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Citi Extends Its Welcome Offer Earning Period & Improves The Prestige Card


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Ok, I’m just going to have to admit it – today is going to be all about credit cards on Traveling for Miles. Every time I think I’ve written my last article of the day on a credit card update another bit of news drops into my inbox!

Earlier today I wrote about how the majority of Marriott Bonvoy credit will earn 6 points/dollar on grocery spending, how Chase is offering bonus points for grocery spending on a further 21 of its credit cards and how American Express has improved the offering on a significant number of its cards for the upcoming months…and Citi is keen not be left behind.

Citi has just announced two new measures to make life easier for new credit card holders and its Prestige cardholders. The measures are nowhere near as significant as the measures we have already seen announced by Amex and Chase earlier in the day, but they’re important nevertheless.

Extended Welcome Offer Period

Citi has just announced the following:

For new cardmembers eligible for a bonus offer if they meet minimum spend within a certain period of time after opening an account between December 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, we are extending the timeframe to make eligible purchases and earn the bonus offer for an additional three months.

What’s interesting about this is that this move is so retroactive that it will even affect (help) cardholders who have already failed to earn their welcome bonus.

If you opened a new Citi card account at the beginning of December, you will almost certainly have only had up to the beginning of March to earn the welcome bonus that your card offered (most welcome offers come with a 3-month window in which they have to be earned) and, under normal circumstances, anyone failing to meet the spending requirement during this timeframe would have been out of luck. Not any more.

Based on what Citi’s announcement says, everyone who opened a new Citi account from 1 December 2019 onwards will have 6 months in which to earn their welcome bonus so, even if you timed-out at the beginning of March, you now have until at least the beginning of June to complete the spending required to earn the welcome offer bonus.

That’s pretty generous.

Citi Prestige Improvement

The Citi Prestige Card must be one of the most highly devalued cards of recent years (it’s gone from being a “must-have” card to a card whose existence can be hard to justify) so it feels strange to be writing about an improvement to its offering….but the improvement is real enough.

Traditionally, the Citi Prestige card offers a $250 annual travel credit which covers most things from airfares to cruises to cycle hire but at a time when the world is at a standstill, this isn’t a particularly useful benefit to most…and Citi agrees. For the period between 1 May and 31 December 2020, purchases made with a Citi Prestige card at supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout) will now count toward the card’s $250 annual travel credit. Travel spending will continue to count towards the credit too but cardholders can now be sure of using up the statement credit even if they don’t spend another dime on travel in the rest of their cardholder year.

Bottom Line

As I said out the outset, these aren’t improvements of the same magnitude or importance as we have already seen from Chase and American Express, but at least they’re improvements.

I don’t see anything here that’s significant enough to change someone’s mind if they were set to cancel or downgrade their Prestige card, but if you’ve been sitting on the fence and have been struggling to make up your mind, the ability to use the Prestige’s travel credit on restaurant/takeout spending may help you justify keeping the card another year.

Citi cardholders who opened accounts on or after 1 December 2019 and who failed to meet their welcome offer requirements appear to have been given a reprieve…and that’s very good news. If you’re in this position I suggest you contact Citi as soon as possible to confirm what further spending is required to meet your welcome offer targets and then work out a way to meet that target as sensibly and economically as possible.

How do you feel about these improvements being offered by Citi?

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