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What’s Citi’s 48-month rule?

Earning the same signup bonus twice may not be easy.

If your only reason for getting a credit card is to earn the signup bonus, your options will be slightly limited due to the Citi 48-month rule (Citi is an advertising partner of finder.com).

How does the Citi 48-month rule work?

The Citi 48-month rule prevents you from earning a signup bonus of an American Airlines credit card more than once in 48 months. Credit cards initiate rules like Citi’s 48-month rule to prevent credit card churning — the act of repeatedly applying for credit cards you have no intention on using purely to receive the signup bonus, and then closing the card.

And while not all credit cards are affected, there’s another group of cards that come with a 24-month rule.

Citi’s 24-month rule

The Citi 24-month rule is similar to the 48-month rule, except it’s half the time and it’s much more restrictive. Here’s how it works:

  • If you earned a signup bonus for a card in the ThankYou rewards group, you are ineligible to earn the signup bonus for any of the other cards in the group within 24 months.
  • If you closed one card of the ThankYou rewards group of cards, you are ineligible to earn the signup bonus for any of the other cards in the group within 24 months.

ThankYou rewards cards:

  • Citi Rewards+® Card
  • Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Citi Prestige® Credit Card

There’s another group of cards where the same rules apply, but it only covers the Expedia Rewards Voyager Card and the Expedia® Rewards CARD from Citi.

Cards affected by Citi’s 48-month rule

Card name48-month rule24-month ruleNo restrictions
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
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American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
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CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
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Citi Rewards+® Card
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Citi® ThankYou® Preferred Card
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Citi Premier® Card
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Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Credit Card
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Expedia Rewards Voyager Card from Citi
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Expedia® Rewards CARD from Citi
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Citi® Double Cash Card
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AT&T Access Card from Citi
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Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
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Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card
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How to find out if your card is affected by the 48-month rule

Citi makes it simple to find this information. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the credit card’s webpage.
  2. Read the fine print under the signup bonus.

Can you get out of Citi’s 48-month rule?

Sort of. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® by Barclaycard doesn’t count alongside the Citi 48-month rule because it’s from a different provider. You can also apply for a different American Airlines credit card under Citi than the one you already have. As long as you haven’t applied for the card and earned the signup bonus in the past four years, you’re eligible to earn the card’s signup bonus.

If this doesn’t seem like a good option for you, your only other option is to simply wait it out.

Bottom line

If you own an American Airlines cobranded credit card by Citi and you’re looking to load up points through welcome offers, you’ll either need to wait it out or apply for different versions of Citi’s American Airlines card offerings. There are also several terrific general travel cards that can offer big value without tying you to the American Airlines program.

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