Citibank Checking Account Bonuses are Back, but…

We’ve grown accustomed to earning miles from signing up for credit cards, but they come less frequently when signing up for a bank account. Citibank, however, is one of the few that always seems to have some sort of bonus for opening a bank account. Before you apply for an account, however, please read the “Drawbacks” section at the bottom.

A reader alerted me to the fact that Citibank has upgraded its bonuses, offering up to 50,000 AA miles or 40,000 ThankYou Points for opening a checking account. You can start your application here and enter either of the following two codes (If you get the message saying that the deal isn’t offered in your state, try it again. There seems to be a bug.):

ThankYou Points: 4368UUP5L4

American: WD3QFS2Y4C

(Edited to add: This deal appears to be making the rounds on other blogs. The following charts, however, were taken from Saverocity and Doctor of Credit, respectively. Thank you!).

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 5.05.53 PM

For 50,000 American Airlines miles

For 40,000 Citibank TYPs

For 40,000 Citibank TYPs

The most interesting deals seem to be the high-value ones, for the Citigold accounts. Both require 1 or more bill payments for consecutive months and the Aadvantage miles bonus also needs $1,000 in debit card purchases. Both need to be done within 60 days of opening the account. Neither of those is particularly onerous.

Drawbacks

Sounds almost too easy, right? Well, it’s easy to earn the bonuses, but be aware of potential consequences.

First, the account comes with fees, starting with the third statement cycle. By that time, you should have completed your purchase requirements and, if you like, closed the account, but you’ll get hit with a $30 monthly fee for each month afterwards (unless you meet one of the fee waivers).

Second, miles or points earned from owning a bank account are taxable.

None of the following is tax advice. For specific tax information, consult your accountant.

Note: Credit card points are generally treated as a rebate and are not taxable. Miles from opening a bank account do generate a 1099-Misc tax form. It appears that $600 is the earning threshold that Citibank uses, but it could differ and they reserve the right to send you a tax form regardless of dollar amount. In the past, Citi has valued miles at 2.5c each. That may also change.

Third, miles from bank accounts usually cannot be transferred to partners (i.e., they can only be used for gift cards or travel). Specifically, Citi calls out taxable miles as ineligible for transfer, which would include these.

Finally, these promos may apply only to Citibank Aadvantage credit card holders, although I’ve also heard of non-cardholders receiving the promo.. Please call Citibank before applying to verify that you are eligible.

Bottom Line

Feel free to take advantage of the promotion, but read the fine print. The promotion period ends on March 31.

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