring ThankYou points? I'm hunting all over the website (desktop) and haven't found it's hiding place yet. TIA

    2. OPR

      On the My Points Summary page, right next to your available points out says Points Expiring with a link underneath.

    3. Devi

      Thanks. That explains why I couldn't find it - there is no link next to my total points on the My Points Summary page. It looks like they should be active for at least 3 yrs from whence they are earned and I opened my Premier at the end of 2019. 1st pts posted early 2020. So I *assume* that because they aren't expiring this year there is no link? Not intuitive by any means. Thanks again.

    4. Adam

      Yet more fun: thankyou.com shows *expiring* points, but (at least in my experience) not *forfeited* points... with the latter being what happens when a card is closed. Forfeited points just disappear without a trace.

  3. mjonis

    That's why I use Award Wallet to help me keep track of these things. Although I'm not sure if it would've alerted in this case or not.

    1. chris

      Award wallet is always behind, I wouldn't trust the either.

    2. Adam

      Interestingly, that's how I found out I was in the same situation as Ben here! (via a notification from AwardWallet).

  4. Art_Czar

    P2 just product changed from Premier to Rewards+, after jumping on a 70k sign up offer for another Premier card. Website indicated that TY points associated with the product changed Rewards+ card were set to expire within 60 days, but eventually didn't. Citi's web interface leaves a lot to be desired!

  5. me

    Don't feel too bad though. I transferred 150k to Singapore, to avoid expiration, and now stuck with the ridiculous expiration policy of Singapore..

  6. Abey

    I’ve had success getting compensated from banks that closed accounts on me via complaint with CPFB it’s actually a pretty simple process..

  7. EC2

    Guess I’m not feeling as bad about letting my $20 off $25 Ubereats promo expire.

  8. SB

    I'd be interested to hear how you'd have redeemed them if you remembered to do it...Transfer out speculatively? If so, where?

    1. Andrew Carlson

      Turkish Miles in my opinion.

  9. Tom

    One lesson here is this: do NOT "combine" points at Citi. In other words, when you have earned points in different ways -- banking, different cards, etc. -- keep the points accounts separate since that's the best way of keeping track of any looming expiration. Having one giant fungible bulk of points might work for you, though, if you're a partner in a Big Four accounting firm. Otherwise . . . not.

    I still have...

    One lesson here is this: do NOT "combine" points at Citi. In other words, when you have earned points in different ways -- banking, different cards, etc. -- keep the points accounts separate since that's the best way of keeping track of any looming expiration. Having one giant fungible bulk of points might work for you, though, if you're a partner in a Big Four accounting firm. Otherwise . . . not.

    I still have some old points earned on the banking side, and those do actually expire.

  10. Donna

    Citi may reinstate your points given your long history with them and your influence. On the larger issue of points and miles management during the pandemic, I’ve been nursing over 200k Marriott points for a few years now trying to figure out how to use them before exiting Bonvoy for good. I’ve downgraded my card to a no fee card and use it every few months hoping that they do not cancel my account without...

    Citi may reinstate your points given your long history with them and your influence. On the larger issue of points and miles management during the pandemic, I’ve been nursing over 200k Marriott points for a few years now trying to figure out how to use them before exiting Bonvoy for good. I’ve downgraded my card to a no fee card and use it every few months hoping that they do not cancel my account without notice, which I’ve heard happens with some banks. It would be especially cruel to do this to customers given the conditions of the past 16 months and the relative inability to use cards, points and miles.

  11. 2Fly

    I have two Premiers and going to cancel one. How do I know how many/which points are associated with each so I don't have to transfer all?

    1. JvdB

      2Fly, I use Awardwallet, and I assume that if you enter the two different cards, they will show the separate balances associated with the two cards

  12. Sam

    I had 17k TYPs expire a few months ago due to inactivity. Citi let me cash them in at $.01 @ for Apple gift cards.

    Generous of them to do that, though the no notice expiration is hardly the way to keep good customers.

