11 760

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Currently ThankYou Points earned on the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be transferred to 11 types of airline miles or Hilton points.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.01.54 AM

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchard Plus
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Qantas miles

Right now both the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card are offering 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. You can get both like 8+ days apart for 106,000+ ThankYou Points. I got both, including the Prestige last month, and I expect to have a sizable balance of ThankYou Points shortly. While I love Singapore Airlines, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic as transfer partners for awards, I don’t see value in the other partners.

I’d love for ThankYou Points to add more partners, as they’ve done frequently over the past year. The pipe dream would be adding United, Delta, or Alaska Airlines as partners, but all three have strong relationships with other banks that makes their additions extremely unlikely.

Instead of dreaming, I’ve made a realistic list of three partners I’d like to see ThankYou Points add.

1. American Airlines AAdvantage

Why The Partnership Is Realistic

American and Citi already have a strong partnership. Citi issues both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, which each offer 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Furthermore the Citi Prestige® Card offers a better rate when you redeem points like cash for American Airlines than when you redeem points like cash for flights on other airlines. (Don’t get confused; that last sentence refers to the other major way to redeem ThankYou Points besides airlines transfers. Read about the two good ways to redeem ThankYou Points here.) The Prestige also comes with American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access

Clearly there is a major partnership already in place, which makes me think that the only reason ThankYou Points aren’t transferable to American Airlines miles is because American Airlines is asking too much money for the miles Citi would have to buy to make the transfers.

I’d love for 1,000 ThankYou Points to transfer to 1,000 AAdvantage miles, but if money is an insurmountable issue, I’d accept a lower exchange rate like 1,000 points to 900 or 800 miles if that’s the best Citi could offer us. The major category bonuses like 3x on gas on the Premier would still make these transfers a good deal very often.

Why I Want the Partnership

American Airlines miles are the most valuable miles in the world. They’re great for economy awards–especially American’s unique off peak awards–and for the fanciest First Class in the world. Here’s 10 Awesome Ways to Use American Airlines miles.

Adding American Airlines as a partner of ThankYou Points would increase my valuation of ThankYou Points from 1.8 to 2.0 cents each.

2. Avianca LifeMiles

Why The Partnership Is Realistic

LifeMiles and Citi already have a strong partnership…at least in Colombia where Avianca is based. (In the United States, US Bank issues a weak LifeMiles credit card.)

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 2.38.24 AM

I’d love to see Citi leverage its ties with Avianca to forge a deal whereby 1,000 ThankYou Points transferred to 1,000 LifeMiles.

Why I Want the Partnership

LifeMiles are the second best Star Alliance miles in the world behind United. LifeMiles can be used for awards on all 27 Star Alliance members with no fuel surcharges. ThankYou Points’ current partner in the Star Alliance–Singapore Airlines–levies fuel surcharges on almost all Star Alliance partner flights.

Beyond never adding fuel surcharges, LifeMiles can be used at a fair rate for Business and First Class awards, usually much cheaper prices than United would charge for the same partner awards. For instance from Los Angeles to Seoul in First Class on the Asiana A380, United would charge 120,000 miles one way, and LifeMiles would charge only 90,000.

Trip Report of Asiana A380 First Class

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 2.47.15 AM
Stretching Out on the Asiana A380 Bed

 

A ThankYou Points-LifeMiles partnership would open up ultra-luxury options within the Star Alliance to folks with LifeMiles and economy redemptions on airlines other than United without fuel surcharges. This would be a coup for ThankYou Points. I’d increase my valuation of ThankYou Points from 1.8 to 1.85 cents.

3. British Airways Avios

Why The Partnership Is Realistic

Avios are a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and Starpoints. Clearly British Airways doesn’t mind inking new deals.

British Airways Avios don’t appear to be too expensive for the banks to purchase either, since American Express runs frequent transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards.

Why I Want the Partnership

Right now ThankYou Points have a good transfer partner in the Star Alliance (Singapore) and in SkyTeam (Air France Flying Blue), but all the partners in oneworld are terrible.

Avios aren’t perfect, but they are the best miles for short, direct, economy awards with partners that don’t have fuel surcharges on their flights. See Avios Basics for why Avios are best for those types of flights.

A ThankYou Points-Avios partnership would open up great award options to Hawaii, within the continental United States, within Australia, within Europe, and to a ton more places. This would be a coup for ThankYou Points. I’d increase my valuation of ThankYou Points from 1.8 to 1.85 cents.

Bottom Line

Right now both the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card are offering 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. You can get both like this for 106,000+ ThankYou Points.

Because ThankYou Points can be used like cash toward any flight on any airlines (at up to 1.6 cents of value per points) and transferred to 11 airlines’ miles on a 1:1 basis, I value the points at 1.8 cents each. That means 106,000 ThankYou Points are worth $1,908 to me–not bad for two credit card bonuses!

But if they could be transferred to American Airlines miles, Avianca LifeMiles, and British Airways Avios, I’d up that valuation to 2 cents each or $2,120 worth of points for signing up for the two cards.

For various reasons, I think American Airlines, Avianca, and British Airways are realistic additions Citi could make to the program.

Your Take

Will American Airlines, Avianca, or British Airways be added as transfer partners? What realistic transfer partners would you like to see added to ThankYou Points?

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

10 1503

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

This was a popular post two years ago, and I want to update it with all the cards to earn the following miles, which I consider the most important:

  • American
  • Delta
  • United
  • Alaska
  • Singapore
  • British Airways
  • Southwest

This is a good reference if you want to collect a certain type of miles, but this should not be construed as an endorsement to open all the cards on any of the lists.

I haven’t included any analysis, just the sign up bonus. These cards have annual fees, minimum spending requirements, and category bonuses. Read their terms and conditions before applying. If there’s not a direct link, you can get to the card by clicking one of these banners.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.40.36 PM

See the footnotes at the bottom for further explanation of some points. The number in parentheses is the sign up bonus of the card.

American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® (50k)
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® (50k)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Citi Gold American Airlines personal cards (I saw a targeted 50k by mail in April 2015, online the best I see is 25k)

Delta SkyMiles

Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (50k MR1)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25k MR2)
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (30k)
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (30k)
Platinum Card from American Express (25k MR1)
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25k MR1)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express (10k, also earns MQM)
Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (earns MQM)

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.40.36 PM

 

United MileagePlus Miles

United MileagePlus Explorer Card (personal) (up to 55k, any 30k offer can add an authorized user for 5k, and can be matched 20k higher with a secure message to Chase)
United MileagePlus Explorer Card (business) (50k, inside your United account)
Ink Plus (50k UR+5)
Sapphire Preferred (45k UR+5)
Ink Cash (20k UR-6)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (15,000 to 15,6254)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (15,000 to 15,6254)
Freedom (10k UR-6)
United Club Card (0, but 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending)

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.40.36 PM

 

Alaska Mileage Plan

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card (25k)
Alaska Airlines Business Card (25k)

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles

Citi Prestige® Card (50k)
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card (50k)
Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (50k MR2)
Ink Plus (50k UR+5)
Sapphire Preferred (40k UR+5)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25k MR2)
Platinum Card from American Express (25k MR2)
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25k MR2)
Ink Cash (20k UR-6)
Freedom (10k UR-6)

British Airways Avios

Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (50k MR2)
British Airways Visa Signature (50k)
Ink Plus (50k UR+5)
Sapphire Preferred (40k UR+5)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express (30-31.25k3)
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN (25k MR2)
Platinum Card from American Express (25k MR2)
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (25k MR2)
Ink Cash (20k UR-6)
Freedom (10k UR-6)

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.40.36 PM

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Southwest Premier Personal Visa (25k, I cover frequent 50k offers here and there are 50k referral links from other readers in the thread)
Southwest Premier Business Visa (25k, I cover frequent 50k offers here)
Southwest Plus Personal Visa (25k, I cover frequent 50k offers here)
Ink Plus (50k UR+5)
Sapphire Preferred (40k UR+5)
Ink Cash (20k UR-6)
Freedom (10k UR-6)

  1. Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 to Delta with a $0.60 fee per 1,000 transferred. There were transfer bonuses, but the last was November 2011.
  2. Membership Rewards transfer to British Airways Avios and Singapore KrisFlyer miles with no fee. There are frequent transfer bonuses to Avios. The last was 40% in December 2014. There has never been a transfer bonus to Singapore miles.
  3. Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Delta, American, Alaska, Singapore, and British Airways miles with a 5k mile bonus for every 20k Starpoints transferred. 25k Starpoints would transfer to 30k miles, but 25k Starpoints transferred as part of exact 20k increments represents 31,250 miles.
  4. Starpoints transfer 2:1 to United miles with a 2.5k mile bonus for every 20k Starpoints transferred. Avoid this horrible deal.
  5. UR+ are Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred 1:1 to United, Singapore, British Airways, and Southwest among other loyalty programs
  6. UR- are Ultimate Rewards that cannot be transferred 1:1 to airline miles and hotel points. But you can transfer these points to an Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred account and from there to airline and hotel points.

