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A friend passed along an article from Time.com that advocates doing something I’ve done a few times, but not described:

You can often get a cheaper price on a cash ticket if you book the ticket in foreign currency through airline’s website designed for use by people in another country.

For instance, you can save about 35% on a roundtrip from Santiago, Chile to Easter Island, Chile booking in Chilean pesos through the LAN Chile website instead of in dollars through the LAN USA website.

I’ve noticed similarly cheaper flights using Colombian websites intra-Colombia and, most notably, Argentine websites intra-Argentina.

It’s easy to search the foreign websites, easy to translate them to English, and easy to pay with a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, so this is a trick everyone should be using.

Searching Foreign Websites

I recommend starting at the ITA Matrix. There you can quickly search for flights while toggling the “Sales city.” I searched Santiago to Easter Island roundtrip in April twice.

The first time I left “Sales city” blank, which defaults to departure city.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.23.26 PM

The second time I put Washington DC for the “Sales city” to see what the price would be on American websites.

Washington DC as a sales city led to a price of $616.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.23.53 PM

Santiago as a sales city led to a price of CL$242,586.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.24.24 PM

That is $393 or a 36% discount on the price designed for Americans.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.25.01 PM

You can continue to select different sales cities and might find a cheaper price, but generally the cheapest price will be the foreign country where the flights are.

To get the price in pesos, head to lan.com. Along the top, you’ll see United States (English) as the default selection.
Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.25.49 PM

Change it to Chile. This will give you a Spanish-language site of course.

Getting the Foreign Website into English

If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you’ll be asked whether you want to translate the page to English.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.26.07 PM

Going through the purchase steps, I was able to replicate the price of CL$242,586.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 1.27.42 PM

Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees

The last step would be to purchase the ticket with a card with no foreign transaction fees to avoid being dinged 3% on top of the $393.

If you want a free ticket, purchase the flights with your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® and then redeem Arrival miles to remove the $393 purchase from your statement. See how to redeem Arrival miles.

If you want to earn 3x ThankYou Points per dollar, use your Citi Prestige® Card, which also gets you $250 in free flights per year. See my review of the Prestige.

 

If you don’t have either, you can also get 2x ThankYou Points per dollar on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card or 2x Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, both without foreign transaction fees.

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Citi Prestige® Card with 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 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 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • 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
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

 

 

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The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 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.

It’s clearly an intriguing card that requires 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 whether the Citi Prestige® Card makes sense for you.

  • 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

Sign Up Bonus

The headline sign up bonus is 30,000 ThankYou Points after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card. That’s solid, but it is frankly not the selling point of this card, which is more about the benefits of cardmembership.

Those 30,000 points are worth over $500 to me because I am very high on ThankYou Points, which transfer to nine airlines and Hilton.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines 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 Hawaii, and offer an amazing deal to Central and South America.

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

Beyond transferring ThankYou Points, you can also redeem them directly for cash flights at a fixed rate. When you do this, the airline sees your ticket as a cash ticket, so you earn miles on the flights.

ThankYou Points are redeemable for 1.6 cents each toward American Airlines or US Airways tickets, and 1.33 cents each toward tickets on any other airline.

Category Bonuses

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

Notice that these are the reverse of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card if you’d prefer a bigger bonus for dining. My review of ThankYou Premier.

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.

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. Since I’m sure everyone reading this blog spends at least $250 on airfare each year, this is like straight cash to me and would greatly reduce the sting of the annual fee.

In fact, depending on when you get this card, this credit could be more valuable than the annual fee for your first 12 months with the card. This benefit is a calendar year benefit.

“Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.”

If you get the card such that your first 12 statements post in 2015 and 2016, you should be able to use this benefit twice before paying the annual fee for a second time. In that case, you can get $500 in airline fee statement credits for your $450 annual fee. 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 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, but I value it at about $20 per visit. Heavy users of this benefit will quickly forget about the annual fee.

4th Night Free on Hotel Stays

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

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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.

