Citi Gold Checking: What Not to Do

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Sometimes TPOL doesn’t read the terms and conditions but the ball still bounces his way. For example, I received the Hilton Surpass offer twice from Amex despite their Stone Age rule about offers available once in a lifetime. Sometimes I don’t read the terms and I deservedly get nothing. (see Delta Amex platinum) This cavalier [stupid] way of doing business is what gets me into trouble with visa requirements at the airport. Excited by the offer or the trip, I don’t do the fundamental research to ensure that things go smoothly.

When it comes to the churn rules, despite the occasional oversight, I know what I am doing. Don’t apply for an Alaska card on a Tuesday. Don’t sneeze while on a recon call with Barclays. And don’t yell, “Yeah baby I’m a ducking churner!” when they approve your card over the phone. In all seriousness, I’ve done well for myself with the slow and steady approach of applying for cards over the years.

Cue the Citi Gold Checking account.

When I saw the offer for Citi Gold Checking, I was a little hesitant to fund the account with a credit card. I had never done it before and was scared that somehow I could not access my funds to pay off the credit card that I had used. That did not end up being a problem. $32,000 later, I had opened an account and paid off my Alaska Airlines card with no issue.

The issue was carelessness in analyzing the offers for opening the Citi account. Either I could have 50k TY points or I could have 50k AA miles. From reading the blogs, I was told that the 50k AA offer could trigger a 1099. I was also aware that AA would be devaluing its miles in March. Concurrently, it seemed like every blogger had elected to take the TY points even though there were some troubling restrictions that were mentioned. One was that the points would expire within 60 days of closing the checking account, something that possibly could be prevented by simply downgrading the account. The other which was casually stated was the lack of transferability to TY partners.

For me that should have been the ultimate red flag. If I can’t transfer my TY points to SQ or Virgin, then what good are they for me? I do not care for 1.6 cents per TY point refund for a revenue flight. I get greater value using my wizard skills to book premium class tickets for round the world trips. Still, like a true imbecile, I figured that I could get around the transfer restriction and move my TY checking account points to my Prestige card and then transfer those to wherever.

Wrong.

Although combining TY points is allowed, the origination of these points do not disappear just because they are put into one account. The Prestige points have its own policies and expiration date and the Citi Checking points have its as well. This means there is no way to transfer the TY checking account points to a TY partner.

Stuck, I tried to accept that I was stupid and that nothing could be done. Maybe I could use this as a teaching moment so that next time I would pay more attention and trust my instincts instead of listening to the masses. Instead, I did something else impulsively which could either rectify the situation or backfire again: I called Citi and closed my checking account. They said that I had not received the bonus so I was welcome to apply again for the AA bonus.

Now I am waiting for this closure to be processed before attempting to do so. Here’s why this strategy may be worse than anything I have done up to this point. First, Citi may say that I am ineligible to reopen the account despite what the agent said. Second, the AA offer may not be available by the time I am able to reapply. Third, I have read that this is a churnable offer so I could’ve gone for the AA bonus next year.

Once again, I did no research so I have no idea how this will turn out. I may have just given away free money or I may have fixed what I thought was unfixable. At the very least, I did receive 32k Alaska miles.

The takeaway from all this is the following:

  1. Do your own research. Read the rules yourself and then cross-reference trusted blogs.
  2. Pick what offer works for you not what works for everyone else.
  3. Admit when you are stupid and do your best to fix it.

Can it be anymore obvious? Go ahead and tell me your thoughts. I can handle it.

Yours in smart times and in dumb,

TPOL

No thank you to TY if I can't transfer them here
No thank you to TY if I can’t transfer them here

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