Everybody loves Ultimate Rewards from Chase and Membership Rewards from American Express but very few give Thank You points and Citi a thought. It may be because of their extensive anti-churning rules, lack of frequent signup bonuses, frequent devaluation of benefits, frequent changes to their points program, lack of referrals, and last but not least, bloggers not getting paid enough to create a buzz around Citi cards. Now to be fair, Citi has more or less stopped focusing on the points game for quite a while, nevertheless they still have some sweet spots left. Unfortunately, whatever benefits are leftover often gets buried under “Citi being Siti” jokes. To somewhat balance out the negativity, I present to you my public love letter to Citi and their Thank You program:
The Generous Matching
Citi is flat out the best when it comes to getting you matched. Have you heard of Chase matching you to year old offers? Because Citi has. I was matched to a year and half year old non-existing offer. The funny part is that I occasionally still heard about successful (along with some unsuccessful) data points of this match.
But maybe above mentioned offer is too…out there for you. So let’s talk about the generous 75k American Airline match. You get matched from 65k to 75k via a single secure message.
- when matching you to a higher offer, Citi, unlike Chase, generally does not care if you’ve met spend for said high offer
- You could potentially apply for lower offer with lower minimum spend and get matched to higher offer and not have to meet minimum spend for higher offer.
- occasionally people accidentally get matched twice
Pure (or old school?) Churn of American Airline Credit Cards
Some years ago churning a card meant repetitive opening and closing of same card for signup bonus but because of various anti-churning rules like 5/24, 1/24, 2/3/4, and once in a lifetime, this definition has become obsolete for the masses. Can you think of the last time you did some pure churn?
Sure, Citi has their own 1/24 family rule but they send out hilarious amount of mailers that bypass this rule. Don’t have a mailer? Signup your dog, cat, fish, etc to a AA account and wait. Otherwise, you could always trade, buy, or even get a mailer from someone for free.
- Same code works multiple times.
- 9 digit code can be shared and be used by multiple people while 12 digit code is not shareable.
- Plenty of folks have churned AA cards 10+ times
- Churning AA biz is great because it does not report as a new account
Best Retention Offers
50k Membership Rewards retention offer may the best single retention offer known to this date but overall Citi is the best when it comes to retention offer. Where they can’t make it up in size, they make it up on volume. Citi is well known for handing out retention offers left and right. Some of the retention offer I have received include, 10k TY offer in no-annual fee Forward (RIP) card, 10k TY on Prestige, +2x points offer in AT&T Access More, and even $350 on Prestige. I often ask for retention offers in a single phone call and Citi reps have been pleasant about it.
Oh and you can even get retention offers on above mentioned AA cards. You can check all Citi retention offer in this Flyertalk thread.
Under Appreciated Facts:
- It was possible to get Citi retention offer every 6 month
$350 Annual Fee Prestige
$350 Prestige is the best $100 net annual fee card ever created. The $250 airline credit, for obvious, reason is cash-equivalent, which is why the claim of this version of card having $100 annual fee is completely valid. The retention offer received in this card often make this card a freebie or even a moneymaker.
Additionally the unique benefits of Prestige can be worthwhile to some:
- 3 hour trip delay insurance – this is often the best trip delay insurance in credit card market today, period. The next best thing is 6 hours. When applicable, book your ticket with this card.
- 4th night free – fantastic benefit for those who make book at least 4 night when travelling for work. Also a great benefit when you need to book 4 night during trips. Oh and it can occasionally stack with hotel offers like stay 4 nights and get 5th free.
- cash out TY 1:1 – most won’t care for this benefit but those who do will love it. Yes, it is still possible to cashout TY through other shenanigans like “mortgage” and “student loan”.
- People who got locked into $350 annual fee due to Citi Gold are still locked in even several years after closing of Citi Gold
- $350 Prestige can often be grabbed at a branch
- [dead] A credit limit reduction trick got one paid $100 to hold this card.
- 3 hour trip delay got nerfed when this post was in draft mode. Starting 7/29/18, Prestige will require 6 hour delay.
- I had “10k TY points for $3k spend” retention offer in 2017. My 2018 retention offer went something like “get $50 per month for up to 7 months in which I spend minimum $1500”
Citi Price Rewind
Even when Chase cards offered price protection, Citi had, and still has the best price protection in the market today, period. I have had my price protection claim accepted in as little as within 12 hours and it only takes like 3 minutes to file a claim. You can read this post of mine to see how easy Citi Price Rewind is. I put more or less “price rewind worthy” purchases on Citi, file all claims on my own, and don’t bother sharing my money with apps like Earny.
- The annual limit is per Citi card and most Citi churners have loads of cards
2 Year Warranty
This is yet another benefit of a Citi card that is simply unmatched by anyone else. At best most cards will offer to extend manufacturer warranty by 1 year but Citi gives you twice as much. I used to put warranty worthy large purchase on American express but I have switched to Citi for quite some time.
Google provides 2 year warranty on my Pixel 2 XL mobile and because I made that purchase with Citi, I have my phone covered for 4 freaking years! Plus, I also have insurance from one of those cards (ex: CIP, WF, and Uber) that provide cell phone insurance for putting monthly benefit on it.
It is generally accepted that Chase and American Express have far superior transfer partners but having more options has never hurt someone.
Occasionally Citi, alike Amex, offers transfer bonus for transferring points to their partners. For example, last year I had transferred TY to Jetblue at net 1.2x rate i.e. 1000 TYP becomes 12000 Jetblue.
Prestige + Premier “1.66” CPP
This combo, due to 1/24 family rule, is scarce now but it can be worthwhile to some. If you combine 4th night benefit of Prestige with 1.25 cpp of Premier, you end up getting a net “1.66” cpp on 4 night hotel booking. You can read more on this frequentmiler post.
