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The new year has started off on the right foot! Not only did we learn that the Amex Platinum would get 6 months of $30/mo PayPal credit. Citi Prestige announced that they will extend the eligibility of Supermarket and Restaurant ( takeout ) spend qualifying for the $250 Citi Prestige travel credit. This is fantastic news, and one that I personally will be able to utilize. When Citi announced this perk in 2020 I had already used up my $250 Citi Prestige travel credit on the only flight I’d taken in 2020. This year…hello supermarkets! Check out the terms from Citi down below, but the supermarket and restaurant spend qualifies from 1/1/21 to 12/31/21.
Here is a explanation from Citi on what works for the Citi Prestige Travel Credit in 2021
$250 Travel Credit benefit
Your Card Account is eligible to receive statement credits of up to $250 per calendar year for Travel Purchases made by the Primary cardmember or Authorized Users and which appear on your billing statement during that calendar year (Travel Credit). Citi will automatically post available Travel Credit(s) after eligible Travel Purchases appear on your statement. Please allow one to two billing cycles after the qualifying purchase is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.
- Travel purchases are defined as purchases made within the travel category, including purchases from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, and bus lines.
- Cardmembers are responsible for payment of all charges on the Card Account regardless of eligibility for statement credit.
- The Travel Credit is intended only for personal travel, and not for business travel.
Additional Qualifying Purchase Categories
- Supermarket Purchases are defined as purchases made within the Supermarket category. Purchases that won’t count toward the Expanded Travel Credit are those made at general merchandise/discount superstores, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food/convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionery stores, and meal kit delivery services. Purchases made at online supermarkets which are not classified as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant code also won’t count toward the Expanded Travel Credit.
- Restaurant Purchases are defined as purchases made within the Restaurant category. Purchases that won’t count toward the Expanded Travel Credit are those made at bakeries, caterers, and restaurants located inside other establishments (such as hotels, department stores, grocery stores, discount and convenience stores or warehouse clubs).
Why we like Citi Thank You points – their transfer partners!
Look at that wonderful list of over 15 transfer partners! Most of these transfer at a ratio of 1:1, but there are a few exceptions. Sears points 1:10, JetBlue ( Thank You Preferred and Rewards+ get 1k to 800 points ). Utilizing these transfer partners is arguably the best way to access aspirational travel.
What are some great uses of Citi Thank You points?
Citi has compiled a great list of partners, but many of them may be unfamiliar to you if you’ve been focused on US based airlines. Let’s take a look at just a few of some really cool redemptions you could do with Citi Thank You points.
Avianca LifeMiles is a great way to hop to Europe or South America
You can fly in business class for 63k or first class for 87k from the US to Europe or South America. Amazing price imo.
Here are some great business class/First Class redemptions:
- Swiss Business Class
- United Polaris Business Class
- Lufthansa Business Class
- Lufthansa First Class
This is the loyalty program of Cathay Pacific and it has come awesome redemptions, namely flying in business class to Asia starting at 70k miles, and First Class for 110k.
You can read about them here
- Cathay Pacific Business Class
- Cathay Pacific First Class
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
One of the coolest ways to fly in the world is Qatar Airways QSuites. This past year, Qatar did what many thought was impossible, instead of devaluing their program, they revalued it. Awards got cheaper, and one of the standout redemptions is to fly on QSuites from the States to Doha for just 70k miles. That is a stunner of a deal. My family had the opportunity to fly QSuites in 2019 and it was everything we’d hoped for. You can read about our experience here.
Singapore has some really cool redemptions, but much of their flight network has been grounded. Fingers crossed those A380s and US routes get back up and going because they offered some incredible redemptions options.
Singapore Airlines Business Class from Houston to Manchester for 72k points
Or in Suites from JFK to Frankfurt for 86k miles. You can also fly this intra Asia for just 53k miles. Note…these A380s aren’t currently in operation, but hopefully will be by end of year
Is the Citi Prestige worth the $495 annual fee?
I have personally kept the Citi Prestige in my wallet because of two reasons.
4th night free credit
The 4th night free credit has been diminished over the years and now only qualifies 2x/year and must be done on more restrictive terms. I still think it has quite a bit of value since I travel so much, but the nights do not qualify towards Elite status and therefore really are best used at properties that aren’t a part of a loyalty program, or where you don’t care about earning points/elite nights. This could be especially advantageous at high end properties like Peninsula Hotels, Aman, Rocco Forte, Four Seasons, etc assuming they populate Citi’s travel engine and are competitively priced.
Up until this year I have paid a reduced annual fee since my account had once been Citi Gold which reduced the annual fee to just $350. That faded away this year and I was hit with the full $495 fee, but I still kept the card. I figured at the minimum I’d use the $250 travel credit up, but now that restaurants and supermarkets count, I’m undoubtedly going to quickly use it up, so the fee is really $245. I’m unsure if I’ll use the 4th night free credits, but if I do, I’ll end up quite a bit ahead on credits, but if I don’t, I’ll likely be cancelling this card before the next annual fee comes due.
Citi Prestige offers a Priority Pass that includes the Priority Pass lounge AND restaurant network.
I carry an Amex Platinum and a Biz Platinum that both offer Priority Pass memberships. The big difference is that those cards do not offer the use of their Priority Pass memberships at the Priority Pass restaurants. Before the pandemic I had made great use of this feature and was a big reason why I kept the Citi Prestige.
Prestige earn rates
I had been working in Restaurants with Citi Prestige until the pandemic, and will continue to do so once I dine at restaurants more frequently after it passes.
- 5x Restaurants
- 5x Air Travel
- 3x Hotels
- 3x Cruise Lines
- 1x all other purchases
This is a great move on Citi’s behalf to make a benefit more accessible and easy to use.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.