Well, it was a fiasco for me. I really hope that all of my readers who signed up for it got their points after all. Some of you might remember my post on CitiGold checking account promo. All you had to do is pay a few bills and 50,000 Citi Thank You points (or AA miles) would be coming your way.
Of course, there was one teeny tiny problem. The terms said that you had to be targeted for this promotion. And I did mention it in my post. In spite of this language, most folks got the points after contacting Citi. In fact, that’s the reason I waited to apply. I wanted to see some data points. Well, that, plus I’m a huge procrastinator.
I suspect that most people waited till the last minute to apply, and than once 90 days has passed, everyone started flooding Citi with requests/demands for 50,000 points. I was one of those people. It probably didn’t go unnoticed and the gravy train came to an abrupt halt at the end of April. Chuck at DoC wrote a post documenting all the gory details.
Unfortunately, my 90 days were up on April 30th. I contacted Citi via chat first and was told I would receive an email from CitiGold department. Well. It said I wasn’t eligible for the 50,000 points promo because I never got targeted for this offer. I went ahead and called Citi and spoke to another agent who put in a second request for points. They told me to get lost…again.
I did a chat with Citi rep for my husband’s account, and the same thing happened to him. I didn’t even bother calling because I would have had to ask him to verify identity and he hates doing this type of stuff. It was time to cancel both checking accounts which I did via chat. But not before asking to refund $30 maintenance fee, which just hit both of our accounts. Success at last! Previous months were fee-free.
Goodbye Citi Prestige, and thanks for the memories!
Now it was time to cancel Citi Prestige X 2. Of course, first, I used up the remaining points (a separate post coming up later). You see, the reason I kept both cards opened was because it was one of the requirements to receive 50,000 points from CitiGold promo.
I actually have a few flights coming up in the next few weeks, and probably could use lounge access during layovers. But it’s honestly not worth all that much to me. My husband feels weird being there, especially when we have our loud kids traveling with us. It seems like people can’t wait for us to leave the premises. I don’t blame them one bit.
Plus, the annual fee on Citi Prestige is prorated, and I wanted to get back as much of it as possible. Some of you probably know that Citi actually charges $350 annual fee on Prestige (instead of $450) to CitiGold clients. There was some confusion on my part as to how it would all be refunded. Well, here is the breakdown on my card. I got it in June of 2015, and was promptly charged $450 annual fee. After getting CitiGold account, I got a prorated refund of $262, only to be charged $350 again.
|MEMBERSHIP FEE JAN 16-DEC 16
|REFUND MEMBERSHIP FEE
But was it worth it?
Nope. It was a huge pain in the behind. And I didn’t even fund it with a credit card back when it was allowed. Not to mention, I only kept Citi Prestige opened for the last few months because of the CitiGold promo. So, it ended up being a wash, plus a compete waste of several hours of my time. Wow, I’m on a roll lately! First, Priceless Surprises fiasco, now this.
On to the actual lessons:
1) When it comes to special promotions, it’s generally not a good idea to wait till the last minute.
This applies to credit card offers, bank bonuses, special savings promotions etc. When a lucrative credit card bonus comes out and it says “apply by date such and such,” it’s probably best not to wait till the last day. For one, they may pull the bonus early in the morning and it will be the case of “you snooze, you lose.”
I’m not saying that you should jump at every offer that’s marketed as limited. Of course, do your homework ahead of time. If you do decide that you are going to apply, set a date, but don’t make it the very last day.
This is especially true when an offer is targeted or shows up in certain browsers (Amex, I’m looking at you!) Those could be pulled within days or even hours. In this hobby sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. Obviously, make sure to calculate the cost first.
2) Not every golden opportunity is golden for you.
Of course, getting 50K points in exchange for scheduling a few bills is very much worth it. However, most lucrative promos involve many hoops that you have to jump through. If you are not organized and have a lot going on in your life at the moment, consider skipping certain deals. Miles and points hobby is fun, but it takes a lot of time to learn and execute properly. And sometimes things go wrong anyway.
KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
3) If it smells funny, consider walking away.
One of the reasons I’m not too upset is because CitiGold promo was clearly targeted. It said it plainly in the terms and conditions. Sure, I called and Citi agent said I should be able to get the bonus anyway. It was later confirmed through Citi chat as well. That said, written terms always prevail. And the reality is that I had no business participating in this promotion to begin with. I let my enthusiasm for points (AKA greed) get the best of me.
In general, I’m very careful not to cross (my own) ethical line, but I think I was on the edge this time. Of course, I’m not resentful of those who got the bonus. Not at all. In fact, I really hope that readers who learned about it from my blog did end up getting the points. And if Citi contacted me right now and said they made a mistake and would I please take 50K points, I would probably accept and thank them profusely.
But personally, I’m not doing this sort of thing again.
Readers, did anyone get the points?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.