Posted by William Charles on May 31, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on May 31st, 2016 | by William Charles

21

Citi Relationship Bonuses – Up to 3.25x ThankYou Points On Airfare & Hotels

Reposting this because it’s clear it’s only based on base spend and not category bonus spend.

Citi offers a relationship bonus to some of their cardholders that also use some of their other products. I thought it’d be a good idea to look at the relationship bonuses they do offer and the fine print.

Citi Prestige

At the moment this relationship bonus is only available on their premium Citi Prestige credit card which comes with an annual fee of $350-$450 depending on which offer you apply for. If you have the Citi Prestige card there are four banking products that will earn a relationship bonus: Citigold, Citi Private Bank, Global Client or employees in a special offer.

CITIGOLD® GLOBAL CLIENT EMPLOYEES IN A SPECIAL OFFER CITI PRIVATE BANK
15% 15% 15% 25%

It looks like these bonuses apply to all points earned, rather than just base points. If this is the case you should earn at the following rates:

According to the example given in the fine print:

For example, if you have a Citigold checking account, and you use your Card Account to make $10,000 in purchases during a membership year, then we’ll multiply $10,000 by 15%. Based on that calculation, you’ll receive 1,500 Points.

This is based on base spend only (e.g you’ll only get 0.15x points per dollar spent regardless of whether it’s made in bonus category or not).

15% Relationship Bonus

  • 3.15x points per $1 spent on all Air Travel & Hotels Spend
  • 2.15x points per $1 spent on all spend at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1.15x point per $1 spent on all other purchases

25% Relationship Bonus

  • 3.25x points per $1 spent on all Air Travel & Hotels Spend
  • 2.25x points per $1 spent on all spend at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1.25x point per $1 spent on all other purchases

None of these rates are exceptional, but depending on how you value Citi ThankYou points and other airline currencies it might make sense to put spend on this card with the relationship bonus.

The other thing we need to consider is how expensive is it to use Citi’s banking products compared to alternatives.

Citigold

Citigold checking comes with a monthly fee of $30, there are a few different ways to get this fee waived:

  • $50,000 in combined link deposit or retirement accounts
    $100,000 in all linked deposit, retirement, credit or investment accounts (excluding a first mortgage with citibank)
    $250,000 including linked Citibank mortgages
  • Have a CitiBusiness® Preferred Banking account. This account has a $40 monthly fee, but it’s easier to waive. You only need a $15,000 account balance to get it waived instead of $50,000. You can read more about this here. No longer works

Sign Up Bonuses

The main reason people sign up for a Citigold checking account is the fact that it offers a sign up bonus. Unfortunately all of the sign up bonuses are now strictly targeted and you won’t be eligible unless you receive a direct offer.

Thoughts

Let’s assume you don’t pay the annual fee for the full year, you’ll be stuck paying $360. The other option is that you put $50,000 into your Citigold account, but this means you’d be loosing out on $500 in interest if you had it in a 1% checking account.

Global Client

There isn’t a lot of information on who is considered a global client. Citi’s Global client page can be found here. But it basically just looks like a sales front for them to see products to consumers either entering or exiting the US. If you know anything else about what qualifies as somebody as a global client for the purposes of this relationship, please let me know in the comments.

Employees In A Special Offer

Citi offers a program called “Citi At Work”, I don’t think this benefit falls under this program. Instead I think Citi are talking about their own employees. If anybody has any experience qualifying this way then please let me know.

Citi Private Bank

This is the one that we’re the most interested in, that’s because it offers a 25% bonus rather than 15%. Unfortunately Citi Private Bank, as the name suggests is only available to ultra high net worth individuals. To be invited to join you need to have invest-able assets of at least $25 million dollars.

If you have that type of money, you’re most likely not that interested in trying to squeeze out another 25% return on your credit card transactions. Even if you were, most likely you’d be more concerned with cash back rather than airline miles.

Final Thoughts

Relationship bonuses are rarely a good deal for consumers, in this case that holds true. Citigold isn’t a great option when there are so many fee free solutions out there that actually offer interest. If you have ridiculously high spend and really value Citi TYP’s, then this program might make sense for you.

