Citibank Price Match Guarantee

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Flight777

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Has anyone used this program? i would be interested in feedback

https://www.citibank.com.au/takeflight/price_match.htm

How I read the terms and conditions. I can effectively use my citi points for a j class ticket at the Qantas classic points rate and earn status and miles on top. as a Select cardholder this is effectively 2 points per dollar spend.
 

anchew

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OMG that's awesome! It's like JASAs but with Award availability. Definitely going to try it out for a trip planned for later this year, but then need to resist the urge to transfer points to QFF :)
 

oz_mark

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The main issue I see with it is that you may not actually end up on Qantas, but on a comparable airline. This may or not be a problem.
 

anchew

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The main issue I see with it is that you may not actually end up on Qantas, but on a comparable airline. This may or not be a problem.

That's true. Would Garuda be a comparable airline? ;p
 

StevePER

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That does seem like a very good offer. The terms and conditions seem reasonable as well.
 

wafliron

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I just stumbled across the possibility of this as well - has anyone tried it?

Do you end up on Qantas normally? Or a "comparable airline".

Is this better than ASAs? I'm unsure of whether anytime a Classic Award seat is available there will also be a cheap ASA available to or not?
 

yohy?!

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Garuda seems a distinct possibility - my HK Citi Platinum offers free companion J fares on Garuda...
 

one9

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This seems very interesting. I never considered using Citibank points direct with Citibank to book flights. Garuda would only be possible on some flights that they fly. I just tried out their online search tool and I guess that the airline that they would book you with would be the airline that shows the least points. Jetstar is going to be a problem for some destinations, but there are many destinations that Jetstar don't fly.

As an example, today I booked a seat for someone else one way on Jetstar (SYD > MELB > BKK) using Qantas frequent flyer. It cost 36,000 qantas points plus $249 in taxes.

With Citibank it shows up as 46,948 points + $187 in taxes.

So it seems if I had of booked this with Citibank, they would have matched the 36,000 points and I would have saved $62 in taxes.

I know that many of you won't like this example as you would never fly Jetstar, but they say they will "match with a comparable quality airline" so I presume if you found a Qantas flight they would not give you Jetstar as a budget airline is not comparable to a full service airline.

And another interesting thing to consider: Using a Visa card for Qantas points, the most points you will get is 1 per dollar. But with Citibank if you use their Signature card you get 1.5 points per dollar in Australia & 4 points per dollar on foreign purchases.

I look forward to hearing of others experiences with this price match service. I don't have a chance to use it for at least 1.5 months.
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oz_mark

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So it seems if I had of booked this with Citibank, they would have matched the 36,000 points and I would have saved $62 in taxes.

They do have a booking fee though ($45 I think)
 

wafliron

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This seems very interesting. I never considered using Citibank points direct with Citibank to book flights.

Ditto. I had no idea about it until yesterday.

As an example, today I booked a seat for someone else one way on Jetstar (SYD > MELB > BKK) using Qantas frequent flyer. It cost 36,000 qantas points plus $249 in taxes.

With Citibank it shows up as 46,948 points + $187 in taxes.

So it seems if I had of booked this with Citibank, they would have matched the 36,000 points and I would have saved $62 in taxes.

Wouldn't you think that they'd also price-match the tax component though? So your Take Flight redemption would be identical to the QFF one? I don't know for certain, but it seems logical.


Overall, I can see three potential benefits here:

1) Turning any QF classic award into an "ASA". I am not sure if there is ever a time where you can get a classic award but not a cheap ASA though (anyone know the answer to this?)? So maybe not a benefit?

2) Improved points-value in cases where you wish to use points to book a flight that you could otherwise purchase very cheaply for cash (as per your Jetstar example).

3) Most importantly, as you pointed out, this essentially turns any non-QF-direct CitiBank card into a $1:1 QFF point (or better) earning card! That's pretty excellent.

How useful these benefits are will probably all come down to what they define as an comparable airline / flight though. If they consider JQ or Garuda to be comparable to QF then that's not going to be so good. Likewise, if they consider a comparable flight to one which leaves the same day (or similar) rather than +/- 30 minutes (for example) then that's also not going to be good.

Does anyone know if you can find out exactly what flight they're offering to match the QFF award redemption with before you actually book it?

I look forward to hearing of others experiences with this price match service. I don't have a chance to use it for at least 1.5 months.

Me too. If someone doesn't post first I will try it with my next trip (which will just be domestic) and post back my experiences.
 

oz_mark

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Ditto. I had no idea about it until yesterday.

There are a few threads on it


Wouldn't you think that they'd also price-match the tax component though? So your Take Flight redemption would be identical to the QFF one? I don't know for certain, but it seems logical.

