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40,000 Thank You point Citi checking bonus – go or no go?

by on Wed January 21, 2015 • 2 Comments

The deal

Get 40,000 Citi ThankYou points when you open a new Citigold checking account.

How to get it

You must open the account by March 31, 2015, then within 60 days make one bill payment each month from the account for two consecutive calendar months. You’ll receive the points within 90 days of the end of the statement period in which you complete the 2nd consecutive bill payment.

The deal is targeted to holders of existing ThankYou credit cards, though you can visit a branch or call 866-422-1475 and you may find the offer available, though officially you need a specific offer code.


The catch

Citi will report your bonus to the IRS if it deems you earned $600 or more in bonus value this calendar year. This particular deal is valued by Citi at $400, which is the value you’d get if you redeemed for gift cards. So if you don’t plan on getting other ThankYou checking bonuses you’re in good shape with just this one deal.

However if you choose to redeem for something of higher value, for example American or US Airways airfare via the Citi Prestige, which gives your points 1.6 cents in value, you’ll earn $640 in rewards. That might trigger the 1099 to the IRS.

A transfer out of ThankYou points to one of its transfer partners like Air France Flying Blue, Singapore KrisFlyer, or Virgin Atlantic, likely won’t trigger a value higher than $400 as there is no evidence of the cash value of your redemption in that case.

Here are the rest of the terms and conditions:

  • “This offer is available to Citi ThankYou cardmembers who receive this communication and who have an existing ThankYou member account associated with their Citi Credit Card. Consumer Accounts only. Fiduciary accounts (including Trust or Estate accounts) and business accounts are not eligible. Offer is for new checking customers only, 18 years or older. Regular account charges apply. All accounts subject to approval and applicable terms and fees. Limit of one of each offer per customer and account. Offer may be modified or withdrawn at any time without notice, expires 3/31/2015, is not transferable and cannot be combined with any other offer. Your new Regular Checking account in an eligible account package (The Citigold Account Package, The Citibank Account Package, Basic Banking Package) and your Citi® credit card account must be open and in good standing at the time the bonus ThankYou Points are credited to your ThankYou Member Account.
  • To qualify to earn bonus ThankYou® Points, open a new Regular Checking account in an eligible account package by 3/31/2015. Then, within 60 days after account opening 1 qualifying bill payment must be posted, to the new checking account during a calendar month and during the following calendar month. Qualifying bill payments are those using Citibank Online, Citi Mobile® or CitiPhone Banking. A bill that is paid by making a transfer between linked accounts and/or transfer payments made to accounts within Citibank or to accounts with Citibank affiliates does not qualify as a bill payment for this offer.
  • Important Tax Information: This offer limited to customers who are either citizens or resident aliens of the United States (U.S.) with a valid U.S. taxpayer identification number. The value of rewards from redeemed Points may be reported to the IRS as miscellaneous income on Form 1099-MISC in the year redeemed, if the value of the rewards plus other taxable miscellaneous income awards received from Citibank, N.A., is in the aggregate $600 or greater for a calendar year, as required by applicable law. Customer is responsible for any applicable taxes. “

Is it worth it?

A Citigold account has a monthly fee of $30, but that’s waived if you keep $50,000 or more in Citi deposits.

If you don’t want to make those types of deposits, you’ll probably have to pay the fee for about 5 – 6 months, or $150 – $180 worth of fees for a $400 or larger payout.

This is a deal that comes and goes, though it’s the first we’ve seen it since Citi added real airline transfer partners to the ThankYou program.

There’s no hard credit inquiry involved, so if you’re willing to go through the hassle of staying on top of the bill payments and getting points credited, it’s a way to nicely pad your existing ThankYou points account with even more points, especially if you plan to take advantage of airline transfer partners.


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2 thoughts on 40,000 Thank You point Citi checking bonus – go or no go?

  1. Max

    Does Citi combine the thank you points across checking account and credit cards? What is I opened a CitiGold and a Citi Preferred card – that’ll put me over the 60K TY points. Will that trigger a 1099 ?


      @Max – They do combine points across the accounts for the purposes of redemption. It’s not clear though whether they combine the checking and credit bonuses for 1099 purposes. Our sense is no, since a credit card bonus has a specific spending requirement, so it could viewed as a rebate rather than outright income. Or put another way, Citi doesn’t send 1099s for 60k credit card bonuses.


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