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When I was first starting out with signing up for credit cards, I stayed away from credit cards like the American Express Platinum or Citi Prestige – those that had huge non-waived annual fees in the $450 range. And while I still think that those kinds of cards might not be great for people starting out, they still can’t be worth it. Perks such as the Citi Prestige airline credit can make it worth it, especially if you generally take at least 2 or 3 airline flights a year (and pay cash). Personally I try to pay for most of my flights with airline miles, but when I do pay cash, having something like the Citi Prestige airline credit is a nice perk!
Doing the math on the Citi Prestige airline credit
The Citi Prestige airline credit is a benefit that gives $250 back on air travel each year. The reason it can make a lot of sense is that the Citi Prestige airfare credit works on the CALENDAR YEAR, so you are paying the $450 annual fee but getting a $250 annual Citi Prestige airline credit TWICE (at least in the first year)
There are other benefits of the Citi Prestige card as well (in addition to the signup bonus), though some of those are changing shortly
What counts for the Citi Prestige airfare credit
Unlike the American Express Platinum card airfare credit, which generally does not count for ticket purchases, the Citi Prestige airline credit WILL generally count ticket purchases. So you usually don’t have to go through the extra step of having to buy a gift card and then using that gift card to buy the tickets.
Also unlike the American Express Platinum card, you can use it on any airline and you don’t have to pick a specific airline
Screwing up the Citi Prestige airline credit
Seems pretty simple right? Just pay for $250 of airline tickets every calendar year. So how did I screw up my Citi Prestige airline credit?
It turns out that the Citi Prestige airline credit is based on the date the STATEMENT closes, not the date of purchase. I only got the Citi Prestige card towards the end of 2015, and at the end of the year, I still hadn’t gotten around to using my Citi Prestige airfare credit, so I ended up just buying gift cards. Here is (part of) my statement from January 4, 2016
Unfortunately for me, even though I made that purchase in December 2015, it counts as my Citi Prestige airfare credit for 2016, which means that I missed out on my 2015 credit 🙁
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