Citi Makes Travel Credit More Flexible, Extends Bonus Spending Period

Filed Under: Citi

Given how much consumer behavior has changed in the past several weeks, many of the credit card benefits that members used to appreciate aren’t as valuable anymore.

Therefore we’re seeing card issuers get creative with perks, so that members have an incentive to keep their cards. Today we’ve seen announcements from both Amex and Chase about what they’re doing for cardmembers, and now Citi has announced something as well.

Citi extends minimum spend period for sign-up bonuses

Citi is extending the period during which you can complete your minimum spending in order to earn a sign-up bonus:

  • This is valid for those who opened accounts with a bonus offer between December 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020
  • Cardmembers now have an additional three months to complete the minimum spending requirement (ordinarily spending needs to be completed over three months, so for most cards this doubles the period)

We’ve seen similar initiatives from both Amex and Chase.

Citi Prestige $250 travel credit becomes more flexible

The Citi Prestige is one of Citi’s most premium credit cards — it has a $495 annual fee, but offers a $250 annual travel credit that can help offset it.

Ordinarily the $250 annual travel credit will automatically be applied towards any purchase coded as travel. The way I view it, this lowers the real “out of pocket” on the card to ~$245 per year, since everyone should get full value out of that.

However, with people not traveling right now, obviously that’s of limited value, and that’s why Citi has come up with another way to use this.

Between May 1 and December 31, 2020, purchases made with the Citi Prestige at supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout) will count towards the $250 travel credit. In other words, if you haven’t yet used your travel credit, you can get $250 worth of food with it.

Bottom line

It’s nice to see Citi extend the minimum spending period for their cards, and also to make the Citi Prestige $250 travel credit valid at restaurants and supermarkets for the remainder of the year.

Citi says that as the situation continues to evolve they’re monitoring the landscape, and are exploring ways to deliver appropriate accommodation to cardmembers as they navigate these unprecedented times. So maybe we’ll see more soon.

Will you benefit from either of these Citi initiatives?

  1. How about they improve their nearly useless benefits on the card or improve earning in useful categories?

  2. Citi should lower the annual fee on the card to make it more commensurate with the value offered. Citi Prestige is no longer a premium card.

    Oops, forgot we were talking about Citibank

  3. This is great. I used my Sapphire credit up first as that is my go to card now and had just started on my Citi credit when the lockdowns started. My Citi renews in August and I’m not sure if I’m going to renew it because of the fee increase so really wanted to spend the travel credit. For me the fee increase is really big because I was getting preferred pricing before as a Citi banking customer – but the tier I’m at is going away so not sure if the new price is worth it..

    What’s interesting is the Hilton card is doing something similar and the Marriott card is now doing 6x points on restaurants. All the news dropped today which is interesting how coordinated it was (whether planned or not).

  4. Ben — Citi’s Terms & Conditions for the 5x dining category explicitly excludes “online dining delivery services”, which I assume means services like GrubHub, Postmates, etc. that we all primarily order through. Would you be willing to reach out to your contact(s) to confirm whether that same restriction applies to this new added flexibility on the $250 travel rebate when applied towards restaurant spend? i.e. Does it have to be directly paid to the restaurant, or do delivery services count? Thanks!

  5. Got this (targeted?) offer today for our Prestige card:

    Use your card to earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent, up to 2,500 points, through 07/31/2020 on eligible purchases¹ you make at:

    Grocery Stores
    Gas Stations
    Mass Transit & Commuter Transportation Vendors

  6. @mangoMan – I got that targeted offer about 2 months ago – worked out great and I maxed it out! IIRC, it works out to 4 bonus points, so the spend to max out is not $500, but $625.
    Now I assume you can stack it with this deal!

    Am I missing something on the $250 credit or can I go into my local grocer, buy a $250 Visa GC (or a combination of Amazon/merchant/restaurant cards that will NOT incur a fee) and get it basically refunded to my account to cover the annual travel credit?

    Also, is the annual travel credit January to December or based on “card year”?

  7. Can’t edit my prior post, so adding this one – travel credit runs January through December, and I used mine on January 17.

  8. Is the travel credit by calendar year or by renewal year? I can’t remember if I used my credit or not.

  9. What is Citi doing since the fourth-night free perk on the Prestige card is useless not that it wasn’t before the pandemic as well once they eliminated booking through the concierge?

  10. @ Luis

    Calendar year – look at a statement, it will show how much of the travel credit has been used.

    Mine all used already for 2020

  11. It seems like for many travelers reading this blog, a positive change but not really helpful.

    We already used up $200 Amex Platinum incidentals in January.
    We already used up $250 Citi Prestige credits in January.
    We already used up $300 Sapphire Reserve credits in January.
    We already used up $300 Amex Bonvoy credits in January.

    Maybe some refund on unused Global Entry, and Priority Pass credits?
    Maybe we can reverse our MR UR TYP transfer back?

    Or the simplest way to keep card holders happy.
    Maybe just refund the annual fee?

  12. Does anyone have a link for this please? I cannot find this info on their website. Thanks!

  13. I talked to CITI via phone as well as online chat. Both reps were not aware of the extension of minimum spending deadline and kept saying that I need to enroll the COVID payment deferral plan to extend any terms in my account. Could you identify the source of this information? Thanks!

  14. Sue – same here. Just got AAdvantage CitiBusiness Platinum Select and they’re telling me my date to meet the $4K spend is just beyond 4 months from today (they pad in a little time for mail delivery of the physical card). I’d love the additional 3 months but the reps don’t know anything about it.

  15. I also experienced the same issue yesterday (reps not aware). They said there was additional time for Citi AA cards but not for others. What is the source for this info??? Are bloggers just reblogging each other?

  16. Alan – mine _IS_ a Citi AA card. And I was not offered additional time to meet the minimum spend. If anyone has had success getting an extension I’d like to know about it, and how it was done. Thanks!

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