Citi’s 8/65 Day Rule & 18 Month Bonus Rule Explained for Citi Credit Cards

Citi 8/65 Rules for Credit Card Applications

Citi’s 8/65 Day Rule & 18 Month Bonus Rule – Overview

CitiBank has implemented 2 rules within the past ~2 years, dubbed the “8/65 day” rule and the “18 month” rule, that may end up declining your credit card application or disqualify you from the signup bonus. This topic has come up many times so this post will explain each of these 2 rules and provide walk-through examples. No one likes getting rejected and I definitely hate wasting a credit pull!

Citi’s 8/65 Day Rule Explained

Here is the explanation behind Citibank’s 8/65 Day Rule:

  • No more than 1 Citi credit card application within 8 days
  • No more than 2 Citi credit card applications within 65 days
  • This applies to both personal and business cards, combined
  • There is also an additional restriction for Citi business credit cards – no more than 1 Citi business credit card within 90 days

The actual limitation of the 8/65 rule is 1 week and 2 months, but to be conservative the “8/65 rule” was coined.  If you break this 8/65 rule, your card application will get rejected.  Pleading your case to credit analysts at Citi Reconsideration Department will not work.

Example of Citi’s 8/65 Day Rule

Here is a timeline example of the 8/65 rule:

  1. Apply for the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 12/1/15
  2. Cannot apply for any other Citi credit card, regardless if personal or business card, until 12/9/15
  3. Assuming you apply for the Citi Premier card on 12/9/15, you cannot apply for your 3rd Citi credit card until 2/4/16

Citi’s 18 Month Bonus Rule Explained

The following restriction is found practically in all Citi credit card applications within the bonus terms and conditions:

Bonus offer is not available if you have had a Citi XXX card account that was opened or closed in the past 18 months.

The good news is the addition of the “or closed” verbiage.  If you were approved for the Citi Hilton Reserve on 12/1/15, that means you can get a 2nd Citi Hilton Reserve credit card (and qualify for the signup bonus again) on 5/31/17 IF AND ONLY IF you did not close the 1st Citi Hilton Reserve account.

Example of Citi’s 18 Month Bonus Rule

Using the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card as as example, here are the different routes one could take.

Route 1 (Slowest Route):

  • Approved for the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 12/1/15.  Paid $95 annual fee for first year.
  • Met minimum spend requirement by first statement and received 2 free weekend night certificates by 1/15/16
  • Cancel Citi Hilton Reserve credit card account on 1/1/17, when the $95 annual fee is due for the 2nd year. Now start counting the 18 months clock starts.
  • Reapply for a 2nd Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 7/2/18 – earliest date eligible for obtaining the signup bonus again

Route 2 (DO NOT RECOMMEND):

  • Approved for the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 12/1/15.  Paid $95 annual fee for first year.
  • Met minimum spend requirement by first statement and received 2 free weekend night certificates by 1/15/16
  • Cancel Citi Hilton Reserve credit card account on 1/15/16.
  • Reapply for a 2nd Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 7/15/17 – earliest date eligible for obtaining the signup bonus again
  • Credit score takes a slight ding for closing an account in such short period from account opening date

Route 3 (Best Route):

  • Approved for the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 12/1/15.  Paid $95 annual fee for first year.
  • Met minimum spend requirement by first statement and received 2 free weekend night certificates by 1/15/16
  • Keep account open for 2nd year and pay the $95 annual fee on on 1/1/17
  • Reapply for a 2nd Citi Hilton Reserve credit card on 5/31/17 – earliest date eligible for obtaining the signup bonus again
  • For your first card, you can potentially convert to another Citi credit card with no annual fee or cancel after receiving the bonus on card 2

This is now a huge incentive for one to pay the annual fee the 2nd year just so you can get the signup bonus again in 6 months (route 3) instead of cancelling and waiting a full 18 months from the date you cancelled (route 1). Alternatively, one could close down the Citi credit card immediately after getting the signup bonus (route 2), but that’s going to ding your credit score and not a good practice. It could come up the next time you are applying for a card with them.

Does Route 3 Really Work?

From personal experience, I can confirm that route 3 indeed works!  As long as your first card was opened or closed more than 18 months ago, you qualify for the signup bonus again for the same card.

What Citi Credit Card Works Best for the 18 Month Rule?

There’s a reason why I chose the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card as the walk-through example.  Hilton HHonors points have been largely devalued over the past 5 years to a point where I would not put any spend on a Hilton branded credit card. I make 1 exception because of this 18 month rule.

Besides the signup bonus of 2 free weekend nights, the Citi Hilton Reserve credit card also comes with a free weekend night certificate on your anniversary year (ie. when you pay the annual fee again) IF you have spent minimum of $10,000 during the past card-member year.  Since the signup bonus of 2 free weekend nights required $2,500 spend, you “only” need to spend another $7,500 within the card-member year.

Taking Route 3 one step further, let’s say I hit that $10,000 spend during my initial card-member year. This means I would receive my anniversary 1 free weekend night certificate around 2/1/17, with a 1 year expiration. On 5/31/17, I can apply for my 2nd Citi Hilton Reserve credit card and if I meet the $2,500 minimum spend by the first statement, I will now have an additional 2 free weekend night certificates (with a 1 year expiration).  Since Hilton defines “weekend nights” as Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I can now apply all 3 certificates to 1 property, such as the Conrad Koh Samui (Hilton link) or Conrad Maldives, so long as my stay occurs before March 2018.  This is perfect because when on vacation, I try to stay at each location minimum of 3 nights. This is a good way to get those 3 nights at a luxury hotel for free.

Note: If you click some links on this site, TheRewardBoss may receive a commission at no added cost to you. By doing so, you help support my project and allow me to continue providing you with more rewarding information. I research, travel, and write my opinions regardless of whether there is a commission available. You don’t have to use my links, but I appreciate when you do. Thank you for your support!

About The Reward Boss

Want to see how I earn enough points and miles to travel for free? Read this first. Be one of the 10s of 10s of people who subscribe to receive email updates whenever I post a new article. Enter your email address in the top left corner of the site and that’s it. Cancel anytime. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or RSS feed. Take a Free Lyft.

More articles by The Reward Boss »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. For Route 3, Can you confirm if ” convert the card to another Citi credit card that has no annual fee” does not count as closing the card account and re-sets the 18 month clock?

  2. Does the 18 month rule apply when you receive a targeted offer? I received an AA Citi card for 60,000 miles and wondering if I am eligible.

  3. Paying year 2 is fine, especially if you hit the spend to get the 1 free night cert upon renewal. But let’s say I apply for the second card after 18-20 months, do I close card 1 right after I am approved, or do I wait until I spend and receive the bonus? I would think we want to close right after approval so that card 1 close and card 2 open are as close to the same date as possible to reset the 18 month counter.

    • From my personal experience I closed card 1 AFTER receiving the signup bonus for card 2. It just so happened that I met the min spend on card 2 within the first statement so timing was not an issue. Converting down to another card before receiving the bonus on card 2 has worked for Shawn from Miles to Memories. Post updated to reflect these two options.

    • I don’t understand. Why would citi issue you the “same credit card” 2nd time even though you already have that at time of application. And also gives you bonus even though you are existing customer since you did not cancel the card. What am i missing?

      • I am on the same page as you, doesn’t really make sense. But to play devil’s advocate, one could argue that he wants to separate expenses between personal spend and business spend. And then of course, one could argue that he has multiple businesses…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *