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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige is expired. You can find the current offer details here.
Yesterday I wrote about the increased sign-up bonus being offered on the Citi Prestige Card. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months, which is substantially higher than the usual sign-up bonus of 30,000 points upon completing minimum spend.
As I explained yesterday, the Citi Prestige Card comes with some awesome perks, including the following:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- Access to American Admirals Clubs
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
- No foreign transaction fees
With the annual airline credit (which can outright be applied towards the cost of an airline ticket) you already come out ahead after the first year, given that you’ll get two $250 airline fee credits with your first year’s annual fee (one for the 2015 calendar year, and one for the 2016 calendar year).
But what I didn’t cover in great detail yesterday was what the points earned with the Citi Prestige Card can be redeemed towards.
There are two best uses for Citi ThankYou Rewards points:
Convert Citi ThankYou Rewards points into airline miles
Much like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards has both airline and hotel transfer partners.
Altogether they have a dozen transfer partners, including one hotel chain and 11 airline partners, as follows:
|Air France/KLM | Flying Blue||Garuda Indonesia | Frequent Flyer||Qatar Airways | Privilege Club||Hilton | HHonors|
|Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles||JetBlue | TrueBlue||Singapore Airlines | KrisFlyer|
|EVA Air | Infinity MileageLands||Malaysia Airlines | Enrich||Thai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus|
|Etihad | Etihad Guest||Qantas | Frequent Flyer||Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club|
But I’d argue that converting ThankYou Rewards points into airline miles potentially isn’t the best use of Citi ThankYou Rewards points.
Redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points towards airfare
Much like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards points can be redeemed towards the cost of a paid airline ticket. The difference is that this is actually an efficient use of points earned with the Citi Prestige Card.
Ordinarily ThankYou Rewards points can be redeemed for once cent each towards the cost of airfare. That’s definitely not a rate at which I’d recommend redeeming those points.
That being said, the Citi Prestige Card is the “premium” ThankYou Rewards product, and comes with improved redemption rates. Rather than only being able to redeem each point for one cent towards the cost of a ticket, those with the Citi Prestige Card can redeem each ThankYou Rewards point for:
- 1.6 cents towards the cost of a ticket on American or US Airways (60% more value)
- 1.33 cents towards the cost of a ticket on another airline (33% more value)
Your points are worth more when redeemed for American Airlines or US Airways® flights than when redeemed for non-air travel booked through the Citi ThankYou® Travel Center.
For example, 50,000 ThankYou Points can be redeemed for a $500 hotel stay, an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways® (60% more value), or a $665 flight on any other airline (33% more value).
To learn more about all the ways you can use ThankYou® Points, visit the Citi ThankYou Rewards website.
For what it’s worth, travel booked using points needs to be booked through Citi’s website, and you don’t need enough points for the entire redemption. In other words, if an American ticket costs $1,000, you could redeem 50,000 points and then pay $200 in cash for the remainder of the ticket.
Also keep in mind that this card offers the following rewards structure for everyday spend:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
- For air travel and hotel spend you’re earning a return of 4.8% towards the cost of American/US Airways airfare
- For dining and entertainment you’re earning a return of 3.2% towards the cost of American/US Airways airfare
Combining with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card
The mid-range card which accrues Citi ThankYou Rewards points is the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. Points earned on that card can also be redeemed towards the cost of airfare, though not with the 33-60% bonus.
That being said, if you have both the Citi ThankYou Premier Card and Citi Prestige Card you can transfer points from one card to the other, and then redeem those points for travel on American/US Airways at a rate of 1.6 cents per point.
This is potentially a way to maximize the value of ThankYou Rewards points earned through both cards towards the cost of American/US Airways airfare.
Being able to redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points for 1.6 cents towards the cost of an American or US Airways ticket is a great value.
Breaking it down, if you apply for the Citi Prestige Card and pay the $450 annual fee you receive:
- $500 worth of airline credits (one $250 airline credit per calendar year)
- 50,000 points, which can be converted into $800 towards the cost of an American/US Airways ticket
- $100 Global Entry fee waiver
- Admirals Club access, plus the most comprehensive Priority Pass Select membership offered by any credit card
That’s quite a compelling sign-up bonus, especially if you’re an American/US Airways flyer.
Would you redeem ThankYou Rewards points earned through the Citi Prestige Card towards the cost of airfare or convert them into airline miles?