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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.

I book zero four-night paid hotel stays per year, 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.

There are two steps involved in obtaining Global entry: an application and an interview.

First, you need to fill out the online application.  To do this as efficiently as possible, make sure you have on hand: Proof of Citizenship documents (I just used my passport); your driver’s license, if you have one; and both your address and work histories for the past five years. The online application process took me about 30 minutes to complete.

If you have never registered with GOES (the Global Online Entry System), you will be prompted to register when you click the online application link above.

Once you are registered with GOES, log in to the system. You will see that you are not a member of any programs. Click “Enroll in a New Program” to begin your Global Entry application.

Select the link that allows you to start the application for the trusted traveler program.

From here, you will have to fill out a variety of personal information. There are 16 categories of information.

Fill out all the sections and submit your application. You will be prompted to pay the $100 application fee–make sure you use your Citi Prestige to pay this in order to have the fee credited back to you!

Once your application is approved, you can use the GOES system to schedule your in-person interview, which will take place at any airport that participates in the Global Entry program.

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.

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 at a time that allows double use of the airline fee credit before the next annual fee, you can get all of this for the cost of the first annual fee:

  • 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points
  • $500 worth of airline fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry
  • Lounge access + 2 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 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

I plan on getting this card in the next few months. I am attracted by the sign up bonus, the $250 annual airline fee 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 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,000 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 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • 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
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is currently offering 50,000 bonus miles and two Admirals Club day passes after spending $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months of account opening. This is enough miles for two roundtrips within the mainland United States, Canada, and Alaska or one roundtrip to Europe, South America, or Asia.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.47.36 PMI ranked the card #2 on my top ten list of the best cards for free travel this month because of

  • the massive sign up bonus
  • American Airlines’ cheap award chart
  • the fact that cardholders get a 10% rebate on the miles used to book American Airlines award tickets
  • the $95 annual fee being waived the first 12 months

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.47.29 PM

Beyond the benefits when award booking, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® also makes traveling American Airlines less stressful.

  • Cardholders are entitled to a free checked bag for themselves and up to four companions on the same ticket. That’s up to a $250 value per roundtrip.
  • Cardholders get Group 1 boarding, so they’ll never have to gate check bags after the overhead bin space fills up.
  • Cardholders get a 25% discount on purchases onboard (I recommend the pastrami sandwich!)
  • Cardholders get two Admirals Club passes on completion of the minimum spending requirement. That means free wifi, alcohol, snacks, and access to better agents in case of delayed and cancelled flights.

The American Airlines card is one of the best airline cards, but it is not right for everyone.

  • What types of people should get the American Airlines credit card and what types shouldn’t?
  • What are the best uses of American Airlines miles?
  • What about the American Airlines/US Airways merger?

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Citi ThankYou Points, which transfer to nine airlines plus Hilton, can be freely shared among ThankYou accounts.

Right now the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card offers up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points.

  • 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

If you and your travel partner have both offered this card or if you have opened the ThankYou Premier and the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you can freely combine balances before redeeming the points for airline miles or free flights.

  • What is the one big restriction on shared points?
  • What are the two best ways to redeem ThankYou Points?

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Citi has just released a new cash back card that is the best on the market:

Citi® Double Cash Card

You earn 1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back as you make payments. You should, of course, pay in full every month to avoid interest. This has the added benefit of getting your cash back more quickly.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 1.37.41 AM

The 1% + 1% cash back and no annual fee immediately make the Citi® Double Cash Card the best cash back card on the market.

This card is slightly better than the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express, which offers 2% back and no annual fee, for four reasons:

  1. The Citi Double Cash is a MasterCard, and the Fidelity card is an American Express. MasterCards are more widely accepted.
  2. The Citi Double Cash’s rewards can be redeemed in increments of $25 for statement credits. You have to wait until you have $50 in rewards on the Fidelity card.
  3. The Citi Double Cash offers 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made in the first four months. (There is a 3% fee on balance transfers.)
  4. The Fidelity card requires you to have a Fidelity account. That’s one more step.

