Published on February 12th, 2015 | by William Charles16
What Charges Count Towards The Citi Prestige $250 Air Travel Credit?
We’ve been working on our full review of the Citi prestige card, this card has a massive annual fee of $350/$450 (depending on which offer you received). One of the main ways to offset this annual fee is through the $250 air travel credit that this card offers as a benefit. I thought it would be interesting to look at what charges qualify for this reimbursement and how it works, we did something similar with the $300 credit that the Ritz Carlton card offers.
When looking at benefits like this, it’s important to read the fine print to see what you’re entitled to as per their rules (often we can work around these rules, but this gives you a nice baseline). The full terms & conditions for benefits that this card offers can be found here. Here is what they say qualifies for this benefit:
Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.
For me the most interesting thing is that Air fares do count towards this credit. They use merchant category codes to determine if the charge is from an airline or not, so presumably purchasing from an online travel agency would not work.
Here are some of the other important things from the terms & conditions
- Allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your account for the statement credit to post
- This is an annual benefit and is based on a calendar year (December to December), the charge needs to post to your December billing statement to qualify (it doesn’t matter when the purchase was made, it needs to post to your December statement to qualify)
- Purchases by primary cardholders and authorized users are eligible
What Else Qualifies
Basically the rule of thumb is that if the charge shows as coming directly from an airline, it will count no matter what it is. If I find anything interesting that qualifies outside of this rule, I’ll list it here. Giftcards should work fine, but it likely depends on if the airline issues them directly or uses a third party.
There was some discussion that the gift cards needed to be under $100 in value, but that was before this benefit actually included airfares as well. It doesn’t look like it’s necessary to purchase gift cards under $100 anymore.
What Doesn’t Qualify
One thing that I love about this benefit is that it’s automatic, you don’t need to call up and ask for a charge to be reimbursed via a statement credit. If it qualifies, this all happens automatically. Another thing I love is how lenient they are on what qualifies. The fact that airfares qualifies is fantastic, as long as you take $250+ in paid flights annually then you can easily get the full benefit.
The last thing I like about this benefit is that it’s based on a calendar year, this means you can double or even triple dip. For example, you apply for your card in November 2015, make $250 in qualify purchases that year (that post to your December statement) then you make another $250 in qualifying purchases anytime in 2016. Finally you could make $250 in qualifying purchases in January 2017 and then cancel your card. This would require having the card open for 13-15 months, depending on how long it takes for the statement credit to post. Citi will refund the annual fee on a prorated basis, so your second year annual fee would be greatly reduced (although if you do this, remember that Citi ThankYou points are linked with the card they were earned on. So you’d need to use those points before cancelling)
I wish other cards that offered these airline incidental credits were as good as the one offered by Citi. Having to not call up truly makes this a seamless process, which is what high spending individuals that these cards are targeted towards appreciate.