A few months ago, I got several emails from Citi with the title “Notice of account closure“. They were closing several of my no-fee cards for inactivity. There was no warning or opportunity to generate activity and prevent closure. They already closed the cards. All data points from the community indicate no possibility of reopening (but “you’re welcome to reapply”).
Now, I don’t remember exactly how long it’d been since I used any of those cards. My guess would be a year or more. My recommendation would be to use all Citi cards at least once every 6 months. Of course, the reason I hadn’t used them is I don’t have any use for them. I was keeping them around mostly just because. So I didn’t feel too bad. I was slightly concerned whether it would affect my approval for new cards, but so far it hasn’t had any effect. Note, your AAoA (Average Age of Accounts) shouldn’t be affected – I believe it only considers what cards you ever opened; it doesn’t matter whether they are still open. What will be affected is your debt to credit ratio – you are losing the credit lines of the closed cards, therefore the ratio will be less impressive depending on how much credit you are losing. Again, it hasn’t affected my new cards approvability so far.
However, one negative consequence I hadn’t considered is that the closure resets the card family sign up bonus eligibility, because Citi applications state something like: “Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.” Well, one of my closed cards is a ThankYou card, so that family was reset. Now I need to wait 6 months longer before I can get a sign up bonus again on a ThankYou Premier or Prestige. GRRR!
I wish Citi would give some sort of advanced warning/notice. I once received a notice from Chase saying they are going to close one of my inactive cards in 30 days and there’s nothing I could do. I proactively closed it. I wish Citi would at least do that. But really I wish they would give a warning with opportunity to generate activity and prevent closure. Note, I’m not sure whether voluntary vs involuntary closure affects the credit score / approvability. If you know, please leave a comment.
In a nutshell
Use your old Citi cards – and really, all cards – at least once every 6 months. Don’t risk having your future sign up bonus eligibility reset from under you.
HT: Award Travel 101