Have You Used Your Credit Card Travel Credits? When Do They Reset?

January 1st is a day that most frequent travelers hate to see. It’s when all the airline miles and hotel night counters reset to zero and they have to start all over again to try to reach status for the next year. Since I don’t worry about status, the start of the new year means that my travel credits have reset and I have some money to spend. Or do I?

I’ve given thought to ditching all of my premium cards but didn’t do it. If you’re like me and have a premium travel credit card (or five), hopefully, you’re aware of the travel credits these cards offer. Travel credits, ranging anywhere from $100 to $325, help to offset the lofty annual fees these cards charge. The trick is that you have to use the credits or they expire. To make things more difficult, the charges that are eligible for reimbursement and the procedures to get the credits are different for every card. Another difference between these cards is if the credits go by your membership year or the calendar year.

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The Cards I Am Now Using For Travel Expenses

I have a quandary. I’m no longer sure what card to use for my travel expenses. It used to be pretty clear cut. There was the card I used when I wanted to get travel protection. I had a card that earned the most points for expenses that other cards didn’t cover. I even had a card to use for my tolls and UBER expenses.

Well, things change. Some cards devalue while others become more valuable. So where do I sit right now when it comes to travel charges?

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Credit Card Review: Citi Prestige

For a long time, the Citi Prestige wasn’t a card I used for everyday purchases but instead spent time as a “special teams player,” wherein I’d pull it out of the drawer to make specific purchases for the benefits it provided, such as concert ticket protection or travel insurance coverage.

On January 4, 2019 the Citi Prestige earned a spot in my wallet. The bonus categories improved significantly and it became a card I could use all the time. Ever since then, Citi has chipped away at the value of the card to the point where I question the card’s place in my wallet or even in my sock drawer. What a difference 9 months makes.

The Citi Prestige is one of the premium credit cards on the market and you need to have good credit to be approved for one. It also carries a hefty $495 annual fee. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to you.  Continue reading “Credit Card Review: Citi Prestige”

The Credit Cards That Will Pay For Your Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Application Fee (Updated July 2019)

Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer decision for any frequent traveler to sign up for this program. The $100 non-refundable application fee is a small price to pay in order to blow past the long immigration lines when returning to the United States. Your Global Entry status is then good for five years. So that’s $20 a year. Where else can you buy VIP treatment for twenty bucks?

What makes this an even better deal is when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN), giving you access to TSA Pre✓® lanes at domestic airports. This program charges an $85 membership fee if you apply for it separately, so it only costs an extra $15 to get expedited entry when entering the U.S. on international flights (as well as some cruise ports and land crossings). You could just apply for TSA Pre-Check instead of Global Entry but the process is similar and if you’re getting reimbursed, why not go for the better deal?

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What Should I Do With My Citi ThankYou Points?

On September 1, 2019, Citi is going to change the fourth-night free benefit on the Citi Prestige to make reservations only bookable through the ThankYou portal or by calling a Thank You representative. Then on September 22, 2019, Citi will remove most of their travel insurance and shopping protections from almost all of their card portfolio.

These changes made me rethink our Citi card portfolio and one of the possibilities was canceling our Citi Prestige card. With Citi’s rules, if I cancel a card the points associated with that card expire in 60 days, even if you’ve transferred those points to another Citi ThankYou card which you are keeping open.

If I’m going to need to cash these points out, I better explore my options.

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