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Several weeks I wrote a post entitled “Why You Should Get The Citi Prestige Card Soon.”
As I’ve explained before, the Citi Prestige® Card is one of the all around most compelling credit cards out there, as it offers a great sign-up bonus, great perks, and a great return on everyday spend.
To verrrrrrry briefly recap:
The Citi Prestige® Card offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months — those points can be transferred to one of their airline transfer partners, or be redeemed for revenue flights on any airline.
Among other things, the Citi Prestige® Card offers:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
Return on everyday spend
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining out and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
Why this is your last chance for the 2015 airline fee credit
As I explained in the previous post, the Citi Prestige® Card has a $450 annual fee, though it comes with a $250 annual airline credit. This credit is about as straightforward as it gets. They’ll reimburse you for up to $250 worth of airline charges, whether it’s a ticket purchase, paying for taxes on an award ticket, a change fee, a mileage purchase, etc. If the purchase is processed by the airline, it will get reimbursed.
I think all of us spend at least $250 per year on airlines, so to me that credit is just about good as cash, and for mental account purposes, lowers the annual fee to $200.
Anyway, while the card’s annual fee is based on your cardmember year (in other words, if you apply now, you pay the second year’s annual fee in 12 months), the annual airline credit is based on the calendar year.
If you want to minimize your “out of pocket” as much as possible, you’ll want to apply for the card ASAP so that you can take advantage of the 2015 airline credit, but also get the 2016 airline credit soon. There are a couple of details to understand about the airline credit:
- The credit isn’t applied based on a “straight” calendar year, but rather based on purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December
- Anecdotally the credit posts when your first statement closes, assuming you spend the required amount on airlines; the terms state it can take up to two billing cycles for the airline credit to post
So if you want to receive $500 worth of airline credits within a couple of months of applying for the card, you’ll want to apply in the next few days, so that you have a full billing cycle before the end of the year. Again, in terms of mental accounting this minimizes your up front “out of pocket” for the card.
Doing the math
If you apply for the Citi Prestige® Card today, hopefully you’ll have it in your possession and activated within a week, which puts us around November 22, give or take. Then the first billing cycle would close around December 22. As long as you spend $250 on airlines during the first billing cycle, you should hopefully get that amount reimbursed.
Then the following billing cycle you can pick up another $250 airline credit.
Again, this includes virtually any purchase processed directly by the airline, including gift cards (assuming they process them directly).
That’s $500 in airline credits in a matter of months, which is incredible. That puts you $50 “ahead” of the annual fee, and that doesn’t even begin to factor in how amazing this card is for the perks it offers, in particular the fourth night free hotel benefit.
The Citi Prestige® Card is my all around favorite credit card. The Admirals Club access and Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges are awesome, the fourth night free benefit has literally saved me thousands of dollars this year alone, and the airline credit helps offset the annual fee.
This is a card I picked up earlier in the year, and one I plan to hold onto for a very long time. If you’ve been thinking of getting the Citi Prestige® Card and want to minimize your out of pocket, now is the time to apply.