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Update: The Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou® Premier now offer 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The sign up bonuses on both cards have also changed. Learn more about the current offers here.
People new to this hobby are always surprised when they find out just how easy credit card sign-up bonuses are to earn. “So you’re saying I spend $X amount in Y days and then earn ____ points? What’s the catch?!”
For the most part it really is that easy.
Citi recently got more “serious” with their cards which accrue their transferrable points currency, ThankYou Rewards. Specifically:
- The Citi Prestige Card, which is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening; $450 annual fee
- The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card , which is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening; the $95 annual fee is waived the first year
If you apply for both of these cards correctly, you’ll end up with over $1,250 to spend on American. If you’ve read all my previous posts about these two Citi cards (and there have been lots of them), then by all means skip this post. But I figured I’d make one consolidated post with the best strategy for applying for both of these cards, so you can get $1,600+ in credit or 100,000+ points in no time.
Step 1: Apply for the Citi Prestige Card on Day 1
As I explained above, this card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months.
The card does have a $450 annual fee which isn’t waived the first year, but you’ll get a ton of value out of the card which more than offsets that annual fee. These include:
- A $250 annual airline credit (with your first year’s annual fee you actually get two of those — that’s $500 of airline credits with your first year’s $450 annual fee)
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
Let’s leave out all the benefits except the first, for the time being. There’s a $450 annual fee, and you get $500 worth of airline credits (these aren’t fee credits, but rather can be applied to any airline purchase, including airfare). That means you’re $50 ahead right there. And that doesn’t even account for the long list of other benefits which virtually any traveler will get value out of.
Step 2: Apply for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card on Day 9
Citi typically requires you to wait eight days between applications for cards with them, and doesn’t allow more than two applications in any 65 day period. Assuming you haven’t applied for another Citi card recently, I’d recommend waiting until nine days after you applied for the Citi Prestige Card to apply for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.
Ultimately the order of applying doesn’t really matter — you can apply for the Prestige and then Premier, or the other way around. Whatever floats your boat.
Step 3: Complete minimum spend on both cards
Each card requires $3,000 of minimum spend within the first three months to earn the sign-up bonus, so based on that decide when you want to apply for the two cards. If you have no trouble reaching the minimum spend then by all means apply for them nine days apart. If you have trouble reaching the minimum spend that quickly, then you can spread out the applications a bit more.
Once the minimum spend on both cards is complete, you should have over 100,000 ThankYou Rewards points
Step 4: Combine your ThankYou Rewards points
One of the best things about Citi ThankYou Rewards points is that they can be combined. Not just between cards for one member, but you can actually transfer points to other members as well.
While points accrued through the Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be transferred to their dozen or so airline transfer partners, the redemption values do differ otherwise. Specifically, points accrued through the Citi Prestige Card can be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on American/US Airways. Alternatively, they can be redeemed for 1.33 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on another airline.
Once combined into the Citi Prestige Card account, those 100,000 points can be redeemed for $1,600+ towards the cost of an American ticket.
Alternatively you can transfer those points to any of Citi ThankYou Rewards’ other transfer partners, including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Not a bad value either!
Both of these are fantastic sign-up bonuses, and best of all the cards are actually extremely lucrative for everyday spend beyond the sign-up bonuses as well, so I plan on holding onto at least one beyond the first year.
It’s tough to beat 100,000 easy points with the Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. And if you have a spouse or other family member who can apply for cards you can boost your earnings even further.
And that doesn’t even factor in all the other awesome perks you get from the card, like the airline credit, lounge access, Global Entry credit, etc.