Citi Prestige Travel Credit
Citi calculates their airline reimbursement based on the billing cycle, not the calendar year. When making an airline charge for the current year, care must be taken that the charge should be done before the final bill of the calendar year is generated. After that, it will count toward the next year’s reimbursement, even if there are still days or weeks until years end.
DoC reader Hunter bumped into an interesting case in point: on December 2, 2015, he spent $250 at American Airlines. Since his statement cuts on the 3rd, it all seemed fine and dandy. However, on his Citi statement, the charge came up as 12/2 with a post date of 12/4. Uh oh! Will that count toward 2015 or 2016? Does it go by the charge date or the post date?
It goes by the post date and Hunter lost out on his 2015 credit.
We’ve written before about online transactions and how they go with the date actually charged, not the date the order was placed, see Online Credit Card Purchases – Transaction Date and Post Date. Numerous people just found this out the hard way when their Amazon gift card reloads made on 12/31/15 did not trigger the 10x rewards with Freedom since it shows up as pending only on 1/1/16 due to processing delays.
While most things go with the date that the charge showed up as pending (which is sometimes the day of the order and sometimes the next day or even after that), that’s all regarding category bonuses which depend on the swipe date or the pending date. For the airline credit, however, Citi’s system works differently and calculates it based on billing statements, and the important date is when the charge went on as completed, not the date it shows as pending.
Citi’s reply to Hunter stating that it counts toward 2016 (partially redacted)
Amex Travel Credit
A reader in the comments of this post heard the same from Amex that their airline incidental reimbursement also goes based on the post date, not the swiped date. I reached out to Amex via Twitter and they seem to think that way as well.
@chucksth Hi there. The charge would go more than likely towards the date that the transaction posted to your account. ^Rachel
— Ask Amex (@AskAmex) January 13, 2016
This one is more surprising since Amex doesn’t skew themselves to the statement and for most things the swipe date is important. Contrary to the @askAmex response, a reader notes their experience being that the swipe date counts for the airline credit, not the post date.
Chase Travel Credits
Regarding Ritz-Carlton $300 travel credit, the terms indicate that the credit goes based on the calendar year, January 1 through December 31. However, it’s based on the date that the charge posts to your account, not the swipe date. So long as the charge posts to your Chase account as complete in December, it will count toward the current year, even if the account credit only comes in January.
Here is their wording: “Annual credit will be issued for the calendar year in which the transaction posts to your account. For example, if you pay baggage fees at the end of 2015, and the airline does not post the transaction until 2016, the cost of the baggage fees will be allocated towards your 2016 calendar year maximum of $300.”
As for the Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit, that annual credit goes ends with the December billing cycle, not the calendar year; if a charge posts after the December billing statement, it counts toward the next year. It should go with the date the charge posts as complete to your credit card account/statement, not the swipe date.
Here is the CSR wording: “annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date…Statement credit(s) will post to your account the same day your travel category purchase posts to your account…