Saturday, January 31, 2009

Opening Citi Cards - Strategy To Get Lots of Miles!

Update 2: Churning Citi AA cards is basically is over.
Citi is now giving 30,000 miles!

How to use credit cards signup bonuses in a most rewarding way!

One major thing that keeps people from opening cards is that they are worried about their credit. Although its true that applying for a card will slightly hurt your credit, it should climb back up over a few months. So, if your score is over 750 and you are not buying a house in the next few months you should be fine. My scores have generally stayed in the 750-800 range, even with all my credit card churning. That being said, please understand what you are doing and do it at your own risk. Here are lots of articles on credit.

How you can easily earn hundreds of thousands of miles a year:

There are four Citi AAdvantage credit cards that will earn you the 25,000 American Airlines miles signup bonus. You can earn the bonus mile on each card again and again! You do have to wait 60 days in between opening the same personal card, and 90 days between opening either business card.

1) Business Visa or Business Mastercard (Pick one of them)
2) Personal Platinum Mastercard
3) Personal Amex
  1. First, check all three Fico scores, and if you haven't done so yet, read your reports. If your scores are under 750, then perhaps open just the business ones, which won't show up on your report. If your scores are below 700, then definitely wait to open the cards and raise your score. Check back in a month or so, and if your score is higher, go on! If you know at which agency Citi makes their inquiries, then obviously that one is the most important one to have a high score at.
    I use My Fico's Scorewatch for my Equifax score and check my Experian and Transunion scores from Fico every few months.

  2. Open three cards in one shot, totaling 75,000 miles! The Personal MasterCard, Personal Amex and one of the business cards. If you apply for both business cards within 3 months of each other, chances are that one of them will be declined.

  3. Once you get the three cards, spend $750 on each card. You can use the Mint, Statefarm or Amex Travelers Checks for the Amex card, to help you spend that. Once you spend $750, put the card away in a folder.

  4. In six months, check all three scores again, and if your score is still good, you can rinse and repeat for another 75,000 miles! Totaling 150,000 miles a year!
    If you have a high credit score, and you're only opening Citi cards, then I would open three cards every four months, totaling nine cards or 225,000 miles per person per year. It's 450,000 miles if your spouse does it too! Now, just think what you can do with all those miles...!
    If you are worried that their credit might not be good enough, or are thinking of buying a house soon, you should stick to two batches, or six cards a year.

  5. Six months after applying for the first set of cards, call Citi and have the old cards combined with the newer ones. Combining means moving the credit over before canceling the old ones. When you ask to combine cards, Citi won't try to convince you to leave the card open.

    Update: If you want to try to squeeze a few extra miles out of the cards then read this post on getting miles from trying to cancel the cards.
- Make a note of when you opened the cards, so that you will have everything organized. I like to use an Excel spreadsheet for that. If you want a sample spreadsheet, send me an email.
- If you open other cards as well, then you should make sure that there are no more than seven inquiries within six months on the credit agency that Citi checks (by me, they check Equifax). If when Citi makes an inquiry , they see more than seven inquiries from the past six months, they may very well decline your application!
- Please refrain from opening credit cards if you are not 100% disciplined to pay your bills in full and on time every month. The signup bonuses won't be worth the late payments and interest on debt...

Most other cards only let you earn the bonus only once.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Related articles:
- Credit Card Churning: How to use credit card signup bonuses to get lots of free miles, cash and prizes!
- How many credit scores does each person have?
- Where To Check Your Credit Reports And Scores
- Everyone Can Open A Business Credit Card
- Closing Credit Cards – Is It A Good Idea?


Levi said...

What do you mean exactly by "rinse and repeat"? what's the process involved? said...

Just repeat steps 1 through 3. Good luck!

BigFan:) said...

hi, i got an AA world master card "platinum" about two months ago and followed your "program" :)
Recently i received an offer in the mail for the same card (AA world master card) but on the "gold" level. If i get this gold card, can i still get the 25,000 bonus miles after 750 in purchases? or is it considered the same card for which i already received my bonus miles? said...

As far as I know, it would be considered the same card for that purpose, although I'm not sure. So, they might not approve the application if its within 60 days, but if its approved, then you should have no problem getting the 25,000 bonus.

In any case, if two months passed already, you can apply for the same (platinum) card again as well.

Even just using the three cards (Mastercard, Amex and Business), you can get cards pretty much as often as you want. I wouldn't push it any further than that.

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