Tag Archives: Citibank

Most of my 2017 Travel Predictions Were Wrong (Who Could Have Predicted That?)

Good morning everyone, happy almost New Years Eve.  Earlier this month, Doctor of Credit wrote how bad travel bloggers are at making predictions (I came in last at 33% correct), but he only reviewed our credit card predictions.  I made a lot of other predictions in January 2017, so let’s see how good or bad my predictions were.  I covered airlines, hotels, credit cards, and MS.  I will put my thoughts in bold at the end of each prediction.

Airlines

  • Southwest seems bent on making the Companion Pass very difficult to get unless you fly Southwest every week.  I believe credit card signup bonuses will no longer count toward the Companion Pass and Southwest might kill the whole concept of the Companion Pass entirely or switch to a certificate program similar to the Alaska Airlines companion fare or Virgin America companion ticket.  Southwest Airlines did eliminate hotel transfers counting toward the Companion Pass, but credit card spend and sign up bonuses still count toward the Companion Pass.  I am also the proud companion on my girlfriend’s Companion Pass.
  • Other airline credit cards will adopt the Alaska Airlines companion fare (you pay full price and your companion pays up to $120) or the Virgin America companion ticket (you pay full price and your companion pays full price minus $150).  No, I don’t think any other airline added a companion fare as a credit card benefit.
  • American will introduce a basic economy fare class to compete/copy Delta and United.  Yes, I got this one right!
  • Alaska Airlines will introduce a new level of elite status (maybe MVP Gold 100K?)  No, Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K is still the highest elite level.
  • More airlines will get away from the 12,500 one way domestic ticket and start to introduce 5,000, 7,500, and 10,000 mile awards.  Yes, I think Alaska Airlines announced cheaper awards on shorter flights.
  • British Airways will kill the 4,500 Avios award band globally and possibly remove one of their lower award tiers.  No, 4,500 British Airways Avios tier is still available outside the US.
  • Singapore Airlines will allow us to book Star Alliance awards online, rather than calling in.  Partially true, but not rolled out completely.
  • Hawaiian Airlines will get bought by a low cost airline, Southwest Airlines or JetBlue.  No, no one bought Hawaiian Airlines.
  • We will see 1 or 2 more mileage matching promos, this time from a big legacy airline.  No, no mileage matching promo like the JetBlue / Virgin America match last year.
  • My ~20,000 Spirit Airlines miles will expire and I won’t care.  Sort of, my Spirit Airlines miles did expire, but I still shed 1 tear.

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Award Wallet Feature I Wish Existed: Keep Checking for Account Balance Changes

Good afternoon everyone.  I dreamed this up a few days ago and thought it was worth sharing to see if anyone else would find this feature useful.  If you guys like this idea, I will share it with my friends Howie and Alexi at Award Wallet (sign up for your free Award Wallet account here).  Here is an example use case:  I needed to book a Singapore Airlines (SQ) award ticket for travel on United Airlines (UA).  I needed 35,000 SQ miles, but only had 744 SQ miles in my account.  Luckily, I have plenty of transferable point currencies, so I decided to transfer 25,000 Citi Thank You Points and 10,000 American Express Membership Reward Points to my Singapore Airlines account.  As I wrote in July 2015, transfer times from Chase UR, Citi TYP, AMEX MR, and SPG to SQ are not instant – most take ~24 hours to complete.

With that said, I made the transfers from Citi Thank You Points and American Express Membership Reward Points and then occasionally checked Award Wallet to see if the SQ miles posted.  Insert cheesy infomercial “THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!”  Here is what the process currently looks like:

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My Long Term Citi Credit Card Plans & Citi Forward to Citi Preferred Conversion

Good morning everyone. A few days ago, I received the following letter from Citi regarding my Citi Forward Credit Card.  The letter was similar to the letter posted on Doctor of Credit, but mine did not include a targeted spending offer.  I reached out to Citi on Twitter and asked if they could match me to the targeted offer.  Long story short, I spoke to a member of the Citi social media team and we went through a few options.  I will share what my long term plan is regarding the Citi Forward Credit Card conversion into the Citi Thank You Preferred Credit Card and share my plans for some of my other Citi credit cards.  Here is what the letter from Citi looked like:

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Citi Forward Converting to Citi Thank You Preferred on January 9, 2018 (Conversion Letter & Details)

Good morning everyone, happy Black Friday.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family members.  This post isn’t about Black Friday, but if you have a Citi Forward Credit Card, you might want to read this post.  Citi is sending out letters informing Citi Forward Credit Card holders that their credit card is going to be converted to a Citi Thank Your Preferred Credit Card on January 9, 2018.  Most people do not have Citi Forward Credit Cards (Citi has not allowed applications for several years), but it used to be an awesome credit card… 5x Citi Thank You Points (TYPs) for Amazon, entertainment and restaurant purchases, but back in June 2016, Citi changed the 5x TYP categories to 2x TYP categories and the credit card became worth much less than before.  The best feature of the current version of the Citi Forward Credit Card is that you get 100 TYPs when you pay your credit card bill.  That bonus is ending, but the 2x TYP categories are staying about the same.

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What Did I Find Reading Through the AMEX Hilton Ascend Credit Card Welcome Letter & Cardmember Agreement?

My friend Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai likes to tell people that I read through all the small print on credit cards so the rest of us don’t have to.  99% of the info is super boring, but every now and then, I found something worth sharing.  I’ve been quietly following along with the Hilton news, but had nothing to add to the conversation at the time.  If you want to learn more about the Hilton transition from Citi to American Express, check out this website that American Express created.  A few days ago, I received an envelope from American Express with details of the transition.  I had read all about the transition on other travel blogs, mainly Frequent Miler and Doctor of Credit, but I read the small print to see if there were any diamonds in the rough.  I will share what I found below.

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