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It depends on the credit card you get. If you get a general rewards credit card like the Citi Premier® Card (Citi is a Credit-Land.com advertising partner), you will have 3 months to spend $4,000 in purchases to qualify for the 80,000 sign-up bonus offer. Once you spend the required amount within the allotted period of time, your bonus will appear on your Citi ThankYou Rewards account within up to two billing cycles (about two months). The earned bonus can be used towards travel expenses, redeemed for gift cards, cash rewards, a statement credit, or you can shop with points at thankyou.com.
If you apply for a co-branded credit card, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, your redemption options will be limited. Currently, you can spend earned points for award travel with American Airlines and its partners, rent a car, or book a hotel. The card's sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles is rather easy to earn. You will have to spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to qualify. Once you qualify for the bonus offer, the points will appear in your AAdvantage account within about 8-10 weeks.