When Can You Use Your 2016 Citi Prestige Airline Credit?

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I consider the Citi Prestige® Card to be the all around most compelling credit card out there, given that it offers the combination of a great sign-up bonus, great perks, and great return on everyday spend.

These perks include the following:

While the fourth night free benefit is personally the perk I’ve gotten the most value out of, the $250 airline credit is probably the most consistently valuable perk to cardmembers. The card has a $450 annual fee, so when you factor in the $250 airline credit, your real “out of pocket” is $200, if you value the airline credit at face value.

Given that the airline credit can be redeemed for virtually any airline purchase (in other words, any purchase processed directly by the airline), including airline tickets, I think most of us basically value it at face value. Presumably most of us spend at least $250 a year with airlines.

I’ve written about the airline credit in great detail, and it’s more or less annual. More accurately, the “annual” benefit runs from your December billing cycle through your December billing cycle the following year:

This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.

This means you can already use your $250 airline credit for 2016 if your Citi Prestige® Card December statement closed. For example, in my case, my December statement closed a few days ago (also happy to have a negative balance thanks to getting some “fourth night free” hotel reimbursements):

Citi-Prestige-Airline-Credit

That means I can already put an airline purchase on my card now (before it’s the 2016 calendar year) and have it reimbursed under next year’s airline credit (given that I’ve already used this year’s credit).

Citi-Airline-Credit

Then I should already be reimbursed the $250 by the time my statement closes in mid-January. Might as well save some cash sooner rather than later!

Singapore-A380
Use your airline credit for any purchase processed by an airline

Bottom line

While the airline credits on American Express cards are based on “strict” calendar years, the Citi Prestige® Card benefits works a bit differently. If your December statement already closed, you should be eligible to already take advantage of your 2016 statement credit. There’s no registration or activation required — just put a $250 purchase onto your card which is processed by an airline, and it should automatically be reimbursed around the same time the statement closes.

And if you apply for the Citi Prestige® Card now you’d also be take advantage of the $250 airline credit as soon as you get the card, and then can do so again for 2017 after your December statement closes next year.

I’m about to book an airline ticket, and you can guess on which card I’m putting the purchase (not to mention the fact that it offers triple points on airfare purchases).

Has your December statement for the Citi Prestige® Card closed, and if so, have you used your 2016 airline credit yet?

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Comments

  1. Amazing card! I just got 4th night free confirmed for a suite at Conservatorium Amsterdam ($979), Grand deluxe room at Pen HK ($880$), and Strand Villa at St Regis Bali ($1467). Wow.

  2. @Sach

    That’s good but how much do you have to pay for 1st to 3rd night? Must be a lot of money too due to the hotel being luxury hotel and the 4th night cost that much.

  3. Thanks for the reminder on this! I have been holding off on an airfare purchase, and I just checked on my closing date. I’m also the 17th, so I can go forward with the purchase. Great card.

    Also, best wishes for a happy holiday to you and yours. Your advice has helped me plane some amazing travel this year.

  4. Timely post for me. I have a couple flights I have to book for our trip to SE Asia in Feb (used AA miles via Cathay to get to HKG, and return from KUL, but need to get flights from HKG to Thailand, and from there to KUL). So to confirm, my statement closed Dec 7th, and I used up the credit for 2015. So I can purchase these flights before 2016, and have the credit show up for January?

  5. Really good card! I just bought tickets for my parents so I can use the credit now. Btw, unlike Amex, you can get this credit with foreign carriers too (Airfrance, for example) and you aren’t limited to the carrier you chose at the begining of the year. Downside: the point transfers are not instantaneous (2 days for Airfrance, for example).

    Also, if you have a Citigold checking account the annual fee is 350, for an effective 100 after the airline fee credit.

  6. Don’t know if this matters to you, but in case you missed it, you might want to black out your credit limit in the screenshot of you account balance.

  7. Slightly concerned about this. I got my $250 credit on my Dec 15 statement, but it also had a message on it saying I would be eligible for the next credit starting in my Dec 16 statement, suggesting the 2 credits in Dec and Jan don’t actually work. I guess I’ll find out for sure when my Jan statement closes.

  8. I had problems with the 4th night free benefit and wonder if anyone else has experienced this issue. First, I called and told the Citi concierge that I wanted to book the Treasure Island in Las Vegas for 4 specific nights in March, 2016. I asked to be connected immediately to Carson Wagonlit but was told they were too busy. So I waited. And waited, and waited some more. Finally, I received a quote for $150/night for the first three nights. The problem was that the hotel’s own website quoted me $109/night. So I wrote back explaining all this and received “profound” apologies and a promise to get back to me. Nothing for over two weeks and then I initiated contact. This time I got a quote of $115/night (which matched the current offer on the TI website) and I booked. They appear to be understaffed both at the Citi level and the Carson Wagonlit level. Now, maybe this is peculiar to Vegas. They already have midweek promotions and don’t offer any special discounts like AAA or AARP but this was frustrating!

  9. I just applied for this card last week and got it shipped yesterday. If I activate it this week and charge airfare on it will this count towards my 2015 airfare credit or since the statement would close around January 23rd then already towards 2016. If so I wouldn’t activate the card and cancel it again.
    Thanks

  10. @ Franz — That counts towards the 2016 total. But keep in mind then you can get another $250 credit next December which would post with your January statement closing. It’s still $500 in credits with your first $450 annual fee.

  11. Hi – Thanks so much for your posting on this card. It looks fantastic, but I’m assuming it’s now too late to get the $250 credit twice since by the time I’d get the card it would be 2016? Should I wait until after the January statement to apply? Thanks!

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