PenFed, Citi Downgrade Rewards Programs
In what seems to be a trend, Pentagon Federal and Citi both recently announced changes to a few of their rewards programs that represent a downgrade. PenFed followed up its recent downgrade of its PenFed Platinum Rewards card by announcing more changes to its cash back Platinum Visa Card Rewards card.
The PenFed Platinum Visa Cash Rewards card, which previously had no annual fee and offered a 5% rebate on gas, will now charge a $25 annual fee, while only rebating 3% on gas and no cash back on other purchases, unless you add a qualifying PenFed product. Qualifying products include:
- Active checking account with direct deposit ($250 min.)
- Money Market Certificate or IRA Certificate
- Installment loan, such as auto loans, boat loans, motorcycle loans, travel trailer loans, personal and educational loans
- Equity Loan or Equity Line of Credit with a balance
One of the easiest ways to maintain your benefits is to open a money market certificate, which requires a minimum of $1000. According to a FW poster, you won’t be required to renew the certificate at the end of its term.
Citi ThankYou Premier / Premier Pass Elite Downgrades
In other news, Citi sent notice to its ThankYou Premier and Premier Pass Elite cardholders of a number of changes effective October 20, 2013:
- Discontinuation of flight points
- Decreased bonus when redeeming airfare (25%, down from 33%)
- No more 1.2 points at gas stations, grocery stores, drugstores, etc.
- Discontinuation of anniversary bonus
- No annual companion ticket (effective on your next cardmember anniversary after 10/20/13)
- No more 15% airfare discount through the travel center partner, Spirit Incentives (effective on your next cardmember anniversary after 10/20/13)
On the plus side, they have added 3 points per dollar on dining and entertainment expenses and 2 points per dollar on airfare and hotel spending. However, these changes don’t come near to making up for all of the benefits which are being lost.
Penfed has also increased the number for points required for redemption, or the cost of Gift cards. For example, a $25 Gift card was avaialable for 2500 points, now it costs 3000 points – that’s 20% more expensive.