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Citi’s PR team have been in touch to let me know about a promotion that’s been running since the beginning of the month but that I had no idea was available – holders of eligible Citi ThankYou cards can now earn extra three points for every dollar spent on hotel and car rental bookings made through Citi’s ThankYou portal.
Qualifying Credit Cards
- Citi Rewards+ Credit Card
- Citi Premier Credit Card
- Citi Preferred Credit Card (not open to new applicants)
The information that I have does not mention the Citi Prestige Card which is no longer open to new applicants but there’s a chance that holders of this card may also see this offer when they login to the ThankYou portal.
If you hold the Prestige Card, please let me know if the offer is showing in your account.
- Citi Rewards+ Credit Card – 4 points/dollar on hotel & car rental bookings
- Citi Premier Credit Card – 6 points/dollar on hotel bookings & 4 points/dollar on car rental bookings
- Citi Preferred Credit Card – 4 points/dollar on hotel & car rental bookings
Note: If the Citi Prestige Card is included in this promotion, it will earn 8 points/dollar on hotel & car rental bookings.
- This offer is on hotel and car rental bookings through the ThankYou Travel Center from 09/01/21 through 12/31/21.
- Bonus points associated with this offer will equal 3 additional ThankYou Point(s) per $1 spent on eligible purchases and may overlap with other special offers in which you are currently enrolled.
- You must book your hotel and car rental bookings by 12/31/2021 to qualify for this offer.
- You must use an eligible Citi card to earn the bonus points.
- For bookings made with a combination of points and your eligible Citi card, only the portion paid with your card will earn the additional points.
- Bookings made only with points do not qualify.
- This offer is only available on hotels and cars booked using inventory available through the ThankYou travel center and excludes all other travel bookings.
- Bonus points will take up to 3 billing cycles after 12/31/21 to post to your account.
There’s no publicly available landing page for this offer but anyone holding an eligible card should see it displayed in the ThankYou portal.
A key point that I should point out before I go any further is that any bookings made through the ThankYou portal will be viewed as 3rd party bookings by the hotels and car rental companies and will not be eligible for points accrual (in their loyalty programs) and cardholders making such bookings will not receive elite status benefits.
If earning points in your preferred loyalty scheme(s) and enjoying elite status benefits is important to you, this may not be a promotion for you. For everyone else, this could be useful.
The main beneficiaries of this offer are probably going to be holders of the Citi Premier Card as they are already encouraged to book at least one hotel stay through the ThankYou portal by the “spend $500 on a single hotel stay and get $100 back” benefit that their card offers.
I value Citi ThankYou Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them with relative ease) so, effectively, this promotion is offering an additional rebate of 4.5% for booking a hotel or car rental through the ThankYou portal.
Assuming that the ThankYou portal isn’t charging more than the hotel or rental car company would charge you if you booked directly, that’s a rebate that looks very interesting when added to the effective rebate that the eligible credit cards already offer.
The Citi Premier Card, for example, usually offers 3 points/dollar on hotel bookings but this is boosted to 6 points/dollar by the promotion. That’s an effective rebate of 9% (based on my valuation of ThankYou points) and when that’s combined with the $100 rebate that the Premier Card offers as an annual benefit (assuming a cardholder hasn’t already used the benefit up), it makes for a very tempting proposition.
Personally speaking, if I find myself needing to book a stay costing over $500 between now and the end of the year, I’ll happily forgo my elite benefits and hotel points in exchange for a $100 rebate and 6 ThankYou Points per dollar.
When it comes to car rentals, however, some readers may prefer to pass on this offer in favor of keeping a valuable benefit that another card that they hold offers.
Holders of the excellent Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (review), the Ink Business Preferred Card (review), the Ink Business Cash Card (review), the Ink Business Unlimited Card (review), and the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (review) all get primary rental cover when they use their card to pay for a qualifying car rental and that’s not something you get with any of the Citi Cards.
Primary rental cover can be a very valuable benefit (when you find yourself needing to use it) and I don’t think that the prospect of earning up to 6 points/dollar is a big enough draw to tempt a lot of people into giving that benefit up. I know that I won’t.
Note: Don’t forget that If you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (review), you now earn 10 points/dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal and that may be a better proposition for you than what Citi is offering here.
Through the end of the year, holders of the Citi Rewards+ Credit Card, the Citi Premier Credit Card, and the Citi Preferred Credit Card (not open to new applicants) can earn an extra 3 points per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings made through Citi’s ThankYou portal. For some, this will be a great opportunity to boost their ThankYou Points balance but everyone should be considering what they will be giving up in exchange for the bonus points that Citi is offering before jumping to make any bookings through the ThankYou portal.
Featured image: The new W Hotel Melbourne courtesy of Marriott