Citi Checking Account Bonus $200/$400 in Gift Cards

Citibank is offering new checking account customers a bonus of either a 20,000 or 40,000 ThankYou points, worth $200 or $400 in gift cards. You must:

  • Open a new Citibank checking account in the Citigold or Citibank Account Package by 10/31/2011.
  • Enroll the new checking account in Citi ThankYou Rewards.
  • Within 45 days after account opening, initiate one direct deposit AND complete one electronic bill payment for two consecutive months.

ThankYou Point Value Recap
There are a decent number of options for these poitns. 10,000 ThankYou points = $100 Wal-mart Gift card, which you can sell for a $95.55 gift certificate or $91 cash at Alternatively, can be worth $100 towards Expedia travel, a student loan, or paying down your mortgage. More details in the Citi $500 ThankYou card post.

Citibank Account: 20,000 ThankYou Point Bonus (Easier)

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • $6,000 minimum balance in linked accounts (checking, savings, personal, credit card balances) to avoid $20 monthly fee.

Citigold Account: 40,000 ThankYou Point Bonus (Harder)

  • $500 minimum opening deposit
  • There’s no monthly service fee for the first 2 statement cycles. After that, in order to waive the $30 monthly service fee you need the combined average balance of your eligible linked accounts to be:
    • $50,000 or more for all linked deposit and retirement accounts OR
    • $100,000 or more across all your eligible linked Citi accounts, excluding a first mortgage with Citibank OR
    • $250,000 or more if your Citibank first mortgage is included in the total relationship.

For most people, I think the 20,000 ThankYou point offer will be the easier one to qualify for if you have $6,000 to move over there instead of an online savings account earning only 1% APY. $6,000 would only earn $60 over an entire year, at that rate. Even it takes 6 months to get your $200 bonus, that’s a 6.67% annualized return.

I thought that the Citigold might be doable since the monthly fees are waived for the first two months, but I saw in the fine print that the points might take another 90 days to post and your account must be open until then. This option would only work well if you have a mortgage with Citi.

The bonus ThankYou Points will be credited to your ThankYou Member Account within 90 days from the end of the statement period in which you satisfy all offer requirements. New checking account must be open and in good standing at the time the bonus ThankYou Points are posted to your ThankYou Member Account.

Afterwards, if you wish, you can downgrade to the Basic Account which offers a way to avoid monthly fees with no minimum balance, if you make 5 “qualified transaction” activities per month (direct deposits, debit card purchase, bill payment, ACH payments, checks paid, ATM withdrawals).

Update: Citibank has updated their checking account to have different restrictions starting with statements ending on 12/9/2011.


  1. Why not go for the 40,000 point offer, and then pay the $30 fee for a month or two if necessary? You can close the account if you like once the points arrive in your ThankYou account, right? I don’t really want an extra bank account anyway.

  2. Why not avoid Citi altogether? Personally speaking, they have been nothing but trouble for us and we used to have several different types of accounts with them (checking, saving, credit card, student loan).

  3. As a note citibank is upping the min balance requirements for the “Citibank Account” to $15k starting around mid November. So do expect to either pay fees or get a much lower return on your points (from 6.67% to about 2.67%)

  4. Nice offer but does anyone know how to initial direct deposit by yourself without involving third party (i.e. paycheck or social security payment etc.) that will meet the requirement?

  5. I’ve been citibank customer for last 11 years.. Now I am planning to switch to CU .. They are increasing minimum balance requirement for eZchecking from 1500 to 6000. Switching requires, setting up all the bill pay accounts again with another bank account..

  6. ACH push from another bank.

  7. Dan - BankVibe says:

    Looks like Citi got a little overzelous with the gift cards. They were offering both $300 and $500 gift card packages for signing up with new credit cards earlier last month. Since then theyve bagged that promo and are now offering the cards with new checking accounts. The requirements with the credit cards were a little less steep though. You could get $200 in gift cards for just $500 in purchases over 3 months with your credit card…

  8. Also, THank You Poitns from banking will show up as a 1099.

    SO to the person who wanted to pay the $30 fees for two months, you’ll also pay taxes on ~$400 of income depending on what you redeem for.

  9. @csdx: Where could I see this on their site? I couldn’t find any mention of changes. This would be a deal-breaker for me.

  10. Here’s an article just today on CNN about the Citi changes:

  11. Yep, hefty increase in minimum requirement to avoid that $20 monthly fee. I’ve had a checking about with Citibank for ages. Last year they twice tried to sneak in a monthly fee – no change in account or terms. When I called them on it they removed it, twice. Made plans to move then but never finished. Will move now.

  12. I would avoid this Citi offers at all costs. It’s always such a hassle to actually get your points. You have to call several times and email. It’s crazy. They do not care about their customers!

  13. Same question as KP. Do they accept an ACH push (PayPal, ING, CapitalOne, etc.) as direct deposit, or does it actually need to be a paycheck deposited?

  14. I’ll repost what I posted on the Chase deal:

    For anyone in NY/PA/MD/DE/VA, M&T Bank has a $100 bonus on opening a “My Choice Checking” account. You have to add direct deposit, but the minimum balance to avoid a fee is only $500, or you can use your debit card 10 times per month. And if you miss, the fee is only $7.

    Also if you know a non-branch employee (like me), they can give you a referral card that — through December — will get you an ADDITIONAL $100.

  15. What’s a non-branch employee? And, Jonathan, can you please post within the text of your post that the Citibank Account must maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $15,000 for the statements ending in December 2011?!? Plus, it takes at least 5-6 months for people to receive their account opening bonus. It’ll be helpful for all.

  16. I was a Citibank member for about 15 years, had their rewards credit card, charged probably at least 50k over those years, always paid off my balance, and enjoyed a low interest rate for 14 of those 15 years. Then one day, even though I was always a good customer, and never once missed a payment, they sent me a letter saying that they were raising my credit card interest rate at a time when I didn’t have a balance to something abnormally high for all future charges. This was back in 2008… They said it was because of other customers they had to do this. The letter went on to state that if I wasn’t interested in the rate increase, I could cancel my card, which I immediately did. They didn’t even try to keep me. I was devasted, because I had been with them for so long and thought we had a good relationship. BUT– this turned out better than I imagined, because I switched to another bank, found an even lower credit card rate, which I still enjoy today. I’m now a great customer of one of their competitors.

  17. What does it mean when it says the account must be in “good standing”. Like the first person to comment what if I just sign up for the account and don’t put in the required amount. Say I get charged the $30 fee for a few months but in the end I still come out way ahead since I’m getting the $400 bonus. Or will they not honor the bonus if you don’t try to maintain the required balance.

  18. @Dion

    I work at our headquarters as an economic analyst, not in a branch. That makes me a non-branch, or non-customer-facing employee.

    If they let branch employees give referrals, they’d just refer every customer…

  19. @GregK, how are I get your referral? and Can I use it to open the Checking account with $200 gift card bonus? thanks.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Don’t even bother with Citibank’s promotion. They’ll try to rip you off! If you’re one of the rare lucky ones they will delay giving you the bonus. And if you close your account before they credit your account, then you’re out of luck. But if you’re like the rest of us, they’ll send you a letter saying that you didn’t qualify for the bonus or that you didn’t fulfill the terms of the promotional bonus. I am saying this from personal experience in 2011. Unless you’re persistent, follow their terms of agreement to the letter, and know the correct venues to complain to, you will not get this bonus. If you did everything correctly, then definitely file a complaint to the federal trade commission. Best of luck!

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