Did I make any mistakes? Correct them in the comments.

6 672

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Yesterday I shared how you can get both the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, get both their 50,000 point sign up bonuses after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and have 106,000+ ThankYou Points.

If you do that, the points you earn will not automatically be combined into one account, but you want to combine them. Specifically you want to combine them into your Prestige account because, while both cards can transfer points to the same airline partners, the Prestige’s points are worth more when using ThankYou Points like cash to purchase any flight, any time, on any airline.

(See the two ways to redeem ThankYou Points for more info on transfers to miles vs. using them like cash.)

  • The Premier’s points are worth 1.25 cents each toward any flight.
  • The Prestige’s points are worth 1.6 cents toward American Airlines and US Airways flights and 1.33 cents toward any other flight.

So how do you combine ThankYou Points into one account?

  • on thankyou.com
  • if that fails, by phone

On thankyou.com

Sign into thankyou.com. Click Combine ThankYou Accounts under My Account.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.28.51 PM

Click “Add a Citi Account.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.28.45 PM

At this point, I tried to type in my credit card number.Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.29.28 PM But I got an error.Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.37.10 PM

I called in to combine my accounts, which was very quick.

By Phone

I called the number on the back of my Prestige and said I wanted to combine all my ThankYou Points into that account.

The agent had to first match up all the account details on both accounts. I think one was missing a phone number, which is probably why my online attempt failed.

Then she let me know that combining the ThankYou accounts was irreversible and that if I cancelled a card, I’d have 60 days to redeem points earned on that card before they expired.

I’m not sure how that would work in practice, which points would be attributed to each card if I cancelled one. But since ThankYou Points can transfer to airline miles, I don’t think I’ll ever have trouble redeeming my points by transferring them to miles if I cancel a card.

After a few minutes on the phone, my accounts were combined into one. I got a confirmation email.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.46.43 PM

Then I went to thankyou.com to see the improvement.

Why to Combine Points

Before combining points, I searched for a roundtrip from Los Angeles to New York on thankyou.com in my Premier account to illustrate the effect of a combination. Roundtrip flights were about $470 on the days I searched, and that equated to 37,545 to 37,600 points on all airlines–a valuation of 1.25 cents per point.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.28.11 PM

Then after combining my points, I re-ran the same search. The price in cash was the exact same, but the points prices dropped dramatically to 29,332 points on US Airways or 35,339 with JetBlue. That’s a savings of more than 8,000 points on one roundtrip just by combining my accounts.Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 6.43.09 PM

 

Those points prices represent a valuation of 1.6 cents for the American Airlines and US Airways flights and 1.33 cents for the JetBlue flights.

My Premier points that had been worth 1.25 cents each when used like cash were now worth 1.33 to 1.6 cents each, a 28% increase in value when booking American Airlines flights.

If you’ll ever use your ThankYou Points like cash to book a flight and you have a Citi Prestige, you want to combine all your ThankYou Points into that account. Even if you only plan to use your ThankYou Points to transfer them to airline miles, it’s still convenient to be down to one ThankYou account.

Bottom Line

If your information on your credit card accounts matches perfectly, you can quickly combine them on thankyou.com. Otherwise call the number on the back of your Prestige. You’ll quickly raise the value of your ThankYou Points earned on other cards.

Citi Prestige® Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open

My review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

 

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card with 50,000 bonus points, 3x points on travel and gas, and 2x points on dining and entertainment

My Review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

 

  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening –  redeemable for $500 in gift cards, $625 for airfare, or other great rewards.
  • Earn 3X ThankYou Points on Travel including Gas,  2X ThankYou Points on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1X ThankYou Points on Other Purchases
  • ThankYou® Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through thankyou.com, as compared to gift cards
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points
  • Annual Fee:  $95 (fee waived for the first 12 months)

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

8 1806

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

In the last two weeks, the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier have each increased their sign up bonuses to 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

I’ve gotten several questions about whether one person can get both cards and their 100,000 total bonus ThankYou Points.

Yes, one person can get both cards as long you apply for the two cards at least eight days apart.

Questions this article will answer:

  • What are the differences between the Prestige and Premier?
  • Why would you want both?
  • How can you get both?
  • How can you combine the points (and why do you really want to)?

What are the differences between the Prestige and Premier?

The Prestige is a premium credit card that competes with cards like the American Express Platinum. The Premier is more of a standard rewards card that competes with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Sign Up Bonus

Both currently offer 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee

There’s a huge difference here. The Prestige has a $450 annual fee that is not waived. The Premier has no annual fee the first 12 months, then $95 a year.

Category Bonuses

The Prestige offers 3x on airlines and hotels and 2x on dining and entertainment. The Premier‘s category bonuses are slightly better. It offers 3x on travel and gas. That includes airlines and hotels, but also a lot more. It also offers 2x on dining and entertainment.

Ease of Travel

Both cards have chip technology for global acceptance and no foreign transaction fees.

Value of ThankYou Points

Both cards offer the ability to transfer ThankYou Points to 12 airline and hotel programs. This is the highest value redemption method.

Both also offer the chance to redeem points like cash toward any flight with no blackouts, but the Prestige offers higher value when points are used this way. The Premier‘s points are worth 1.25 cents each toward all flights. The Prestige‘s are worth 1.6 cents toward American Airlines or US Airways flights and 1.33 cents toward all other flights.

If you have both the Premier and Prestige, you can combine the points into one account, which allows for redemptions at the better Prestige rates.

More info on these redemption options and redeeming ThankYou Points.

Other Benefits

This is where the Prestige kills the Premier, and why the Prestige‘s $450 annual fee is more than justified in my opinion. The Prestige offers:

Why Would You Want Both?

Each has strengths beyond its giant 50,000 point sign up bonus.

The Premier has better category bonuses because all the following are included at 3x: airlines, hotels, gas, car rentals, travel agencies, buses, trains, parking, tolls, bridges, and time shares. The Prestige only offers 3x on airlines and hotels. The Premier also has a lower annual fee, and one that is waived for the first year.

The Prestige has far better benefits like the statement credits, airport lounge access, and higher value of points when redeemed like cash for flights. Plus getting the Prestige can retroactively lift the value of ThankYou Points earned on other cards because those points can now be put into your Prestige account, which has higher value redemption options.

If you have one, you might want the other for its strengths. If you have neither, you might want both to maximize the strengths of both.

How Can You Get Both?

According to the combined experience of FlyerTalkers, you can be approved for no more than one Citi credit card application in 8 days and no more than two applications in 65 days.

So if you got one of the cards months ago and want the other now, apply.

If you have neither, apply for one now and one in 8+ days. (Unless you recently got a different Citi card like the American Airlines card with 50,000 bonus miles. In that case, make sure that at least 65 days have elapsed from your previous application to your second application.)

To avoid all confusion:

OK

Got Prestige 8+ days ago, have no other Citi cards, get Premier today

Have neither card or any other Citi card, get Prestige today and Premier in 8+ days

Got AA card 14 days ago. Get Prestige today and Premier in 51+ days. (65 day rule noted above)

Not OK

Get Premier and Prestige on same day

Got AA card 14 days ago. Get Prestige today and Premier in 8 days

You may not be instantly approved on your applications. When that happens, your screen should have a number to call Citi for an instant decision. I always call in to speed things up. I doubt you’ll be asked why you want both the Prestige and Premier, but if you are, mention the strengths of the one you don’t have yet.

How to Combine Points

You want to combine your ThankYou Points once you have both the Prestige and Premier because the Prestige‘s ThankYou Points are worth more when used like cash toward the purchase of a flight, especially an American Airlines flight.

You can do that from ThankYou.com or by calling the number on the back of your Prestige.

Bottom Line

You can get both the Prestige and Premier and long as you apply at least at least 8 days apart, and potentially further apart if you have another recent Citi application. Getting both cards and meeting their minimum spending requirements would earn at least 106,000 ThankYou Points, and probably more if you maximize the category bonuses.

You can combine the ThankYou Points into the Prestige‘s account to take advantage of a higher value for redeeming the points toward any flight like cash. However I still recommend that most people transfer ThankYou Points to airline miles for higher value redemptions.

Application Link: Citi Prestige

Application Link: Citi ThankYou Premier

18 1107

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card now offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

 

Not to be confused with the Citi Prestige® Card, which has the same sign up bonus but totally different benefits.

