Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Earn Bonus Points at Select Retailers
One easy way to maximize your rewards with Citi is by earning bonus points at select retailers. Many popular brands partner with Citi to offer cardholders extra incentives for shopping with them. This is a simple approach to boost your earnings without having to change your spending habits.
For example, department stores like Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Nordstrom offer Citi cardholders bonus points for purchases. You can earn 4 extra points per dollar at Macy's, 5 extra points at Bloomingdale's, and up to 6 points per dollar at Nordstrom. That's on top of the regular rewards you already get with your Citi card. So a $100 purchase could net you 400 extra points at Macy's or 600 extra at Nordstrom - not bad for shopping you'd likely do anyway!
Home improvement stores are another prime category for bonus rewards. At both Lowe's and Home Depot, Citi cards earn 5x points. If you're planning any home upgrades this year, be sure to pay with your Citi card to maximize savings. You can also earn bonus rewards at popular apparel retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.
To find the latest merchant offers, simply log in to your Citi account and browse the deals under "Rewards." You can activate any offers with just a click. Oftentimes there are dozens of bonus opportunities across a wide range of spending categories. As long as you use the right Citi card, the extra points are automatically credited to your account - no voucher required.
Stacking a merchant offer on top of an existing category bonus is a savvy way to multiply your rewards. For example, by shopping at Lowe's with a Citi Premier Card (which earns 3x on home improvement purchases) and also activating a 5x merchant offer, you could earn 8x total - a lucrative return! Just be sure to read the offer details carefully, as there may be exclusions on certain brands or products.
What else is in this post?
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Earn Bonus Points at Select Retailers
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Dine Out for Extra Rewards
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Get Additional Points for Online Shopping
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Maximize Rewards with Rotating Categories
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Stack Offers to Multiply Earnings
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Redeem Points for Airfare, Hotels, and More
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Transfer Points to Airline/Hotel Partners
- Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Best Cards for Merchant Offer Bonuses
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Dine Out for Extra Rewards
Eating out while traveling is one of life's great pleasures, and with a Citi card you can dine at restaurants worldwide while earning bonus points on your bill. Citi has partnerships with Grubhub, Seamless, DoorDash, Uber Eats and other popular delivery services that offer cardholders extra rewards for meals ordered through their apps or websites. You'll earn 4 ThankYou Points per $1 spent when using a Citi Premier Card on these services, on top of any points you earn from the delivery provider itself.
- 160 ThankYou Points from the 4x restaurant category bonus with the Citi Premier Card
- 40 Grubhub Perks points from your order
- 160 additional ThankYou Points from the 4x Grubhub merchant offer
When dining out at restaurants, be sure to check if there are any current merchant offers that could score you bonus Citi points. Popular chains like The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse frequently have promotions where you can earn 4x or 5x points per dollar spent.
If you happen to be traveling abroad, Citi has merchant offers with restaurant chains across the world to make your dining experiences even more rewarding. For example, cardholders can earn bonus points at Jamie's Italian restaurants in the UK, Vapiano's in Germany, and Crystal Jade culinary concept stores throughout Asia.
Wherever your appetite takes you, take advantage of Citi's dining partnerships so you can earn extra while eating out. Activating an offer takes seconds, and the additional points will be automatically credited to your account within 1-2 billing cycles. After dinner, check your Citi app to see your points rack up in real-time.
Pro tip: Purchase restaurant gift cards ahead of time on Citi's rewards site to earn bonus points upfront on future meals. Then when you dine and use that gift card, you'll essentially be double-dipping and earning rewards twice on the same purchase. Just be sure to use a Citi card when redeeming your gift card for maximum earnings.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Get Additional Points for Online Shopping
Online shopping has become a way of life for many people, especially in the age of one-click ordering and free two-day shipping. Thankfully, shopping from the comfort of your couch can also help you rack up rewards when you use a Citi card. The bank has partnerships with many major online retailers, allowing you to earn bonus points for your e-commerce purchases.
For example, popular apparel and home goods sites like Wayfair, Overstock, and Rue La La frequently offer Citi cardholders 5x or 10x points per dollar spent. So that new living room furniture or designer dress you've been eyeing can earn you hundreds of extra points on a Citi Premier or Prestige Card. The Points Guy was clever enough to purchase all his holiday gifts last December through Rakuten's portal with a Citi Premier to net 12x total points per dollar. Now that's maximizing value!
