Citi apparently feels that for their credit card portfolio, less is more. And when I say less, I mean cutting most insurance coverages for all their cards as well as less frequent sign-up bonuses for the American Airlines co-brand cards (now increased from 24 months to 48 months). Citi apparently wasn’t done, as it looks like they’ve now reduced the sign-up bonus on their Citi Rewards+ card.
When there’s a major change in the points and miles environment, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the new lay of the land. I don’t like to rush into making decisions and I’ve had some time to think about the news that Citi is going to eliminate all of the price & product protections as well as travel insurance benefits from their cards, including the Citi Prestige, as of September 22, 2019.
My gut instinct told me that the Citi Prestige wasn’t going to be worthwhile anymore and I’d cancel it. To make things more interesting, Citi is allowing people to cancel and get a prorated refund until January 1, 2020. I have my time limit where I’d need to make a decision.
If I am going to cancel the card, there are things I need to think about beforehand. I need to have a strategy and be smart about how I proceed.
Here’s my plan (subject to change):
A fact you learn when you get started with miles and points is that the earning part is relatively easy. You don’t have to learn a lot to get going and jumpstart those balances. This can cause problems down the line if you get too enthusiastic so here’s a list I made of what you should do if you’re rather new to the game.
Redeeming your miles and points for rewards can be a bit more difficult. For starters, there’s the availability problem. Unless you’re in a fixed value program like Southwest or JetBlue, not all flights have award tickets available.
Even if you find an available flight, if you have transferrable points there are numerous programs you have access to, and each of them might charge a different amount of miles and fees for the same award ticket.
If you can keep track of every award in every program, good for you. I know I can’t. But that’s not as much of a problem as it used to be…
One of the best benefits of the Citi Prestige card is its Fourth Night Free benefit for hotel stays. For stays of 4 nights or longer, you’ll receive a credit for the average room rate price during your stay. That is, until September 2019 when two major changes to this benefit take effect:
- You can only use the Fourth Night Free benefit twice a calendar year
- All bookings must be made on the Citi ThankYou website or by calling 800-THANKYOU. All bookings will be prepaid, either with cash or by using your ThankYou points.
I’m not happy about these changes but I was glad Citi gave almost an entire year notice before the changes took effect. Any bookings made before September 1, 2019, are still under the current rules. That means you can book through the Citi Concierge instead of through the ThankYou portal. Concierge bookings allow you to use any publically available discounts (Loyalty Member Rate, AAA Member), which can save a bunch of money over a four-night stay. Using the concierge also allows you to book a rate where you can pay at the hotel and still receive your loyalty benefits and credit for your stay. ThankYou bookings don’t receive either of those benefits.
So I’m using the Fourth Night Free benefit as much as I can before September and trying to lock in as many reservations I can for next year.
In February 2019, we completed a stay booked through the Citi Concierge and noticed a big change between how I received my credit now and the last time I used the benefit.
Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.