If you want to match a fare that is points + tax, then they match the points, but the tax will be the non commisionable part of the fare. On a domestic fare, the GST bobs up here.

I suspect, but haven't been through the motions, if you match to something that is wholly paid in points they will match that (and add their booking fee)


Does anyone know if you can find out exactly what flight they're offering to match the QFF award redemption with before you actually book it?

Yes, they make you an offer.

Note that you end up charging the amount to your card (points are charged at 1 c a point). They later convert the points to cash and credit your account.

So you end up earning points that way as well.
 

tinkybelle

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maybe they are trying to make us keep the pts in our accounts
only negative is if the award flight on qantas goes before it can be booked.
thinking about this
qantas pts syd LHR J 128k if wanting CX 139k
using sing air pts for thai 85k
using virgin upper class 110k
using virginaustralia 125k on ey with under $100 tax
doesnt seem such a good idea unless you want the a380 sq flight and its not available on saver award.
for first 192k using qantas pts
F using SQ pts for thai 130k something
would only be good( if you can find the ellusive F QF seat) if wanting say EK
 
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oz_mark

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maybe they are trying to make us keep the pts in our accounts but yes this is awsome!
only negative is if the award fright on qantas goes before it can be booked

You just need to supply a screen shot of the Qantas screen taken within three days of you making the claim. They take a day or two to process it before making an offer.
 

wafliron

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Over the past few days I've run a couple of dummy bookings via Citi Travel to see how it works in practice, whether it offers good value, etc. I thought you may all be interested in the results.


First up, here's how the process works - some of this has been posted before, but I thought I'd re-post it all for clarity:

1) Use the QF Classic Award search engine to find an available award flight you want.

2)
Select the flight(s) and take a screenshot / print to PDF.

One of the people I spoke to at Citi Travel said they need to see the "review" page that concisely lists the flights, points and taxes, but I don't see how this is workable as you can't get to it unless you have enough QF points in your account to complete the booking, and the whole point of using Citi's price match is so you don't redeem points to QF. That being said, the same lady who said they "need to see the 'review' page" was also quite happy to do a price match based on a screenshot of the flight selection screen (with points total at the bottom), so who knows.

3) Send an e-mail to [email protected] with "Qantas Price Match Request" in the subject line, the screenshot take in #2 attached, and your name / contact number in the e-mail body. Don't include CC numbers or anything like that.

4) They call you back and let you know what they can do. Any offer made is valid for 3 days (business days I assume). Out of the two dummy price matches I submitted, it only took a few hours to get a callback about the first one (domestic) and it took about a day (overnight) to get a callback about the second (international).

The offer will be to match the number of points required (i.e. charge the same number of CitiRewards points as you would have needed in QF points) but not the tax component. From the sounds of it they will charge whatever the actual tax component of the flight they book for you on is, and this appears to be significantly higher than the taxes / surcharges on a QF award redemption. In addition, they charge a $90 booking fee (international only I think) and a 2% CC surcharge for any amounts charged back to your credit card.

The points redemption is also a bit funny. Rather than immediately deducting the points required from your CitiRewards points balance, instead they charge an amount to your credit card which represents the points component at a rate of 1c per 1 CR point. Then, about 14 days later, CitiBank will issue a credit for this amount to your credit card and also deduct the equivalent points from your CitiRewards account.

For example, say they offer to price match a flight that requires 100,000 points, and has a Citi Travel tax component of $500. If you proceed, they will charge $1,000 (points @ 1c/point) + $500 (taxes) + $90 (booking fee) + $31.80 (2% CC surcharge on the whole amount) = $1588.98 to your card. 14 days later, you will receive a credit of $1,000 on your credit card, and 100,000 CR points will be deducted from your account. Total net cost is therefore 100k CR points & $588.98.


All that aside, on to the actual dummy price matches I submitted. I only did two as I didn't want to waste too much of their time on what was purely a fact finding exercise. Here they are:

Code:
[B]Qantas Itinerary Submitted: [/B]MEL-SYD on QF408 in J & SYD-MEL on QF411 in J
[B]Qantas Price:[/B] 32,000 QF points + $51.46

[B]Citi Travel Itinerary Offered: [/B]MEL-SYD on QF408 in J & SYD-MEL on QF411 in J[B]
Citi Travel Offer:[/B] 32,000 CR points + $202.57 (total net cost after fees, surcharges and 14-day credit back)
[B]Fare Bucket with Citi Travel:[/B]Forgot to ask, sorry.