For over a year, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has offered 50,000 total bonus points, but they were spread out over 15 months. Now you can get the entire 50,000 points in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 6.56.45 PM

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on travel and gas, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Value of ThankYou Points: Worth 1.25 cents toward the purchase of any cash ticket (or up to 1.6 cents if you also have a Citi Prestige) OR can be transferred to 11 airlines and Hilton for higher value
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first 12 months, $95 per year afterwards

Sign Up Bonus

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card now offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Thank You points have two primary uses.

  1. Use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline with no blackouts.
  2. Transfer them to miles with 11 airlines or to Hilton points. Then they are whatever miles you chose, subject to those rules.

If you use these like cash toward any flight, you will get 1.25 cents each of value, making the sign up bonus worth $625 toward any flights with no blackouts. However if you have a Citi Prestige in addition to your Premier, you can combine the ThankYou Points from both cards and redeem them at the higher value the Prestige offers. In that case, you could redeem these 50,000 bonus points for 1.33 cents toward any flight or 1.6 cents toward American Airlines and US Airways flights. That would be $800 in American Airlines flights.

When you redeem ThankYou Points like cash toward any flight, the operating airline sees you as a cash-paying passenger, so you earn miles for your flights.

Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your ThankYou Points to one of the 12 airline and hotel partners. The best partner is Singapore Airlines. In the last few months, I’ve transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore miles to fly United First Class to Hawaii, United economy to Madrid, and Avianca Business Class to Buenos Aires. Or you can use Singapore miles to book Singapore Suites.

For full details on redeeming ThankYou Points, see How ThankYou Points Work.

Category Bonuses

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 3x ThankYou Points on travel and gas and 2x ThankYou Points on dining and entertainment, with no limit on bonus ThankYou Points earned.

Travel includes everything you’d expect like flights, hotels, and car rentals and even more like parking, tolls, campgrounds, and yacht rentals.

Restaurants include sit down places, take out, fast food, and even bars and nightclubs. Entertainment includes movie theaters, sports tickets, museums, and a lot more.

For a full breakdown on exactly what counts and what doesn’t, check out Citi ThankYou Premier Categories Change Today: 3x Gas and Travel; 2x Dining and Entertainment.

No other card offers both 3x on travel and gas. That’s incredible for travelers. Throw in 2x on dining and entertainment, and this card has among the best categories in the world.

Fees

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has no foreign transaction fees. It also has chip technology for global acceptance, so it’s a great card for overseas travel.

The card has no annual fee for the first 12 months and only $95 thereafter, which is lower than the annual fee was when I got the card.

Bottom Line

I got the card when it took 15 months to get the full sign up bonus, there were no airline transfer partners for the points, the annual fee was higher, and gas was not a 3x category. That should tell you how good I think the current offer is!

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

 

  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening –  redeemable for $500 in gift cards, $625 for airfare, or other great rewards.
  • Earn 3X ThankYou Points on Travel including Gas,  2X ThankYou Points on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1X ThankYou Points on Other Purchases
  • ThankYou® Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through thankyou.com, as compared to gift cards
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points
  • Annual Fee:  $95 (fee waived for the first 12 months)

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

1 481

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card changed its category bonuses today and lowered its annual fee. The new category bonuses are:

  • 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Travel including Gas
  • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Dining Out and Entertainment.

The new annual fee is $0 for the first 12 months, then $95 thereafter.

These are in addition to the 50,000 point sign up bonus on the card.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

 

As with all category bonuses, the question is: what exactly qualifies?

The 3x Category: “Travel and Gas”

The terms and conditions say that you earn 3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at the following establishments:

(everything through the end of the parentheses on each line is a quotation, the rest in my analysis)

  • airlines (merchants that provide air travel): anything that the airline processes should count including award taxes and fees; gift cards; onboard food purchases; and, with some airlines but not all, miles purchases
  • hotels (merchants that provide sleeping or meeting room accommodations, and may include goods and services that are on a bill for these accommodations by a hotel, motel or inn): anything charged to your room like food, spa, or golf should earn 3x
  • car rental agencies (merchants that provide short-term or long-term rentals of cars)
  • travel agencies (merchants that provide travel information and booking services, and include travel aggregators and tour operators): this should include online travel agencies like Expedia
  • gas stations (merchants that sell fuel for consumer use and may or may not be attended… you will earn additional ThankYou Points on gas purchases made at warehouse clubs and convenience stores)
  • commuter transportation (merchants that provide suburban and local mass passenger transportation over regular routes and on regular schedules, including ferries, commuter railways and subways)
  • taxi/limousines (merchants that provide passenger transportation services for hire and includes horse-drawn cabs and carriages, bicycle taxis, aerial tramways, airport shuttles or cable cars): hopefully Uber falls in this category
  • passenger railways (merchants that primarily provide long-distance transportation and may include overnight accommodations on the train)
  • cruise lines (merchants that provide passenger transportation on the open sea or inland waters for the purpose of vacation or pleasure and operate predefined and advertised routes)
  • bridge and road tolls (merchants who collect fees associated with toll roads, highways and bridges)
  • parking lots/garages (merchants that provide temporary parking services for automobiles, usually on an hourly, daily or monthly contract or fee basis)
  • campgrounds and trailer parks (merchants that provide overnight or short-term campsites for recreational vehicles, trailers, campers, or tents)
  • time shares (retailers that sell, lease, and rent timeshare real estate and arrange timeshare condominium exchanges)
  • bus lines (passenger bus transportation services that operate on a regular schedule over predetermined routes)
  • motor home/RV Rental and boat rentals (merchants that rent motor homes, RVs, pop-up campers, tent trailers, and other recreational vehicles on a daily, short-term, or extended-term basis ormerchants that primarily provide boat rental and leasing services, including fishing boats, non-crew houseboats, sail boats, powerboats, jet skis, and yachts)

This 3x list includes everything that I think of as a travel expense from flights, hotels, and car rentals to tolls and renting a yacht, so the only hiccup could come from this sentence, which is standard in pretty much every credit card offer:

“We do not determine how merchants or establishments are classified; however, they are generally classified based upon the merchant’s primary line of business. We reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for this offer.”

As long as the merchant is coded correctly as one of these travel or gas categories, you’ll get 3x points. If the merchant is not correctly classified, you can call Citi and ask for your 3x. After all, “[Citi] reserve[s] the right to determine which purchases qualify.”

The 2x Category: “Dining Out and Entertainment”

The terms and conditions say that you earn 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at (everything through the end of the parentheses on each line is a quotation, the rest in my analysis)

  • restaurants (dining establishments that primarily prepare food and drinks for immediate consumption by consumers, either on the merchant’s premises or packaged for takeout, and include bars, cocktail lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, taverns and fast food restaurants)
  • sports promoters (merchants that operate and promote live sporting events (professional or semi-professional), and may also include sports stadiums)
  • theatrical promoters (merchants that operate live theatrical productions or concerts, and include ticketing agencies)
  • movie theaters (establishments that sell tickets and refreshments for movie productions)
  • amusement parks, zoos, circuses and aquariums (establishments that operate parks or carnivals and offer mechanical rides and games and/or live animal shows)
  • tourist attractions, museums, and art galleries (establishments that operate attractions and exhibits for tourists)
  • record stores
  • video rental stores

“Restaurants” is a broad category that covers fine dining all the way down to takeout and fast food. Plus it covers places that aren’t really restaurants at all like bars and night clubs. Restaurants are where I’d get the most bonus points in the 2x category, though I occasionally patronize establishments in the other 2x categories.

How to Use ThankYou Points

There are two reasonable ways to redeem ThankYou Points:

  1. Use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline with no blackouts. Used this way, points are worth 1.25 to 1.6 cents each.
  2. Transfer them to miles with 11 airlines or to Hilton points. Then they are whatever miles you chose, subject to those rules. Used this way, the value of the points depends on your redemption, but 2 cents each is very possible.

For full details on How to Use ThankYou Points, click this link.

Bottom Line

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card now offers the best return on travel and gas at 3x and also offers 2x on dining and entertainment. These very broad categories make the 50,000 point sign up bonus all the more attractive.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

The card has even dropped its annual fee to $0 for the first year and $95 thereafter.

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

2 1137

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

This is the fourth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

There are currently some huge sign up bonuses that folks new to the miles game can pick up.

I’ve categorized some of the best offers below, but before applying for any cards, I recommend checking out my Introduction to Travel Credit Cards from yesterday.

I also recommend getting a Free Credit Card Consultation instead of picking cards on your own. It breaks my heart when people come to my Award Booking Service with the wrong miles for the trip they want. There’s no reason to Make the Biggest Mistake in Our Hobby.

  • What are the best cards for beginners?

Best Card for Economy Travel

Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

ThankYou Points can be used like cash toward the purchase of any airline ticket with no blackouts. You get 1.6 cents off of American Airlines and US Airways flights or 1.33 cents off any other flight. That means 50,000 bonus points are worth $800 in flights on American Airlines.

