It pays to talk to a person (3000 free ThankYou points-worth)

I called CitiBank today because I wanted to transfer some of my ThankYou points of an old checking account over to a Hilton account that I have (I am planning a trip to Nashville and want to stay at a hotel with points). Before I tell you about the call, let me explain my situation. My Citi Prestige account currently has 4,389 ThankYou points whereas my Checking account has 7,550 points. I wanted to transfer 7,000 points over to Hilton to get the necessary amount for the hotel booking but the Checking account doesn’t have that option. Enter, a phone call.

When I spoke to the agent over the phone she was very gracious and helped me combine the two accounts that I have (one is with my Citi Prestige card) so that I could transfer the points necessary. Unfortunately, once the two accounts were combined, I was only allowed to transfer up to 4,000 of them!

The agent did a bit of research and discovered that the system was having trouble recognizing the full combination due to something involving tax effects of the Checking account points. So, she gave me 3,000 points to cover the difference!

Granted, this is not an enormous amount and is equivalent to make $45, but it was an amazing thing to do! I really appreciate her help in getting me this hotel at an amazing rate (i.e. FREE!)

Pay money to get money on Citi Prestige

Last month I signed up for the Citi Prestige card in accordance to advice from travel bloggers like The Points Guy. Even though it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee the money you get back from it makes the entire fee worth it in the first year. I might get rid of it after that but for now it’s quite useful. Especially since after $3000 of spending you earn 50,000 ThankYou points that can be transferred to 11 airlines worldwide.

The first benefit I used is in preparation for my honeymoon this summer – the Global Entry travel credit. Once I signed up for the service and it posted onto my account, I saw a statement credit three days later in the exact amount of the payment. Unfortunately it only applies to the primary card holder (not authorized users) but that is still money saved.Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 11.15.28 AM

Then my wife and I started booking flights for trips in the upcoming year. The Citi Prestige provides $250 airline credit for each calendar year, so by booking flights in December 2015 and January 2016, we get $500 in return for plans we were going to make anyway! Just today I checked my statement for one of the credits posted:

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It usually takes 1-2 billing cycles for these credits so I await the other credit in our February statement.

Finally, one benefit we have not used yet: access to American Airlines lounges and a Priority Pass account. There are many of these across the country and the world so we look forward to spending time in them in the upcoming year of travel.