I recently got the Citibank Prestige Card. Although it is expensive, the $450 fee (or $350 fee for Citigold customers) is offset by a $250 annual Air Travel Credit.
$250 Air Travel Credit
Purchases made by the Primary cardmember and Authorized Users on the Card Account are eligible for this statement credit. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account. This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. . . . Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.
We do not determine whether merchants appropriately identify all transactions you make on your Card Account, but we do reserve the right to determine which purchases are eligible for the statement credit. . . .
On Monday, I flew from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India to Dubai Airport – Dubai – United Arab Emirates. I would have had nearly a 14 hour layover until my connecting flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport, so I stopped at the Emirates Airline transfer desk and inquired whether it was possible to take an earlier flight. I was told that it was possible for a charge of a little over $200. I accepted. I paid approximately 50 AED Dirham cash and charged the remaining US $189 on my Citibank Prestige card.
Today, I phoned Citibank and was told I would NOT receive a statement credit for the $189 charge because Emirates coded it not as an AIRLINE, but instead as Other Travel – TRAVEL AGENCY AND TOUR OPERATORS. I asked the representative if there was any way to correct this, as obviously this was an error. She said NO and I promptly asked to speak to a supervisor.
I note that the above-quoted terms mention only whether the charge is a qualifying air travel expense. They say nothing about how an Airline codes the charge.
When I spoke to the supervisor, he told me that the merchant’s coding of the charge as a Travel Agency precluded the charge counting for a Travel Credit, and that Citibank could not change this coding. However, the supervisor offered to apply a statement credit of $189 to my account in order to offset the charge. He said this would be applied to the $250 Travel Credit.
Thus, it appears that Citibank was able to appropriately address and rectify this problem when I brought it to their attention, and sought the assistance of a supervisor.
Lesson: In order to ensure that you receive a Travel Credit for a valid travel expense, remember to review the credit card charges and examine how they have been categorized.