Understanding Citi AAdvantage Credit Card Eligibility

Update: These offers for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®  have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

As I wrote about yesterday, at the moment we’re seeing some great welcome bonuses on Citi AAdvantage Cards. By applying for two cards with the annual fees waived for the first 12 months, you can earn 130,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (which I personally value at $1,690):

Citi has what’s known as the “24 month rule,” and I wanted to clarify exactly how that worked in the context of these bonuses, as it’s a point that confuses many.

What is Citi’s 24 month rule?

A couple of years ago Citi expanded what’s commonly referred to as the “24 month rule.” Essentially this prevents you from earning the welcome bonus on some Citi cards if you’ve opened or closed a particular card in the past 24 months. Not only that, but a while ago this was expanded so that you couldn’t get the bonus on a card if you’ve opened or closed a card in that same “family” of cards within 24 months.

So let’s look at the impact this has on the Citi AAdvantage Card bonuses.

What are the restrictions on the welcome bonuses for these cards?

First let me share the published restrictions on these cards, and then we’ll analyze them. Here are the terms associated with the welcome bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®:

60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles can be earned by new Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® card cardmembers approved through this offer. American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Then here are the terms associated with the welcome bonus on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®:

This card is not available if the business already has a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® account. Bonus miles and any additional special offer not available if you have had any CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® account opened or closed in the past 24 months.

How does this actually work for Citi AAdvantage Cards?

The most important thing to understand is what’s meant by the “opened or closed” language. This refers specifically to the action of opening or closing a card, and doesn’t include having a card open (as I’ll illustrate below).

As you can see based on the terms, eligibility for the personal and business cards is unrelated, so having the business card has no bearing on whether or not you’re eligible for the personal card, and vice versa.

You’re eligible for the business card as long as you haven’t opened or closed that card in the past 24 months, and don’t currently have it.

You’re eligible for the personal card as long as you haven’t opened or closed any personal Citi AAdvantage Card in the past 24 months.

Let me give a few examples to hopefully drive home that point. To make this as easy as possible, let’s look at the following three cards, which I’ll nickname:

  • Personal #1 — the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Personal Card, which currently has a welcome bonus of up to 60,000 miles, and a $99 annual fee that’s waived for the first year
  • Personal #2 — the Citi AAdvantage Executive Personal Card, which currently has a welcome bonus of up to 50,000 miles, and has a $450 annual fee, though offers the amazing perk of Admirals Club access for you and all of your authorized users (though this could also represent any other variety of personal card, including the Gold or Bronze version)
  • Business #1 — the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Business Card, which currently has a welcome bonus of up to 70,000 miles, and has a $99 annual fee that’s waived for the first year

Here are a few different scenarios:

  • If you have none of these cards, you’re eligible for the welcome bonus on Business #1 and either Personal #1 or Personal #2, but not both
  • If you have Personal #1 and/or Personal #2, you’re eligible for Business #1
  • If you have Personal #1, you’re eligible for the welcome bonus on Personal #2 if you haven’t opened or closed either account in the past 24 months (however, if you’ve had the one card open for 24 or more months, you’d be eligible for the other one)
  • If you have Personal #2, you’re eligible for the welcome bonus on Personal #1 if you haven’t opened or closed either account in the past 24 months (however, if you’ve had the one card open for 24 or more months, you’d be eligible for the other one)
  • If you had Business #1 in the past, but closed the account at least 24 months ago, you’d be eligible for the welcome bonus again

Citi’s 8/65 day rule

While eligibility for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Personal Card and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Business Card is separate, do note that applying for one card impacts when you can apply for the other card. Citi’s general policy on new card applications is as follows (and this applies whether you’re getting a personal or business card):

  • You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
  • You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days

In other words, you could apply for one card now, and then the other card in eight or more days, assuming you haven’t applied for any other Citi cards in the past 65 days.

Bottom line

The current increased welcome bonuses on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Personal Card and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Business Card are excellent, and if you don’t have both cards I’d certainly recommend picking up at least one. However, it’s important to understand the restrictions on applying for these cards, both as it relates to the eligibility for the welcome bonuses, and also Citi’s general policy on card approvals.

If anyone has questions based on the above, please let me know!

Regarding Comments: 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.

Comments

  1. What about when you downgrade one of those cards to a no annual fee version? Does that count as “open” or “close”??

  2. @ EJ — As long as no new account number is issued, it wouldn’t count as activity for those purposes. Even some who did have a different account numbered issue say it doesn’t count as activity, though there are conflicting reports there.

  3. I have Citi AAdvantage Gold Mastercard since October 2017. Can I apply for AA Platinum Personal card now? or Citi AAdvantage Gold is also in class with AA Platinum Personal card.

    If not, what would be a best strategy to cancel Gold card?

  4. They told me as long as I had closed or open any personal card in 24 months I could not apply for any new card and get the bonus. Gold card/platinum/ executive card even bronze card. I was thinking of getting another gold card but since I cancelled my platinum card last year I was not eligible for the bonus. (I closed the gold card two years ago.)

