Citi Refunds Late Fees Automatically
Citi is somewhat of an afterthought to a lot of miles and points people, although it shouldn't be. They have maybe the best mid tier card on the market, at least when it comes to earning capabilities. They also have been greatly improving the ThankYou Points program since its initial launch. One thing Citi has never had on their side is great customer service or efficient IT. Hey, we can't expect ALL things, right? That is why I was recently floored by their IT and just how efficient it was in a time of need. So much so that it saved me a TON of wife points. This is how Citi refunds late fees automatically, at least in certain circumstances.
Our New Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card
This story begins with my wife grabbing a new Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card. Of course we grabbed it mere days before it jumped to 75,000 AAdvantage miles. I'm not bitter at all either, I promise! We signed up in early April, and finished the spend pretty quickly paying some larger bills we had. I figured that the first statement would settle some time in May and we would make the payment in full at that point.
I ran through all of my cards on my spreadsheet at the end of April, as I always do, and noticed the statement hadn't cut yet at that time. No big deal, I figured it would settle some time in May and I would pay it then.
In preparation for my 40th birthday trip, which was amazing (more to come on that), I ran through the bottom half of my spreadsheet to make sure everything was squared away. I had put the American Airlines card towards the bottom of the sheet figuring I would slot it in the proper place once I knew when it settled each month. My list is based on the statement day each month for each card.
Getting My Birthday Surprise
When I got home from the trip I went through the rest of the sheet to get everything caught up. Once I got to the American Airlines card it said that we were 4 days late on our payment. Crap! The statement had cut the last day of April, a few days after I last checked the account. I probably would have caught it had I been home but my system failed me a bit here. In all honesty, I should have paid more attention to the settle date on the online account versus waiting for the first statement. That way I would have been more prepared and paid it before I left.
I immediately paid the balance but noticed a $30 late fee and $37 in finance charges. My first thought was that my birthday trip just got a little more expensive. The important thing to note here is you are not technically late until it hits the 30 day mark. So, even though I had annoying fees to pay, it would not be reported as a late payment on my credit report. That was the important thing after all.
Having had this happen in the pas, I knew card issuers could be lenient on those fees sometimes. As always, it never hurts to ask. That is when I set to burning the most valuable points in the world, my wife points.
Citi Refunds Late Fees Automatically
I needed my wife to call Citi since it was her credit card card. I prepper with her and told her to say the following once she got to an agent:
Hi, I have a new account with you that we missed the payment by a few days on. We were on vacation and weren't sure when the first statement would settle etc. I told her to talk about her being a long time cardholder and having never had this happen before etc.
It appears this was all for not, since Citi refunds late fees automatically. At least in certain scenarios.
Citi's Automated Phone System To The Rescue
My wife called into Citi using the number on the back of her card. After inputting her card number and going through prompts she was dumped into the voice activated system. The bot asked her to say what she needed in a few words. She replied:
Late Fee Refund
The bot replied to allow her a few moments to look into the account. A few seconds later she came back with “good news” and said that the fee would be refunded, as would the interest charges.
We received the text messages a few seconds later confirming both refunds. I was FLOORED!
Why I Think This Happened
There are a few things that I think helped us here. My wife has had a few Citi cards for several years and we have always made on time payments. I think making the payment in full before calling was key too. That probably helps the system determine this was a clerical type error versus a money issue.
Citi Refunds Late Fees Automatically: ToP Thoughts
I had figured that we would get the late fee refunded but was less sure on the interest charges. Getting both was a surprise for sure, but the thing that really blew my mind was that my wife didn't need to talk to anyone at all. That meant that most of my wife points were salvaged, to be used on another rainy day. And by rainy day I mean an annoying call to a bank or credit card company.
It is cool to see that Citi refunds late fees automatically. I have had other issuers process a similar refund but it has always been after speaking with an agent and pleading my case. This really streamlines things and is a great customer experience.
If you find yourself in a similar boat, with Citi or another issuer, be sure to give it a try. Hey, $30 is $30 after all!