  13. CHP650

    Agree with @sam - closing accounts or expiring points with no notice is hardly a good way to keep customers. Certainly makes me think twice whether I want to give my business to such an Institution.

  14. Taylor

    Citi is absolutely the worst -- downright hostile towards their customers and horrendous customer service. I've had numerous friends have major issues with their account management practices on the student loan side. As a result, I will never do business with them. There are plenty of other credit card options among Chase, Amex, and Capital One.

  15. Drew

    I was told to pound sand. Lost over 100k. Good luck!

    1. Adam

      I hope you then told Citi to pound sand by closing any remaining Citi accounts.

    2. Eskimo

      Yep, good positive thinking. While all of you are in the sun pounding sand all over the beach and you look at Citi trying to curse them. They are in their Penthouse balcony having caviar and Champagne.
      If you have $100M AUM, you'd already be in the Penthouse.

      Oh and don't think the grass is greener on the other side.
      Chase or Amex all have their Penthouses too.
      Foreign banks are also...

      Yep, good positive thinking. While all of you are in the sun pounding sand all over the beach and you look at Citi trying to curse them. They are in their Penthouse balcony having caviar and Champagne.
      If you have $100M AUM, you'd already be in the Penthouse.

      Oh and don't think the grass is greener on the other side.
      Chase or Amex all have their Penthouses too.
      Foreign banks are also on their mega yachts too.

      If you want to be treated better, go to the local credit union lemonade stand by the beach, not the mega banks high up. The sand you are ponding is already owned by them.

  16. Chris

    I am in the same boat as of Sunday. Rep told me my points would be ok as I have another TY card. Nope. Over 1m taken and I am upset. Citi told me there was nothing they could do.

  17. Apurva

    Opened 2-3 cases for the same set of lost 88K points - they never conceded! Told to pound sand. If you get a way to reinstate - please share so we can do the same

  18. Elteetrav

    The way Citi handles TY points expiration - linking them to a particular card - is just another reason I recently elected to close my Citi Prestige card. Yes, Citi has the right to set up its expiration rules. And I have the right to take my business to a more consumer friendly bank. Your situation is worse than normal, in that they closed your account on you. Good luck.

  19. Patrick

    I not only had the same thing happen last year, but it happened after calling Citi and being misled about the security of my points before downgrading my card. And I was not only denied my request to have my points reinstated; my application to open a new Citi Premier account was denied, notwithstanding my credit score of 830. I’m done with Citi.

  20. Lew

    I lost 20k points when I closed my citi premiere cc. I had transferred them to my prestige thank you account and thought I was covered until the points disappeared. Agents unable to do anything, but supervisor gave me 5k points to ease the pain. I didn't have to pay AF, so didn't get hurt too much. Should have transferred points to airlines account and then at least wouldn't have lost them. Agree seems not user friendly policy.

  21. HeavenlyJane

    I’m surprised that you don’t use Award Walket or something similar that tracks expiration dates.

    I know the pain though. Years ago I accidentally blew my wad of Citi points on a hotel reservation in Tel Aviv in which I booked the wrong month. I only discovered it 1 month after they deemed me a no-show.

    Now I make my hubby proofread all reservation documents. When things like this happen, the only solace comes from only make the mistake once. Expensive lesson.

  22. Debo

    Yep, similar thing happened to me years ago. I cancelled a card and the Citi rep gave me bad info about when my points would expire. Strangely enough, I got the card reinstated and the points still expired. So I called, complained a few times, they sent me a paper form to fill out and mail back. A few weeks later, the points were reinstated. Long process but totally worth it.

  23. Adam

    Hi Ben! Well, this is super-ironic; I had almost EXACTLY the same thing happen to me, and -- after getting the runaround and finally my appeal denied via customer support -- I just escalated yesterday to the Citi Office of the President because come on, this is a ridiculous way to treat a decades-long customer with a long history of having premium cards with Citi.

    So, yeah, I, too had my Rewards+ card unilaterally canceled...