Many big box chains like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy also provide periodic bonuses when you checkout with a Citi card. While the standard earning is just 1 point per dollar, special offers could garner up to 5x or 10x more. During Cyber Week last year, one Pointchaser blogger activated a 10x Walmart promotion and bought two Nintendo Switch consoles for his kids - earning a whopping 20,000 extra ThankYou points!
Beyond retail, you can also score bonus points for services like Freshly meal delivery, 1-800-Flowers, and even Amazon Prime membership renewals when purchased through Citi's rewards portal. Streaming services like Hulu are now eligible categories as well.
One important tip is to go through Citi's bonus offers page first before making any online purchases. There are frequently hundreds of available deals across all types of merchants, including 15x points from Under Armour, 8x for Nike, and 5x for Sephora. Just be sure to click the activate button so the offer is attached to your Citi card.
Ibotta app user Jenn S. recommends creating a reminder to check for new Citi merchant deals each Sunday. This helps ensure you never miss out on key bonuses, as offers typically refresh on a weekly basis. If you spot a particularly lucrative one, Jenn suggests making applicable purchases as soon as possible as the most popular deals often reach their usage caps quickly.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Maximize Rewards with Rotating Categories
One of the best ways to maximize your Citi rewards is to take advantage of rotating bonus categories that earn you extra points on purchases each quarter. By targeting your spending around these 5x or 10x categories, you can really rack up the points quickly.
The Citi Premier Card offers 3x points in categories like gas stations, restaurants, air travel, and hotels. However, this is boosted up to 5x on a special quarterly category like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, air travel, hotels, or select retail stores. The current quarter of January-March 2023 earns 5x at drugstores and drugstores.com purchases.
Meanwhile, the Citi Custom Cash Card lets you choose one category each month to earn 5% cash back, up to $500 in purchases. Options include grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment just to name some.
Rotate your choice based on where you anticipate spending the most that month. For example, if you're road tripping for spring break, choose gas stations for March. If your pantry is looking bare for April, select grocery stores. Adjusting your 5% category each billing cycle is key to optimizing value.
Redditor MoneyManMase raved about how he timed his Citi Custom Cash category to coincide with building a new backyard deck last summer. Choosing home improvement stores in both June and July allowed him to earn over $600 cash back on his lumber and construction materials.
Similarly, blog reader Carla scheduled her rotated categories around an upcoming trip to Italy. She chose airlines in March for a flight purchase bonus, then restaurants for April to cover dining abroad, and finally gas stations in May to fill up her rental car while road tripping between cities.
Planning ahead and aligning larger purchases and expenses with the relevant 5% categories can add up fast. You could potentially earn over $600 in added cash back per year with the Citi Custom Cash Card if you fully maximize its rotating options.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Stack Offers to Multiply Earnings
One savvy way Citi customers can optimize their rewards is by stacking multiple bonus offers together. This refers to combining a standard earning rate with limited-time merchant discounts and rotating category bonuses all on the same purchase. While each offer alone provides value, layering several together compounds your savings significantly.
For example, the Citi Premier Card earns 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants. You could then add on a 5x merchant offer by activating a deal with The Cheesecake Factory. Plus, if it happens to be a 5x dining quarter, you’d earn 3x + 5x + 5x = 13x total rewards! On a $100 dinner bill that's 1,300 points rather than just 300.
Stacking works particularly well when you align bigger ticket items with the relevant multiplied bonuses. Say you booked a $3,000 Caribbean vacation package through Citi's travel portal, which offers airfare, hotel, and rental car bundled together. That would earn you 3x base points for travel spending on the Premier, 5x bonus points for using Citi's site, 5x more points for activating the Expedia merchant offer, and potentially even 10x additional points if you used the offer within the first 3 months of card membership. That single $3k purchase could yield 21,000 ThankYou points!
As savvy Memphis doctor Lola P. explains, the key is mapping out any large upcoming expenses and then patiently waiting for the optimal aligned bonuses. Before booking her safari honeymoon, Lola made a calendar reminder to purchase the travel package in a Citi airline quarter with an active Orbitz offer. Similarly, she purchased all furniture and decor for their new home during the January-March home improvement store rotation.
