Did you know you can use points for Disney tickets and hotels? You can save lots of money by paying for a Disney vacation with points not cash, here's how.
Citi Disney Disney Cruise Miles and Points Thank You Points

Which Citi Thank You cards offer a travel uplift?

Kenny from Miles4More once said, and I’m paraphrasing with a h/t to The Wire here, “With Citi, logic ain’t got nothin’ do to with it.” OK he didn’t phrase it anywhere near that way but that was the gist! I learned this the hard way when trying to get the 1.25x Thank You Points uplift when booking travel. Thanks to Robert Dwyer’s tip, I wanted to put a deposit down on a Disney Cruise using Thank You Points. I’ll quickly share my experience and then try to offer clarity on which Thank You cards offer the travel uplift and which don’t via a comparison of the three cards.

Why I couldn’t get a 1.25x uplift on my Disney Cruise deposit

Bob wrote that Citi Prestige or Premier cardholders could get 1.25 cents per point (or 25% uplift if you prefer) when booking travel with Thank You Points, including the deposit for the cruise. I had no reason to dispute that fact, so I called up the number on the back of my Citi Prestige card to put a deposit down on my cruise. You can read through his post about how that works, it’s pretty straightforward: just feed the agent the dates (and staterooms if you want) and they will quote you the same price you see on the DCL website. 

Everything went smoothly until I got to payment. The agent quoted me a price in Thank You Points that obviously represented a value of 1 cent per point. That didn’t make sense to me so I asked and she told me the the Prestige only gives 1 cent per point on non-air travel. Doh!

I had made the incorrect assumption that since the Premier card, which has a lower annual fee, offers 1.25 cents per point used for booking all travel, the Prestige would offer the same. But the Prestige, which costs $355 more in annual fees, only offers 1.25X for airfare. What gives?

Even more confusingly, I couldn’t even find evidence online that the Premier allows you to get 1.25X value on your TYP when booking for non-airfare. Check out what I pulled from Citi’s website for the Premier:

Citi doesn't do a great job offering clear info on their Citi Thank You cards, so I decided to take a stab at laying out the pros and cons of each card.

Compared to what I pulled for the Prestige:

Citi doesn't do a great job offering clear info on their Citi Thank You cards, so I decided to take a stab at laying out the pros and cons of each card.

Both cards offer a 25% bonus on points redeemed for travel and the graphics on both cards only say “airfare” specifically. I searched high and wide on the internet and couldn’t find anything officially from Citi about the Premier offering 25% on cruises, cars, etc. Nothing with a date at least.

So- does the Thank You Premier have a redemption bonus for travel beyond airfare?

During my call, the Thank You rep confirmed on the phone that the Premier does give 1.25 cents per point when booking for all travel. I’ve since confirmed this, two ways. First, check out this screenshot:

Citi doesn't do a great job offering clear info on their Citi Thank You cards, so I decided to take a stab at laying out the pros and cons of each card.
Screenshot via Robert Dwyer

As you can see, the Premier still gives 1.25 cents per point used for booking a hotel. (And wow that Courtyard is overpriced I’ve been to Natick.)

The second way I confirmed the 1.25X was through my own cruise booking. I really wanted to get rid of my TYP but didn’t want to give up the 25% uplift, so I upgraded my Thank You Preferred card to a Premier. It took about two days for everything to register in the system, but ultimately the upgrade enabled me to put my cruise deposit down with the 1.25X bonus. Score!

Comparing Preferred, Premier, and Prestige earning and redemption bonuses

Since Citi makes it so darn confusing to find the information, I thought I’d just lay it all out here. I’m 99% sure this is accurate as of June 2017, but who knows with Citi?! At the very least I confirmed everything last night.

