If you ended up applying for the Citigold checking account promotion offering 50,000 American Airlines miles or 50,000 Thank You points you’ve probably already got wind of the bad news. There is a lot of discussion going on whether or not Citi is awarding customers the sign-up bonus.

When it comes down to it, the Citigold promotion terms stated that the offer was targeted to those cardmembers who receive communication of the offer. However, in the past there were many reports of Citi AAdvantage cardmembers being allowed to earn the bonus, and for awhile all was good and well.

Now it turns out that Citi is denying the bonus miles/points to many customers who signed up using the promo code and do not have proof of receiving the targeted offer. I’ve even read reports of Citi denying the bonus to people who received the targeted offer. There are also many reports of people being denied the bonus after the fact that Citi confirmed in writing that their account has the promotion applied to it and a date when the bonus miles should post.

There is no doubt that 50,000 miles was a great offer for simply opening a checking account and going through some hoops (initiating bill pays, paying ~$90 in monthly fees, $1,000 spending on card, etc). I ended up applying for the promotion in February 2016, which means that I am right in the middle of this fiasco and like many are trying to pry the points from Citi.

Given the mixed reports out there I decided to call Citi and chat with a representative. I was able to get some information that may be helpful to some and at the very least offer a strategy to avoid money lost from paying the monthly maintenance fees if you end up waiting fighting this one out.

From my conversation with a Citi representative here are some tips and a strategy on what to do if you applied for the Citigold account and are still waiting for your bonus to post:

  • Keep your checking account product at the Citigold level for 90 days. Per the representative, to qualify for the promotion you must meet the requirements and the account at the Citigold level for 90 days. I’ve read reports that it is only necessary to keep your account at the Citigold level until all promotion requirements are met.
  • The 90 day period starts from when you have access to the account, not when you applied or were approved. To be sure of the correct 90 day period I’d encourage you to call in and confirm over the phone with Citi.
  • After 90 days, downgrade to Citi’s Basic Banking Package which has a $12 monthly fee unless you meet the fee waiver requirements. The requirements needed to waive the monthly fee are much easier to meet and can be done by: 1. monthly direct deposit + 1 bill payment per month OR 2. maintain an average monthly balance of $1,500.
  • With the Citigold account there are no monthly fees for the first 90 days. After the first 90 days have passed the first monthly maintenance fee will posts on the 2nd or 3rd day of the the next month. This means you can meet the promotion requirements and keep your account under the promotional product for the 90 day period and then downgrade before the first monthly fee hits.
  • Lastly, try to confirm in writing form Citi that your account has the promotion applied to it, and if so, a specified date when the bonus points/miles should post.

The Bottom Line

It appears that Citi is doing everything they can to not honor the bonus to anyone who signed up for the Cigigold 50,000 mile/points bonus offer. If Citi ultimately did not want to offer this promotion to the thousands of customers who used this promo code, then they should have denied account opening from the start.

Since 50,000 American Airlines miles is a sizable bonus I’ll at least downgrade to the Basic Banking account and wait until the date that my bonus is supposed to post.

Did you apply for the Citigold 50k promo? Update us with your experience below!