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The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. It also offers a $250 Air Travel Credit per calendar year.

$250 Prestige Air Travel Credit

The Air Travel Credit can be used to offset the first $250 you spend on any airline (or at any online travel agency) on airfare, award taxes and fees, baggage fees, seat selection fees, upgrade fees, change fees, onboard fees, the purchase of miles, or pretty much any other charge that is processed by an airline. Here is how I spent mine in the first month of having the card.

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Although I generally say the $250 credit is “per calendar year,” technically the credit is for all statements that close within a calendar year. That’s a little different, and it means you need to spend the $250 credit a little bit quicker than you might realize.

From the terms of the Citi Prestige:

“This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.”

So if your statement closes on December 15, 2015, your purchase needs to appear on that statement to count toward your 2015 credit. That means you may only have a few days left to max out the credit, depending on when exactly your December 2015 statement closes.

As a corollary, your 2016 credit is going to offset any purchases made after your December 2015 statement closes, even if those purchases are in 2015.

American Express Air Travel Credits

The Prestige Air Travel Credit was a response to American Express credits. All versions of the American Express Platinum offer a $200 annual Air Travel Credit and the Premier Rewards Gold offers a $100 Air Travel Credit. The American Express credits are worse because:

  1. They are smaller than the Prestige’s $250 credit.
  2. They cannot be used for airfare like the Prestige’s $250 credit can.
  3. You have to designate one airline in advance of using the credit, and the credit only applies to that airline. (No advance designation required for Prestige credit which applies to all airlines.)

However the terms on the American Express credits say:

“[E]ach Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $100 [$200] per calendar year in statement credits.”

That means that you actually have until December 31, 2015 for charges to post that can get offset by these credits. I’d make sure I made all purchases by December 27, though, since purchases often take a day or two to post.

I am going to use my American Express credit to purchase airline gift cards, which are explicitly excluded from reimbursement, but are in fact reimbursed. See “Which Airline Gift Cards Are Reimbursed By American Express Fee Credits?

Best practices for American Airlines gift cards, my designated airline, are to buy $100 gift cards a few days apart, so I purchased my first today.

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Bottom Line

You have until your December 2015 statement closes on your Citi Prestige® Card to use your 2015 Air Travel Credit. Since that could be as soon as tomorrow, use it today.

You have until December 31, 2015 to use your American Express Airline Fee Credits. Plan ahead since you want to purchase a few days before the deadline, and some airline gift cards like American Airlines’, may require more than one purchase spread over a few days.

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 75,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

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