Citi Card 48 Month Bonus Rules: How It Works

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All major credit card issuers have different rules for approving their cards and earning credit card welcome bonuses. American Express has a “once in a lifetime” rule for earning a welcome bonus, while Citi has a 48-month rule, which I want to detail in this article.

I think this is especially worthwhile because the Citi®/AAdvantage Business™ World Elite Mastercard® (review) currently offers a huge welcome bonus, making it an ideal time to apply.

Citi Credit Card Basic Application Rules

Citibank doesn't have strict limits on the number of credit cards you can hold with the bank. Citi's main limitation is how many cards you can approve in a given time frame:

  • You can get approved for a Citi card every eight days
  • You can be approved for up to two Citi cards every 65 days

There's no hard limit on the number of cards you can have, but at some point you may find that Citi has maxed out the amount of credit it can offer you. This number varies from person to person and probably depends on your income, credit score, etc.

Citibank has very basic rules for credit card review

Details of Citi's 48-month bonus rules

When it comes to Citi's policy on qualifying for a card's welcome bonus (rather than just qualifying for card approval), most Citi cards have what's called the 48-month rule.

For these cards, if you received a bonus for that specific card within the past 48 months, you are not eligible for the bonus. The good news is that eligibility for each card is considered independently. Additionally, you are not considered eligible for a bonus when you close a specific card, only whether you received the welcome bonus for that specific card within that time frame.

This policy can be found on most of Citi’s popular travel credit cards, including co-branded AAdvantage cards and cards that earn Citi Thank You Points.This includes products such as Citi Premier® Card (review), Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review), Citi® / AAdvantage Business™ World Elite Mastercard® (review), and more

As you can see, this means you can earn the welcome bonus multiple times with your Citi card, you just have to wait at least four years to qualify for these offers.

In the past, Citi also had a 24-month rule, and if you opened or closed a card in that “series” of cards within the past 24 months, you were not eligible for that card's bonus. However, the policy no longer applies to major Citi cards.

How to determine when you've closed your Citi card?

Understandably, many people may want to know when they last closed a specific Citi card to determine whether they qualify for a bonus. What's the easiest way to solve this problem? Well, you can call Citibank and if you provide your social security number or other personal details, a representative should be able to provide you with details of cards you have had in the past.

Next, in my experience, assuming you requested to receive email communications, Citi will send an email confirming that you closed your account. So if you search your inbox for the card's name and “Account Closure Confirmation” you should hopefully find when you closed the card (it won't tell you when you opened it, but at least you know when it was closed) .

Finally, if you have a decent number of credit cards, I always recommend keeping a spreadsheet with the basic information about your cards, including when you opened them, when you got bonuses, when you closed them, etc., as this information is readily available may happen.

American Airlines cards are subject to the 48-month rule

bottom line

Citi has very simple rules for getting approved for a credit card and earning bonuses.

The most common restriction you'll find is the 48-month rule, which means you can only earn bonuses on a specific card if you haven't earned bonuses on that card in the past 48 months. It's a very simple policy and luckily there's no “family” language, meaning you're eligible for bonuses on every type of card.

How do you feel about Citi's 48-month rule?

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