Finally! The Citi Checking Account Bonus Offer I’ve Waited On for Years
Our bank account bonus activities were relatively quiet in 2020. This year started out pretty much the same, until it unexpectedly, recently changed. I was targeted for the Citi checking account bonus offer I’ve waited years for. I’ve become much more discerning with bank account bonuses in the last year or so, quickly identifying ones that weren’t worth the time and trouble to us. The features of Citi’s offer are clearly working on me this time, though. Let’s dive in to the offer, how I plan to take advantage of it, the big string attached, and my overall take.
Snail mail delivered big time! Citi sent a targeted offer advertising up to 60k ThankYou points by opening a checking account and completing required activities. I can choose to open one of the following checking accounts and fund it at the required level to be eligible for certain bonuses:
- Basic Banking Account, $5k in deposits, 10k ThankYou points
- Citibank Account, $15k in deposits, 30k ThankYou points
- Citi Priority Account, $50k in deposits, 50k ThankYou points
- Citigold Account, $200k in deposits, 60k ThankYou points
In addition to holding the above minimum balance in my account for 30 days, I must complete one bill payment each of the first two months after account opening in order to obtain the bonus ThankYou points. However, that 30k point bonus isn’t the biggest part of the offer to me.
Where This Offer Shines
By simply opening an eligible checking account, I will earn 25% more ThankYou points for 12 months. My Citi Premier account is listed in this offer, so I’ll enjoy the extra 25% points on all Premier spend for the next 12 months. With the Premier, I’ll be effectively earning 3.75x ThankYou points at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel, and hotels for the next year. That rate in all those categories is great, but they had me at supermarkets!
Per the terms, the extra 25% bonus points post to the account no later than the billing cycle immediately following the one in which they were earned. I initially presumed I’d have to wait until the end of the 12 months to get those points, so I was pleasantly surprised.
After reviewing the various offer levels, requirements, and terms, I settled on the Citibank checking account requiring $15k in deposits for a 30k ThankYou point bonus.
The Big String Attached
As with every bank account bonus, the ongoing challenge is keeping the associated bank account fee-free. Citi isn’t different in that regard, but their requirement is painful, nonetheless. In order to waive my selected checking account’s monthly $25 fee, I must maintain a $10k average monthly balance in this account, or another linked deposit, retirement, or investment account. And there are no other options! Ouch! I’m swallowing hard on that one.
My Overall Take
While some of my enthusiasm for this offer is attributable to how elusive it’s been for the past few years, the value of a 30k ThankYou point bonus and ongoing 25% additional points is undeniable. If anything, this makes up for the Premier losing the 25% extra point value for ThankYou Portal/Cruise and Tours bookings in April. Actually, this offer is preferrable, because those 25% extra points are better than 25% value on limited redemption options.
The requirements to receive the initial 30k ThankYou points are easy to accomplish. Parking $10k in the account for 12 months to keep it fee-free won’t be fun, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Given how comically low interest rates are currently, I’m not missing out on much otherwise. All in all, it’s a necessary evil to win big on the ThankYou points side.
Citi Checking Account Bonus – Conclusion
This targeted offer reminded me of a few areas that are easy to forget. First, never give up on snail mail! Second, assess the necessary effort and commitment prior to going after a bank account bonus. Third, strike quickly when you obtain a great offer! I’m also a fan of the crossover of the Citi checking account bonus with the traditional credit card rewards hobby. The initial bonus is great, but I’ll be reaping the benefits of this offer throughout the next year. Have you received a Citi offer like this? Did you pursue it? Why or why not?