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I Take Back What I Said On the Citi AAdvantage Business Card




A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I would not sign up for the Citi AAdvantage Business card. I am here to write that I take back the post. In sum, I wrote that there are no downgrade options and I did not want to open a credit card and not have a future use for it.

 

Why The Change of Heart?

Readers, it is because there is an option for a downgrade. A friend of mine who works at Citi researched for me that if you apply in the branch, there is an offer where you sign up and receive 20,000 Thank You points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

It doesn’t make sense to me that in the middle of 2012, they made a huge splash in announcing the card and less than 3 years later, they pulled all advertising for it and the card has basically fallen off the face of the Earth.

Here’s the skinny on the Citi Business Thank You Card:

Points that add up quickly without limits or expiration dates

  • Earn three ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases in rotating business categories.
  • For all other purchases, base earn rate of one ThankYou Point for every $1 spent.
  • Receive an anniversary ThankYou Points bonus each membership year. Anniversary bonus is based on the base earn rate of one point for every $1 spent and increases from one percent after the first year to three percent after three years.
  • Earn bonus points for managing your account online (100 points for registering for Account Online or for enrolling in Paperless Statements).
  • Combine ThankYou Points across all Citibank relationships.
  • No limit to the ThankYou Points you can earn, and points don’t expire.
  • January – March: Office Supply merchants, Advertising services, and Professional services
  • April – June: Computer Equipment and Software merchants, Telecommunications merchants
  • July – September: Hotels, Airlines, Car Rental merchants
  • October – December: Restaurants and Entertainment

My Thoughts On the Card:

The benefits to the card are pretty, meh. It is nice to see rotating categories so you are not locked into the same set every quarter, but the 3x earn rate is OK. Not as nice as Chase’s 5x in the Ink line of products. The max earnings would be 3.09 points/$. I can’t tell if the categories stay the same every year in the same calendar months, but if we were to assume that they are, I would maximize Q1 and Q2. Q1 for the office supply merchants. Q2 I would buy every free after rebate product from Newegg + Portal. Be sure to check out this tool that scans Newegg for every Free After Rebate product.

What I Would Now Do:

In light of this discovery, I would take advantage of the current 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles and in month 13 of having the card, I would convert into the Citi Thank You card. The 50,000 AAdvantage miles will take you a lot further (pun intended) than the 20,000 Thank You points in the current sign up offer.

Yes, we have no idea how long the Citi Business Thank You card option will be available and that is the wild card in play. I am basing the following statement from the personal cards, in that you will need the Citi Business AAdvantage card opened for 13 months prior to a product change. However, it does seem like Citi keeps their products “in the back room” while all the products are proudly displayed on the shelves. What I mean by that, if you call in a representative for a product change and ask for options like downgrading a personal card to the Citi Dividend, then you will be in for a pleasant surprise.

The real question now is, why did Citi pull the card? My guess? They’re redoing the card after a lackluster of sign ups and their products weren’t competitive enough to American Express or Chase products. I’m also throwing a guess that they’re in the process of rebuilding the card because of the new transfer partners as well.

8 comments… add one
  • The link to free after rebate items at newegg is empty. Is the tool broken? Or is there just nothing at all?

    Reply
    • Currently, there is nothing being offered with a Free After Rebate – we have plans to update the tool to better display the info and the “last run date” so you’ll see it being updated

      Reply
  • Great sleuthing! I’ve been familiarizing myself with the ThankYou point program the past few months and in a lot of ways they mirror things Chase does (which is nice). But the lack of a public ThankYou point earning business card application is puzzling. Like you nicely concluded: Here’s hoping they introduce a Business ThankYou card that competes head to head with the Ink cards!

    Reply
  • What I love about Citi is that they are super fast on posting your bonus points. No annual fee for the first year is a big plus 🙂

    Reply
  • Not clear: “Downgrade” from CitiAA Business to Business TY by “applying for new” Business TY in branch?

    Is it possible to downgrade CitiAA Business to Business TYP and forego hard pull/bonus TYP points? By phone? In Branch?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I’ll find out, plan to apply for the Citi AA business next week then in 13 months we’ll find out if the downgrade to Business TYP option is available. I’m assuming so because of the personal credit side and how generous they are, but 13 months from now is a long time

      Reply

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