Code:
[B]Qantas Itinerary Submitted: [/B]MEL-LHR on QF9 in J & LHR-MEL on QF10 in J
[B]Qantas Price: [/B]256,000 QF points + $?? (I couldn't get to the review screen - what are MEL-LHR-MEL QF J award taxes - about $700?)[B]

Citi Travel Itinerary Offered: [/B]MEL-LHR on QF9 in J & LHR-MEL on QF10 in J[B]
Citi Travel Offer:[/B] 256,000 CR points + $1,348.35 (total net cost after fees, surcharges and 14-day credit back)
[B]Fare Bucket with Citi Travel:[/B] I (discount paid business)

Note that they quoted exactly the same flights in both cases - no trying to turn a QF A380 flight into a China Eastern Airlines 767 flight or similar.

Note also that it looks like they book you into a points / SC earning fare class - I'm assuming they book the cheapest they can buy with cash at the time of your booking - so you will earn QF points and SCs for the trip, same as a xASA. So in the case of the second dummy booking the real cost is 256,000 CR points + $1,348.35, plus an "earn" of between 31,548 and 52,580 QFF points (depending upon status) and 480 SCs.


All up, I reckon that's a pretty encouraging set of results. Two main benefits I see here:

1) The ability to turn any Classic Award seat into an xASA, at the cost of higher taxes. However, as I noted earlier in the thread I'm not sure if you will ever find a Classic Award seat that you can't also get as a cheap xASA (can someone confirm?), so not sure if this is a real benefit?

2) More important is the 1 CR to 1 QF point matching without any apparent downsides other than somewhat higher taxes. This effectively makes the Citi Select and Citi Signature cards 2 QF points and 1.5 QF points per $1 spent respectively - and they're Visa cards! I know QF point burn rates aren't all that flash in isolation, but surely an effective 2 QF points per $1 spent would have to make QF burn rates via Citi Select about the best burn rate around?

Whew, quite an essay in the end. Hope this is all helpful - would be curious to hear feedback if anyone actually books a flight through them.


EDIT:

Would also be interesting to see if Citi Travel would price match a confirmed QF award booking based on sending them the booking confirmation. My thinking here is that, for QF WPs, this would let you turn an award booking where the Premium Desk specially released seats for you into an xASA equivalent (with the additional cost of the award flight cancellation fee), which you definitely can't do now.
 
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wafliron

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Would also be interesting to see if Citi Travel would price match a confirmed QF award booking based on sending them the booking confirmation. My thinking here is that, for QF WPs, this would let you turn an award booking where the Premium Desk specially released seats for you into an xASA equivalent (with the additional cost of the award flight cancellation fee), which you definitely can't do now.

I e-mailed them to ask if they could price-match a QF award booking that was already "paid for" and ticketed, and the response was "As long as you give me the screenshot of how many points/tax (if there is any) I don't see why not."

Sounds promising - anyone with an existing QF award booking (esp international ones) want to try this out??
 

serfty

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If you can look at the underlying source of the review page¹ and search for "(AUD)", look at the preceding characters and see 1151.72.

¹ That tells you "You do not have sufficient points to complete this booking."
 

wafliron

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If you can look at the underlying source of the review page¹ and search for "(AUD)", look at the preceding characters and see 1151.72.

¹ That tells you "You do not have sufficient points to complete this booking."

Thanks for the tip sertfy - good to know. I'll try it out and then update the taxes and surcharges in my post comparing the itineraries.

EDIT: Can't update the original post, too much time has passed. Anyway, as you posted serfty, the taxes & surcharges on the QF award flight are $1,151.72, so the Citi Travel dollar-cost difference is less than $200.
 
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Spizz

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This looks very promising. The highest earning points for Qantas and I can't beleive that more people arnt jumping on it. I guess the downsides are if they withdraw the Pricematch offer or using Qantas as a like for like?

Also will they match the Qantas Any Seat Awards where you can use a minimum of points and pay for the rest?
 
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wafliron

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This looks very promising. The highest earning points for Qantas and I can't beleive that more people arnt jumping on it.

Me too... I was surprised this thread didn't generate more interest.

I'm going to try to convert an already ticketed Classic Award (J return to the USA) to a Citi Travel price matched fare (and cancel the classic) as soon as I have enough CitiRewards points in my account - end of April. Will post the results.

I guess the downsides are if they withdraw the Pricematch offer or using Qantas as a like for like?

Yes, a risk, but is it really that much of a risk? Worst case you convert your CR points to SQ or DJ.

Also will they match the Qantas Any Seat Awards where you can use a minimum of points and pay for the rest?

Not sure, but I don't think it's relevant - AFAIK every time you can find a cheap ASA there'll be an equivalent Classic Award available.
 

Spizz

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Not sure, but I don't think it's relevant - AFAIK every time you can find a cheap ASA there'll be an equivalent Classic Award available.


Not in the time of travel I look at to LAX and back. Classic is gone, but they are available via the ASA. Just would be handy to know if that if isn't available via Classic they will also PM the ASA with Price and Pay option.
 
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