Citi Phone Reps Are Giving Confusing Information About Thank You Points

by joeheg

After the Citi Premier card did away with awarding bonus points for entertainment purchases, including concert and sports event tickets, I was looking for another card to maximize my points earned for those purchases.

Fortunately, the Citi Custom Cash card awards 5% back in one of the following categories with the most spending each month:

  • Drugstores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Live entertainment
  • Restaurants
  • Select streaming services
  • Select transit
  • Select travel

I was happy to see live entertainment, which included concert tickets from my experience with Citi.

Since I did a product change earlier this year, I’ve earned 5% Thank You points for concert tickets to see Billy Joel and Matt Nathanson. I also used the card to purchase tickets to see Come From Away on Broadway.

So I was surprised when I read a comment to a post about transferring points earned with the Custom Cash card to travel partners.

just called citi and confirmed that if your Custom Cash points are merged into your Premier Thank You points,  these Custom Cash points are stilled flagged as ‘Custom Cash’ points and can not be used as points transferred to Airlines.  This makes Citi not as competitive with Chase where your Freedom points can be merged and used as Sapphire ultimate rewards points with no restrictions.  Beware…

This is against everything I’ve seen and read about the points earned with the Custom Cash card. Posts from OMAAT and even TPG state that if you have a premium Citi card (Prestige or Premier) you’ll be able to combine points and then send points earned with the Custom Cash to travel partners. Since those websites have financial agreements with Citi, they wouldn’t be able to say something untrue without risking falling out of compliance.

So who’s right?

I wanted to test this hypothesis so I went to my Citi Thank You account. I’ve merged my Citi accounts so my points from the Custom Cash, Rewards+ and Premier cards are all in one place.

When I went through the process of transferring points to a partner, I was allowed to select points from all three cards. I didn’t complete the transaction as I didn’t want to send my points to a partner account to prove a point.

Has anyone transferred points earned from a Custom Cash card to travel partners if you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card? Otherwise, was the Citi phone rep correct and Citi Custom Cash points are restricted from transfers even when combined with a premium Citi card?

I could see some confusion because even when your accounts are merged, Citi keeps track of the points from each card. If you cancel a card, those points expire in 60 days, even if you have other Citi cards that earn Thank You points. So that could be what the rep meant by flagging the points from the Custom Cash card.

Since my test and other major blogs say otherwise, it seems that the Citi phone rep misspoke when saying you’re not able to transfer Thank You points earned with the Custom Cash card to travel partners, even when combined with a premium Citi card.

Even if that was an honest mistake, it’s worrisome to have phone reps giving incorrect information. Please Citi, try to do better.

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