How Citi Tried to Change My Retention Offer Terms – Does 3X Everywhere with No Cap Exist?

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citi retention offer screwup

Citi Retention Offer Screwup – Capped or Uncapped?

Last week I shared the details of an amazing retention offer my wife received on her Citi ThankYou Preferred card. This offer was in fact the same as the one she had received on a different ThankYou Preferred card six months before.

As it was explained to her on the retention call, she would earn 2 extra points per dollar on all spend. Since the ThankYou Preferred earns 1 point per dollar on normal spend and 2 points per dollar on dining, it becomes a 3X/4X earning card during the promotional period.

citi retention offer screwup

Sending a Secure Message to Confirm

Following my wife’s retention call, she sent Citi a secure message to confirm the terms of the offer. This is one of the strategies I laid out in my Citi retention guide. It seems Citi may now be sending out follow up emails as well, but it never hurts to frame the question so you nail down the detailed terms.

Here is what my wife said in the original message:

Hello, I just got off the phone with an agent and want to confirm my account was enrolled in the offer I was given over the phone. I was told I will receive 2 extra points per dollar on all spending for the next 6 months. Can you confirm the start and end dates of the promotion for my records? Thank you!

Fairly simple. Within a day she received a response. It was not what we were expecting. Here is what Citi said:

Our records show your Preferred card was enrolled to earn 2 bonus Thank You points per dollar spent on all eligible purchases. This offer is valid until 1/31/16 with a bonus cap of 35,000 points.

A cap? A cap? I had my wife think really hard back to the conversation and whether or not a cap was mentioned. She didn’t remember hearing of one. I was also standing next to her during the call and am pretty sure it would’ve come up. So she sent a response back to Citi:

Thank you. I was not told of any 35,000 bonus point cap. I am requesting that a supervisor go back and listen to the call, since there shouldn’t be any cap in place.

This request was made in good faith, since she honestly didn’t remember being told about a cap. Since the call is recorded, they can go back and listen. If she was told of a cap and just didn’t hear or remember it, then Citi would enforce it. The few times in the past we have had issues with a Citi promotion, they have pushed back hard and we have just had to give up. I was fully expecting that to happen. Fortunately a day after sending that request, my wife received this message:

We have successfully updated your special promotional offer to earn 2 bonus ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all eligible purchases.

Does this mean what it says? Have they removed the cap? Sometimes secure message agents just cut and paste boiler plate responses, so we weren’t sold. We needed to confirm in writing that the cap was lifted. 

Just to confirm I will receive the 2 extra points per dollar spent without any cap correct?

No wiggle room here. We just wanted them to spell out that there is no cap. That small detail makes a huge difference as to the value of this promotion. Here was their response:

That is correct, we show your account is enrolled in the offer to earn 2 bonus Thank You points per dollar spent on all eligible purchases.

So we successfully received the promotion as promised on the phone.

citi retention offer screwup

So What Happened

As you can see, Citi never acknowledged that their agent offered a non-capped version of this offer, but instead changed my wife’s offer without any pushback at all. I’m not sure if a manager listened to the call or if they just decided to give her the uncapped offer. Perhaps the uncapped offer was eligible on her account, but the agent added the wrong offer by mistake. Either way, I am impressed with how quickly this was corrected and I commend Citi for that.

Does an Uncapped Offer Exist

Since posting about this retention offer last week, I have heard from several people who received it, but in the capped form. Basically, I haven’t heard of anyone else who has received the uncapped version in the past month or so. I do know an uncapped version existed six months ago, since my wife received it and we earned more than 35,000 points.

At this point I am not sure if the only offer you can get has the 35K cap or if there is indeed still an uncapped version. I did want to post this follow up, as to reflect the most accurate information possible. In the end, my wife was promised an uncapped promotion and that is what she received, but that offer may or may not even exist anymore.


3X everywhere with a 35K cap is still a very decent promotion, but it isn’t nearly as scalable as the uncapped version. In this case we got the offer as we had understood it, but I honestly am not sure if that is possible for anyone else at this point. Have other people received the uncapped 3X everywhere offer lately or has everyone received the capped version?

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. I tried sending Citi a secured message about not recalling that my offer was capped at 35K and got the following response:

    “Unfortunately, we are unable to handle your request through the Secured Message Center. In order to better assist you, we will need to speak with you directly. Please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-950-5114. We are available to assist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are outside the U.S., please contact us collect at 605-335-2222.

    We regret any inconvenience or difficulty this may have caused you. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. ”

    You win some, you lose some! =\

    • Maybe you can get some resolution over the phone. I have had other issues in the past where they made me call, but when it has come to bonus offers, they have always forwarded the message and dealt with it. Strange.

  2. I received the uncapped version back in June…wasn’t even aware that there was a capped version until now.

  3. Sergey,

    although a different beast, I earned 3 HHonors points/$ funding a US Bank Checking and Savings account respectively with the Citi HHonors Reserve Visa — and no, I did not incur a Cash Advance fee, as I had previously lowered my limits to $0.00 and this purchase was coded as a purchase, regardless of the fact that it was from a financial institution. Just providing a data point.


    What I would do is track the TY points earned and when nearing the cap, I would again shoot an e-mail to them again confirming cap or no cap — forewarned is fore-armed.

    • This is different – you will earn regular points, but not ‘promotional’. I did learn it in hard way – like, if you purchased $2000 amex GC, you will get 2000 thank you points, but not 6000. You can check with recent FM posts – he reported the same.

      • Fair enough. Perhaps I’ll have my wife respond and ask them to define eligible purchases. I had thought that Amex GCs weren’t earning any points for some people.

      • That’s been my experience too. Only base points for Amex GCs. I did get the full 3x on visa gifts cards from though.

  4. Just remember that ‘eligible purchases’ do not include any transactions made from financial institutions, like amex GC, nwbuxx, or others.

    • Of course. If it would earn points normally, then it just earns 2 extra points per dollar. Nothing changes regarding which types of transactions do or do not earn points.


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