Citi Thank You Preferred

  • 2X points earned on dining and entertainment
  • 1X points earned on all other purchases
  • Can only be used to book travel at rate of 1 cent per point
  • No annual fee

Citi Thank You Premier

  • 3X points earned on travel including gas stations
  • 2X points earned on dining and entertainment
  • 1X points earned on all other purchases
  • Can be used to book travel – airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals at rate of 1.25 cents per point (25% bonus)
  • Points can be transferred to airline partners
  • $95 annual fee

Citi Thank You Prestige

  • 3X points earned on airfare and hotels
  • 2X points earned on dining and entertainment
  • 1X points earned on all other purchases
  • Can be used to book airfare at rate of 1.25 cents per point (25% bonus). (Higher rates may be available up until July 23, 2017)
  • Points can be transferred to airline partners
  • Receive a rebate on 4th night of a hotel stay booked through Citi
  • $100 Global Entry Credit
  • $250 annual airfare credit (will be credited for any purchase(s) from an airline)
  • $450 annual fee

I’ve compiled some of the most important things to think about when choosing between these card into the infographic below.

  Citi doesn't do a great job offering clear info on their Citi Thank You cards, so I decided to take a stab at laying out the pros and cons of each card.

Which card works the best for your travel goals?

Early last year, Citi Prestige was the hot credit card to have. Since then, Citi devalued the card – amongst other things they took away the 1.6 cents per point you used to get paying with points for travel on AA. They also reduced the value you get for booking all airfare to 1.25 cents per point. This all goes into effect in a little over a month (July 23, 2017). 

So at this point I don’t think the Prestige wins for most cases. The $450 fee is very hefty and you need to book a lot of four night cash hotel stays to make up for that. The $250 credit is fine but that means you’re paying cash for your travel and mentally justifying the $450 fee to yourself. But, if you book a lot of cash stays, like for work for example, I still think the Prestige could be a strong card. 

At this point, I personally feel the Premier card gives the best bang for your buck. You only pay $95 for the annual fee, and the expanded 3X travel category can offer some great opportunities (gas stations anyone?). Since Prestige and Premier offer the same exact uplift when booking for travel (25%), you win there too. Plus, like I said, you can book for things like cruises and hotels – which you can’t do with the Prestige.

And of course, if you don’t want to pay an annual fee, the Preferred is a decent option. It offers lower bonus earnings and just 1 cent per point for travel redemptions, but that might match your style better.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you won’t get caught off guard like I did about what does/does not qualify for the 25% uplift when redeeming points for travel. Thank You points can occupy a very useful place in your points strategy, but make sure you get the card that works best for you!

Anything I missed? What’s your preferred favorite Citi Thank You card?

Never miss a post! Subscribe and receive an e-mail for new posts from asthejoeflies. Also, follow our family adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Citi doesn't do a great job offering clear info on their Citi Thank You cards, so I decided to take a stab at laying out the pros and cons of each card.

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Which Citi Thank You cards offer a travel uplift?”

  1. Good to know! I’ve got both the Premier and Prestige and didn’t realize it was the Premier that was providing the 1.25x uplift towards hotels & cruises. Totally agree that you’d think both fee-based cards would get the same uplift.

    I find Citi’s ThankYou program “confusingly similar” to Chase’s. But like you point out there are some annoying limitations in Citi’s programs (like caps on spousal transferability and wonkiness with point expiration when transferring points, even between your own cards).

    Citi seemed poised to take some share from AmEx especially for a while there but they seem to have given up. Oh well. I’ll keep both the Premier and Prestige if retention bonuses are compelling. Combined with AT&T 3x it can still be a program worth exploring I think.

  2. As you said, Prestige is losing AA access and Alaska lounges no longer allow guests with Priority Pass. I have both Premier and Prestige and debating on keeping either now. My AF’s are due here shortly. I do have the AT&T and 160K TYP to think about.

  3. Some of us pay $350/year for Prestige. Assuming you use the $250 airline credit, that’s only $5/year more than Premier. I think Prestige wins hands down then.

  4. One killer benefit of Prestige you did not mention is trip delay protection which kicks in after 3 hours of delay which no other card offers. The closest to this perk is 6 hours of delay with other cards.

        1. I’m amused that people tout the travel delay benefit and then say they’ve never used it. Maybe you can get an airport meal comped for a three hour delay but that’s about it. To really get value out of it I feel like you’d need to be sneaky and make purchases Citi might reject as unnecessary (say, a new electric toothbrush, a set of Brooks Brothers dress clothes, etc)The restrictions, risk over what’s really going to be covered and headache in making a claim make me skeptical even frequent travelers with a lot of delays would get over $50/year out of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.