Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
Citi has just added a new feature to the Citi Prestige card, which earns ThankYou points from both your purchases and the distance of the flights you buy with the card.
You can now use its points to buy any American Airlines or US Airways tickets at a great 1.6 cent per dollar rate (so 10,000 points = $160 in flight value), which is about 60% better than most cash for travel cards.
You can pick any flight at any time that’s available for sale and use your points at that rate. You don’t need to look for ‘award’ seats or anything like that, it’s like shopping for cash ticket on AA.com.
Thanks to the great new 1.6 cents per point redemption rate a $1,000 ticket will need 62,500 points, and a $300 ticket will need 18,750 points.
Even better…you can use your points to pay for a trip partly in cash and partly in points. So let’s say you want an American flight that costs $300. That would require 18,750 points to pay for it in full. But if you only have 10,000 points you can just use those points to get $160 off the cost of the ticket and pay $140 with your Prestige card for the remaining, so you can book a flight at any time and get full value for your points. It’s truly a no hassle way of using your points, but with really good value.
What about regular airline miles? You will earn regular airline miles for the tickets you buy with the card and enjoy all the elite or other benefits you may be entitled to because the tickets you buy are just like buying a ticket from a website like Expedia. They’re regular revenue tickets, not award seats with restrictions.
While the miles you earn from your airline’s program can’t be combined with Citi flight points that you earn in your ThankYou account, you can use those miles just as you already do today. So with this card you have two ways to earn miles via your flying.
First, there is a $450 annual fee on the card. That’s steep. But there are two features that let you offset most if not all of it.
1. $250 worth of airline credits every year. Basically, every time you use the card for an airline fee or purchasre, Citi will remove it from your statement, up to $250 worth every year. That includes things like bag fees and online gift certificates for airlines, even plane tickets themselves.
2. Lounge access to all Admirals clubs and Priority Pass lounges. You get access for yourself and two guests to all American Admirals Clubs worldwide. This is a great deal that normally costs over $400 a year on its own. AND, you also get a separate ‘Priority Pass‘ lounge access card. That card lets you and up to two guests access any of over 600 non-American Airlines lounges worldwide, which is really helpful for international travel.
No other card offers this Priority Pass access with two free guests included for each visit.
You an see how the Citi Prestige stacks up versus other cards on value and point earning based on your own monthly spending habits using our CardFinder tool. You’ll find it’s really competitive even with a $450 annual fee.
We think the Citi Prestige is best if you don’t have loyalty to a particular airline and just want the best possible deal on your flights. Use it to buy the cheapest flights you can on any airline, and you’ll earn points from flying both in your Citi account and the host airline’s account.
Then when you want a free trip, book on any American Airlines flight thanks to the special redemption rate.
If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer this card may be helpful, but you’ll probably want to focus on topping up your AAdvantage account the old fashioned way since you’re earning a lot of AAdvantage miles from flying.
But if you are trying to reach the next Elite tier of AAdvantage this can be a good way for you to earn elite miles on your free award trips, since if you use ThankYou points you’ll get elite qualifying miles just like you bought the ticket in cash. That can help you get to the next level a bit more quickly and you can save your AAdvantage miles for a big first / business class flight to somewhere exotic.
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