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What Counts as Travel, Dining and Entertainment With Citi Prestige?

Aug. 23, 2017
6 min read
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Now that the refreshed Citi Prestige Card is here, getting the sign-up bonus and redeeming for lucrative rewards is part of the fun. But the other part comes from how to best earn those ThankYou points in order to secure those great redemptions whenever you want. TPG has covered the card in its entirety in his review, but as a refresher, here's what you'll get:

  • 75,000 ThankYou points after spending $7,500 in the first three months (worth $1,125 based on TPG's most recent valuations)
  • Earn 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1x points on everything else
  • $250 in air travel credits annually
  • The valuable 4th Night Free benefit, which is now bookable online
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $100 Global Entry fee credit

Among the other perks that come with the card, such as rental car benefits, primary rental car insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and more, the earning structure is one of the things that helps it stand out among its competitors. The generous 3x points on travel and 2x points on dining and entertainment can produce a great number of ThankYou points.

But, the words "travel," "dining" and "entertainment" are fairly vague as they stand. So, when exactly will you earn those 3x or 2x points? It's all in what Citi defines as eligible for those bonus categories. We did the research to break down what exactly will earn you the bonus points on your next purchase so you know what you'll get as soon as you swipe (or insert) your card.

How Citi Defines Travel

The travel category is where you'll earn the most with the Prestige Card. When you use the card on travel purchases, you'll earn 3x points. But, what exactly does Citi define as travel? According to the issuer's terms and conditions, Prestige cardholders earn 3x points for travel on purchases with:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Travel agencies

We reached out to Citi to clarify, and online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Orbitz are included in this category. So, you could earn the 3x points for an airline purchase, regardless if it's made directly through the airline or if it's made through an OTA.

Citi's classification of travel is more restrictive than how one of its competitors, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, treats this category. The Reserve counts everything from cruises to taxis, Ubers, tolls, parking garages and more as travel. However, the Prestige Card is a good option for more traditional travel purchases, such as flight and hotel bookings.

How Citi Defines Dining

With the Prestige Card, you'll earn 2x points on dining and entertainment purchases. Here's a list from the Citi website on which types of dining establishments are eligible for earning 2x points:

  • Bars
  • Cafes
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Lounges
  • Restaurants
Citi Prestige Brian New TPG

The included categories remain pretty broad, but you can get a better idea of what's included by viewing the language on non-qualifying purchases. Here's how Citi phrases what won't earn you 2x points on dining:

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"You won't earn 2X Points for purchases made at bakeries, restaurants/cafes inside certain department, grocery or warehouse stores."

How Citi Defines Entertainment

Just like with dining purchases, you'll earn 2x points on entertainment purchases made with Prestige. This category helps to set the earning on the card apart from its major competitors — between the Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card from American Express, the Prestige is the only to offer a bonus in the "entertainment" category.

Based on Citi's wording, the following purchases are eligible to earn the 2x points within the entertainment sphere:

  • Live entertainment
  • Live theatrical productions
  • Concerts
  • Live sporting events
  • Movie theaters
  • Amusement parks (including zoos, aquariums, circuses and carnivals)
  • Tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries)
  • Record stores
  • Video rental stores
  • On-demand internet streaming media

One especially noteworthy category included in that 2x for entertainment bundle is the last bullet point — on-demand internet streaming media. Meaning, your Netflix or Hulu subscription counts as entertainment in Citi's eyes and you'll earn 2x points on the monthly (or annual) fee. Of course, more traditional forms of entertainment like movies and concerts count as well.

What kind of entertainment won't earn you 2x points with the Prestige Card? Here's how Citi words its restrictions:

"You won't earn 2X Points for purchases made at... sporting camps, public and private golf courses (including membership fees), stores that sell musical instruments, video game arcades, bowling alleys, stores that primarily sell video games/accessories, charitable organizations that provide live entertainment, bookstores, sports complexes where you participate in the sport."

None of those items listed as exclusions above should come as a major surprise or disappointment. If you're ever unsure whether a specific purchase will fall under any of the bonus categories — travel, dining or entertainment — it could be worth making a smaller charge to see if it earns you any bonus points. Then, if it does, you can feel comfortable making your larger purchase knowing you're eligible for the bonus. Additionally, if you ever make a purchase that you think should have earned you bonus points but didn't, it could be worth giving Citi a call. Even if you don't get the outcome you're looking for, you'll at least get some clarity on how certain charges are coded, and you can plan your future spend accordingly.

Bottom Line

Knowing what purchases will earn you bonus points is a crucial part of understanding how to best maximize your points and miles. Luckily, the Prestige Card makes it easy to earn points and to understand what you're earning and when — 3x with travel, 2x with dining and entertainment and 1x on everything else. If you have (or are planning to get) the Prestige Card, use this information to know exactly when you'll benefit from bonus ThankYou points.

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