I recently accepted a retention offer on my Citi Prestige card and bungled the timing of the spending requirement. I called Citi and discovered what I did wrong so I thought I’d share it here.
The offer was for 20,000 ThankYou Points for spending $4,000/mo for 3 months.
The way Citi counts the 3 months is as follows:
- The clock starts the day you accept the offer. Or sometimes the first business day after accepting the offer. Pay close attention on this because in my experience it varies depending on the offer.
In my case, I accepted the offer on 8/25/2020 and the clock started that day.
- Each 1-month window ends on the same calendar day you accepted the offer.
In my case the windows of time to spend $4,000 were:
How I Messed Up
When I accepted the offer I was unsure how they calculated a month. I figured it would be ridiculous to calculate it on a calendar month because a late-month acceptance would leave me with little or no time to meet the spend requirement that month. So I figured they’d go by statement cycle.
My statement closes on the 21st day of the month so I spent $4,000 for the next 3 statements.
That was my mistake.
Some transactions fell on the wrong side of the 1-month windows on the 25th of each month after I accepted the offer.
I discovered this after calling Citi a couple months after I thought I’d met the retention offer requirements. The rep quickly and confidently told me why I didn’t get the bonus: Because I’d fallen $100 short in the 3rd window.
I said I thought it was based on statement cycle and that I was disappointed to learn this is how they calculate a month. But there was nothing he would do: I didn’t meet the requirements so I didn’t get the bonus.
It’s pretty lousy that I was $100 short by a couple days on $12,000 worth of spend. Their “next 3 months” wording is ambiguous, but I guess how Citi does it makes sense. If they made it based on statement cycle there could still be the potential of a very short timeframe in the first month.
Citi multi-month retention offers start when accepted and run in roughly 30-day windows after that.
Calendar month and statement cycle don’t matter.
There are probably all kinds of “edge conditions” that can occur the way they do it. What happens if you accept an offer on the 31st and the next month only has 28 days? Is it based on when a transaction occurs of when it posts?
Going forward, I’ll make sure transactions fall within the center of the 30-day windows after taking an offer from Citi.
Sounds like a good time to downgrade this card for a pro-rated annual fee refund after redeeming the $250 travel credit in early January 2021. That shouldn’t be too hard since the travel credit can be redeemed at grocery stores and restaurants through December 2021.
I’ll have to think whether it’s worth it to downgrade rather than cancelling to avoid resetting my 24-month Citi ThankYou Point card welcome bonus clock.