The Citi® Double Cash Card also clearly has a chip in its promotional images. I don’t see whether it’s chip and PIN (more useful) or chip and signature, so I’ll hold off on calling this a benefit.

  • How does the Citi Double Cash Card compare to the Arrival Plus and miles earning cards?
  • Who should not get the Citi Double Cash Card?

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Yesterday I wrote that Citi ThankYou Points had added Air France Flying Blue as a 1:1 transfer partner.

That’s big news because there are some amazing high value uses for Flying Blue miles, and ThankYou Points are so easy to earn from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card with its 50,000 point sign up bonus and 3x category bonuses.

  • 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
  • Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment

When I was researching that post though, I couldn’t find Flying Blue’s complete award chart. All I could find was an award chart for awards originating in Europe:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.56.17 PM

I took it upon myself to compile an award chart for awards departing the United States, which I believe to be the only Air France/KLM Flying Blue award chart online for awards departing the United States. I priced out awards from the continental United States to every region on the Flying Blue award chart.

  • What is the award chart?
  • Where is it cheaper than Delta’s award chart?

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Citi ThankYou Points now transfer 1:1 to AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue miles.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.07.11 PM

This is huge news because:

  • Flying Blue Promo Awards to Europe cost only 12,500 miles each way
  • Flying Blue miles can book one way awards on Delta flights, with no fuel surcharges
  • Flying Blue miles can book award flights on any of the 20 SkyTeam member airlines, a few with no fuel surcharges
  • Flying Blue charges only 15,000 miles each way between the continental United States and Hawaii

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio to nine airlines across all three alliances plus Hilton points. Singapore KrisFlyer miles are still my favorite transfer partner, and Flying Blue miles are now my second favorite transfer partner.

Right now the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card is offering 50,000 bonus points: 20,000 after spending $2,000 in the first three months and 30,000 more after spending $3,000 in the first three months of year two.

  • What airlines can you book with Flying Blue miles?
  • What are the best value awards with Flying Blue miles?
  • How can you book Flying Blue awards?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This is the twenty-sixth 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.

I probably spend fewer nights in hotels than any other miles and points blogger, despite traveling plenty. Why am I down on hotels?

  1. frequent traveler- I spend probably about three to nine months away from my apartment
  2. frugal traveler- $100 a night or more is never going to cut it for more than an occasional splurge
  3. social traveler- hotels are isolating
  4. anti-tourist- I don’t want to spend all my time in a touristy part of town, eating at touristy restaurants, and drinking with other Americans

I pursue a mixed lodging strategy when traveling.

I stay some nights at top-tier, fancy-pants, several-hundred-euros-per-night hotels. I stay the majority of my nights for free with friends or through CouchSurfing, and I round out the rest of my nights cheaply at hostels or through airbnb.

  • What is CouchSurfing?
  • What is airbnb?
  • When do I stay at fancy hotels, and how do I avoid paying for them?
  • Hostels? Really!?

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Every time I mention the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, I get confused comments about which properties are excluded from the sign up bonus of two free weekend nights at Hilton properties worldwide.

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card comes with two free night certificates that can be used for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights after spending $2,500 in the first 4 months after opening the card.

Plus any cardmember year you spend $10,000 on the card, you get a free night certificate on your anniversary.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 3.25.14 AM
Conrad Koh Samui: A Hilton property that goes for $847 per night in January

These free night certificates can be used at top tier properties that go for up to $1,000 per night, but they cannot be used at the excluded property list. Except that they kind of can, and that’s where the confusion comes in.

  • Where can you use the Hilton Reserve’s free night certificates?
  • Where can’t you use the Hilton Reserve’s free night certificates?
  • Can you use them at the Conrad Koh Samui?

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Should you buy Citi ThankYou Points for 2.5 cents each?

