Last call for Citi Premier cardholders: 25% redemption bonus ends tomorrow

Apr 8, 2021

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Credit card issuers are constantly adjusting their offerings to accommodate an always-evolving market, filled with customers looking for the best rewards card for that moment. In 2020, Citi implemented major changes to its mid-tier Citi Premier® Card — including a new rewards structure and an added annual hotel credit — but the changes came at the expense of some benefits. Namely, Citi eliminated the 25% points redemption bonus for new Premier cardholders.

However, if you held the Citi Premier before April 10, 2020, you still have access to the 25% redemption bonus — but only for a few more days. In fact, April 9, 2021, is the last day you’ll be able to redeem your points through the ThankYou Travel center at an elevated value of 1.25 cents each towards travel.

If this change affects you, now’s the time to take advantage of this benefit before it’s eliminated permanently, especially if you are making a booking that requires a phone call.

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Another major change that will take place involves the earning rewards rate. Premier cardholders who’ve held the card before April 10, 2020, will no longer earn 3x points on other travel purchases and 2x on entertainment after April 9, 2021. As a reminder, the new Premier rewards rate (as of Aug. 23, 2020) lets you earn 3x on air travel, hotels, gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants (including takeout).

In this post, we’ll go over the final wave of changes with the Premier card that will go into effect this week on April 10. 

In This Post

Removal of the 25% points redemption bonus

If you applied for the Premier card before April 10, 2020, you will no longer be able to redeem ThankYou points with a 25% bonus through the ThankYou Travel Center after April 9, 2021. If this affects you, make sure to book your flights or any other travel redemptions before this benefit is no longer available.

While Citi’s travel transfer partners still have the potential to provide great value on the redemption front, the removal of the 25% portal redemption bonus is definitely a devaluation of the overall ThankYou program for Citi Premier cardholders — especially since flights booked in this fashion typically code as revenue tickets and thus earn miles and count toward elite status qualification. This was also a popular way to redeem points towards Disney theme park tickets, though you do need to pick up the phone to make that booking.

Note that Chase offers an identical benefit on its Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, allowing you to redeem your points for travel at a rate of 1.25 cents through the Ultimate Rewards portal (though that doesn’t work for Disney specifically).

Permanent changes to the rewards rate

The new rewards rate for the Premier card went into effect on Aug. 23, 2020. As a refresher, you’ll earn 3x on air travel, hotels, gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants (including takeout).

However, if you were a cardholder before April 10, 2020, you’ll earn points on categories from the Premier’s previous rewards rate for just a couple more days. Until April 9, 2021, you’ll earn 3x on other travel (such as cruises, tolls and parking) and 2x on entertainment purchases. After this date, your earning rates for these other travel purchases and entertainment will drop to 1x.

Disney reopening day in July 2020 (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Recap of changes

While this last wave of changes should only affect Premier cardholders who’ve held the card before April 10, 2020, here’s a simplified rundown of what to expect:

April 10, 2021: 

  • NEW: Cardholders who applied before April 10, 2020, will no longer get a 25% bonus when redeeming through the travel portal.
  • NEW: Cardholders who applied before April 10, 2020, will no longer earn 3x on other travel (cruises, tolls and parking) and 2x on entertainment purchases.

Bottom line

According to Citi, these changes have been long-planned. Supermarkets and restaurants are great additions to the rewards structure of the Citi Premier, especially since most of us are spending more on groceries and takeout throughout the pandemic.

“As our cardmembers’ needs evolve, we want to ensure we’re evolving with them and offering products that best meet their spending habits and deliver exceptional value,” said Lora Monfared, Citi’s General Manager of Proprietary Rewards Products, in a press release. “As such, we’re excited to be launching a new rewards structure on our Citi Premier® Card, offering an enhanced 3x point accelerator on restaurants, including takeout, and supermarkets, to provide additional earning potential within the categories that matter most to our cardmembers.”

Note that this last wave of changes only impacts Premier cardholders who’ve held the card before April 10, 2020, and have been enjoying the old and new perks.

But if that is you, be sure to take advantage of your 25% redemption bonus now — whether it’s for an upcoming flight, Disney tickets or hotel bookings as your points will be worth less for those redemptions beginning on April 10.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy

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