So, you’ve circumnavigated the treacherous waters of credit card rules and opened five Chase cards to earn some of the most valuable points on the market. You’ve sampled the sweet taste of free travel and are now ready to bite off a larger piece of the world by earning rewards from other banks.

However, you must know that just like Chase, other card issuers have their rules for approving your credit application.

Citibank is no stranger to the world of rewards credit cards and has set some rules that you must know before you click “Submit” on that application.

What Are Credit Card Families?

This might sound odd, but Citi has a family tree of the types of credit cards the bank issues. A family simply refers to the credit cards that earn the same kind of points.

For example, both the Citi Rewards+® Card and the Citi Premier® Card (not available to new applicants) credit cards earn ThankYou Points and belong to the same family of cards. The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard, the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® all collect American Airlines AAdvantage miles and are part of another family.

AAdvantage Cards: One Bonus Per Card Per 48 Months

Now that you understand how card families work, remember that you can receive only one sign-up bonus per 48 months on any given American AAdvantage card. For example, if you opened the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card and received a welcome bonus, it’s not possible to receive the bonus again for 48 months. However, you can open the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card and earn another bonus.

Note that the clock resets if the original card has been closed or downgraded to a no-fee card.

The one-bonus-per-card rule doesn’t apply to the co-branded American Airlines credit cards issued by Barclays because they belong to another bank and therefore fall under that issuer’s approval rules.

ThankYou Rewards Cards: One Bonus Per 48 Months

A similar rule applies to ThankYou Point-earning cards, but the clock is much shorter.

You must wait 48 months from opening, closing or upgrading/downgrading a Citi card that earns ThankYou Points to earn a welcome bonus on another card in the same family.

This means that if you earn a bonus on the Citi Rewards+ Card, then apply for the Citi Premier Card less than 48 months later, you will not receive a welcome bonus on the Citi Premier.

Business Card Rules

Business cards follow the same rules as consumer cards. For example, you can earn a sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card once every 48 months.

Wait Between Applications

Personal Cards

Citi limits you to one personal Citi card application per eight days. For instance, you opened the Citi Premier Card and want to start earning American Airlines miles, too. Because of the rule, you must wait at least eight days before applying for a Citi AAdvantage card.

Additionally, you can’t open more than two personal cards per 65-day period. In other words, don’t go all gung-ho and open Citi cards left and right to diversify your points portfolio. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You risk getting rejected and lowering your credit score for nothing if you apply for too many cards at once.

Not only will this strategy give you enough time to meet the spending requirement on the first card before you move on to another, but it also will allow your credit score to bounce back after a temporary drop because of a new application.

Business Cards

Business cards have rules as well, and they’re more strict. You must wait at least 90 days since you opened your last Citi business card before applying for another one. Again, this approach gives you time to meet spending requirements without overextending your monthly budget (which you shouldn’t do anyway).

Is Citi Sensitive to Credit Card Inquiries?

To increase your approval odds, wait until you’ve got fewer than six credit inquiries under your belt in the last six months. This is a soft rule and isn’t always enforced, but it can affect the outcome of your application.

Keep in mind that inquiries aren’t the same as credit card approvals. Credit inquiries can include car loans, a Schwab checking account and credit card applications.

Are Targeted Mailers Exempt from These Rules?

You may have received a “pre-approved” application in the mail. The offer often lists an enticing number of points and says that your credit score is high enough to qualify. Although it might be true, the banks that generate these mailers often have no idea if you already have the offered card or a card in the same family.

If you’re tempted by the mailer, look it over carefully. You’ll often find the restricting 48-month language on the back or in the fine print. Don’t apply for the card if you received a bonus on a card in the same family within the designated time frame. You won’t qualify for another bonus, and you’ll likely get a temporary dock in your credit score from a hard inquiry.

Final Thoughts

As issuers change their rules, it’s vital to be aware of each bank’s guidelines. However, don’t let restrictions deter you from getting some amazing offers. With a clear strategy in place, you can keep acquiring card bonuses while avoiding the roadblocks. Just plan ahead and remember—slow and steady wins the race.