Credit Card Travel Credit – Does it Go with Pending Date or Post Date?

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?

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Short Answer

It goes by the post date and Hunter lost out on his 2015 credit.

Long Answer

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.

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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.

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.”

Sapphire Reserve

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…

RelatedLet’s Review All our Credit Card Airline Credits before Year’s End [CSR, Altitude, Prestige, etc.]

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you can call up citi and they will push through a manual credit of $250 for the previous year


How do you get them to do that? When I called Citi and they verified that airfare credit is based on the post date and not the transaction date (since in their words, it is still pending at that point) and said it was a done deal.


I complained to a Citi phone rep nicely (prestige airfare purchase of $180 made on closing date, posted day after close) and received a $100 credit for the mis-understanding.


Called Citi and the verified in their words that airfare credit is based on the post date and not the transaction date (since in their words, it is still pending at that point). Bummer. Wonder if I can use it to relay into a retention offer.


Purchased a SW ticket on 12/24/2015, the $250 airlines credit posted on my account on 1/12/2015. is this $250 for 2015 or 2016?


I confirmed with Amex for my Platinum incidentals. Same deal, it is based on posting date of transaction, not the swipe date.