Citibank Premiermiles: How I saved 100,000 last year on it

Easy redemption on MakeMyTripz

I love minting credit card points and I do so by putting my every expense on credit card. Last year, I saved nearly 100,000 on my Citibank Premiermiles card alone. Below are the details on how I did it.

Redeemed Citibank Premiermiles point for flight tickets on MMT

Citibank Premiermiles reward points offer the best value (1 point=45paise) on flights and hotel bookings. Thus, I used my points to book return tickets to Singapore. Two return tickets for Singapore were priced at 46000, but I booked them just 4 bucks!! For rest, I redeemed my Premiermiles reward points. An instant savings of 46,000.

Further, to save another 1200 bucks, I did two separate bookings. As e-cash in my MMT wallet had a limit of 1200 per transaction.

Citibank Premiermiles reward redemption

Citibank Premiermiles reward redemption for flight tickets

 

Cashbacks on hotel and travel booking on MakeMyTrip

Citibank runs many offers centered around flight and hotel bookings on MMT. I used these offers for my vacation hotel bookings and other travels during the year. Thus ended up saving 38,840. This includes savings on other flight bookings I did during the year.

MMT and Citibank run very good offers on hotel booking both domestic and international every week. To maximize the benefits I would even do multiple bookings, say for 1 night each, even if I had to stay in the same hotel for 4 nights. 😉 Using this technique, I had saved 30000+ on hotel bookings alone during my trip to France a couple of years back.  

Cashback on groceries via BigBasket

Citibank Premiermiles along with BigBasket offers 20% discount every month on groceries purchase. Last year I saved INR5,500 on Citibank Premiermiles card through groceries purchase alone. The offer is structured in a manner that one can only save a maximum of INR500/purchase. Thus, I would limit my purchase from BigBasket to ~2500 to maximise the benefits. For the rest, I rely on DMart Online or brick and mortar Dmart or Metro Cash and Carry.

Cashbacks on Paytm for flight tickets and movie tickets

Similar to the MMT offer, Citibank offers good discounts on flight tickets via Paytm. Besides, they run 1 on 1 offer for movie tickets every week. Using these offers I saved over 2,600 on my Citibank Premiermiles card.

Further, I also saved money through various Citibank offers that offered instant discounts. Though I don’t have an exact amount for this.

Cashbacks on Citibank Premiermiles

Details of cashbacks on Citibank Premiermiles

Thus a total Savings of INR99,274!

46,004 (flight tickets) + 44,184 (MMT cashback) + 5,520 (BigBasket cashback) + 2,616 (Paytm offers) + 950 (Amazon cashback) = 99,274

In all, I saved INR99,274 on my Citibank Premiermiles credit card in the last 12 months alone. Plus, I still have reward points worth over 11,000 on the card available for future redemption.

Obviously, the question is how much I spend on my card every year to get these kinds of rewards. The answer is around 5-8lakhs.  The key expenses that I put on my Citibank Premiermiles credit card are my house rent, insurance premium of my family and utility bills. These expenses alone account for ~70% of my annual credit card expense. Beyond this, I try to put as many expenses as much possible on credit card to earn rewards points.

More about Citibank Premiermiles credit card

Easy redemption on MakeMyTripz

Fees and Eligibility

  • Annual fees of INR 3,000 + GST
  • Typically annual salary of INR6lakhs or existing Citibank relationship. (I had my salary account with Citi way back then)
  • Annual fees are only waived for Citi Gold customers.

Reward and Benefits     

  • One gets 10000 miles/reward points (worth INR 4500) on spending 1000 bucks in the first 60 days. (Only for fee-paying variants). This is like your first-year fee is waived and you are offered ~1000 bucks. On payment of annual fees, one gets 3000 miles ( which is worth INR 1350)
  • 4 reward points on every 100 spent (1.8% reward rate)
  • 10x reward points on spends on www.premiermiles.co.in or by booking flight tickets via airline’s website
  • Weekly offers on flights and hotel booking on MMT and booking.com. Weekly offers on Paytm too for fights and movie tickets and more on partner websites.
  • Domestic lounge access. 8/quarter on Visa variant and 6/quarter on Mastercard variant

Why I love Citibank Premiermiles

Simple point accrual and reward redemption:

What I love about Citibank Premiermiles card is its simplicity. The reward point system is very simple. Say you end up spending 10,151 on your card in a particular month. The reward points for the month would be 406 reward points. i.e. 10151*4/100. Obviously, Citibank calculates reward points for every transaction, but all this time, I calculated my monthly points on my total bill and it always tallies. Thus no fuss at all.

This is unlike HDFC Bank’s reward system, where for every transaction one tends to lose out reward points on the last INR150 spent in a transaction. E.g. If one spends 299, then HDFC Bank would give reward points for only INR150 and won’t give reward points for the last INR149, as it is not perfectly divisible by 150. Whereas Citibank would give reward points for entire 299 spent, in fact, it rounds up the reward point calculation in favour of the cardholder.

Evergreen miles:

Citibank reward points never expire, the same is true for Citibank Premiermiles credit card. Thus, it allows one to save reward points and make use of them only when required. I saved my miles for the last 2 years or so and finally spent them on buying my flight tickets to Singapore and hotel for a couple of nights. (Read here on how I travelled to Singapore in just 4 bucks).

Ease of redemption: 

Citibank’s reward redemption system is very simple and clean. Say, one wants to redeem reward points on MMT. One just needs to proceed with the transaction as usual, on the payment page they give an option that says redeem Citi reward points. Enter the card details and voila you are done. No extra charges and without any fuss.

The benefit here is, one can use MMT voucher code on the said booking, get those benefits and still pay by reward points. i.e. one can do deal stacking.

Easy redemption on MakeMyTrip

Easy redemption on MakeMyTrip

This is again unlike Yes Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI reward redemption. Where one is charged some nominal amount on every redemption. Moreover, for many of these banks, the reward redemption option is only available on the bank’s website.

…But why is the love waning 😀

All said and done, but, Citibank Premiermiles is now losing its sheen. Despite saving nearly a lakh with Citibank Premiermiles card, over the years the card is losing its sheen.

Earlier, Citibank used to run promo “Extra Premiermiles” where one could get 10x miles with partner spends, a la HDFC’s 10x program. However, the program was curtailed in 2016 to the only handful of partners. Moreover, in 2017, it was shut completely. Now the only place one can earn 10x reward is on spends on www.premiermiles.co.in and flight tickets purchased via the airline’s website. The downside is one tends to lose out of offers from the websites. Thus, this format of 10x reward is not useful.

Lower cashback on MMT and Paytm

Earlier Citibank used to offer, 1500 cashback on MMT for flight bookings and a similar offer was later extended to Paytm. However, the cashback amount has now reduced to just 1000. Also, they have added restrictions where a card can be used only once a month for a particular offer. However, the workaround is getting add-on cards, which are treated as separate cards.

Recent changes in the reward structure

Citibank has recently made changes to its reward structure, where many spends would not accrue reward point henceforth. This is a big downer. Earlier, for me, Citibank Premiermiles was the default credit card no matter which spends I had to do, 1.8% rewards points were a given.

Reduced lounge access to the domestic airport in Mumbai

I live in Mumbai and thus for me, lounge access at Mumbai airport is a prime consideration. When I applied for Citibank Premiermiles card, Citibank used to offer lounge access on both international and domestic airport on the Visa variant. However, they now offer lounge access only on the old domestic terminal. Now with an increasing number of flights from Mumbai now going from T2, one has to reach for other cards for the lounge access.

Do you also use Citibank Premiermiles card? Do also let me know your views about it and also about your primary credit card.

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