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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – United MileagePlus Explorer Card, Barclaycard Arrival

Earlier this year New York City officially joined the ranks of cities with biking programs such as Paris, London and Barcelona with their Citi Bike NYC bikeshare program.

Citi Bike Bike Share
The Citi Bike

The Citi Bike program, operated by New York Bike share is probably one of the most affordable modes of transportation NYC has to offer. And perhaps the most fun? Not to mention you get exercise, see the city, reduce your carbon footprint…the benefits are endless!

Now that NYC has over 700 miles of bike lanes, it’s an efficient way to get from A to B. Just 3 weeks into the program (which started in June 2013) there were already 40,000 members.

Picture your typical rush hour in NYC (we all have been there, smashed in the metro against sweaty people, stuck in a standstill taxi in traffic on Broadway, literally being moved by giant herds of people walking in Herald Square). However, this has been a controversial topic. Many people are worried about the safety of bikers, and dislike the idea of digging up more bike lanes around the city. Others say that bikes are too slow for a fast-paced city like NYC and the technology on the bikes is often down making it frustrating to reliably used (often garner the program an offensive name- just think of what kind of rhymes with Citi).

Despite the controversy, most seem to be very pleased with the Citi Bike System. I haven’t tried it yet, but it is on my to-do list.

HOW IT WORKS 

You can purchase a 24 hour ($9.95 + tax) or 7 day ($25 plus tax)  rental pass from any of the 600 docking stations. With these passes, you have 30 minutes to use the bike and if you go over, additional charges occur. Annual passes are available for purchase online for $95 plus tax. With the annual pass, you have 45 minutes each time you use the bike or extra charges will occur.  When you buy the 24 hour or 7 day pass, you are given a code, whereas with the annual pass, you will be mailed a key.

Once you’ve purchased your desired pass, you simply unlock your bike using the code, (or a key, if you have an annual pass) adjust it for fit, and bike off into the sunset!

Citi Bike Bikeshare
Citi Bank Docking Station

When you are ready to return the bike, simply dock it into the station until you see a green light. If the station is full, you can request an extra credit of 15 minutes, which is enough to give you time to find a nearby docking station with space.  However, there are twice as many docking points as bikes in order to ensure there will always be space for your bike.

THE BIKES

The bikes are durable and can be used for people of any height and weight. The bikes come with baskets for storage and have three speeds. The tires are filled with nitrogen for longer inflation, and have thicker tires to prevent flats. The bike frame is aluminum to prevent corrosion. Each bike also has a kickstand.

HOW TO BIKE FOR FREE

Here is the exciting part-if you have a MasterCard, you can get a free 24 hour pass to try out Citi Bike.  This option is open to all cardholders. You simply select the 24 hour pass at the docking station, then swipe your MasterCard and enter a code you get online from the above link.  You have until the end of September to get the code, and then until Oct. 31st to use the complimentary pass. Remember, the free pass does not cover any extra charges or fees associated with late return, damages, etc. so just be mindful of that.

If you don’t currently have a MasterCard they come with a bunch of benefits, which I’ll highlight in a different post. In my opinion, the top MasterCard sign-up bonuses are:
Barclaycard Arrival: 40,000 points after $1,000 spent within 3 months. $89 annual fee, waived the first year.
Chase United Explorer card: 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months when you sign up for this card in a Chase branch or if you are targeted on United.com or 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. $95 annual fee waived for the first year on both offers.
This MasterCard offer s a great way to try out the program for free to see if you like it. Just remember, bike safely!

Has anyone tried the program yet? What have your experiences been?

Hat tip TPG reader Joey!

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$595
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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