The card also comes with up to $250 in statement credits each calendar year to offset airfare purchases. So the first $250 in plane tickets in 2015 and the first $250 in plane tickets in 2016 are free. That’s another $500 in free tickets before you pay the annual fee again in 12 months. (We’re up to $1,300 in flights so far if you’re counting.)

My review of the Citi Prestige Card explains its other benefits like access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, the fourth night free on hotel stays, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and 2x points on dining and entertainment. $250 Air Travel Credit each year.

The card comes with a $450 annual fee that is not waived for the first year, but remember that you get $1,300 in free flights during the period covered by the $450 annual fee.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Best Card for Awards to Asia, South America, Central America, Australia

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

With recent devaluations to the United and Delta award charts, American Airlines miles are the most valuable miles.

American Airlines miles are the undisputed best miles for ultra-luxury redemptions, and the miles are valuable for trips to Asia, South America, Europe, and Australia. On a recent trip, I spent 67,500 American Airlines miles for a First Class redemption from New York City to Singapore with 23 hours in Macau along the way.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® offers 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

That’s enough for a roundtrip to Asia, Europe, South America, or Hawaii.

Beyond the sign up bonus, cardholders also get a 10% rebate on American Airlines miles redeemed each calendar year up to 100,000 miles redeemed.

The card’s $95 annual fee is WAIVED the first year.

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

Best Business Card

Ink Plus

The Ink Plus is a business card that offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonuses after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, Singapore, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Amtrak, and more.

The Ink Plus earns 5x points on internet, phone, and cell phone bills; 5x points on purchases at office supply stores; 2x points on hotels and gas; and 1x points on everything else.

The Ink Plus has no annual fee the first 12 months, $95 thereafter.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

Best All-Around Card

Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 40k Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in 3 months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Amtrak, and more.

You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 45k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

Best Hotel Credit Card (Limited Time Offer)

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is the best card for giving you free luxury hotel nights. The card comes with two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months. The free nights are best spent at top-tier Hiltons and Conrads that can go for $500 or more per night.

For a limited time, the card even comes with a $100 statement credit if you spend $100+ on a Hilton stay in the first 90 days after getting the card.

This card is perfect to get aspirational stays at top tier properties like the Conrad Koh Samui that goes for 95,000 Hilton points per night and costs more than $1,000 per night.

The card also comes with Hilton Gold Status, so you can enjoy free internet and breakfast on those free stays.

The card earns 10x points on Hilton stays, 5x on airlines and car rentals, and 3x on all other purchases.

There card has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee is $95.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

19 624

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Citi Prestige® Card offers the fourth night free on paid hotel stays if you book through its designated travel agent. This benefit can save you a lot more than 25% on your next hotel stay.

4th Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.

To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must:

  • Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge, to book directly with a designated travel advisor
  • Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card

If you book the award through the Citi Prestige’s travel agent, you will get the actual cost of the fourth night plus taxes credited back to your Citi Prestige statement.

You don’t get 25% of the cost of the stay credited back; you get the actual fourth night’s cost credited back. That means that if you book a four-night stay such that the last night is the most expensive night, you can save a lot more than 25% on your stay.

Examples (New Year’s Eve in Times Square & Las Vegas)

My first thought was New Year’s Eve in Times Square as a time when prices probably spike from one night to the next. If you search for a December 28 to January 1 stay on hyatt.com, the Hyatt Times Square New York shows an average daily rate of $553.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 12.57.45 AM

On the payment page, you can get a nightly breakdown. The rate jumps from $499 to $713 per night on the last night.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 12.57.12 AM

If you booked this stay with a Citi Prestige® Card, you would save $713 of the $2,210 subtotal, which is over 32%. The total saved after taxes would be roughly the same percentage, so you’d be looking at a savings of about $823 on a $2,550 bill.

Similarly, though on a smaller scale, room rates in Las Vegas spike on the weekends. A Tuesday through Saturday stay at the Bellagio in Las Vegas would have an average nightly price of $187.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.03.31 AM

But in fact, the last night costs $229, which is about 31% of the subtotal.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.03.07 AM

The Bellagio charges a resort fee. I am not sure if that is refunded for the fourth night. Unfortunately the words “resort fee” do not appear in the definitive FlyerTalk thread on the fourth-night-free benefit.

FAQ About Fourth Night Free

How does it work?

To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must:

  • Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge by calling the number on the back of your card
  • Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card

Does the rate through the Citi Concierge match the hotel’s rate online?

Yes. If it doesn’t, point that out to your Citi travel agent.

Do you get your status benefits for the stay? Do you get earn points and status for the stay?

In all the cases I’ve seen reported, yes.

When do you get the statement credit?

It can take several weeks after your stay. It took the Frequent Miler’s credit about four weeks to show up.

Do you earn 3x points on the rest of the hotel purchase?

The Citi Prestige® Card offers 3 points per dollar for airfare and hotel purchases. You get 3x points on your hotel stay on top of the fourth night free by taking advantage of this benefit of the Prestige.

Bottom Line

The Citi Prestige® Card offers the fourth night free on all paid hotel stays that you book by calling the number on the back of your card.

Instead of rebating the average cost of one room night, you get the fourth night free. If you time your stays, so the fourth night is the most expensive, you can save well over 25% with this benefit.

Stays earn points and status, and you can use your status in the stays.

This benefit is an amazing throw in for some people. If the fourth night free on hotel stays isn’t worth much to you, the Citi Prestige® Card is a must have because it offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open, $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, and 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

6 577

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card released a limited time offer today:

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in eligible purchases within 4 months of account opening
  • $100 statement credit after $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within 3 months of account opening
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember
The normal sign up bonus of 2 weekend nights at almost any Hilton property worldwide–here are the only excluded properties–is temporarily augmented by a $100 statement credit that more than offsets the $95 annual fee.

Free Nights

The two free nights at Hiltons and Conrads worldwide are good on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. You can use both nights together or use one at a time.

These free nights can be used at amazing $1,000-a-night, aspirational properties where I wouldn’t otherwise ever be able to afford to stay.

In 2013, Hilton put its top-tier Category 9 and 10 hotels nearly out of reach with points. They now cost up Ito 95,000 points for one night, so these two free nights could be worth up to 190,000 points if you use them strategically.

Luckily using the free nights strategically just got a lot easier when super reader Jeremy made a spreadsheet with all the Category 9 and 10 properties in one place.

Download it for free here.

Then super reader Dave made a custom map of all the Category 9 and 10 properties worldwide to make the visualization easier.

See it for free here.

For more info on the free nights, and the $1,000-a-night hotels see:

Free Gold Status

As long as you have the Hilton Reserve, you get automatic Hilton Gold status, which earns free breakfast, free internet, and a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays.

On your two free nights and future paid stays, these perks will save you quite a bit of money.

$100 Statement Credit

The limited time offer includes a $100 statement credit after $100 or more charge to the card during a Hilton stay in the first 90 days.

That’s in addition to the 10x points per dollar you already earn at Hilton properties.

This is $100 free if you have a Hilton stay planned. If you don’t, it makes a Hilton stay potentially worth it, since you’ll get $100 off.

Bottom Line

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card was already the best card out there for luxury hotel stays.

You have always gotten two free nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months, some of which are $1,000-per-night or 95,000-points-per-night properties.

You have always gotten Hilton Gold Status to enjoy stays more with free internet and breakfast.

Now, for a limited time, you get a $100 statement credit after making a $100+ charge at a Hilton within 90 days of getting the card.

  • Earn a $100 statement credit after spending $100 or more on your first hotel stay in the Hilton HHonors Portfolio within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates good at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio*
  • Earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Gold status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases*
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with your Citi chip credit card

There is a $95 annual fee that is not waived.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

1 631

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Yesterday, Citi launched a 50,000 point offer on the Citi Prestige after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The previous offer was 30,000 points after $2,000 in spending.

Read my analysis of the new offer.

I had gotten the old offer last week, so I was eager to see if I could be matched to the new, better offer. Commenters Matt Smith, Darren, Buddy M., MilesCollector, and Carla all said they had been matched by calling the number on the back of their Prestige. I tried and succeeded also.

The agent said my account now reflects that I will receive 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of account membership. She also said that I was eligible to be matched to the better offer because I had opened my account in the last 90 days.

If you got the Citi Prestige® Card in the last 90 days for its $250 annual airfare credit, American Airlines and Priority Pass Select lounge access, or big category bonuses, make sure you call Citi today to be matched to the 50,000 point sign up bonus.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

10 5965

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Yesterday I reviewed the imrpoved offer on the Citi Prestige® Card, which comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open, $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Commentor Guarav asked me to compare the card to a similar offering, the American Express Platinum card:

“Scott–I’d be curious to see a comparison on your thoughts between this and the AX platinum product.”