It also might make sense if you’ve signed up for one of their checking bonuses and are waiting for the bonus to post. It isn’t clear if your checking account needs to be open for the full year, or only when your card member anniversary ticks over.

This post is part of our series on relationship bonuses that credit card issuers and financial institutions offer. You can read more in this series by clicking any of the links below:



21 Responses to Citi Relationship Bonuses – Up to 3.25x ThankYou Points On Airfare & Hotels

  1. I was pretty set on signing up for the Citi Prestige, now more so than ever to also sign up for a Citigold account for the relationship bonus like how Chase did it with the Freedom.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Joe says:

    I don’t know where I read this, maybe even over at CTP :), but someone said you can convert your gold checking into a basic checking and the basic checking will continue to show as gold status. This was verified by the writer on his own personal account.

    Just food for thought.

  3. shaky02dd says:

    Really like the writeup, especially the citi business angle. $15k doesn’t sound too too onerous. Appreciate the factoring in of the interest opportunity cost.

    Have you done something like this with the BofA platinum honors rewards thing?

  4. dbeach says:

    From the wording on the website about the relationship bonus, it is based on dollar spend, not points earned. “For those with a Citi® banking relationship, a relationship bonus will be a fixed percentage based on a percentage of purchases made on your Citi Prestige Card during that membership year (the membership year begins that date you became a Citi Prestige® Cardmember).” That said, I only recently opened a Citigold account so I don’t have first-hand knowledge, and Citi being Citi I can’t say for sure what actually happens in practice.

  5. Chucks says:

    It appears this bonus is just based on the dollar spend.

    From here:https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/additional-info/citi.action?ID=AdditionalInfo-CitiPrestige

    Relationship Bonus. If you have a Citigold checking account or a Citi Private Bank account, or if you are a Citi Global Client or an employee with a special offer, you will earn additional Points for purchases with your Card Account each year. The additional Points will be based on purchases made during each membership year, which is each annual period beginning when you became a Citi Prestige cardmember. We’ll total up the dollar amount of purchases you made with your Card Account during the membership year, and then multiply that by the applicable percentage listed below. We’ll give you a number of Points equal to the result of that calculation.

    For example, if you have a Citigold checking account, and you use your Card Account to make $10,000 in purchases during a membership year, then we’ll multiply $10,000 by 15%. Based on that calculation, you’ll receive 1,500 Points.”

    So really it’s unfortunately, 1.15, 2.15 and 3.15 points in the 1x,2x and 3x categories for Citigold. Still, if Citi keeps recognizing ex-Citigold clients as Citigold for years to come this is a nice little extra bonus.

  6. Jon says:

    Hi Doc, a couple of questions.

    First, why doesn’t the business checking accounting ($15k) waiving Citigold fee work any more? That is the route I took, will I be grandfathered in?

    Second, how does the fact that Citigold will be downgraded on 11/1 affect all this?

    Thanks!

    • They removed the business checking option AFAIK, not sure if you will be grandfathered. What do you mean by downgraded?

      • Mark says:

        It appears Citigold minimums will increase from $50k to $200k at that time. I was in a branch last month and they told me it would not be affected, so not sure why your posts say the business route won’t work anymore as mine still does.

  7. Ad says:

    I don’t think a Citibank mortgage waives the monthly fee for Citigold anymore. I wish it did!

  8. Dan says:

    I read one the link as to the bonus offer. I opened my Presitge account and Citi Gold within the last 12 months. So I’m not entitled to the bonus points? Thoughts?

  9. Paul says:

    When does this bonus post? After 1 year of having Citigold?

  10. Bob says:

    Just got a 5k typ relationship bonus even though I downgraded my citigold checking to a basic checking. Totally wasn’t expecting this!

  11. Mickey D says:

    FYI– Citi Private Bank status (which also comes with Citigold) can be attained without ultra high net worth. For instance, my company has a relationship with Citi and all employees are invited to join for free. The free Citigold account and Private Bank account are great benefits because it makes my Citi Prestige AF $100 less and gives me the 25% relationship bonus.

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