Tim Foolery

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Citigold Checking & 50K AAdvantage Miles

I am not an avid credit card churner (someone who signs up for dozens of credit cards each year, just for the sign up bonuses, then cancels shortly thereafter).  I do get a couple new cards each year for the bonus, but it isn’t a major part of my mileage strategy. Firstly, we were looking to refinance our home and I didn’t want a ton of inquiries on my credit report impacting our ability to get a great rate.  We’ve refied and locked in a good rate (I can’t imagine us ever needing to refi again), so now I’m starting to look to rebuild my mileage cache.

I have several Citibank Credit Cards: Hilton Honors Reserve Card, AAdvantage Platinum and Citi Prestige.  I got each of these initially for the sign up bonus, but have found reason to keep them after the first year.  I don’t have any other banking relationship with Citi though.  Last week, I received a mailer suggesting I “Start a Citigold relationship and earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles”.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I did open a Citigold Checking Account in order to get 50,000 miles.  There were some issues though.  Back then the requirement to get the 50,000 miles were:

  • Two consecutive months of direct deposits greater than $500
  • Two debit card transactions each month for two consecutive months
  • Two bill pay transactions
  • All of these had to happen in the 60 days of your account being open

It took Citi nearly 3 weeks to get me my debit card and my office is slow when it comes to changing direct deposits.  I just barely made the deadline and my AAdvantage account was credited pretty quickly after I met the requirements.

This campaign on the other hand is easier to achieve.  You still get 50,000 AAdvantage miles, but the requirements now read:

“Within 60 days after account opening, complete these everyday banking activities:

  • 1 qualifying bill payment for 2 consecutive months
  • Spend $1,000 in purchases using your Citibank Debit Card”

No direct deposit required this time.  I don’t ever use a debit card, because I funnel all of my spend through point earning credit cards, so it will take me a little getting use.  Debit card transactions are defined as “using the debit card to buy goods and services and are net of returns and other adjustments.  ATM withdrawals, cash back and bill payments do not qualify as debit card purchases”  It doesn’t say whether you need to use your PIN or just swipe and sign though.

In any event, I signed up for this promotion.  It took me about 10 minutes to sign up and setup my account – I did this all online.  One thing to note, you don’t enter in your AAdvantage Member Number when you sign up.  Once you complete the minimum requirements you will receive an email from Citi and they will request your AAdvantage number.  I chatted with a customer services rep to confirm this, once I completed the sign up and realized that there was no place to enter my AAdvantage Number.  The rep said as long as my account had the proper offer code linked to it, I was golden.

So, how do you reap these benefits, you ask?  Easy. This isn’t a targeted offer.  You just need to sign up for a Citigold Checking account by March 31, 2016 – you can do so online at offer.citibank.com, call 1.866.422.0331 or visit a branch.  Just do it online, for god sakes!  The offer code is WD3QFS2Y4C.

This will not generate a hard hit on your credit report.  This checking account also has a $30 monthly fee unless you have $50K in account balance.  So, this isn’t a free 50,000 miles, but for me it is totally worth it.  I don’t get a referral bonus for this, I am just passing along information on a strategy that I am employing.

Are you signing up for this promotion? If not, why? Is there something I didn’t consider? If you are signing up, how do you plan to use your additional 50K AAdvantage Miles?