For the past few years, I've carried three credit cards issued by Citibank:
- Double Cash;
- Dividend Platinum Select;
- and AAdvantage Platinum Select.
These are all middling credit cards I held onto for no particularly good reasons. The Double Cash is a replacement-level 2% cash back card, the Dividend used to be good for $300 in annual cash back (although recent bonus categories have been fairly boring), and the AAdvantage card was good for free checked bags, generous retention offers, and periodic promotional interest rates on purchases, plus American's poorly-publicized "reduced mileage awards" to certain cities, which I've taken advantage of perhaps a total of 2 times in my life.
Now they're all closed
When my Double Cash statement closed at the beginning of June, I noticed I wasn't able to redeem my cash back rewards through the app as I had in the past, but I wasn't sure if I'd actually been shut down or if the app was just malfunctioning, as it does more or less constantly.
When I got back to a computer and logged into my Citi account they helpfully suggested I remove my credit cards from my login, which was my first definite clue I'd been shut down. Yesterday, I finally got a bunch of letters regretfully informing me my accounts had been closed as of June 7.
What should have, and what ultimately did, cause my shutdown
When I first moved back to the East Coast from the Midwest, I was glad that I had a Citibank branch a few blocks from my apartment. I started dropping off money orders there regularly in order to pay off my credit card bills, until I got a very odd phone call from a Citi employee who insisted everything I was doing was totally fine...she just had some questions.
After that phone call, I expected my accounts to be closed in short order, but they weren't. I stopped paying off my balances in-branch, and never heard from them again, until I received notice in June that my accounts had all been closed.
The proximate cause of my shutdown seems to be that back in March I started making payments to my Double Cash card using Walmart's in-store bill pay service. I only made four total payments, but that was enough to reanimate Citi's anti-fraud department and close all my accounts just a few short months later.
Citi has never been one of the banks I rely on in my travel hacking practice, and I suppose I've been a dead man walking with them ever since I started making what are sometimes facetiously called "anonymous payments" to my cards (there's nothing anonymous about them, of course).
But if you do rely on Citi ThankYou cards like the Premier or Prestige, or churning AAdvantage signup bonuses, to pay for your own travel, don't be stupid: make all your payments to your cards through Citi's bill payment service, and keep your head down.
It's the tall grass, after all, that gets mown.