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How to upgrade a Citi card

Tips on upgrading or downgrading your Citi credit card and eligibility requirements


Thinking of upgrading or downgrading your current Citi card to another one? Learn how to request a product change with our latest guide.

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If you have a Citi credit card you no longer want, you could apply for a new card or cancel your current card. Unfortunately, both of these strategies will likely cause a hit to your credit score.

Another option you could try is to request an upgrade or downgrade to a different Citi card. Switching from one card to another is known as a product change. Receiving a product change allows you to upgrade or downgrade your account to another Citi credit card that better fits your current needs. It’s also a great way to lower your annual fee or access different rewards and card benefits without hurting your credit score.

Every card issuer has different rules regarding product change requests. Citi has a reputation as one of the most generous issuers in this aspect. However, like many card issuers, its policy isn’t widely advertised or published online. Change request guidelines also vary from card to card. If you’re interested in upgrading or downgrading your current card, you’ll need to touch base with Citi’s customer service department.

Keep reading to learn more about how to upgrade or downgrade a credit card with Citi, including a look at some popular Citi credit cards available currently.

Upgrade process

There are two primary ways to upgrade or downgrade a Citi credit card – respond to a targeted offer or request a product change directly through Citi customer service.

Occasionally, Citi extends targeted offers by email to current cardholders to change to a new product. If you receive a targeted offer for a Citi product change, you can complete the entire product change process online via the link provided. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict if or when you’ll receive a targeted offer.

If you haven’t received a targeted offer, you’ll need to call Citi’s customer service number listed on the back of your card to request an upgrade or downgrade.

Research the best Citi cards before calling so you know which card you want to switch to. Write down any specific questions you have concerning the new card’s terms, especially its annual fee and rewards. A customer service representative will walk you through the available upgrade or downgrade option. You can complete this entire process over the phone.

Product changes can take time to process. Ask the customer service representative how long it will take to receive your new card, and continue to make payments on your old card until the product change is complete and updated on your online account and card statement.

Eligibility requirements

Citi evaluates product change requests on a case-by-case basis. There is not one specific set of eligibility requirements across the board. With that in mind, you should consider the following factors before requesting a new card.

How long you’ve had your current card

Citi doesn’t require you to keep a card open for a specific time before you can upgrade it. It’s entirely possible that you could upgrade or downgrade after just a few months of card ownership. However, a good rule of thumb is to wait until the one-year mark. This is due to protections in place from the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which protects cardholders from a higher annual fee in the first year.

The type of card you want

Credit card issuers typically restrict product changes to a single family of cards – meaning ones that offer the same rewards currency. Citi, however, is one of the exceptions to this rule, making it one of the most flexible issuers.

As long as your account is in good standing, you should be able to switch to any other Citi card that you qualify for. This goes for product changes between rewards currencies (points to cash back or vice versa) or even to one of Citi’s many co-branded credit cards.

Remember that Citi evaluates all product changes on a case-by-case basis and reserves the right to approve or decline your request based on your situation.

Account standing

Make sure your account is in good standing before requesting a product change. Citi is in the business of keeping customers happy but may not extend you the offer you want if you have a history of late payments.

Changes to your credit card

So, what can you expect to change when you upgrade or downgrade your Citi card? Unfortunately, Citi doesn’t share its process publicly, so it might look different from one person to the next. Ask the customer service representative about each of the following details when switching cards.

Card number, APR and credit limit

A product change preserves your account, but you should confirm with the customer service representative if your card number and APR will remain the same on your new card.

Rewards balance

If your Citi card earns rewards, they should carry over to the new card if it’s within the same family of cards. For example, if you switch between two cards that earn ThankYou points, your balance should transfer over without losing any points.

Switching between cards that offer two different rewards currencies, such as from ThankYou points to cash back, could mean losing existing rewards. If you have a rewards balance on your current card, ask the customer service representative how long you have to redeem them before they expire. Another option is to redeem all of your rewards before requesting a product change.

Annual fee

There’s no guarantee that you can get an annual fee refunded, or at least prorated if you downgrade cards with Citi. Ask the customer service representative whether you’re eligible to receive a full or partial refund when making a product change request.

If you upgrade a Citi credit card to one with a higher annual fee, the new fee will post on the first statement after the product change is processed.

Benefits of upgrading or downgrading

Since Citi has such an extensive portfolio of top-notch rewards cards, there are many good reasons to upgrade or downgrade your card with the bank. Most notably, you can ensure that your card’s rewards are always working for you.

Say, for example, you signed up for the Citi Premier® Card to take advantage of its high rewards rate on travel, dining and more. But, now you find that you don’t spend as heavily in those categories, and you could benefit more from a card that offers a flat rate on every purchase. Rather than apply for a new card and suffer a hard pull to your score, you could request to switch to the Citi® Double Cash Card – which offers one of the best flat rates of cash back available.

Downgrading your card is a great way to lower or drop an expensive annual fee. So, if you originally signed up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® to take advantage of its generous travel perks – but now don’t travel enough to justify the $450 annual fee – you can downgrade to the co-branded American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, which carries no annual fee.

Tips for making the most out of your upgrade or downgrade

  • Before you apply, research other Citi cards to find the option that best matches your needs.
  • Read your desired card’s terms and conditions carefully before requesting a product change.
  • Always ask the customer service representative about your approved product change options – in case you are missing out on a better one.
  • Ask to have your annual fee prorated if you downgrade to a card with no fee.
  • If you are switching to a new rewards currency, don’t forget to cash in your current rewards balance.

Popular Citi credit cards

CardRewards rateAnnual fee
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
  • 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, then 1% back
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
Citi Double Cash® Card
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 1% additional cash back as you pay off those purchases
Citi Simplicity® Card
  • N/A
Citi Premier® Card
  • 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels
  • 1X points on everything else
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
  • N/A
Citi Rewards+® Card
  • Limited time offer: 5X points at restaurants in your first 12 months (on up to $6,000 in spending, then 1X points)
  • 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points)
  • 1X points on everything else

Bottom line

Citi may offer some of the most flexibility among card issuers in terms of product changes. Keep in mind that Citi has no set upgrade guidelines and reviews requests on a case-by-case basis. Get the information you need from Citi’s customer service department to make an informed decision about whether to upgrade or downgrade your current Citi credit card. Ask questions about retaining your rewards balance and an annual fee refund before requesting a product change.

Not only can requesting a product change help you avoid the credit score drop from canceling or applying for a new card, but it could lead to better rewards and perks that align with your needs now and in the future.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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