Citi

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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?

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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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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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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 across seven countries
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 May 2014?

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Update 4/18/14: The current offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is 40,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first three months.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening.*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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The card even comes with free Hilton Silver Status and the ability to earn Gold Status after only four stays.

How does this offer compare to my favorite Hilton card?

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In February, I opened several credit cards. I am writing posts explaining my logic for opening each one. See previously “Why I Got the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard” and “Why I Got the American Express SimplyCash Card.”

I got the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card because of its 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

…and category bonuses:

  • 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

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card is one of the top bank point earning cards. The 50k point sign up bonus is worth $625 in free flights on any flight, any time, on 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.” :)

Why did I get the Citi ThankYou Premier card? Who would benefit most from this card? How does the sign up bonus work? What are my experiences with the card?

Whether you’re looking for free luxury hotel stays, first class flights, flights home to see family, or big rewards on gas or groceries, there are some fantastic credit card bonuses out there.

I’m writing this post from Raleigh, North Carolina near the end of a six-week world tour that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 6.53.53 PM

My trip is taking advantage of American Airlines miles, Starpoints, Ultimate Rewards, Lufthansa miles, and Arrival miles, all of which I got from credit cards.

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

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Update 4/18/14: The current offer on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card is 40,000 Hilton Points after spending $1k in the first three months.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening.*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at a participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • No annual fee.*

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

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The card even comes with free Hilton Silver Status and the ability to earn Gold Status after only four stays.

How does this offer compare to my favorite Hilton card?

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