“My Roaring River State Park Trip for Less With These (Soon to Be Devalued!) Citi Prestige Perks”

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Million Mile Secrets team member Joseph recently used his Citi Prestige Card to book travel over Memorial Day weekend.  Because the Citi Prestige is about to lose some of its perks, I thought I’d have him tell you what he did, and remind y’all about the upcoming changes!

Joseph:   Thanks, Daraius!  A friend invited me to Kansas for a camping trip over Memorial Day weekend.  And while I’m not a huge fan of camping, I AM a fan of my Kansan friend!

I used my Citi Prestige for nearly every expense, and received ~$400 in free travel during the trip.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

I Used ~20,500 Citi ThankYou Points for Round-Trip Flights from Dayton to Wichita. The Cash Price Was $328

I’ll show you which Citi Prestige perks I used.  And remind you of the upcoming changes to the card!

Using Citi Prestige for Memorial Day Weekend

Link:   Citi Prestige® Card

Link:   Negative Changes Coming to the Citi Prestige

Because I don’t get much use from Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners, I like to use Citi ThankYou points for flights on American Airlines.  That’s because with my Citi Prestige, I get a value of 1.6 cents per point towards American Airlines flights (and 1.33 cents each on all other airlines) when I redeem through the Citi ThankYou Portal.  With NO need to search for available award seats, and NO blackout dates!

I’ve been trying to use my Citi ThankYou points, because starting July 23, 2017, Citi ThankYou points will be worth just 1.25 cents each for bookings made through the Citi ThankYou Portal, no matter which airline you fly.

I decided to fly to Kansas a few days before Memorial Day.  I flew into Wichita, and drove 2 hours south to a small town called Independence.

Independence and the surrounding towns were jaw-droppingly small, and suggestive of the Wild West!  It was easy to imagine the town with dusty unpaved roads and a few horse troughs.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

I Can Almost Hear the Honky Tonk Piano and the Squeak of Swinging Saloon Doors

I used my Citi Prestige 4th night free to book 4 nights at the local Wyndham hotel, even though I only planned to stay 3 nights.  I did this to get extra Wyndham points and elite night credits!

This benefit is changing on July 23, 2017.  The amount you’ll be refunded for your 4th night will be based on the average nightly cost of your stay.  NOT as it is now — the actual cost of the 4th night.  And Citi will no longer refund taxes.

Review of Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park is in Cassville, Missouri.  For law-abiding citizens, that’s 2 hours and 45 minutes from Independence, Kansas.  And it was absolutely gorgeous!

I loved that the park was divided into small campgrounds.  There was very little traffic in and out, and the bathrooms were never crowded!  And perhaps the best part of all – I had no cellular service!

Review Of Roaring River State Park

It Was Nice to Unplug From Tech and Appreciate the Surroundings

There were plenty of trails leading to lookout points above the river.  The park also includes a trout hatchery, which empties into Roaring River.  Because of this, the riverbanks are crowded with fishing poles.  But it’s still beautiful!

Review Of Roaring River State Park

At the Top of the Hatchery Is a Gorgeous Waterfall

Booking Through the Citi ThankYou Portal

I spent ~20,500 Citi ThankYou points to book a flight that cost $328.

Booking through the Citi ThankYou travel portal is very straightforward.  It’s a similar experience to booking through other online portals, like the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  Here’s how it works!

Step 1.   Navigate to the Citi ThankYou Portal

Head to the Citi ThankYou Portal, and sign-in.  Then click “Travel” on the top navigation bar.  You’ll see a menu for different travel-related purchases you can use your points for.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

Click “Travel” to Redeem Your ThankYou Points

Step 2.   Find Your Flights

Booking on the Citi ThankYou Portal is not nearly as intuitive as other search engines, like Google Flights.  I recommend you search for the flights you want with Google Flights first, and then type your findings into the Citi ThankYou Portal.

For example, if I want a flight from Ohio to Washington, DC, I’ll use Google Flights to quickly search for the cheapest flight using multiple airports.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

The Citi ThankYou Portal Can’t Search for Different Routes at the Same Time. So This Search Would Have Taken 3 Times as Long Without Google Flights!

Then, once you find the cheapest route, type those details into the Citi ThankYou Portal.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

Find Your Perfect Itinerary With Google Flights, Then Book Them Through the Citi ThankYou Portal

I only have 1,389 ThankYou points left, but this top result costs 3,638 ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige ($58.20 flight cost / 1.6 cents per point).

Review Of Roaring River State Park

The Citi ThankYou Portal Is More Concerned About a Good Points Value Than About Saving You Money! Its Results Put a $376 Flight Above a $73 Flight

By default, the Citi ThankYou Portal will show you American Airlines results first, because you’ll get the most value per point on American Airlines (1.6 cents each).  However, American Airlines is sometimes NOT the cheapest option.  Scroll past the American Airlines results until you see results from other airlines, and compare prices.

Step 3.   Book Your Flight

Once you click on the flight you want, you’ll have the option to pay with points, cash, or a mix of both.

If you don’t have enough points to cover the full ticket, you can pay the remaining balance with your Citi Prestige.

Review Of Roaring River State Park

Choose How Many Points You Want to Spend for Your Flight

That’s it!  After you fill-in your personal information, you can checkout and receive a confirmation email about your free (or discounted) flight using Citi ThankYou points!

Note:   It’s a good idea to use your Citi Prestige for flight purchases anyway.  That’s because it has extremely generous travel insurance, including trip and baggage delay benefits that kick in after just a 3-hour delay!  That’s an incredible perk.

Bottom Line

I had fun over Memorial Day weekend using a couple Citi Prestige benefits that will soon be changing for the worse!

On July 23, 2017, the Citi Prestige will no longer give folks a value of 1.6 cents per point when you redeem them through the Citi ThankYou Portal for American Airlines flights, and 1.33 cents per point for all other airlines.  Instead, you’ll get a flat 1.25 cents per point with all airlines.

And the 4th night free perk will pay for the average of 4 hotel nights, NOT the actual cost of the 4th night.  And Citi will no longer refund taxes.

On a less disappointing note, I loved visiting small town Kansas, and camping in Roaring River State Park in Cassville, Missouri.  I highly recommend it!

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