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The Citi Premier is one of the most valuable travel rewards credit cards when it comes with its 40K or 50K sign-up bonus. In addition to its valuable sign-up bonus, the card is also one of the top bonus earning cards based on its bonus categories. The Premier earns 3X on travel purchases and 2X on dining and entertainment. But many people still wonder what counts for the Citi Premier entertainment category?
The Citi Premier Entertainment Category
The entertainment category can get a little but murky at times as sometimes you’ll see purchases that you logically think should code as entertainment not earn the 2X they deserve. However, Citi does provide some guidelines for its entertainment category.
Citi states that “select entertainment” should qualify and states that this includes:
- live entertainment,
- live theatrical productions,
- live sporting events,
- movie theaters,
- amusement parks (including zoos, aquariums, circuses and carnivals),
- tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries),
- record stores,
- video rental stores and
- on-demand internet streaming media;
These entertainment categories cover a lot of territory.
Anytime you buy tickets to concerts or sporting events, even if you purchase your tickets through a merchant like TicketMaster or Stubhub, you should earn 2X on those purchases. For lesser known third-parties that sell tickets, it’s possible that these might register as “miscellaneous” or similar so you might not be able to earn bonus points.
You may not think you’ll be popping into a record store any time soon but many note that iTunes often counts as a record store purchase as do some Kindle purchases.
You would think Netflix would qualify for entertainment and it does for some but there are reports that this is not the case for everyone. Things are also not always clear for convention events like Comic-Con, which people have reported as not coding as entertainment. (There is an actual Marvel MasterCard that should code for bonus earnings for those, however.)
What does not qualify for the Citi Premier Entertainment Category?
Citi also lists a number of purchases that are not supposed to not qualify for entertainment.
- sporting camps,
- public and private golf courses,
- country clubs (including membership fees),
- stores that sell musical instruments, video game arcades,
- bowling alleys,
- stores that primarily sell video games/accessories,
- charitable organizations that provide live entertainment,
- bookstores, and
- sports complexes where you participate in the sport.
So there’s a distinction with these activities that should be noted and considered a rule of thumb.
If you are going to spectate at a sporting event, such as an MLB game or NBA game, then according to the terms that should qualify for the 2X earning rate. However, if you are actually participating in the event, such as playing at a softball sports center or going bowling, there’s a good chance that you won’t get the 2X.
It’s worth noting that online gaming purchases likely will not code as entertainment either.
Basically, if you are physically engaging in some sort of activity, even playing video games at an arcade, the odds go down that the purchase will code as travel. However, there are data points of people getting purchases like golf memberships honored with the Citi Prestige so there’s definitely a possibility you can still get bonus points if your purchase shows up as “entertainment.”
Remember that Citi nor MasterCard codes these merchants. Instead, as Citi states:
Codes are chosen and assigned by a third party, who may change the codes from time to time. When you make a purchase at a merchant, we’re provided the code for that merchant and if the code matches a category that gives you additional points, you will earn the additional points. Because we don’t control what code a merchant is assigned, sometimes a purchase that you think fits a certain category may not earn additional points.
This means that you can’t always know for sure how different purchases will code. Sometimes you can do some research prior to making the purchase but that will be difficult to do when making purchases with small merchants. If you suspect that a purchase should have counted but it didn’t, simply call up Citi using the phone number on the back of your card and inquire about the charge. Citi might not honor your request but you never know — sometimes they might even offer you points for the “inconvenience.”
Are there other cards that earn bonus points on entertainment?
There are a couple of other cards that also allow you to optimize bonus points on entertainment spend. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 4% back on entertainment as well as 4% back on dining. And the Marvel MasterCard earns 3% back on entertainment as well as 3% back on dining and special Marvel purchases.
The Citi Premier entertainment category is a nice way to supplement your earnings but I don’t think most people probably spend that much money on entertainment purchases. For that reason, this isn’t a super lucrative bonus category that is probably going to motivate you to go chasing down points with every purchase. However, it never hurts to inquire with Citi about your missing entertainment bonus points if you think you deserved them.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.