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Citi is modifying the bonus spending categories on the Citi Premier card, some for the better and some for the worse. Beginning on April 19, 2015, cardholders will earn 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on a wide range of travel expenses (including gas), and 2 points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, while continuing to earn 1 point per dollar elsewhere.
According to the terms and conditions spelled out by Citi on the card application, as a ThankYou Premier cardholder (assuming you’re not participating in a different, limited-time offer), you’ll earn:
- 3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, gas stations, commuter transportation, taxi/limousines, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, time shares, bus lines, motor home/RV Rental and boat rentals;
- 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at restaurants and on select entertainment merchants, including sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores and video rental stores; and
- 1 ThankYou Point for every dollar you spend on other purchases.
At present, the ThankYou Premier card earns 3 ThankYou points per dollar on dining and entertainment, and 2 points per dollar on a more limited travel category, which only includes airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. This change puts the bonus categories on this card almost exactly in line with those on the more premium Citi Prestige card, except that Prestige has yet to adopt the broader “travel” category.
In my latest monthly valuations, I list ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents apiece, while Ultimate Rewards points (from one of this card’s main competitors, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card) are worth 2.1 cents apiece. That means the ThankYou Premier card has pulled ahead in terms of earning on travel expenses, especially with the inclusion of gas and other purchases. However, it now falls behind on dining. Of course, those valuations depend on how effectively you can use the airline and hotel transfer partners in ThankYou Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, respectively.
It’s hard to tell what Citi is aiming for with this change. Clearly some cardholders will benefit from the new bonus categories, while those who spend heavily on dining and entertainment will take a hit. I think the changes are for the best overall, and I’ll be interested to see if there are more to come.
Citi Premier currently comes with an overall sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Points: 20,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of cardmembership; and an additional 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of your second year of cardmembership. The annual fee of $125 is waived for the first year only. Check out TPG Contributor Nick Ewen’s full review of the card from September for more details.
What are your thoughts on these changing bonus categories? With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.