Citibank will be losing Hilton Honors as a transfer partner in just a few weeks time but, while that will leave the ThankYou Points program without any hotel partners at all, at least Citi is still working on the airline side of things.
As of January 2018 Citi will lode the right to issue Hilton co-branded credit cards as the hotel chain gives American Express exclusivity over its credit cards. With that in mind it's not all that big of a surprise that Citi has announced that it will be dropping Hilton as a transfer partner for its ThankYou points program.
Last week I took at look the transfer partners of the four major transferable loyalty currencies - Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood's Starpoints. All are currencies I value highly and all a currencies I prefer to individual airline miles or hotel points. As a follow up to those articles I'm taking a look at the best ways to earn the four transferable loyalty currencies and hopefully giving you some idea of what you can do to earn more points and to boost your balances quickly and/or frequently.
This week I'm taking a look at the four major transferable rewards currencies individually and listing out the airline and, where relevant, hotel rewards programs those currencies can be transferred into. In this, the second of four posts, I'm taking a look at Citi ThankYou Rewards.
When the Citi Prestige card first launched some of the benefits it offered were genuinely new in the miles & points universe and the card caught a lot of people's imaginations (mine included). Benefits like a 4th night free at hotels and the ability to use Citi ThankYou points at an elevated rate for American Airlines bookings were examples of the new things we saw and the inclusion of an Admirals Club membership, a Priority Pass membership and a $250 per year airline credit all made a pretty compelling case for getting the card.
When the Citi Prestige card came to market it brought with it some fantastic benefits and bonuses that helped change the landscape of the miles & points credit card world - yes, I think the card has been that important. Up to the point at which Citi unleashed the Prestige card on the world the best known "high fee" card was probably the Platinum Card from Amex.....and that was a card on a slippery slope to irrelevance. The Citi Prestige may come with a $450 annual fee (the same as the Platinum Card up until recently) but it was also introduced with benefits, perks and bonuses that more than made up for this outlay
The Citi Prestige Mastercard has taken a bit of a beating recently following the news that a number of its better benefits are either being scaled back or removed completely. The card's cause hasn't been helped by the recent introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit card which has got a lot of people all whipped up in a frenzy. But, as I pointed out in my review, the Prestige card still has some merits and I've just been a recipient of an unexpected one.
I got the Citi Prestige at the end of last year when I decided that my Citi AAdvantage Executive card wasn't worth the $450/year annual fee and when I could see a real benefit to holding the Citi Prestige credit card instead (which, coincidentally, also costs $450/year).
Travelers who enjoy churning credit cards for their sign-up bonuses have taken a series of hits in the past 18 months and things have just taken another turn for the worse. The first to put a spanner in the churners' works was American Express when it announced that customers could only earn one sign-up bonus per credit card. Period. Then Citi introduced an 18 month and then 24 month limit on sign-up bonuses for the same credit card. Chase went one further than Citi with its rule that, for the most part, meant it would reject applications from individuals who had applied for more than 5 credit cards, from any bank, in the preceding 24 months. But now Citi has upped the stakes again with another change to its sign-up bonus rules.
We've known for a while that American Airlines' credit card deal with Citi was being renegotiated as the current deal draws to an end and we've been waiting to hear what any new deal has in store for customers. Today we should start to find out as American Airlines announced a new deal with Citi and, somewhat surprisingly, a new deal with Barclaycard US.