Citi announces changes to help cardholders maximize benefits during coronavirus

May 1, 2020

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Shortly after American Express and Chase, announced exciting changes in credit card benefits, Citi became the latest issuer to make changes to help cardholders maximize benefits to fit altered spending habits during the coronavirus pandemic. New cardholders will now have more time to hit the sign-up bonus spending requirements on Citi credit cards, and Citi Prestige® cardholders are getting expanded usage out of their travel credit benefit this year.

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Here’s what you need to know about these updates.

Deadline extension for sign-up bonuses

New cardholders who applied for a Citi credit card between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will get an additional three months to hit the spending requirement. You’ll get a total of 6-7 months to hit your bonus if you applied (or will apply) between those dates.

The extension is automatic, so cardholders do not need to request it separately. However, keep in mind that this extension is only for the sign-up bonus deadline, not for other promotional intro offers such as a 0% APR offer.

Citi is a bit late to the party with this — a number of credit card issuers have already added extensions to their credit cards. But it’s still nice to see Citi joining in to help ensure cardholders get the best chance to hit bonus requirements in light of coronavirus concerns and changing spending habits.

Related reading: What to do if you don’t think you’ll hit your sign-up bonus

Citi Prestige® travel credit expansion

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Citi Prestige® cardholders are getting extra good news today. Citi is temporarily expanding which purchases qualify for the $250 travel credit awarded to cardholders each year. If you haven’t already used your travel credit this year, you’ll now be able to use it on supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2020.

The supermarket category should include online grocery delivery services like Instacart, but superstores and wholesale clubs will not be included. Restaurant purchases will cover delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash, since they code as dining on a statement credit.

Now that we’re staying home rather than traveling, many households are spending more on groceries and takeout instead of travel. Considering the annual travel credit is one of the most valuable benefits the Citi Prestige has to offer, Citi’s changes will ensure that more cardholders can take advantage of the benefit.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card and Citi Premier℠Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Even though the Citi Prestige has lost a lot of benefits, I’m still keeping mine (for now)

Bottom line

Citi is one of multiple issuers who have recently announced changes to help customers find value in their cards amid a global pandemic that has drastically changed spending habits and benefit value. Neither of these changes is particularly jaw-dropping, but they will help cardholders make use of cards when they otherwise might have lost out on some benefits. These are in addition to previously announced changes slated to kick in this August for the Citi Premier℠ Card.

As we continue to postpone or cancel trips and adapt to a world where we are staying home rather than traveling, it’s more important than ever for issuers to evolve their benefits offerings — especially on travel-specific cards that charge higher annual fees.

Citi and Amex have both taken steps to ensure travel and resort credits on certain cards are easier to use during a time when nonessential travel is at a standstill. With any luck, Chase will drop changes to which purchases qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve in the near future, too.

Want to stay up to date on what other issuers are doing in light of COVID-19? Bookmark our dedicated coronavirus news hub.

Featured image by John Gribben for The Points Guy

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