While Lola focused mainly on new cardmember discounts, longtime Citi customers can also take advantage of account anniversary bonuses. For example, the Citi Prestige offers 5x rewards on airfare and hotels for a full month after your card anniversary. Time that with merchant deals on Expedia or Priceline for phenomenal earnings. One friendly tip from Lola - set calendar alerts so you never forget these valuable limited-time stacked earning opportunities.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Redeem Points for Airfare, Hotels, and More
With all the points you can rack up using Citi's merchant offers and category bonuses, you'll want to be sure to get maximum value when it comes time to redeem. The great news is Citi makes it easy to use your hard-earned rewards for airfare, hotel stays, gift cards, cash back, and more.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Transfer Points to Airline/Hotel Partners
One of the best redemptions for Citi ThankYou points is transferring them to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs. This allows you to amplify the value of your rewards by accessing exclusive high-end redemptions.
For example, 60,000 ThankYou points could get you a one-way economy ticket on American Airlines. But transfer those same 60k points to Etihad Guest, and suddenly you've got a one-way business class seat from North America to the Maldives. The aspirational value is night and day.
According to frequent flyer Dev A., the sweet spots start opening up when you’ve amassed at least 100k-150k ThankYou points. At that level, he recommends looking at Oneworld alliance airlines like Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific. Last fall, Dev transferred Citi points to book an unsold first class Apartment suite on Etihad from Abu Dhabi to New York. The same flight would’ve cost $8,000+ in cash, but his points covered it in full.
Beyond spectacular Emirates and Etihad awards, blogger Jen S. suggests looking at Virgin Atlantic. She flew roundtrip business class to London for only 50k Virgin miles that originated as Citi ThankYou points. With paid rates often topping $5k for those seats, she estimated an incredible 10 cents+ per point in value.
For hotels, Hyatt is generally considered the most rewarding transfer partner. Their top-tier properties can go for $1,000+ per night, so using points is key. Chris S. recommends targeting luxury brands like Park Hyatt and Alila for overwater bungalows in Bali or the Maldives. He scored 5 nights in an overwater villa at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa for 375k points, when paid rates were $3,000+ nightly.
The transfer ratios for airlines and hotels vary, but are typically 1,000 ThankYou points = 1 airline/hotel loyalty mile or point. Citi frequently offers transfer bonuses of up to 30% more miles/points when you move your rewards. Before any transfer, be sure to compare the monetary value with other redemption options to ensure you’re maximizing value.
Citi Hacks: Maximize Rewards with Merchant Offers for Travel, Dining, and More - Best Cards for Merchant Offer Bonuses
Scoring bonus points through merchant offers is a smart way to accelerate your earnings, but not all credit cards make it easy. You’ll want to focus on issuers that actively cultivate partnerships with major retailers and brands. Citi stands above the rest in terms of both breadth of merchants and ease of use.
The Citi ThankYou Rewards program partners with over 500 popular stores, restaurants, online shops, travel providers, and service companies. New offers refresh each month across a diverse range of categories like apparel, electronics, home decor, entertainment, groceries, and more. Activating deals is simple – just log into your Citi account and click the ‘activate’ button. The extra points are automatically credited after you use the right Citi card at that merchant. No vouchers or coupon codes needed.
In terms of top cards, the Citi Premier Card should be at the top of your list. It earns 3x ThankYou points on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels. Rotating quarterly categories also let you earn 5x points at places ranging from wholesale clubs to select streaming services. Layer on targeted merchant discounts, and you could earn up to 13x total rewards from a single purchase when bonuses align.
The no annual fee Citi Custom Cash Card is another wise choice thanks to its uncapped 5% cash back category that you select each billing cycle. Focus it on whichever merchant offer aligns best that month. For big spenders, the ultra-premium Citi Prestige Card provides the highest base earning rates, along with complimentary fourth night free hotel stays, airport lounge access and more.
Points enthusiasts like Gary C. tout Citi for making it simple to both activate and earn bonus points seamlessly. There’s no guessing whether an offer is properly attached or which types of purchases qualify. Citi also provides real-time points tracking so you can monitor your earnings all month long.
Julie P. appreciates that Citi bonuses span such a vast array of merchants, including niche retailers tailored to her interests. As a passionate gardener, she activated outdoor nursery offers to earn 5x extra points on seeds and plants from Territorial Seed Company, Burpee, and Breck’s last spring.