First off, thanks to all of our readers for your patience for the past 3 weeks. Between our Cyprus-Jordan trip, Thanksgiving travel, and a huge personal project, there’s been precious little time to write Middle Age Miles articles at the standard we want to maintain. As it stands now, our personal project is ongoing, but we plan to be back in the groove of publishing regularly!
Now, back to business – We recently received a new Citi Prestige statement, which we thought contained some interesting data points that we wanted to pass along to Middle Age Miles readers in hopes that they’re helpful for your own points-earning. Let’s jump right in:
Our Citi Prestige Statement and TYP Earnings
One thing that drives us crazy about Citi is that there’s no way to see in semi-real-time how many ThankYou Points (TYPs) are being earned on each transaction (except, for some reason, on our Premier card). As a result, to understand the earning on each transaction, you have to wait for a statement to close, then go through a sometimes-complicated reverse engineering exercise to “back into” how many points were earned on each transaction. This is done by looking at the TYP earning summary on the statement, and then comparing it to the individual charges and credits for the month.
For our December statement close, here’s our TYP earning summary:
And here are the transactions (including both charges and credits) during the month:
The fact that this is a pretty straightforward statement with only a few transactions greatly simplifies our job of figuring out the TYP earning for each individual transaction!
TYPs Earned for Each Transaction
By looking at our TYP earning summary, we can tell approximately how much we spent in each earning category:
- Restaurants: 754 TYPs / 5 = ~$150.80
- Air Travel: 4,449 TYPs / 5 = ~$889.80
- Hotels: 4,036 TYPs / 3 = ~1,345.33
- Other charges: -2 TYPs / 1 = ~-$2 net
And fortunately, our charges for this month are easy to categorize, as shown in this annotated statement screenshot:
Things We Learned from This Statement
Now, let’s turn to the tidbits – the things we learned from this statement about TYP earning on the Prestige card that might help all of us going forward:
1. We Re-Confirmed 5x TYP Earning with Travel Agencies
Last month, we wrote about the “hidden” Prestige benefit of 5x TYP earning on purchases from travel agencies:
- Middle Age Miles: Confirming a Great Hidden Benefit – Citi Prestige 5x TYPs on Travel Agencies (November 12, 2019)
Our December statement gave us a square data point to re-confirm this benefit, as our charge from the Petra Nights Tours travel agency in Jordan once again earned 5x TYPs.
2. A Credit Is Deducted at 1x, Even Though the Underlying Transaction Earned 5x
Check out our 11/14 transaction from a local restaurant, LA Burger. The transaction was for $15.82. We had enrolled in a Groupon+ offer that gave us a 10% statement credit of $1.58. From our TYP “reverse engineering” project, we can tell that:
- Our $15.82 restaurant purchase earned 5x TYPs, as expected
- But, only 2 TYPs (minus 1x) were deducted for the 10% statement credit
This is a small but nice quirk in Citi’s TYP calculations on the Prestige card that may well apply to other types of statement credits too.
3. Prestige 4th Night Free Credits Do Not Result in Any TYP Deductions
You’ll see in the “payments and credits” section of our statement that 2 credits posted this month that were the result of previous hotel stays where we used the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free (4NF) benefit. We made these stays using the Aspire Concierge service, which unfortunately is no longer available for 4NF stays. (As most of you know, sadly, the limitation to 2 4NF stays per year now and the elimination of the Concierge as a booking option have largely gutted the 4NF benefit.)
Through our “reverse engineering” project, we can tell that the 4,036 TYPs we earned from hotel charges correspond exactly with our $1,345.27 in charges from the Marriott Dead Sea Resort, so we know that no TYPs have been deducted from our hotel-based TYP earnings as a result of these credits. In addition, the only “Other Purchase” we had in the 1x category was our small Groupon+ credit for eating at LA Burger, so we know that no TYPs were deducted at 1x, either.
Thus, we’ve learned that the Prestige 4NF credits did not result in any TYP deductions. The full amount of our previous charges earned 3x TYPs, and nothing was netted out later.
We’re not entirely sure how this works on non-Concierge/ThankYou Portal 4NF bookings as we don’t have any data points yet from using the Portal, but we’re hopeful that the result will be the same. Again, this is a nice customer-favoring quirk in the TYP-earning ecosystem.
4. Purchases of Restaurant Gift Cards Through MileagePlus X Earn 5x TYPs
As most readers know, the United MileagePlus X app (MPX) allows you to purchase exact-value gift cards for participating merchants and earn United miles in the process. We’ve found MPX to be a valuable tool for earning extra airline miles at a variety of retail merchants and dining establishments. We use MPX primarily when we’re purchasing something that we know we’re not going to need to return, like candles from Bath & Body Works, or restaurant meals. Flipping through our MPX app, we see more than 350 merchants with gift cards available at the moment, each earning anywhere from 0.5x to 5x United miles per dollar.
Purchases of gift cards through the MPX app using a credit card also earn credit card points or miles, in addition to the United miles earned through the app, which presents a stacking opportunity.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell how many credit card points/miles you’ll earn for purchases through MPX. For some card issuers, the category of the merchant will “pass through” for the transaction for purposes of points earning. For other card issuers, the category of the merchant does not impact points earning. And even for the same card issuer, whether the category of the merchant “passes through” has not necessarily been stable over time.
So, for our Citi Prestige card, now earning 5x TYPs for restaurant purchases, we wanted to test the purchase of a Domino’s restaurant gift card through MPX. The result of our experiment was a good one – our purchase of a Domino’s gift card through MPX indeed coded as a restaurant and earned 5x TYPs.
Given this result, restaurants present a particularly attractive stack with MPX using the Prestige card. In our Domino’s experiment, we earned 5x United miles through MPX, plus another 5x TYPs on our Prestige – not bad at all!
Each of the tidbits we’ve found and reviewed here is favorable for cardholders, which is nice. None of them are huge, but as a whole they may impact our “keep or cancel” decision on the Prestige card. We were somewhat surprised to see that 4NF credits don’t result in any TYP deductions at all. And using MPX is one of our long-time favorite small tricks to earn a few extra points and miles here and there, so it’s good to know that the restaurant category “passes through” so that 5x TYP earning stacks perfectly with United miles earning through MPX.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tidbits and can use them in your own points-and-miles earning efforts!
What do you think of these Citi Prestige tidbits? Do you have other data points on these topics with other cards, or other tidbits about the Prestige? Please let us know in the Comments!
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