This comparison will be useful for anyone considering getting a premium credit card–one of those cards with an eye-watering annual fee and huge benefits. I’ll break down the comparison by:

  • value of points
  • sign-up bonus
  • category bonuses
  • lounge access
  • statement credits
  • other benefits
  • annual fee

I’ll foreshadow a little bit by saying that although many of the benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card and American Express Platinum are similar, there are subtle differences in the programs that could make a huge difference to you, so the better card depends heavily on your travel habits and preferences.

Note: I am using the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (the card on the right) as “the Platinum Card” for this analysis because it is the best personal Platinum Card offer open to everyone.

Value of Points

The American Express Platinum earns Membership Rewards, which I value at 2 cents each. The Citi Prestige® Card earns ThankYou Points, which I value at 1.8 cents each.

Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 airlines and 4 hotels.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 1.40.51 PM

There are frequent transfer bonuses including the current 40% bonus on transfers to British Airways.

Citi ThankYou Points transfer to 11 airlines and one hotel:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchard Plus
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Qantas miles
  • Hilton HHonors

My two ThankYou Points favorite transfer partners are Singapore Airlines and Air France Flying Blue. (Click links to see why.) These are both also transfer partners of Membership Rewards, which has a host of other valuable transfer partners for Americans:

  • British Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • ANA
  • Aeroplan
  • Delta

Beyond having fewer good partners, ThankYou Points have never had a transfer bonus, so Membership Rewards are clearly the better trasnferable currency.

ThankYou Points do have one far better use than Membership Rewards though, buying plane ticket with points.

  • Membership Rewards let you buy tickets with your points and give you 1 cent per point in value.
  • ThankYou Points earned on the Prestige offer you 1.33 cents toward any flight or 1.6 cents toward any American Airline or US Airways flight.

That makes ThankYou Points far better for saving cash on low-cost carrier tickets–which are often impossible to book with miles–or American Airlines and US Airways flights if you are going for status on American Airlines, so you want to fly paid tickets. (Airlines see tickets purchased directly with points as paid tickets because American Express or Citi is buying the ticket on your behalf.)

Because I mainly like to transfer my points to airline miles and Membership Rewards have more good partners and occasional transfer bonuses, I value Membership Rewards at 2.0 cents and ThankYou Points at 1.8 cents. Your values should be different.

If you want to use the points for paid tickets, ThankYou Points are better. If you are only interested in flights to South America, Europe (economy), and Hawaii, ThankYou Points are just about as good as Membership Rewards, which open a larger advantage if you are also interested in short hops (Avios) and Business Class to Europe.

Sign Up Bonus

  • AMEX Platinum (Mercedes-Benz-co-branded version open to all): 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Citi Prestige® Card50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months

Multiply the points by your value of the points to figure out how much more valuable the sign up bonus on the American Express Platinum is. The bonus on that card is worth $1,000 after spending $3,000 to me. The sign up bonus on the Citi Prestige® Card is worth $900 after spending $3,000 to me.

This is nearly a wash.

Category Bonuses

  • AMEX Platinum: 1 Membership Reward per dollar on all purchases
  • Citi Prestige® Card
    • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
    • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
    • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

After hitting the minimum spending requirement on the American Express Platinum, it doesn’t offer an attractive proposition to continue spending on the card. There are several Membership Rewards-earning cards that offer category bonuses, but not the Platinum. It is simply a card to hold for its benefits.

The Citi Prestige® Card aims to be more than that. It aims to be a card you actually use day-to-day, and I think it succeeds. All the benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card are primarily valuable to travelers, so I will assume the average cardholder spends quite a bit on air travel and hotels, which rack up ThankYou Points at a rate of 3x per dollar. Restaurants and entertainment–common costs while traveling and at home–earn 2x per dollar.

I know a lot of people, for simplicity, only want to have one card. I don’t think the AMEX Platinum has any case to be your one card because the earning rate is so low. The Citi Prestige® Card could be that card if you want a card with good earning and great benefits (below) as long as you can get good value out of ThankYou Points (above.)

To figure out the extra value of the Citi Prestige® Card‘s category bonuses, multiply your dining and entertainment by your valuation of ThankYou Point as if it were a percentage and your air travel and hotel expenses by double your valuation of a ThankYou point.

For instance, I spend about $7k on dining and entertainment and $3k on airfare and hotels per year. I value ThankYou points at 1.7 cents.

7000 * 1.7% + 3000 * 3.4% = 221

That’s $221 of extra value per year from having the Citi Prestige® Card‘s category bonuses versus none on the AMEX Platinum. I imagine many people spend quite a bit more than me in those categories. For them, the Citi Prestige® Card would be even more valuable.

Lounge Access

  • AMEX Platinum: Priority Pass Select + Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta + American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Citi Prestige® Card: Priority Pass Select + American Airlines Admirals Clubs when flying American
  • AMEX Platinum lounge access comes with no free guests except at Centurion Lounges. Citi Prestige lounge access comes with free guests

Somehow Citi has worked out a deal that at Priority Pass-affiliated lounges and American Airlines lounges, so you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

American Express does not offer the same deal. You pay $29 for guests into SkyClubs and $27 for guests into Priority Pass clubs. You do get free guests at Centurion Lounges (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18 OR up to two guests), but there are still very few Centurion Lounges.

Which lounge benefits you like more completely depends on your travel style. If you fly more American flights, you’ll like the Prestige. If you fly more Delta flights or flights where there is a Centurion Lounge, you’ll like the AMEX Platinum.

If you travel with your family or co-workers a lot, you’ll love the free access they get to lounges with the Prestige.

Most people who are paying the $450+ annual fee year after year for one of these cards are primarily doing it for the lounge access, so think carefully about which set of lounge access works better for you.

I do a lot of international travel where Priority Pass lounge access is more important than Delta, American, or Centurion Lounge access. Most of my travel is alone, so the guest benefit doesn’t help me. I value both types of lounge access at about $150 per year, but most people would value lounge access far higher. (I almost never drink in lounges.)

Statement Credits

  • AMEX Platinum: $200 per calendar year for airline fees (shouldn’t but often does work for airline gift cards). $100 once every five years for Global Entry.
  • Citi Prestige® Card: $250 per calendar year for airline fees or airline tickets. $100 once every five years for Global Entry

The Citi Prestige® Card is the clear winner in the statement credit game. Its airline credit is larger and much more flexible. The AMEX Platinum makes you set one airline on which to receive fee credits, and to buy gift cards with the credit you often need to buy gift cards worth $100 or less. The Citi Prestige® Card allows you to get credits on all airlines and even against plane tickets, so everyone should easily max out $250 per year.

These benefits make both cards a great idea for at least one year, since you can get two calendar year credits in the first year of cardmembership plus the Global Entry credit. You’ve already more than offset the big annual fees on the cards.

Other Benefits

Both cards offer tons of other benefits like purchase protection, trip insurance, and concierge services. Both cards are highly similar in these areas, and I don’t use these benefits much. Read the terms and conditions on either card for full lists.

There is some differentiation though. The AMEX Platinum offers free SPG Gold elite status while you hold a Platinum card. The Citi Prestige® Card offers the 4th night free on hotel stays booked through its travel provider.

Which benefits you more depends–again–on your travel style.

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (the card on the right) is $475. You pay it with your first statement, and again 12 months later if you don’t cancel the card. The annual fee on most Platinum cards is $450, but this card’s worth paying $25 extra for for the much bigger sign up bonus.

The annual fee on the Citi Prestige® Card is $450. You pay it with your first statement, and again 12 months later if you don’t cancel the card.

Both cards are clearly worth paying the annual fee in year 1 because of their sign up bonuses and the ability to get fee credits twice in the first year of having a card. Whether either card is worth holding past year 1 depends on your travel habits and how much you use the card for spending and its benefits.

Which Card is Better?

Which card is better depends on you. Hopefully I’ve laid out how to think about each card’s benefits, but the actual thinking is left to you.

For folks who want guest lounge access, American Airlines lounge access, big category bonuses on spending, and great rates on using points to pay for airline tickets (especially on American/US Airways), the Citi Prestige® Card is better.

For folks who want Centurion or Delta lounge access, more transfer partners for points, and better transfer partners for Europe in Business Class or shorthaul within the United States, the American Express Platinum is better.

