Once again Citi is cracking down and tightening up their rules regarding the time needed to earn a sign-up bonus if you have had the same card before.

Earlier this month Citi added language to the personal Citi AAdvantage card about not being eligible for the bonus if you have opened or closed the same card in the past 24 months.

Via an update on this Flyertalk thread the CitiBusiness AAdvantage credit card now has the 24 month language on the application page.

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Now you’re only eligible to earn the sign-up bonus every 24 months

Here is the language that was added to the application page for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card:

“Bonus miles and any other special offer not available if you have had a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® opened or closed in the past 24 months”

24 Month Rule Now Applies to All Citi AA Cards (Personal and Business)

The 24 month language is now seen on all personal and business versions of the Citi AAdvantage cards. This include the Gold, Platinum (personal/business), and Executive versions of the AAdvantage credit cards.

In the past these cards have been a powerful way to earn 50,000 American Airlines miles and you could earn the bonus every 18 months. It was easy to switch back and forth between the two cards earning 50,000 each time for signing up. Now to earn another bonus you will have to wait at least 24 months before applying for a new Citi AAdvantage credit card.

(Note: This new 24 month rule was applied to the personal version of the Citi Addvantage credit card earlier this month.)

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Now What? Current Best Ways to Earn AA Miles

With Citi’s stricter rules for earning the sign-up bonus on the AA Addvantage cards it makes it a bit more difficult (or slower) to quickly earn American Airline miles. Here is a list of cards that offer a bonus of AA miles either directly or indirectly (via transferring points to miles):

Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold MasterCard®

  • Bonus: typically 25,000 miles
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: 24 months

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

  • Bonus: typically 50,000 miles
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: 24 months

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

  • Bonus: typically 50,000 miles
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: 24 months

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard®

  • Bonus: typically 50,000 miles (has been as high as 100,000 miles)
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: 24 months

CitiGold Checking Account

  • Bonus: up to 50,000 miles
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: exact rules unknown

AMEX SPG Personal Card

  • Bonus: normally 25,000 SPG points which can be transferred to 30,000 AA miles (limited time offers up to 35,000 miles)
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: once per lifetime

AMEX SPG Business Card

  • Bonus: normally 25,000 SPG points which can be transferred to 30,000 AA miles (limited time offers up to 35,000 miles)
  • Time needed between closing and reapplying: once per lifetime

The Bottom Line

With the 24 month rule hitting the personal version of the Citi AAdvantage earlier this month I don’t think we can be surprised that the rule carried over to the business version of the card.

It’s ultimately bad news, but doesn’t make it impossible to rack up a lot of AA miles. You’ll just need to diversify and spread out your applications between the various card products offering AA miles. There are also likely workaround methods still alive that allow you to break the 24 month rule and earn the bonus more frequently—including targeted offers and the “Elite World” upgrade loophole.

Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card
Chase Ink Plus

Chase Ink Plus
Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Benefits:
-- 5X at office supply stores, phone and internet/cable.
-- 2X on gas and hotels.
-- Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to valuable partners including United, Hyatt, and British Airways.

Annual fee: $95

Quick review: The Ink Plus is a great card for earning Ultimate Rewards points through the 5X bonus spending categories. You have a lot of flexibility using the points and can transfer them to travel partners such as United and Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.