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Which Card Should I Get? Part 3 – Citi Bank

The Military Churning Guide to Citi Bank

This Part 3 lineup only grants $250 in travel and American Airlines Club membership every year, but it is essential to fill in the missing pieces for the top 3 banks’ premium cards and the top 3 airlines’ lounge access cards.

BLUF: Get Two Citi Cards.

1. The Prestige

2. The American Airlines Executive Card

Citi Application Rules

You can get unlimited cards as long as they approve you, Limit of 1 card every 8 days, Limit of 2 cards every 65 days, Only 1 bonus per card family every 24 months, you can product change ANY Citi card to ANY OTHER Citi card after a year.

Citi and Waived Annual Fees

Oh Citi, you fickle mistress. Citi has toyed with our military emotions for years with the selective or completely arbitrary application of SCRA benefits. Chase was a bit of a wild card for a while but paled in comparison to the roller coaster of mystery Citi had in its military department. Then the MLA came around and Citi toed the line with MLA annual fee waivers from roughly Dec 2017 – March 2018. Then they stopped for reasons no one can decipher and all of us that got cards with MLA waivers during that short window held our breaths for the card anniversary to see if the waivers would still happen. Some did, some didn’t, and the speculations went wild. But then, suddenly, maybe around February 2019, they started again, and even extended benefits to spouses, maybe. Since then, data points seem to be mostly positive with MLA waivers for most, a few speculative denials here and there for both service members and spouses, but no issues at all with TDWise.

Citi Card Strategy

  1. Get the Prestige card for that sweet $250 annual travel credit and 4th-night free benefit. They have a lot of other cool card features too that I’ll write about when I get around to making that card’s blog page. If I’m being honest, which we pledge to do for you, dear readers, it’s not as motivating to write card pages without the ability to refer them *stomps foot while aggressively glaring at Citi.* At this point, as with all the other banks, give the Citi SCRA unit a ring here and get that MLA applied, hopefully.
  2. The AA Executive card, which is coincidentally also sans blog page at the moment, is all about the lounge access and sign-up bonus. Citi is pretty cut and dry, except when they aren’t.

You’ll notice above in the rules that you can product change any card to any card, an advantage to Citi not found in other banks. This kind of opens the floodgates with what you can do from here. You may not be getting signup bonuses if you stick to the AA and ThankYou Point family since, again, it’s 1 bonus per card family every 24 months, but you could seek other cards outside the family or just get cards in the family, wait a year, and change to the Prestige. Citi is now your oyster, right up until they aren’t.


  1. So, FWIW, I just called Citi and spoke to a very nice lady. Unlike Chase and AMEX, Citi looks at your application and decides if they’re going to waive the fees for you, apparently they do this for each and every account, and the lady I spoke to said that even she doesn’t know what’s in the secret sauce in the back room. In other words, there’s apparently no way to know if you’ll be waived before you apply.


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