Citi Prestige® Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, lounge access, $250 per calendar year in airline fee credits, and more

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

  • 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you charge $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of Card Membership6
  • Complimentary access to over 600 airport lounges worldwide7
  • A $1000 certificate each year you charge $5,000 in purchases, good toward the future purchase or lease of a new Mercedes-Benz8
  • Up to 2,000 excess miles waived at lease-end on leases through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services9
  • $100 certificate at renewal of your Card account, good toward Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories10
  • Annual fee of $475

Landing Page: Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

56 3667

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

The Citi Prestige® Card now comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.10.47 AM

The is a huge increase on the previous sign up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, which I signed up for just last week!

The card also comes $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, free access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and guests, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

I’m sure that $450 annual fee catches your eye, but everyone reading this blog should be able to get $500 to $600 in statement credits in the first year, so the annual fee should be more than made up for. Plus now with 50,000 bonus points and huge category bonuses, this card’s rewards can book some amazing award travel.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 ThankYou Points after $2,000 in spending Improved 4/9/15: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air travel credit:  $250 statement credit per calendar year ($500 during first year of cardmembership)
  • Lounge access: Admirals Clubs lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and two guests
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for most people

Sign Up Bonus

The headline sign up bonus is 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the card. I got the card with 30,000 bonus points, so I consider this a spectacular offer. 50,000 points equals:

  • $800 toward any flights on American Airlines/US Airways
  • $665 toward any flights on any other airline
  • $500 in gift cards (please don’t redeem them like this)
  • 50,000 miles with 11 airline transfer partners

I explained the two main ways to use ThankYou points in a post this week:

  1. Like cash toward the purchase of any flight on any airline. ThankYou Points have a special relationship with American Airlines, so the points are worth 1.6 cents each toward any American Airlines/US Airways fare. Toward other airlines’ flights, ThankYou Points are worth 1.33 cents each. The cool things about using points like this: ease (points work like cash to pay all or part of any fare), availability (any flight on any airline), and you earn miles and status from these flights because the airline sees a paid ticket not an award.
  2. By transferring the points to one 11 airlines or Hilton. Once you transfer, the points are Singapore miles or Flying Blue miles or wherever you transferred and now must be redeemed in accordance with those rules and that award chart. The cool thing about transferring points to miles: miles are the only economical way to book luxury First Class products.

I transfer my ThankYou Points to airline miles.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines miles to fly from Atlanta to Honolulu in a flat bed for 30,000 miles. I’ve also used Singapore miles to fly from Colombia to Argentina in Business Class for half the price it would have been with United miles. Singapore miles are also the only way to fly Singapore Suites, cheaper than United miles to book United flights to Europe, and offer two stopovers in addition to your destination on roundtrip awards.

I also love Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner because of its cheap awards to Europe, Israel, Hawaii and South America.

Because of all the valuable uses of ThankYou Points, I value them at 1.8 cents each. That puts this new 50,000 point sign up bonuses among the valuable out there. When you factor in the category bonuses and other benefits of the card, this could be the best current offer on any credit card.

Category Bonuses

  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment

This card is very clearly designed for frequent travelers, since a number of its benefits like free hotel nights and lounge access will be most used by travelers. The category bonuses are no exception. If you buy a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays, and if you dine out while traveling, you will rack up a ton of extra points from these category bonuses.

Note that the 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels is worth at least 4.8% back toward travel on American Airlines and US Airways, since points are worth 1.6 cents each toward those flights. That’s an incredible return on spending.

Air Travel Credit

Every calendar year, you get a $250 air travel credit to offset airline fees. Airline fees include airfare itself:

“Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.” (Emphasis mine.)

That means that you can buy airline tickets with this card, and the first $250 will be reimbursed each calendar year (plus you’ll earn 3x on the purchases, win-win!) Or you can use the airline fee credit to pay the taxes on award tickets.

This is a calendar year benefit, that means in the first 12 months you have the card, you can get this $250 credit twice: once in 2015 and once in 2016. That $500 in statement credits pays for your annual fee plus $50 extra.

Even without considering the sign up bonus and other benefits, the card would already be a great deal.

Lounge Access

Having the Citi Prestige® Card gets you into any Admirals Club worldwide whenever you’re flying an American Airlines, American Eagle, or American Connection flight. In addition, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

Citi Prestige® Card holders can also get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Prestige Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

I downloaded the Priority Pass app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

Just like into Admirals Clubs, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free. You can access Priority Pass lounges no matter which airline you’re flying.

Lounge access usually costs $50 per visit. Heavy users of this benefit–especially the free family or guest access–will get hundreds of dollars of value from this benefit.

4th Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). 

Interestingly, you don’t get 25% off a four night stay. You get the fourth night free. If you book a stay where the fourth night is the most expensive–like December 28 to January 1 at a New Year’s Eve destination–you can save a lot more than 25% on your stay.

Full article on Fourth Night Free Benefit.

Global Entry Fee Credit

Prestige card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Prestige cards.

Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Patrol program designed to let trusted travelers skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

Global Entry also lets you use TSA Precheck lines in the US, even on domestic itineraries.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat for Global Entry even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer. How and Why I Got Global Entry.

Global Entry is good for five years, so I will use this benefit of my Prestige in two years when I need to renew my Global Entry.

Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees

It shouldn’t surprise that a card very clearly designed for travelers comes with Chip technology for global acceptance and zero foreign transaction fees. The only surprising thing is that not all cards have these basic features.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and not waived. That should be a dealbreaker if you don’t use the benefits of the card, but it’s a fair price to pay if you are maximizing the card’s perks.

If you apply for the card and use the airline fee credit twice before the next annual fee, you can get all of this for the cost of the first annual fee:

  • 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points
  • $500 worth of airfare or fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts

Those benefits clearly dwarf the $450 annual fee. After testing out the card and seeing how much you actually use the benefits, you’ll have a better idea going forward whether to keep the card for $450 per year in return for:

  • $250 worth of airfare or fee credits
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment

I got this card a few weeks ago with a lower sign up bonus! I was attracted by the sign up bonus, the $250 annual airfare credit, the ability to use ThankYou Points for 1.6 cents each toward American Airlines and US Airways flights, and lounge access.

If you have a Citi Prestige, share your experiences in the comments.

Citi Prestige® Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, lounge access, $250 per calendar year in airline fee credits, and more

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

52 4421

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update 4/9/15: I was approved last week for 30k bonus points, but a new offer came out today with 50k bonus points. I’ve edited the article to reflect the new, better offer you can get that I did NOT get.

———–

I was just approved for the Citi Prestige® Card yesterday. I got the card for its:

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air travel fee credit:  $250 annual credit toward airfare, bag fees, or award taxes ($500 first year of cardmembership)
  • Lounge access: Admirals Clubs lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for me

Before getting the Citi Prestige® Card, I did a lot of analysis because of its unique perks and high annual fee. I’ll tackle the benefits and drawbacks one by one, so you can see why the Citi Prestige® Card made sense for me.

Sign Up Bonus

For a limited time, the headline sign up bonus is 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the card. I got the card with 30,000 bonus points, so I consider this a spectacular offer. 50,000 points equals:

  • $800 toward any flights on American Airlines/US Airways
  • $665 toward any flights on any other airline
  • $500 in gift cards (please don’t redeem them like this)
  • 50,000 miles with 11 airline transfer partners

I explained the two main ways to use ThankYou points in a post this week:

  1. Like cash toward the purchase of any flight on any airline. ThankYou Points have a special relationship with American Airlines, so the points are worth 1.6 cents each toward any American Airlines/US Airways fare. Toward other airlines’ flights, ThankYou Points are worth 1.33 cents each. The cool things about using points like this: ease (points work like cash to pay all or part of any fare), availability (any flight on any airline), and you earn miles and status from these flights because the airline sees a paid ticket not an award.
  2. By transferring the points to one 11 airlines or Hilton. Once you transfer, the points are Singapore miles or Flying Blue miles or wherever you transferred and now must be redeemed in accordance with those rules and that award chart. The cool thing about transferring points to miles: miles are the only economical way to book luxury First Class products.

I transfer my ThankYou Points to airline miles.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines miles to fly from Atlanta to Honolulu in a flat bed for 30,000 miles. I’ve also used Singapore miles to fly from Colombia to Argentina in Business Class for half the price it would have been with United miles. Singapore miles are also the only way to fly Singapore Suites, cheaper than United miles to book United flights to Europe, and offer two stopovers in addition to your destination on roundtrip awards.

I also love Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner because of its cheap awards to Europe, Israel, Hawaii and South America.

Because of all the valuable uses of ThankYou Points, I value them at 1.8 cents each. That puts this limited-time 50,000 point sign up bonuses among the valuable out there. When you factor in the category bonuses and other benefits of the card, this could be the best current offer on any credit card.

Category Bonuses

  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment

This card very clearly offers the biggest benefits to frequent travelers, since a number of its benefits like free hotel nights and lounge access will be most used by travelers. The category bonuses are no exception. If you buy a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays, and if you dine out while traveling, you will rack up a ton of extra points from these category bonuses.