  5. @ Brabb — That’s correct, having any personal Citi AAdvantage Card opened or closed within the past 24 months would make you ineligible for any other personal Citi AAdvantage Card.

  6. @ Tanya Jain — You couldn’t apply for it. At this point your best bet is to keep it open for a full two years, and by October 2019 (or so) you’d be eligible for another personal Citi AAdvantage Card. If you canceled the Gold Card now, it would reset the 24 month clock. Your best bet at this point is to consider applying for the business version of the card.

  7. If you did a product change from the Citi Advantage personal card, to the Citi Double Cash card, does that effectively count as the same as “closing” the product?

  8. Can you have multiple personal Citi Golds or Citi Platinums, if nothing has been newly opened or closed in 24 months?

  9. @ Rose — You’ll want to check the terms of the specific card. In the case of the personal Platinum Card, it seems possible to have more than one, as long as a card hasn’t been opened or closed in the past 24 months:
    “60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles can be earned by new Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® card cardmembers approved through this offer. American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.”

  10. @ Alan — Data points suggest that if the card number stays the same then it doesn’t count as closing; some suggest that even if the card number changes it doesn’t count as closing, but I can’t verify that firsthand.

  11. Hi Lucky! I have the Citi AAdvantage Gold – would this mean I wouldn’t be eligible for the bonus if I applied for AAdvantage Personal Platinum? Thanks

  12. @ James — That’s correct, assuming you’ve opened that card in the past 24 months. You would be eligible for the business version of the card, though.

  13. I’ve had the business card in the past but don’t remember when I closed it. How can I get this info? If I call Citi is that the best option?

  14. Watch out for the delivery dates of the card. I had my Citi Business card delivered 21 days after opening, and missed out on the bonus because they said the clock was ticking from the date of the account opening.

  15. Hey Lucky thanks for doing this (I was the one who gently chided you for not on the earlier post). Good for you

  16. One sort of good thing about Citi is that they reject you for the card if you dont qualify, unlike american Express which accepts you but then won’t give you the bonus because you’re ineligible. So although you had get a hard pull you at least dont get a new card opened for no reason.

  17. I am an authorized user on a Citi Exec card for Admirals Club access – would that count against the 24 month clock?

  18. Does the 24 month rule apply if I am an authorized user on a card that was opened within the past 24 months, not the primary account holder?

  19. So I’m wondering on exactly how they count 24 months. I closed a Citi AA Personal Platinum in early May 2016. Will I be eligible to apply right away or should I wait til next month to play it safe?

  20. @ Andrew — Unfortunately I don’t have an answer to the exact timeline. Anyone else know? If I were you I’d probably play it safe and wait just a bit, given that you have a bit of time with this promotion.

  21. I was actually told that downgrading resets the 24-month clock… so I’d be very careful with that. It may be worth paying an annual fee, and then another one on the 2nd anniversary, and at the 25-month mark, apply for the next one and cancel the first one (resulting in a refund of one of the annual fees)

  22. Hey Lucky, I’ve held the Personal Platinum for about 29 months (and then Business Platinum for about 7 months). If I’m reading this correctly, I’m eligible for the bonus on the Personal Platinum again. How do I maneuver this such that I don’t inadvertently reset the 24-month clock? Since the verbiage says “open or close,” I would assume I should keep the existing Personal Platinum open, then apply for an additional Personal Platinum, and then close the original card some time in the future after receiving the new one. But then… I don’t know if Citi allows two of the same type of card.

  23. @Lucky. Just applied for the Citi AA Business card for my wife using your link – instant approval. Thanks.

  24. @Andrew

    You can apply exactly 24 months from the date it was closed and don’t need to wait a month. I had the exact same scenario (closed my personal platinum May 5, 2016) and I spoke with Citi on May 8 and they said I was good to go so I applied and was approved. If you’re worried, chat with Citi on the website and then screenshot and save the conversation where the rep tells you all is well (that is what I did to be safe).

  25. BL, you have it exactly right. If you open a new card and then later cancel the other card you would be eligible. You just don’t want to cancel the other card first.

  26. @Lucky

    Gotcha! But… does Citi allow cardholders to hold two of the same card concurrently? I could see it being a grey area, which in some sense is worse than a hard-yes or hard-no.

    Also, I figure one should only cancel the first card *after* the bonus on the second card is received? Danke!

  27. If I had the citi AA business card for one business and closed it less than 24 months ago, would I be eligible for the bonus when opening it for another business. It is a completely different business entity/LLC.

  28. I followed your guidelines for filling out the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage Platinum Select card and got denied, reason coming by mail within 10 days. I have an AA platinum card, cancelled an Aviator card a couple months ago, but do not have the business card. Any idea what I might have done wrong?

  29. Is there a no annual fee business card that can be downgraded from the Citi Business Aadvantage Platinum Select Business Card?

  30. I would like to know if there Is there a no annual fee business card that can be downgraded from the Citi Business Aadvantage Platinum Select Business Card?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *