Citi never really extended the bonus spend period….

Be careful what you read on blogs folks, from what I can tell Citi never really extended the bonus spend period for its credit cards like some have said it had. Here is an account of my experience with the issue:

Background

Back at the end of February, I applied for my first credit card in a very long time. A Citi ThankYou Premier Credit Card, which would land me 60,000 ThankYou points for $4000 in spending over 3 months. At the time I still had some travel plans for the end of this year so I thought it was about time I spring for a new credit card to cover some of the travel.

For some reason the card took more than a month to arrive in the mail and when I got it I effectively only had a month and a half of time to spend $4k on it.

I already have the Citi Double Cash and AA Executive Cards with high credit limits (above $20k) so Citi only offered me a $1500 credit limit for this card.

I called up Citi at the end of March (after an insanely long wait time) and requested a credit line transfer from one of my other cards so that I had a shot at reaching the spend requirement on this card. The agent and his two supervisors said that was not possible.

Deciding that speaking to Citi was of absolute no use to me, I decided to just spend the required amount and just pay the amount as soon as I hit the spending limit.

It turned out this wasn’t really possible either because every time I tried to make a large purchase, the card was rejected due to an insufficient spending limit. This can sometimes be an issue with cards having low credit limits. Go figure, reaching the spending requirement wouldn’t be very easy.

In April, I messaged Citi once again regarding the issue and they once again wasted my time and told me nothing could be done. After expressing my frustration, one of the agents mentioned that due to the pandemic, Citi might be extending the time given to applicants by as much as 3 months and that I should wait and see what happens.

Low and behold in May, I read this article by FrequentMiler which stated that he had heard the following from Citi’s PR team:

“Those who open or have opened new Citi credit card accounts eligible for a welcome bonus between December 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 will have an additional three months to meet the spending requirements. Again, this only applies to new cardmember welcome bonuses, but it gives you additional time to meet the spend.”

I also heard the same from several other news sources and bloggers alike at the time and so I didn’t look for the Citi press release.

Fast Forward 2 Months….

I noticed that I reached the required spend on the Premier Card and hadn’t received the 60,000 points as of yet. I immediately started a chat with Citi regarding the discrepancy:

First Agent

I was connected to an agent rather quickly, but the agent had no clue what I was talking about. It took him nearly 20 minutes to look through my account and say I hadn’t reached the spending limit by May and that he couldn’t do anything whatsoever. He did however say I could speak to his supervisor.

Second Agent (Supervisor):

The supervisor sympathized with my problem but insisted that there was no such offer for an extension on this specific account or that Citi had published. He forwarded me to a third person who was a “specialist” and a supervisor over him.

Third Agent (Supervisor to the Second)

The third agent immediately said he couldn’t help me and connected me to Citi Thank You Rewards Department on a special line.

Fourth Agent – Thank You (TY) Department

The fourth agent said she couldn’t do anything, but that she would file a dispute on my behalf regarding the issue. She said my issue made sense and that I should “rest assured” that Citi would investigate. In the mean time she said I should talk to a specialist in her department regarding the issue.

Fifth Agent (TY Dept Supervisor)

2 Hours into this charade, I was talking to a fifth agent. This person saw that a dispute was already filed and offered to put in 1000 TY points into my account for my trouble. He again assured me that they were looking into the situation and that he could not see the extension anywhere on the account or online.

As I was on hold, I was also searching online for the official press release by Citi. To my dismay I couldn’t find it anywhere. All I found were various sites such as CNBC, NerdWallet, and OMAAT restating what they heard from other bloggers and so forth. Disappointing to the say the least, but from what I could tell, Citi never really made that statement publicly despite a PR team mentioning the changes. If you do a search yourself, you will see the same: no official press release on the topic.

Bottom Line:

At present moment, it doesn’t look like any Citi agent knows of an extension for the sign-on bonus mentioned in FrequentMiler‘s post. Despite a PR team from the bank getting in touch with some bloggers about the extension and added benefits to the Citi Prestige card, it seems Citi never really followed through with an official statement. What likely happened (my hunch at least) is Citi tried to copycat American Express and Chase through a quasi-press release to certain blogs immediately after their competitors had added benefits to their cards. Since the press release was never public, they don’t seem to want to honor that policy. This doesn’t surprise me considering surveys have said repeatedly that Citi accounts for 37% of all credit card complaints during this pandemic. To put things in perspective, this is 4 times higher than the next bank on the list.

Let me just say again that you should be very careful about what you read on blogs (including this one). Always go to the source to validate the information before making decisions. 

I will update you regarding the conclusion of my case if and when I hear back from Citi. 



Anyone else facing this issue? What’s your experience been like? Leave a comment down below.

5 Comments

  1. I’ve seen this several times with posts with information from Citi’s PR team. Since I’m not the one hearing from them directly, I always wait until I see something from Citi about the offer, which is often 2+ weeks after a promo has started.

  2. Pingback: April travel survey time capsule, home haircuts, Citi craziness and more

  3. Kevin

    Hi Teja, this same issue happened to me with my Citi Premier card that I opened at the beginning of February 2020. I did an online chat with an agent in early May who said that by claiming COVID-19 assistance, my welcome bonus period would be extended by about 2 months through July. However, today, I tried doing another live chat, and this agent confirmed that the offer had already expired back in May. Seriously, I can’t believe all the outlets that reported that Citi had an extension and am disappointed with how Citi is handling their so called “assistance”.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      It’s insane what they continue to do. I’ve had similarly bad experiences with them before regarding annual fee refunds. I totally I find them to be the most unhelpful of all the credit card issuers

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