I’ve been looking at my credit card statements for the last few weeks that I’ve been on the road throughout the Southeast and Hawaii. Almost all my charges are restaurants, flights, and hotels. I would be racking up huge ThankYou Points with the Citi Prestige® Card.

Note that the 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels is worth at least 4.8% back toward travel on American Airlines and US Airways, since points are worth 1.6 cents each toward those flights. That’s an incredible return.

Air Travel Credit

Every calendar year, you get a $250 air travel credit to offset airline fees. “Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.” (Emphasis mine.)

That means that you can buy airline tickets with this card, and the first $250 will be reimbursed each calendar year. Like everyone reading this blog, I spend at least $250 on airfare or award taxes each year, so this is like straight cash to me and will greatly reduce the sting of the annual fee.

In fact, for the first year, I’ll get more value from this benefit than I pay in annual fees. The air travel credit is a calendar year benefit.

I will spend $250 on airfare or award taxes on the card by the end of 2015, and then I will spend $250 on airfare or award taxes on the card by March 2016. In the first 12 months I have the card, that means I will pay one $450 annual fee, but earn $500 in airfare reimbursement.

Even without considering the sign up bonus and other benefits, the card would already be profit me $50 for the first 12 months.

Lounge Access

Having the Citi Prestige® Card gets you into any Admirals Club worldwide whenever you’re flying an American Airlines, American Eagle, or American Connection flight. In addition, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

This is a fantastic benefit that I plan to use a few times throughout the year. An Admirals Club Membership normally costs $500 for the first year.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.56.03 AM

Citi Prestige® Card holders can also get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Prestige Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

I downloaded the app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

Just like into Admirals Clubs, you can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.

Lounge access costs about $50 per visit, and I tend to use Priority Pass lounges quite a bit more than Admirals Club lounges because I do a lot of international travel.

4th Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

————————————————————————————————————————-

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.

To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must:

  • Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge, to book directly with a designated travel advisor
  • Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card

Receive one complimentary night (room rate for the fourth night and applicable taxes only) for any consecutive four-night hotel stay booked directly with a MasterCard designated travel advisor. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility. The value of the complimentary night will be the actual rate, as provided by the designated travel advisor, on that fourth night of the reservation, even if the rate is different from the rate on other nights. Cardmember will be charged the total cost of the stay at checkout and will receive a credit to the credit card statement for the cost of the fourth night (and the applicable taxes). If the cardmember books a special “pre-paid” rate this may require upfront payment in full, at time of booking. Payment in full is defined as pre-payment for the total of all four consecutive nights. Only one complimentary night is eligible per room reservation. Rates provided will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly-available fare at the hotel’s official website. The benefit can only be used by each primary account Cardholder. This benefit is available to all Citi Prestige Cardmembers worldwide.

For any Program related questions contact Citi Prestige customer service at 1-877-288-CITI.

————————————————————————————————————————-

If you book a lot of paid hotel nights, and the price being offered by Carlson Wagonlit is the same as you can get elsewhere, this will save you a lot of money. Using this benefit means foregoing booking the hotel through the hotel itself and earning andy bonus points and status for that.

This benefit didn’t influence my decision because I rarely book four-night paid hotel stays, so this benefit is not for me, but it will be useful for many.

Global Entry Fee Credit

Prestige card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Prestige cards.

Having Global Entry allows you to skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

Having Global Entry also gets you TSA Precheck, which is such a more pleasant and faster security experience.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer. How and Why I Got Global Entry.

My Global Entry is good for another two years, so I plan to use this benefit then.

Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees

It shouldn’t surprise that a card very clearly designed for travelers comes with Chip technology for global acceptance and zero foreign transaction fees. The only surprising thing is that not all cards have these basic features.

A lot of my cards never get used while I’m traveling abroad, but this card will continue to be used for purchasing flights, hotels, and at restaurants.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and not waived. This doesn’t bother me a bit.

During the first annual fee, I will make double use of the $250 airfare credit, so I will get all this for my first $450:

  • 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points, worth $900 to me
  • $500 worth of airline fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • Lounge access + 2 at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges, worth $200 to me
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment, worth an extra $150 in points to me
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts

Those benefits clearly dwarf the $450 annual fee. After testing out the card and seeing how much I actually use the benefits, I’ll have a better idea going forward whether to keep the card for $450 per year in return for:

  • $250 worth of airline fee credits
  • Lounge access + 2 at Admirals Clubs and Priority Club lounges
  • 4th night free on hotel stays with no blackouts
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry

So that’s why I got the Citi Prestige® Card.

If you have a Citi Prestige® Card, share your experiences in the comments.

Citi Prestige® Card with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, lounge access, $250 per calendar year in airline fee credits, and more

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

31 4538

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Updated March 23, 2015 with the addition of Qantas as a partner

Citi ThankYou Points are now transferable to one hotel and 11 airline programs. Folks who have a Citi ThankYou® Premier, Citi Prestige®, or Citi Chairman card can transfer Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio to:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchard Plus
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Qantas miles

You can also transfer 1,000 ThankYou Points to 1,500 Hilton HHonors points.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.01.54 AM

This is an incredible step forward for Citi ThankYou Points and puts them in the ranks of the big three transferable points programs.

Certainly I would like to see more and better partners added to the transfer possibilities, specifically Citi’s partner American Airlines, but this is a great start and there is value with Citi’s current transfer partners.

  • What are the best Citi ThankYou Points transfer partners?
  • How can you get ThankYou Points?
  • How can you transfer ThankYou Points?
  • What are the other ThankYou Points redemption options?

Best Transfer Partners

Singapore KrisFlyer

The best Citi ThankYou points transfer partner is Singapore KrisFlyer. Singapore was already a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Now it is even easier to get the most useful Star Alliance miles for travel in the Western Hemisphere.

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so its miles can be used to book flights on any of the 27 member airlines. Singapore miles are also the only miles that can be used to book the ultra-luxurious Singapore Suites.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.10.43 AM

Singapore Airlines collects fuel surcharges on most award flights, but not those flown by United, Taca, Avianca, and Copa. Here are some of my favorite Singapore Airlines awards (click the links for full posts on them):

  1. Between the continental United States and Hawaii on United flights for 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles in First with no fuel surcharges. United charges 22,500 and 40,000 miles respectively for the same flights! (Get the flat bed in first!)
  2. Two free one ways to Hawaii plus a roundtrip to South America for 50,000 miles total in economy and 80,000 miles in Business/First with no fuel surcharges. United would charge a ton more miles.
  3. Two free one ways to Hawaii plus a roundtrip to Central America or two free one ways to Central America plus a roundtrip to Hawaii for 35,000 miles total in economy and 60,000 miles in Business/First with no fuel surcharges. United would charge a ton more miles.
  4. Booking Singapore Suites, one of the world’s nicest First Class products on the A380. Singapore miles are the only way to book the award, which is pricey in miles and includes a fuel surcharge, but is worth it for lovers of luxury.

Air France Flying Blue

Flying Blue miles are the key to booking Promo awards: 12,500 mile awards to anywhere in Europe or Israel. Flying Blue miles can be used to book any SkyTeam award space, and Flying Blue has a very cheap award chart to many places including Hawaii (15,000 miles one way.)

Here is my full post on the best options to book with Flying Blue miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic miles can book super cheap one way awards to London:

  • 17,500 miles in economy
  • 27,500 miles in Premium Economy
  • 40,000 miles in Upper Class (flat bed Business Class)

These awards have fuel surcharges, but they are so much cheaper in miles than other airlines charge that fuel surcharges may be worth paying.

Virgin Atlantic miles can also be used to book awards on partners like Delta, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, and Hawaiian. You can book a roundtrip to Buenos Aires on Delta for only 45,000 miles and no fuel surcharges!

Here is my full post on the best options to book with Virgin Atlantic miles.

How to Get ThankYou Points

The easiest way to earn a bundle of ThankYou Points is with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.

My Review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

 

  • Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
  • Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
  • Annual Fee: $125 (fee waived for the first 12 months). On  4/19/2015, this fee will be reduced to $95 on all accounts
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

To get the full 50,000 point bonus, you do have to pay part of one annual fee of $95 (the annual fee is waived the first year, but you have to hold the card a second year.) Those 50,000 points would now transfer to Singapore Airlines and be enough for a roundtrip to South America with two free one ways to Hawaii!

