Save Money With The New Citi Smart Savings Program

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I’ve written extensively about the Amex Offers program, whereby you can save a bunch of money by enrolling your American Express cards in a variety of offers. Basically you can register your cards to save money when spending cash at certain retailers. Amex Offers have saved me money on everything from my AT&T phone bill to an Amazon purchase to a Hilton stay to a Westin stay. Amex Offers have paid for the annual fees on several of my Amex cards over and over.

Anyway, Citi has really tried to get competitive this year with their consumer credit cards, perhaps most evident with what they’ve done to improve the Citi Prestige Card and the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. And it seems like one way they’re trying to compete with Amex is with the introduction of the Citi Smart Savings Program.

It still seems to be in the ramp up stage, which is to say that as of now not all cards are targeted, and the offers aren’t all that lucrative yet. That being said, there is money to be saved.

To see if you’re eligible for the Citi Smart Savings program, log into your Citi account and click on “Card Benefits.”

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Once on that page, scroll down and look on the right side of the screen, where you should see “Quick Links.” Under it you should see “Offers For You” listed as the first option.

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This will bring you to a page where you can cycle through your various cards to see what offers are available to you. In some cases these are very similar to Amex Offers.

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For example, my Citi ThankYou® Premier Card didn’t have any listed, while my Citi Prestige Card had several listed. These include:

  • Earn 20% cash back at Starbucks
  • Earn 10% cash back at Sears
  • Earn 10% cash back at Hilton
  • Earn 10% cash back at Chili’s
  • Earn 10% cash back at Sports Authority

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If you click on “More Details” you’ll see the terms associated with the offers, as there are quite a few restrictions.

For example, here are the details for the Starbucks 20% cash back offer, which indicate that you can save at most $4:

Earn 20% cash back on your Starbucks purchase, with a $4 cash back maximum! View the complete menu or find a location near you. Or, earn 20% cash back when you setup auto-reload on your Starbucks card online, with a $4 cash back maximum. Go online to setup auto-reload and sign up for My Starbucks Rewards(TM). Learn how you can earn drinks, refills and food online through My Starbucks Rewards. Offer only valid at company-operated Starbucks(R) stores and online auto-reload. Offer not valid at locations inside grocers, retailers, airports and hotels. Offer valid one time only. Offer expires 12/21/2015.

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Perhaps more lucrative is the Hilton offering, which allows you to save up to $50 off a Hilton stay (it’s especially convenient this offer applies on my Citi Prestige Card, which already offers triple points on hotel purchases):

As the most recognized name in the industry, travelers all over the world have been saying Take me to the Hilton for almost a century. With more than 560 locations across six continents, Hilton provides an authentic and contemporary experience for guests worldwide. Always get the lowest guaranteed price*, only when you book direct at Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Stay at Hilton Hotels & Resorts and earn 10% cash back when you spend between $200 and $500, with a $50 cash back maximum. Offer only valid at Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties. Offer not valid at any other Hilton Worldwide properties. Offer expires 12/21/2015. Payment for your completed stay must be made by 12/21/2015. Offer valid one time only. *Visit hhonors.com/guarantee to learn more about our Best Price Guarantee.

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Bottom line

Clearly the Citi Smart Savings program is still in the early stages, as the offerings are limited and not all cardmembers are targeted yet (only one of my Citi accounts is targeted, for example). That being said, I assume it will be expanded over time, which is an exciting development.

Were your Citi cards targeted for the Citi Smart Savings program? What do you make of the offers?

(Tip of the hat to Out & Out)

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Comments

  1. Looks like CHASE will get the better of AMEX if the Starwood card disappears and the Marriott VISA soars in value. And CITI certainly outsmarted AMEX with its Costco maneuver. But one thing better about AMEX is the way their offers are IMMEDIATELY viewable after you log in. Hopefully CITI will eventually do this as well with its Smart Savings instead of making it so klunky to have to click here, click there to find them. And, by the way, many of us still aren’t seeing any offers at all.

  2. My favorite part is the “. . . with a $4 cash back maximum!” Wow! what an amazing deal! 4 whole dollars off! 😀

  3. Bank of America has a similar feature on their Bank Americard Cash Rewards World Mastercard (and perhaps others) called BankAmeriDeals. They currently have most of the same offers in your post, including the 10% at Hilton as well as 10% at Hampton Inn, Westin, PetCo, Panera Bread, The Fresh Market, Chilis, Kmart, Sears, P.F. Changs, Five Guys, etc.

    I, too, have saved substantial money with these deals.

  4. After a couple of days of seeing nothing, and a friend seeing offers immediately, I used the Live Chat to figure out if something was wrong with what I was doing. The rep informed me that there was a technical issue with the interface, that they were aware of it, and it should be fixed shortly. I work in technology to a degree where I was fairly confident that was a BS answer. I’ve checked for a couple more days, and nothing.

    I go into a new chat, and the person had no idea what I was talking about. After googling it to see the Citi name for it, I told him what the benefit was called, Smart Savings, and he said I needed to call into a number to speak to an account specialist to have my card upgraded. While still in chat, I called that number. I asked him what exactly to what the card had to be upgraded. I got some weird answer in broken English that didn’t make any sense. When I called him on it, and on the multiple explanations that made no sense, and expressed my disappointment, I mysteriously got disconnected due to a server reset (yet somehow my chat session was not interrupted. Again, I think this is BS), and I was given a new rep. Again, this rep went through my benefits, and had no idea what I was talking about.

    During this time, a woman had picked up on the phone call, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I had her and her supervisor google “citi prestige smart savings,” after they tried to tell me that it was likely someone trying to impersonate Citi Prestige. Eventually, they said they needed to do some research, and would call me back in 15 minutes. In fairness, she called back in 5 or so.

    Apparently, the upshot is that you only get these benefits if you bank with Citi in some way. This is not a benefit available to people who only own the Citi card. At least, that’s the answer I have for now.

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