Here’s My Citi Card Strategy After The ThankYou Card Devaluations

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):

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How To Top Up Your JetBlue TrueBlue Points To Make An Award Booking

Using your points to book an award ticket is the payoff for all the hard work you put in to earn those points. Redeeming JetBlue points for flights is relatively easy. The price of an award ticket is based on the cash price of the ticket. As long as there is a flight available, you can book it but you’ll burn through points faster booking expensive flights. JetBlue does also allow you to redeem points to fly in their Mint First Class cabin, when available, but none of those routes leave from Orlando so we’ve never seen a plane with the fancy seats.

All of my JetBlue redemptions have been for flights in the back of the plane. I’ve almost run through the 60,000 points I earned when I signed up for the JetBlue Plus card but I have enough points for one more trip. Or should I say I ALMOST have enough points for one more trip.

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When You Should(n’t) Use Airline Co-Brand Credit Cards To Pay For Airfare

All of the larger airlines in the U.S. offer co-brand credit cards. These cards, which provide extra benefits to cardholders, range from ones with no annual fee to premium cards costing up to $450 per year. While you’d think that using a co-branded card would be the best choice for earning points with your flight purchase, that’s usually not the case. For most airlines, you don’t earn any extra points for airfare purchases for having a more expensive card either.

In most cases, instead of using a co-brand card, it’s better to use a card that earns flexible points like Membership Rewards, Thank You Points or Ultimate Rewards. These cards provide the opportunity to earn more points as well as the flexibility to use points on multiple airlines. You’re able to transfer points from these programs into your airline mileage account when you need them.

Here are the earnings multiples on airfare for the main flexible points cards from each bank:

American Express (Membership Rewards)

  • Platinum card ($550 annual fee) – 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • Gold card ($250 annual fee) – 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

Chase (Ultimate Rewards)

  • Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) – 3x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)
  • Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – 2x points on travel worldwide (including airfares purchased from airlines or travel agencies/websites)

Citi (Thank You Points)

  • Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee) – 5x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies
  • Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – 3x points on purchases at airlines and travel agencies

The AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige both offer 5x on airfare but the AMEX card only counts purchases direct from the airline or their website. When I had both cards, I used the Citi Prestige because I valued the additional travel insurance coverage but I know people would rather earn Membership Rewards than Thank You points. Of the $95 cards, the Citi Premier earns the most points on airline purchases at 3x.

So how many miles will you earn by using an airline co-brand card to purchase airfare and when does it make sense to do so? I’ve indicated which airlines are partners of one (or all) of the flexible currency cards so you can compare earnings potential between cards.

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Five Reasons I’m Glad I Kept The Citi Prestige Card

On October 22, information about major changes coming to the Citi ThankYou  Prestige card started to show up around the internet. Over the next two days, several different variations of new card benefits and changes  were put out there. While most of them were accurate, others were not so much. I generally don’t like to write about a topic until the dust settles and details are confirmed but we’re at a point now where I can look at what’s reportedly going to happen to the Prestige card and how it will affect me. At first review, I’m really happy about the changes. The Prestige was on my list of cards on the chopping block at this year’s renewal but now it’s a keeper. These changes also make me feel better about my choice to cancel my AMEX Platinum earlier this year.

Here are five reasons I’m glad I kept the Citi Prestige card:

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