How Not Knowing Citi’s Rules Cost Me Thousands Of Points

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How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts

How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts

Me not being aware of Citi’s interesting rules ended up costing me some valuable points. It is a rule I probably should have known but one that would not have been required by another issuer. I will explain what happened, how it cost me points and how to combine Citi ThankYou accounts so you don’t have the same issues.

Premier

My Situation

If you have been following along with my articles then you know that I got the Citi Premier not too long ago. I had planned my steps to perfection in order to maximize all that ThankYou points had to offer.  Although it didn’t quite worked out as planned, I did end up getting to where I wanted to go.  I did miss out on the Citi Premier’s increased offer of 80,000 ThankYou points though, timing has never been a virtue of mine.

Once I had the Citi Premier in hand, and earned the welcome offer, it was time to downgrade my old Premier to a Citi Rewards+ card. With Citi’s current application rules, which could be changing in the future, you can not have open or closed a ThankYou point earning card in the last 24 months. (For the time being this rule does not include the Custom Cash, it is one of the reasons I said people should jump on it now.) Because of the current rules I held my original Premier for 24 months and then signed up for a second one. Once I received the new card I could then product change, or close, the old card since the 24 month clock already reset from the application. Doing the product change or closure would only extend the 24 month clock a few weeks.

Rewards+

Why I Wanted The Rewards+

I settled on the Citi Rewards+ card because it gives you 10% of your ThankYou points back, up to 10,000 per year, as a rebate when you redeem your points. This even works when you cash them out! So by making this change it was like locking in 10,000 more free points.  I say free because the Rewards+ doesn’t have an annual fee. And, when paired with the Citi Premier‘s 3X on dining, gas and grocery you can really get something going with this combination.

My Redemption Failure

Once I had my two headed Citi monster in hand, and my newly minted ThankYou points, I went ahead and hit that redemption button.  I decided to cash out 50,000 ThankYou points at one cent each to my bank account.  This process is now easier than ever with the Citi Premier card. I did this to cover my monthly saving for college with travel hacking skills $500 deposit.

After hitting the redeem button I waited for the 10% back email, which is supposed to come right away.  Let’s just say it was a good thing I didn’t hold my breath on that one. As you have guessed, the email never came.  I waited a few weeks but the points never posted either. That is when I called into the ThankYou point call center and asked what was going on.

The rep seemed pretty perplexed on my questioning and said the 10% back only works when you redeem using points from the Rewards+ card.  I knew this wasn’t true but she seemed to be struggling to see both cards on my account.

How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts

Realizing My Mistake

After the phone call I sent Benjy, our resident Citi fan boy, and told him of my situation.  He seem perplexed by it as well and then he asked me if my ThankYou point accounts were combined.  That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks, I messed up!  I had not contacted Citi to combine the accounts before doing the redemption.

In the back of my mind I knew that Citi required you to combine Citi ThankYou accounts but it was never necessary in the past so I never fully retained the information. The rep not offering that as a solution on the phone probably should have never happened too.

How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts

After we got down to the bottom of my screw up, one that cost me 5,000 points, I got to work on combining my ThankYou point accounts.

I tried to accomplish this task online first. And even though there is a spot online to combine ThankYou accounts it doesn’t work.  Or at least it can not pull two different ThankYou point accounts on your personal account.  It looks like they need to first be under the same umbrella.

I then tried Citi’s recently un-retired chat function but the rep was no help there either. They said they did not have that ability and forwarded me to the ThankYou point call center (1-800-842-6596).

Feeling slightly defeated I finally called back into the ThankYou points hotline (man that word is an oldie but goodie) and asked to merge my accounts.  The rep was confused by my terminology and after some back and forth said, oh you mean a point combination. After we were finally on the same page he was able to take care of it in a few minutes.

I received the confirmation email right away and made a transfer about 30 minutes later. The 10% rebate email came through immediately so I was good to go and I was surprised it was working properly immediately. I had my doubts it would but The points should hit my account after my next billing cycle.

How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts

How To Combine Citi ThankYou Accounts – Final Thoughts

Hopefully you have learned from my $50+ mistake here.  If you are thinking of adding the Citi Rewards+ card to your arsenal, for the 10% rebate, be sure to combine your ThankYou point accounts before making any redemptions.  It should only take you 5 minutes to do but it could save you thousands of points in the process.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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23 COMMENTS

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23 COMMENTS

  1. When combining Citi TYP accounts, does it matter which TYP account is the parent or primary account?

    I just combined my Premier and Double Cash, and the rep said if I make the Double Cash the parent account, I would only have the redemption options of the Double Cash account and not the Premier account (i.e. I’d only be able to transfer to one airline partner at a rate of 0.8). So I opted to make the Premier the parent account.

    Now, if I want to get the 10% rebate from a Rewards+ card, and combine a Reward+ card into that pool with the Premier as the parent, would redeeming from essentially a Premier TYP account trigger the 10% rebate?

    So when you got your 10% rebate from the Rewards+, was the Rewards+ the parent card of your combined TYP account? If so, does it have the same airline transfer redemption options as the Premier?

    • I don’t think it matters to be honest. I didn’t specify anything myself – just had them linked and then I started getting the 10% after that.

  2. Mark
    I was aware that TY had separate accounts for each card but was not aware of the combined feature so thank you for mentioning that.

    I was able to successfully combine my 2 TY accounts into one online without having to call.
    #1 I started with my TY account associated to my Premier card (new account) when I went to the online option to combine it did not list my other TY account.
    #2 I logged out of the Thank You points site.
    #3 I logged back in to the TY website and this time selected my old TY account and then went to the combine account option and now it showed my TY Premier card account. I was able to combine the accounts into a single one.

    While I agree that Citi should follow Amex MR and automatically just have a single points repository instead of this archaic model at least I was able to combine.

    Next I need to call Citi to see if they will product change my old TY points card to the Reward + card as the savings of 10% on redemptions would be nice and also something I learned today.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Interesting – were the cards set up on different logins? I went to both of my cards ThankYou accounts and tried to combine them but it was never an option but they are on the same login.

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. They often ask/recommend that you combine when you call, although there’s a few benefits to not doing so. If you have taxable points (e.g. from bank bonuses) they issue 1099s per TYP account; if you don’t meet reporting thresholds individually, a 1099 will not be issued.

    • Yeah I was surprised the first rep didn’t offer it up when I called about not getting the rebate and gave her the info on both cards.

  4. While (as mentioned above in the post) Amex points pool automatically, Chase UR points do not. It is easy to move the UR points from one account to another (same owner), however.

  5. I also really hate that they have the option of combining accounts online but it doesn’t work. Doesn’t matter which account you select, it does not see the other ones. I have a Premier, TY Preferred, Rewards+, and 2 Custom Cash cards + a Double Cash in my Citi TY point arsenal and yes all my accounts are combined.

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