What’s This New Citi Premier $100 Hotel Credit?
After being without a Citi Premier card for a year and suffering through the hassle of working with my wife’s points for numerous transfers and bookings, I decided to switch things back. The Citi Premier is worth holding, in my opinion, if just for the points transfer ability. With the coming changes, however, including 3x grocery earn and the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit, it’s an even better value proposition.
The grocery bonus is a no-brainer for me. While there are several great cards for grocery stores, earning 3x ThankYou points at supermarkets will be an excellent option, as I am still without an American Express Gold Card. These, and other changes, are coming to the Citi Premier is an overall positive move (in my opinion).
Changes Coming To The Citi Premier Card
While I don’t typically use ThankYou points for bookings through the Citi travel portal, using points from the Citi Premier for 1.25 cents each for travel has been a standard strategy for some of my friends. I’ll argue that there is better value is some points transfers, but the flexibility of portal bookings cannot be understated.
So it’s a bummer that Citi is doing away with the 1.25 cents per point value through the travel portal. This will be reduced to just 1.0 cent per ThankYou Point on April 10, 2021. This, and other changes, are being rolled out. Some were rolled out early on June 2, including the 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent at supermarkets. Most are rolling out on August 23, 2020 for new cards and April 10, 2021 for existing cardholders.
Any 3x earning sounds nice, but when the points are now worth 20% less through the portal, it’s not a fantastic deal (unless you tend to transfer your points). But Citi is adding a new benefit: a $100 annual hotel credit. It’s a benefit that I initially glossed over, but let’s see what value it adds to the card.
Does the Citi Premier $100 Hotel Credit Offer Real Value?
While a $100 hotel credit sounds like an excellent deal, it does come with some terms and conditions. It would be sweet if this was just a $100 certificate that you could use for any stay, but, alas, it does not work this way.
The Citi Premier $100 hotel credit is essentially $100 off $500 of hotel. This excludes taxes and fees. Given that taxes and fees are typically 10-20% of your hotel rate, you’re really looking at $100 off $550 to $600. Not as great a deal. This is maybe ~15% savings on average. Nice, but not amazing.
I’m hoping there won’t be much of a hassle to use the benefit. The terms say you can book both online of by calling Citi at 1-800-THANKYOU. I’m hopeful the credit can be seamelesly applied online. Citi’s IT is notoriously bad, though, so I would expect you may need to call. I book 95%+ of my hotel stays online, and calling anyone is a hassle.
You also get this benefit only once per year. It’d be nice if they offered this more, but I guess you can’t really ask for this for a card charging just $95 per year. Even the Citi Prestige had its 4th night free benefit reduced to just 4 times per year. The Citi Premier $100 hotel credit can only be used once annually.
Honestly, I don’t expect to use my credit this year. Maybe we’ll have a paid stay of that amount. But I tend to book so many awards that it is unlikely. It’s always possible we end up somewhere without a chain hotel, so maybe Citi will come through in that case.
As someone who generally does not book cash hotel rates, especially cash hotel rates of $500+, I am underwhelmed by the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit. If booking paid stays is your MO, then this is a useful benefit. It’s really not for me. I might be able to extract the $100, but it would likely need to be in conjunction with an work stay. Even then, I’d need the final folio to show the full rate (which I assume it would, as this is a Citi benefit).
While the credit has the potential to offset the full $95 annual fee on the Premier card, I really don’t see it being as useful as I initially hoped. What are your thoughts on the new benefit?