Posted by William Charles on February 12, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on February 12th, 2015 | by William Charles


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.

Fine Print

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

Final Thoughts

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.


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Wow, that triple-dip sounds enticing. I’ll have to add this to my calendar for November.

Miles Whip

Agreed on that november app. Did that with my previous amex platinum business and got $600 in airlines “fees”
Btw read a previous MMS post to double check, it seems you can combine thank you points accounts. So if you earned points on prestige just have another citi card (ex. Premier) that is transferable to airlines and you can keep your points.


Yes, TYP can be combined if you cancel accounts, BUT they expire within 90 days IIRC

Best thing to do is have a place to transfer before you close or have the Premier (but the Premier is far less attractive value – almost better to keep the Prestige if you have the $350 AF version and take the $250 credit – thus your net AF is $100 (vs $95 for the Premier). Not worth closing unless the plan is to get another Prestige.

Does anyone know if you can get multiple Prestige cards and get multiple bonuses (like you can with AA Exec cards)?


It’s Citi, so of course, but you can only open a TY card of any type every 24 months provided you don’t have an opened/closed card during that 24 month period.


I plan on triple-dipping too! Will wait till November to apply for this card


[…] The same question can be asked with regards to the Amex Platinum $200 airline benefit and with regards to the Citi Prestige $250 airline benefit. […]


[…] seems similar to the Citi Prestige benefit in that airfare counts, so almost any airline purchase (including gift cards) should also trigger […]


[…] three rounds of golf for free per year. This is based on a calendar year, much like the $250 airline credit. This means it’s possible to use this benefit a total of six times and only pay the annual […]


[…] other Citi Prestige benefits will remain unchanged, including the annual $250 air travel credit, $100 statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, no foreign […]


[…] (airline incidentals only, although gift card purchases will usually work as well). Followed by the Prestige ($250 and any airline purchase will trigger it) and finally the Reserve with $300 and any travel purchase will trigger […]


does the united’s mileageplus X app purchases count for reimbursement s it does with amex’s platinum card


No, Amex only


[…] What Triggers The Citi Prestige Airline Credit […]


@DOC, thanks for adding my data point about Citi Thank You Points + Cash bookings *not* counting toward the $250 airline travel credit.


[…] Flights Booked with Citi Thank You Points + Cash do not Trigger Citi Prestige $250 Airline Travel Credit by Travel With Grant. Not hugely surprising that this doesn’t work as it needs to code as an airline for it to work and I imagine this codes as a travel agent or similar – but it’s still worth trying these things. You can view more about this credit here. […]


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