    Hi Ben! Well, this is super-ironic; I had almost EXACTLY the same thing happen to me, and -- after getting the runaround and finally my appeal denied via customer support -- I just escalated yesterday to the Citi Office of the President because come on, this is a ridiculous way to treat a decades-long customer with a long history of having premium cards with Citi.

    So, yeah, I, too had my Rewards+ card unilaterally canceled by Citibank (also likely for low usage)... and yes, same thing... it had been converted from another card.

    But -- here's the kicker: I *specifically asked a phone rep whether I had any points expiring* and was told nope, no near-term expirations showing. :facepalm:

    Also -- likely as you noticed, too -- Citi failed to warn of the impending forfeiture in every way.
    1) No notice in the ThankYou expiring-points list
    2) No secure message

    I've totally messed up with credit card things in the past (missing bonus spend deadlines, etc.) and absolutely own up when it's my own darn fault. But Citi really dropped the ball in this situation... not only with their craptastic point-expiration policy to begin with, but their complete lack of transparency and notice about expiring points.

    (I wouldn't even have noticed the 66K+ points missing if it weren't for the points tracking of AwardWallet; bless that service which I happily pay for year after year!)

    1. Adam

      P.S. -- While I took a more measured and patient tone in my letter to Citi, I'm absolutely prepared to cancel or downgrade 100% of my Citi cards, burn all my points (which, yeah, that'll be a bummer!) and stick with Amex and Chase, who've generally treated me quite well over the years.

  24. ECR

    Would be interested to hear where you wouldve transferred them had you caught it?

    For me, Chase--> Hyatt is fairly easy decision, but which currency is best and most resistant from devaluation from the Citi/Amex partners is less clear (assuming I didnt have immediate use for either)

  25. Pam

    Ugh…no, thank YOU Citi for expiring these inferior points & system

  26. steve

    I had the exact same situation a couple of months ago. Same story, and the agent "opened a case." But the conclusion was that their policy is the policy regardless of my relationship and situation. I literally asked, "why would you open a case if you never reinstate?" The supervisor just repeated that points are never reinstated when a card is closed and the expiration period has passed.

    You might have better luck as a minor celebrity :)

  27. Deng Frosch

    Citibank is bad but Chase and Capital One are much worse. Let's not forget that banks are ruthless. They provide perks to entice usage hoping you will make a late payment so they can earn a late fee and high interest.

  28. Malc

    @Ben or Tiffany

    I think there's a typo in this heading: "Can expired Citi ThankYou points reinstated?" > Add the word "be" before "reinstated."

  29. Wigand Weirich

    Not just with Citi, but the same happened to me with ChoiceHotels. Even I was informed about the expiry, I missed it and around 130000 point were gone.
    Kindly asked ChoiceHotels and got 70000 re-instated.

  30. Tim

    These companies rely on you not using your points so they can increase their profits. Their put on good promotions to hook you in and hope you never use the points/they expire. Its the same with gift cards that have an expiry date. If I buy a gift card for someone, why should it have an expiry date when its as good as cash? The only exception is Amazon gift cards which have a 10...

    These companies rely on you not using your points so they can increase their profits. Their put on good promotions to hook you in and hope you never use the points/they expire. Its the same with gift cards that have an expiry date. If I buy a gift card for someone, why should it have an expiry date when its as good as cash? The only exception is Amazon gift cards which have a 10 year life - well done.

    If airlines need to have an expiry date, make it a long one and have good communication about expiry times. In this age of electronic communications there is no real excuse if they truly care about you as a customer.

    1. Eskimo

      You seem to get everything wrong.

      Where does it say Amazon gift cards have 10 year life?
      ALL GIFT CARDS "can" HAVE EXPIRY DATE under CARD act.
      Unless in some states such as CA where it's more complicated but in your favor.

      Gifts cards or points are not as good as cash. You not using it doesn't increase their profits.
      -Gift cars are 0% APR loan you give to the business. You...

      You seem to get everything wrong.