ThankYou Points got a whole lot more valuable and more interesting last month when Citi announced that people with 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

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

There are some amazing redemptions with Singapore miles like booking Singapore Suites, booking United flights to Central America with free one ways to Hawaii, and booking United flights to South America with free one ways to Hawaii.

  • How can you buy ThankYou Points?
  • Are they a good deal for 2.5 cents?
  • How can you get 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier?

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On Monday, Citi announced that ThankYou Points are now transferable to seven airlines. You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier, Citi Prestige®, or Citi Chairman card 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

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

I singled out Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles as the best of the bunch on Monday for these reasons. (Give me a little time to look further into the other programs to find some sweet spots.)

I wanted to test the transfer time from ThankYou Points to Singapore miles, so folks can plan ahead for future Singapore redemptions.

My transfer took less than 36 hours to post to my Singapore Airlines account.

  • What was the process to transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Singapore miles?
  • What time did I transfer the points and when did they arrive as Singapore miles?
  • How does the ThankYou Points transfer compare to Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards transfers to Singapore miles?

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Citi ThankYou Points are now transferable to nine airline and one hotel program. 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

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

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

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The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card is now offering a 50,000 point sign up bonus worth $625 in free flights on any flight, any time, on almost any airline with no blackout dates.

And when you fly those $625 in free flights, you will earn miles as if you were flying tickets you had paid for! So getting this card earns points, which lead to free travel, which leads to earning miles, which leads to free travel. The technical term for this is “a virtuous cycle.”

Sign Up Bonus

The sign up bonus is broken into two parts, presumably to get you into the habit of using the card over a long time period. I got this card in February and have already cleared the first part of the sign up bonus.

  • 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
  • Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for airfare and hotels
  • Earn 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology

With the sign up bonus on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card, Citi has the best sign up bonus on the market for for free domestic travel, edging out the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®, which has a sign up bonus worth $456.

Category Bonuses

In addition to the sign up bonus, the card has killer category bonuses:

  • 3x ThankYou points on dining out and entertainment (including sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions and museums, record stores, and video rental stores)
  • 2x ThankYou points on airfare and hotels
  • 1x ThankYou points on all other purchases
  • What’s the best category bonus?
  • What’s the superficially good one you should avoid?
  • Who is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card right for?
  • Who is it wrong for? How does it compare to similar cards?

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Why are you collecting miles and points?

  • For free luxury hotel stays and first class flights?
  • To travel to more countries than you’d otherwise be able to?
  • To take a family vacation?
  • For a free trip home for the holidays?
  • To earn big rewards for everyday spending?

Whatever your reason for being here, there is a rewards card that suits your needs.

Since the start of last year, I’ve been to 25 countries, travel that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards. This has been my life thanks to miles:

  • Playing bilingual basketball games with the expats and locals in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Bungee jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand and Soweto, Jo’burg, South Africa
  • Leading an “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” cheer in Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open (tennis tournament) in Melbourne, Australia
  • Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Eating Thai-hot Thai curry in Thailand at Thai prices
  • Biking in the Lake District of Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina
  • Spending three days at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
  • Getting to travel with my brother in Australia and using miles to make his dream of seeing the Australian Open a reality
  • Flying a friend to Thailand to spend a week together
  • Seeing Angkor Wat
  • Getting some home cooking from my mom who lives 5,000 miles away
  • Following my favorite basketball team for six games in three cities
Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.14.12 AM
2013 Flights

How can you earn rewards for the trips of your dreams? What are the best credit card offers for June 2014?

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Expired! The current offer is identical except it doesn’t contain the $100 statement credit.

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card with Two Free Nights worldwide at top tier Hiltons after spending $2,500 in four months

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

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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

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.

Last year, Hilton put its top-tier Category 9 and 10 hotels nearly out of reach with points. They now cost up to 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.

Both those resources also show Category 1 and 2 hotels for a totally different reason. More in that on my post about the two best strategies for the Hilton program.

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 a 25% points bonus on Hilton stays plus free breakfast and free internet.

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

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