This Unlikely Card Pays 5X Points For Live Entertainment Expenses

by joeheg

Until April 2021, there was one card I used to use for all of my entertainment expenses. The Citi Premier card offered “Entertainment” as a 2x bonus category. I used that card for our concert, Broadway, movie and theme park tickets expenses. That was a large amount of money that would only earn 1x points on most of my other cards.

In addition to the bonus category for entertainment, Citi also included event insurance so if you got sick, had a flat tire or if your flight to a show was canceled, they’d reimburse your ticket cost. Needless to say, this was the card I used in 2016 to charge our Desert Trip tickets.

a large crowd of people at a concert

Yeah, that’s Paul McCartney

Sure, we weren’t spending much money going to concerts or the movies during the pandemic. But we still had to pay for our Walt Disney World and Universal Florida annual passes and it hurt earning just 2% cashback or 1.5X Ultimate Rewards points for those expenses.

Now that seemingly everyone is going back on the road simultaneously, our live concert expenses are presently quite extensive. While any card where we’re meeting a spending requirement is the best option, I was thinking about how no card has an “entertainment” category anymore.

Sure, there are cards where you can earn points by using a travel portal or ones that have included streaming services as a bonus category but that’s not the same as a catch-all bonus for your leisure expenses. Then I accidentally came across one that pays a bonus for entertainment and it’s from the same bank that previously gave bonuses for the same category.

a blue credit card with white text

The Citi Custom Cash card is a relative newcomer, only introduced in mid-2021. The Custom Cash has a somewhat unique earning structure where you can earn 5% back in one of several categories listed by the card.

5% eligible categories: Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment.

You earn 5% in the category you spend the most in each month and 1% on all other charges. The thing that kept all of the points and miles geeks from getting the card is that the 5% bonus is limited to $500 each month.

This is good for a no-annual-fee card but the real value is unlocked if you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card. Then you’re able to transfer ThankYou points from your Custom Cash account to one of those cards and from there you can send them to one of Citi’s transfer partners.

  • Aeromexico
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Etihad Guest
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Eva Air
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Intermiles
  • JetBlue (fixed value program)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Sears Shop Your Way (1 point = 10 SYW points)

While I don’t know if I’d apply for the Custom Cash card solely for the entertainment bonus category, you can earn 2500 ThankYou points per month by using the card for any other category if you’re not buying concert or theater tickets that month. That’s 30K ThankYou points per year for charging $500 per month to the Custom Cash card. Not a horrible deal if you ask me. The card also has a 25K signup bonus at the moment.

Instead, you can product change from another Citi card to the Custom Cash, which is what I’m thinking about doing with my AT&T Access card.

If you’re interested in getting the Citi Custom Cash card, I’d suggest checking out this post from Frequent Miler.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Tom March 24, 2022 - 9:42 am

Like you, I was disappointed by the changes in TY Premier. And, as you point out, Custom Cash’s $500 monthly max for the bonus category is too limiting for someone like me, who has season tickets to a sports team, subscribes to a Broadway touring series, and regularly goes to theater, dance, concerts (comedy, rock, hip-hop, classical, Jazz…) and theme parks. I’ve been trying to get the Capital One Savor (4% cash back that’s convertible to points, on entertainment) but have been rejected, even with excellent credit. If Custom Cash eliminated its monthly limit, I’d jump on it.

JohnB April 5, 2022 - 2:50 pm

We love our Citi Custom Cash. We use it only for tickets. We time our purchases so that we always get the 5 times points. I really like the card.


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