An update: Citi rep gave me incorrect info. See my new post on the subject.
You may remember my December post highlighting 50K points promo on CitGold account. An amazing deal, no doubt. But there is one wrinkle which recently manifested itself. Here is the comment I got from one of my readers:
I wasn’t aware of it at the time of writing the post, so thanks to the reader for bringing this to my attention. I went ahead and checked my Citi Prestige account and this is what I found:
I called Citi and was told the same thing: When you get CitiGold account and happen to have Prestige, your annual fee is billed every January whether you like it or not. And I don’t like it! So, basically, I got a partial refund of $262 only to be billed $350. BTW, even though the date shown is July, is was actually credited in December of 2015. Originally, I was charged $450 in the summer, when I applied for Citi Prestige. Normally, you pay $450, but you get a $100 discount if you happen to have CitiGold. Are you confused? Welcome to Citiland.
Of course, the assumption is that the client will hang on to Citi Prestige indefinitely, and many will. After all, the card comes with a great sign-up bonus, all kinds of perks and $250 calendar year airline credit (read more on it in this page). But I’m a freeloader and want to maximize the perks, cancel the card, move on, then reapply for bonus in 18 months. Are you in the same boat? Here are some things you may want to think about:
1) If you already took advantage of $250 airline credit allowance, you can consider converting Citi Prestige to Citi Thank You Preferred (no annual fee). Many, including myself had a hard time changing Citi products, but according to Chuck on Twitter, it’s back on. I reached out to him, and he did say that according to terms, in order to get 50K points bonus on CitiGold account, you need to have a card that earns Thank You points. But it doesn’t have to be Citi Prestige.
If you decide to go this route, make sure to transfer your points to miles if you were planning on doing so. Ditto for paid flights, since you get 1.33 cents toward airfare and 1.6 cents per point on American flights. If you also happen to have Citi Thank You Premier, you can just transfer points to it and then cancel Prestige. Converting to Citi Thank You Preferred is preferable (pun intended) because you won’t have to deal with 30-day points’ expiration issue. Read more on it here Of course, you will be foregoing new sign-up bonus on Citi Thank You Preferred, so this is something to consider.
2) If you have Citi Prestige but haven’t yet taken advantage of $250 credit, consider doing it soon, so it posts on current statement. You have 30 days from the statement in which it’s billed to get a refund of your annual fee. If it falls outside of 30-day window, you are supposed to get a pro-rated refund. I honestly don’t know what the policy will be in a situation like this, as I’ve had this card for quite some time. Will they give me most of $350 back or will they pro-rate it based on how many months I’ve had it so far? I’m not sure, but I will soon find out.
First order of business is to buy $250 Southwest gift card (read my post on it). I will wait till the next statement and when the $250 credit posts, I will call Citi and attempt to convert it to Citi Thank You Preferred. I have only 800 points left, so I don’t have to worry about maximizing them for flights or transfer to miles.
If you do have a big stash, I suggest you think carefully if this is the right time to convert Prestige because you will be missing out on potential leverage in the future. Oh, and don’t forget golf benefit, “4th night free” hotel perk and lounge access. Even though we have some flights coming up, I would rather get a refund of the annual fee than get some mediocre snacks and slightly better seats.
If Citi refuses to convert Prestige, I’ll just have to keep it open till I get the bonus on CitiGold. After that, sayonara. I’m not yet sure what I’ll do with my husband’s Prestige. His account is in the same predicament as mine, but he hates making phone calls. I might try to send a secure message to Citi and ask them to convert to Preferred. I might even bribe him to call, we’ll see.
Now, on to buying those Southwest gift cards!
Here is the comment I just got from the same reader:
“Citi rep told me you have 37 days from the time the annual fee post to receive 100% back ($350 fee) after that it is a partial refund.”
Not sure if Citi will actually follow through, but it’s an interesting development.
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