You’ll now earn even more bonus points with these Citi cards

Editor's note: This post as been updated with new details from Citi. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

During the coronavirus pandemic, issuers have been looking for ways to entice cardholders to hang onto their travel credit cards, despite the fact that many are putting travel on hold. American Express, Chase, Capital One and Citi have all announced short-term benefits throughout the past couple of months.

Originally, Citi had launched a deadline extension for sign-up bonuses (for customers who applied between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020) and expanded use of the Citi Prestige travel credit. Now, Citi has just announced a new earning opportunities for both Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier℠ Card cardholders.

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(The information for the Citi Prestige Card and Citi Premier Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)

Temporary 5x promotion on the Citi Prestige

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Citi Prestige cardholders can now earn 5x on all online purchases through Aug. 31, 2020. But there is, unfortunately, a 7,500-point cap on bonus earning through this promotion. Still, according to our valuations, 7,500 ThankYou points are worth almost $130 in value.

In its announcement, Citi did list online retail orders, online grocery orders and online drugstore orders as part of the temporary online purchases category.

The card's existing rewards structure is primarily focused on travel purchases (5x on airfare and dining, 3x on hotels and cruises and 1x on everything else), so it's nice to see Citi adding in opportunities to earn on other expenses.

This new promotion is an addition to Citi's May 1, 2020, announcement that it is temporarily expanding which purchases qualify for the $250 travel credit awarded to cardholders each year. If you haven't already used your Citi Prestige travel credit this year, you'll now be able to use it on grocery stores and restaurants through the end of 2020 (which should include online grocery delivery services like Instacart and delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash).

This new promotion alongside the expanded travel credit benefit falls in line with how other credit card issuers such as Chase and Amex are encouraging spending on their travel cards right now. While this promotion likely won't sway someone to apply for the card when they otherwise wouldn't, it does provide a nice incentive for existing cardholders to hang onto the card even if you aren't spending on travel right now.

Related reading: Even though the Citi Prestige has lost a lot of benefits, I'm still keeping mine (for now)

Accelerated timeline for some Citi Premier changes

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Citi also announced an accelerated timeline for when cardholders will begin earning in the new categories announced in April. Cardholders will now earn 3x on grocery stores and dining, on top of the card's standard 3x on travel (which also includes most gas stations) and 2x on entertainment.

Originally, the new bonus categories weren't going to come into play until Aug. 23, 2020. While the other changes coming to the card (including the elimination of some benefits and the addition of a new annual hotel credit) seemingly won't take effect until their originally planned dates. I'll be honest — the timeline for all of the Citi Premier changes is a bit confusing (even more so now), so here's a quick overview of what is changing when:

  • June 2, 2020: Begin earning 3x on grocery stores and dining, in addition to 3x on travel and 2x on entertainment
  • Aug. 23, 2020: All cardholders will begin receiving an annual $100 hotel credit (eligible on $500+ purchases made through Cardholders who applied for the Citi Premier after April 10, 2020, will now earn 3x on air travel, hotels, gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants.
  • April 10, 2021: Existing cardholders who applied before April 10, 2021, will now earn 3x on air travel, hotels, gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants. The 25% redemption bonus when booking through the travel center will be eliminated.

Related reading: Upcoming Citi Premier changes

Bottom line

Citi is one of multiple issuers who have recently announced changes to help customers find value in their cards amid a global pandemic that has drastically changed spending habits and benefit value. These changes aren't particularly jaw-dropping, but they will help cardholders make use of cards when they otherwise might have lost out on some benefits.

As we continue to postpone or cancel trips and adapt to a world where we are staying home rather than traveling, it's more important than ever for issuers to evolve their benefits offerings — especially on travel-specific cards that charge higher annual fees.

Want to stay up to date on what other issuers are doing in light of COVID-19? Bookmark our dedicated coronavirus news hub.

Featured image by The Points Guy staff.

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