For better perks, check out the Citi Prestige® Card:

  • Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 ThankYou Points after $2,000 in spending
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air travel fee credit:  $250 annual credit ($500 first year of cardmembership)
  • Lounge access: Admirals Clubs lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for some

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

How to Transfer

From thankyou.com, look for the Points Transfer on the Do More tab.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.33.25 AM

You’ll see the redemption options. I initiated a transfer to Singapore Airlines to see how the process works.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.59.25 AM

As with Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards transfers, you must send increments of 1,000. Interestingly the name on the Singapore Airlines account is already pre-set to the cardholder’s name, so it doesn’t look like you can transfer to anyone else’s account. (Of course, I can book anyone an award from my Singapore Airlines account.)

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.35.07 AM

Other Redemption Options

Before the transfer option to airlines, the best redemption option for Citi ThankYou Points was to redeem for any flight on any airline for 1.25 cents of value per point. Most flights could be booked on thankyou.com and other flights by calling 800-THANKYOU.

That option is still around, but I don’t plan on taking advantage because I know I can get far more than 1.25 cents of value from the points as Singapore miles.

For free economy flights, I’ll continue to use my Arrival miles, since the 40,000 bonus miles earned on the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® can also be used for free flights on any airline but cannot be transferred to any airlines.

There are other redemption options for ThankYou Points, like merchandise. Avoid these options like the plague for their low return on ThankYou Points.

Two Final Thoughts

1. This transferability is really nice if you ever want to close the ThankYou card.

With cards that earn bank points, those points disappear when you close the card. (Not so for cards that earn airline miles or points.)

It would have been tough to redeem your balance close to zero before closing the card with the prior redemption options. Now you can always transfer out points until your balance is under 1,000.

2. I really, really hope Citi adds American Airlines as a transfer partner.

Citi has purchased billions of American Airlines miles as part of their partnership with the co-branded American Airlines cards, so it is strange that American Airlines isn’t on the transfer list. Making it stranger: it’s not as if the only way to earn American Airlines miles from a credit card is with the co-branded American Airlines cards. American Airlines miles are a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest points, which you can get from the SPG credit cards.

Bottom Line

Citi added 11 airlines as 1:1 transfer partners of ThankYou Points over the last few months. This is a huge addition to the program, but I really want to see American Airlines added also.

You can get over 50,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.

The best transfer partner for those ThankYou points is Singapore KrisFlyer. The Singapore Airlines program allows redemption on all 27 Star Alliance airlines including United flights with no fuel surcharges.

There are some amazing gems on the Singapore Airlines award chart, and Singapore miles are the only way to book Singapore Suites, one of the world’s nicest First Class products.

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

5 1273

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

My friend just booked a Singapore Airlines award with two stopovers, one destination, and one open jaw. He’ll be hopping through the Americas for six weeks for 60,000 miles and $123.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 2.12.41 AM

I’m especially keen to highlight this award because:

  • it’s interesting
  • easy to copy
  • similar to awards I’ve written about theoretically
  • Singapore miles are the easiest to amass. Singapore KrisFlyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express, Chase, and Citi points. SPG points transfer 20,000 points to 25,000 Singapore miles.

Singapore Routing Rules

The type of miles you use determine the rules your award has to follow. He chose to use Singapore miles because of their great stopover rules. Unfortunately, it meant he was limited to six segments total.

Full Singapore Award Routing Rules

Relevant rules:

  • Singapore Airlines allows six segments per award.
  • Singapore allows one free stopover per roundtrip award and up to three additional stopovers for $100 each.
  • Singapore does not allow a stopover on one way awards.
  • Singapore allows one open jaw per roundtrip award.
  • Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance with access to Saver award space on all 27 airlines.

The Plan

My friend spends the South American summers in Buenos Aires. He wanted to visit family in Los Angeles over Christmas. He briefly toyed with heading to Hawaii, which is very possible on an award like this, and it even drops the price, but decided instead to focus on breaking up his journey with a stopover in each direction.

Since you probably don’t live in Buenos Aires, just imagine he lives in Los Angeles and wants to go to Buenos Aires with a stopover in each direction to make this more analogous to an award most Americans would want to book.

This award between the United States and South America costs 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 100,000 in business according to the Singapore award chart. United charges the same 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy, but 110,000 roundtrip in business.

In addition to the destination Los Angeles, my friend wanted a stopover in each direction. The first one is free, the second is $100 on a Singapore award. United would just allow one stopover.

Singapore awards usually include fuel surcharges, but none of Singapore’s partners to South America–United, TACA, Avianca, or Copa–have fuel surcharges on their award flights booked with Singapore miles.

Routing

Copa Airlines offers a ton of award space from its hub in Panama City to 10 American cities and throughout Central and South America.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.29.30 AM

My friend decided to stopover in Panama City in one direction.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.44.34 AM

For the other direction, he got even more creative, checking all the direct flights out of Los Angeles on Star Alliance carriers on Wikipedia.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.38.34 AM

One that caught his eye was United’s flight to Cancun.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.45.06 AM

Unfortunately because of the six-segment limit on roundtrip Singapore awards, he’d probably need a direct flight on Copa from Cancun to Panama City to keep his segments total low. Wikipedia confirms there is such a flight.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.45.20 AM

Finally, he decided to return to Montevideo instead of Buenos Aires. Montevideo is just a short ferry ride away from Buenos Aires.

That left his routing like this with the minimum segments possible in parentheses:

  • Buenos Aires to Panama City (1 segment) stopover 1
  • Panama City to Los Angeles (1 segment) destination
  • Los Angeles to Cancun (1 segment) stopover 2
  • Cancun to Montevideo (2 segments) open jaw between origin and destination

This award is valid with one segment to spare (that he’d end up using because of less than ideal search results.) It should cost 60,000 Singapore miles total in economy plus government taxes plus $100 for the second stopover in Cancun.

The Execution

All the Star Alliance partners that fly in the Americas are searchable on united.com. Here’s how to search united.com.

The idea is to search all four “parts” of the award–separated by bullet points above–separately. If he found Saver economy award space, he would note the date and flight number, and later feed that to a Singapore phone agent. Singapore Airlines can book all the Saver award space of Star Alliance carriers found on united.com.

I’d strongly recommend performing these searches one way at a time instead of trying to save time by cramming them into a multi-city award search on united.com. You will just get error messages at worst and see fewer search results at best.

Searching one way at a time several months ago, he had success finding economy award space on all legs. His only hiccup was that he didn’t find direct award space from Panama City to Los Angeles, instead he’s connecting in Las Vegas on a combination of Copa and United flights.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.44.50 AM

I just did a quick award search of the four parts of his award, and you can see there is excellent Business Class award space and good economy award space.

Buenos Aires to Panama

I limited the search to direct flights. Business Class award space (blue days) is widely available, while only February 23 has economy award space. My friend found economy award space when he searched, so the pattern of availability may have changed, or he may have been lucky.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.51.42 AM

Panama to Los Angeles

This is the calendar for Copa’s three direct flights only. There is plenty of space in both cabins. Possibly because this leg is on Christmas Eve, he didn’t find economy award space on the direct flight. There are connections available in El Salvador and Guatemala plus the one he chose in Las Vegas.Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.53.01 AM

Los Angeles to Cancun

Los Angeles to Cancun has a lot of award space in both cabins on the direct United flight if you fly Friday to Monday.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.53.54 AM

Cancun to Montevideo

These results are mostly with one stop in Panama. For whatever reason, February only has Business Class award space, while March has plenty Business and economy. He booked economy.Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.54.27 AM

After finding the award space, he called Singapore Airlines at (213) 404-0301. He fed the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of each segment he had noted from united.com. The agent quickly pieced together the award.

This is the confirmation email that Singapore sent him.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.33.38 AM

He is spending:

  • 6 days in Panama
  • a month in Los Angeles including Christmas and New Year
  • 9 days in Cancun
  • returning to Montevideo instead of Buenos Aires

The award priced at 60,000 miles + 154 Singapore dollars ($123).

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.34.39 AM

That is all taxes. He was not charged $100 for his second stopover in accordance with the written rules of the KrisFlyer program. Sweet! Maybe you’ll get lucky too.

I’m not sure which points he transferred to his Singapore account, but in my experience Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou Points both post in 24-48 hours.

Getting the Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. Cards I like that earns points that transfer to Singapore:

Bottom Line

My friend booked an incredible award with two stopovers, an open jaw, and a destination for only 60,000 miles and $123 in taxes. He’ll get to spend Christmas with his family, explore Panama and Cancun en route, and end up in a different city than where he started.

Singapore miles’ fantastic stopover rules and access to award space on all 27 Star Alliance carriers make this award possible. The best place to book an award like this is to South America because Singapore doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on Copa, TACA, Avianca, or United award space, and the carriers have great award space throughout the Americas.

Singapore miles are easy to get because they are a transfer partner of every transferable points program!

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Pay your award taxes and fees with the Arrival Plus then redeem Arrival miles to remove the charge.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 8.29.19 PM

Follow Me

Featured Posts