3 Credit Card Traveling Tips
Read Time: 6 Minutes
Well technically, the credit card paid us $1,147.52 if you want to be exact. While that didn’t cover the entire cost of our honeymoon in Saint Lucia, that money allowed us to do some amazing things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Things like zip lining through the rainforest, snorkeling in tropical water, and staying at an all-inclusive resort. Keep reading to see:
- Which credit card I’m talking about
- A detailed breakdown of exactly how I earned so much value from this card
- 3 tips on how you can do the same
Like many of my articles, I try to use my life to highlight real world examples that you can learn from. In this case, I was able to earn over $1,100 simply because I was smart about which credit card I used to book mine and Sophie’s honeymoon.
How did I do this? Well, let’s get to it.
Which Card Did I Use?
The credit card I used to book our honeymoon is the Citi Prestige® Mastercard. It’s a premium travel card that has a ton of cool perks (which I’ll list line by line later). It’s also a metal card, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Why did I choose this specific card, especially when there are so many other travel credit cards on the market? Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the American Express Platinum Card®. Most of these cards have similar features, such as travel credits, global entry credit, etc. So what’s so special about the Citi Prestige®?
The Citi Prestige has one stand-out feature that is different from the other top travel cards. AskSebby refers to this as “the card’s super power.” This is the 4th-night-free feature. Here’s how it works.
If you book 4 consecutive nights at a hotel, you get reimbursed for one of those nights. Effectively this means you only have to pay for 3 of the nights, and the 4th is free.
Normally, I don’t stay at hotels for 4 nights in a row, as most of my vacations are weekend trips or staying with friends/family, so this perk isn’t very valuable to me. On top of that, I normally prefer cheap hotels to expensive ones. All this is true… unless I just got married and am going on a week-long trip to Saint Lucia for our honeymoon! All of a sudden, this park got way more valuable.
I strategically signed up for the Citi Prestige® specifically right before our honeymoon because I knew it would get me a ton of value. As I said, this was an awesome decision that saved us over $1,100. Now let’s break that out line by line so you can see exactly how I earned so much from this card.
Line by Line Breakout of my Savings
Now we get into the meat of this article. The line by line breakdown of exactly how I squeezed every penny of value possible out of the Citi Prestige®. We’ll go through each perk, and then subtract the annual fee to get the true net benefit of the card.
- Free All-Inclusive Hotel Night for 2 ($774.50): As I mentioned, this was by far the biggest perk of the card. One night free, for each of us, at an all-inclusive resort saved us some major dinero.
- Nick’s Flight Credit ($250): The card also has an annual travel credit of $250. This $250 reimbursement covered over ½ of my round-trip flight to Saint Lucia. What a deal.
- Sophie’s Flight Credit ($250): Now you’re probably thinking, how did you get 2 travel credits? The card says it only gives 1 travel credit per year. You are exactly correct. You get 1 travel credit per calendar year. I signed up for the card in 2017 and booked my flight in November. Then, once January 2018 came, we booked Sophie’s flight. If you’re smart, you can double-dip on the travel credit during the 1st year of owning the card.
- Sophie’s Global Entry Credit ($100): Again, this might be something that’s not super apparent. I already have Global Entry from owning the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (as I mentioned in this previous article). So instead I used this perk from my Citi Prestige® towards getting Sophie Global Entry as well. After all, zipping through Customs doesn’t really matter if you still have to wait for your significant other.
- Citi ThankYou® Points Earned ($223.02): On top of all these great perks, I earned Citi ThankYou® points just for booking the honeymoon on this card. Because it’s a travel card, you earn 3x points on air travel and hotels. I was able to cash out those points for even more savings. Nice!
- Annual Credit Card Fee (-$450): Of course, you can’t forget the annual fee… At $450, it’s no small price. But as you can see from all the benefits I received, it was more than worth it.
3 Key Tips
How do you use this newfound knowledge to benefit you? I’ll summarize everything into 3 main tips.
1. High-Free Credit Card are Sometimes Worth It
Many people would get sticker shock when they see a credit card with a $450 annual fee. And understandably so. That’s expensive! But that’s just looking at the gross cost. Savvy shoppers always look at the net cost, which is the benefits you receive – the gross cost.
In this example, my gross benefits were worth $1,597.52. That’s over 3.5 times the annual fee, and still left me with a $1,147.52 net benefit. In other words, that was the best $450 I’ve ever spent.
2. Choose Credit Cards with Downgrade Paths
Now just because I saved over $1,100 this year by having the Citi Prestige® doesn’t mean I’ll save that money every year. After all, I’ll no longer be able to double dip on the travel credit, Global Entry lasts for 5 years, and Sophie and I don’t usually stay at all-inclusive resorts when we travel. In short, my expected benefit from this card for next year will be much lower.
That’s okay. I’ll do the math to see if it still makes sense for me to keep it. And if not, I can always product change to another credit card with a low/no annual fee. I talk more about downgrading credit cards in my previous article, but the moral of the story is I’m by no means locked into paying $450 every year moving forward. And neither would you just because you signed up for this card.
3. Use Big Purchases You Already had Planned to Your Advantage
Whenever you have a big expense coming up like a honeymoon, buying an engagement ring, or maybe holiday shopping, take a minute to think if using a particular credit card for that purchase makes sense. Sometimes it won’t, but many times it will. It might be a big hotel discount, or a large sign-up bonus that can end up saving you hundreds of dollars, or maybe more.
Being a savvy consumer is not just about finding coupons and deals. It also involves using the right credit card.
The Citi Prestige® Mastercard is an amazing credit card with some great perks. We were able to use these perks to save over $1,100 on our honeymoon. Those savings helped make our trip to Saint Lucia one of the most unforgettable trips of our lives.
Using credit cards wisely has helped us enjoy more travel than we otherwise could afford. Hopefully this example gets your brain thinking about ways you can be a savvy traveler as well.
Tell me. What’s your greatest travel-related credit card savings?
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