Why would someone with Prestige also have Premier? This often isn’t a long term plan but there is occasionally a time period when one holds both of these cards. If you’re going to optimize 1/24, you want to keep one of those cards open until you get the other one. Also there is the fact that retention offer often makes up for the annual fee.
Live Chat + Secure Message
Amex only does live chat and Chase only does secure message but Citi, alike Discover, does both and I appreciate that very much.
Freedom in Product Change
Citi, unlike Chase and American express, often allows you to product change from one brand of card to another. Some notable product change include:
- AA business to CitiBusiness ThankYou Card
- to AT&T Access More
- to Dividend
- to Double Cash
You may want to PC to CitiBusiness ThankYou card because it is otherwise only obtainable in branch. You may want to PC to AT&T Access More and/or Dividend because they’re only attainable through PC. Lastly, you may want to PC to Double Cash because the this card often lacks in (or has low) signup bonus and thus isn’t worth directly applying for.
As mentioned before, you could product change this card from one of your AA business cards. Alternatively, like mentioned before you could apply for this card in branch and attempt to get matched to 40k offer.
This card isn’t for everyone but if it works for you then it can work great.
- CBTY typically has same categories every year
- categories are uncapped
- Jan – March categories includes office supplies
- points earned from CBTY can be merged with those from personal cards ex Prestige and Premier
- new applicants get has 0% APR for 6 months which is fantastic for a business card
You can read more in these two posts of mine:
AT&T Access More
AT&T Access More credit card with $95 AF is one of the best credit card in the market today, period. Not only does it earn 3x on a lot of internet purchase (see wiki of this Flyertalk thread) but it also provides 10k TY points for spending $10k per card member year.
If you think $10k is a lot then consider the fact that it earns 3x on Amazon. Unlike some other cards that earn 5% on Amazon cards, Access More offers purchase protection. I make use of purchase protection benefit enough to a point that AT&T Access More card is my default card on Amazon.
Additionally, Roomi also earns 3x on Roomipay. In simple terms, if you’ve trouble meeting annual $10k requirement, you ought to put it through Roomi, which currently has 2% fee, and easily meet the required threshold in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your couch…and you get to pocket 1x profit i
If that wasn’t enough, AT&T Access More also comes with some action packed retention offers. A 10k retention off is typical but +2x TY points everywhere for 6 months (earning capped at 35k points) is the most interesting one. Not long ago I used to earn 5x on Plastiq, Amazon, etc. If you have this offer right now, you can get 5x on Roomipay, Amazon, etc.
If you were one of of those folks who managed to get 0% Roomipay offer while having +2x offer on this card, then you could have made 87,500 TY points for pushing $17500 through Roomi.
- The card is no longer available for signup but you can still product change to it
- The two AT&T Access card make up their own family and thus closing/opening/PCing of these cards do not interfere with 1/24 rule on Preferred, Premier, or Prestige.
- While in the draft phase of this article, I received 2018 retention offer for Access More. One of the offer was “spend $1k and get 7.5k TY points” while the other one was the +2x TY points offer mentioned above. Needless to say I took the latter one.
2% cashback everywhere on a no annual fee card which is obtainable through product change, ’nuff said.
- retention offer is rare, if not non-existent
Dividend is a discontinued card that provides 5% cashback on quarterly rotating categories. The 5% is limited to first $6000 on 5% earning categories and you can burn through this entire amount in a single category. In other words, this card has a potential for $300 cashback every year.
- still available via product change
- often announces all quarterly categories before the year begins
- often has a quarter with easy MS category like drugstore and grocery
There are three versions of this card – one earning TY points, another earning cashback, and the final one earning Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR). These cards gets very lucrative offers. Some of the recent targeted offers I found by searching through Doctor of Credit are:
- [April 2018] Earn 10x bonus Thankyou points on gas station, grocery store and restaurant. Capped to 30k per month for 3 month promo duration i.e. max 90k possible.
- [Feb 2018] 5x bonus Thankyou points when you spend $50 or more on eligible purchases. Capped to 10k
- [Jan 2018] 23/23/25% in points on eligible gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases respectively. Capped to $100 for each i.e. $300 total.
- [Nov 2017] 100 bonus ThankYou points for every eligible purchase of $1 or more. Limit to 25 purchases/2,500 bonus points
- you can apply for regular Sears card and product change to TY card later (probably not sooner than a year?)
- I don’t have this card so I might have some minor errors in this section
Masterpass is a digital wallet like Visa Checkout. Most of the Citi cards are Mastercard so if you happen to have a Citi card, you most likely can participate in any promotions related to Masterpass. Occasionally, some Masterpass exclusive promos will make happy that you’ve a qualifying card. For instance, when executed properly, the recent no plastiq fee when you use masterpass promotion is be one of the best ongoing couch MS opportunity.
Amazon Promos For Citi and Thank You Points
Amazon has various promos involving Chase, Amex, Discover, and Citi cards and their respective points program. When you see a promo involving a Citi card and Thank You points, it can be a good feeling knowing you have a qualifying card.
Citi is one of the few banks that provide virtual accounts. If you are into like I am then you know how valuable virtual accounts are. The fact that Citi provides a desktop client for generating virtual account is a huge plus for me. You can read more about Citi virtual account in post of mine.
Citi is still a bank with great credit cards. In this post I listed a few, among many, reasons for why you should take some time to invest in Citi’s credit card portfolio. Now, granted,some of the benefits listed above aren’t necessarily the reason you would go grab a Citi card but they will make you happy for holding a Citi card 🙂
Hopefully this post encourages newbies and intermediate credit carders to explore outside of Chase and Amex portfolio. Remember that diversification is a great tool in the game of points and miles. You never know when points will be devaluated or you’ll be banned by certain bank, or something else.