      Where does it say Amazon gift cards have 10 year life?
      ALL GIFT CARDS "can" HAVE EXPIRY DATE under CARD act.
      Unless in some states such as CA where it's more complicated but in your favor.

      Gifts cards or points are not as good as cash. You not using it doesn't increase their profits.
      -Gift cars are 0% APR loan you give to the business. You buying it is their debts. Expired gift cards is you giving loan forgiveness to the business.
      -Points are rebates business give to you. You redeem is like using a coupon. Expired points is like you let a coupon expire.
      Both have some liquidity but not even close to cash. and definitely not about profits.

  31. John B718

    What is the best think to do with TY points?

  32. TallFlyer

    I would never get a Citi Card after what they did to my husband this year. Card was skimmed at a gas station in Mexico & then used to rack up almost $2k in charges at other gas stations throughout the country. Citi actually notified my husband of the suspicious activity while we were in the sky flying home. He called immediately upon landing to have his card canceled & they kept the charges on...

    I would never get a Citi Card after what they did to my husband this year. Card was skimmed at a gas station in Mexico & then used to rack up almost $2k in charges at other gas stations throughout the country. Citi actually notified my husband of the suspicious activity while we were in the sky flying home. He called immediately upon landing to have his card canceled & they kept the charges on his account accruing interest while they investigated which is bad practice. They eventually deemed the charges NOT fraudulent - even though the charges were made within minutes of each other in locations up to 12 hours apart & Citi themselves found them suspicious enough to send a message to my husband as the charges took place. We had to hire an attorney to get it resolved. It was absolutely ludicrous and I’ve never experienced anything like this with fraudulent charges on Chase or Amex cards. Just getting through to anyone on the phone was insanely complicated.

  33. Tom

    I also had around 70k expire, because I transferred them from a card I was closing to one I was keeping, and failed to use them within the 90 days. I told them I never received notification of expiration on my statement, and they were able to reinstate them.

  34. Jeff

    Citi took care of me when I accidentally let about $200 expire on the old Citi Dividend card. Didn't read the fine print to know that the Dividend Dollars expire if the card is inactive. Simple 'my bad' email message asking if they could give the dollars back. They did without a fuss and I immediately cut myself a check. May be some reason Citi is being more firm with ThankYou points.

  35. Eskimo

    I love it. More people trying to say "I WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH CITI AGAIN"
    I hope you will also "NEVER FLY 737MAX AGAIN"

    Citi would care less losing any of you as customer unless you have probably at least $100M AUM with them.

    But when it comes to recourse or benefits when you want them to bend the rules, mostly Citi is notorious for saying NO.
    Reinstate points, NO.
    Waive...

    I love it. More people trying to say "I WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH CITI AGAIN"
    I hope you will also "NEVER FLY 737MAX AGAIN"

    Citi would care less losing any of you as customer unless you have probably at least $100M AUM with them.

    But when it comes to recourse or benefits when you want them to bend the rules, mostly Citi is notorious for saying NO.
    Reinstate points, NO.
    Waive fees, NO.
    Made some mistake, NO.
    Want to undo something, NO.
    Match welcome bonus, NO.
    Warranty or Insurance claim, NO.
    Credit line increase, NO.

    If you want Citi to bend the rules, get it in writing. (or in this case hopefully for a famous blogger)

  36. RC

    citi is always a PITA to deal with. i can't stand them, but need to since sometimes I need their cards and points.

  37. Mark

    This is one reason I have never combined my Citi TYP accounts even though it asks me to each time I log in. DoubleCash points expire 1 year from last use, all of these different rules, hard to keep track of. This is kind of like my worst nightmare to be honest.

Featured Comments Load all 52 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

JW

Hey Pete, remember no one is perfect. You, like I, will make an 'inexcusable mistake' at some point, if not already.

OPR

Jealous much?

Chris

I am in the same boat as of Sunday. Rep told me my points would be ok as I have another TY card. Nope. Over 1m taken and I am upset. Citi told me there was nothing they could do.

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