The Bankrate promise
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As a credit card member, it’s only natural for your expectations to rise with the passage of time. As your financial obligations increase and your credit history improves, it’s logical to seek credit cards that reward you in proportion.
For some, it’s all about what the card offers on a strictly financial basis—common favorites include low interest rates, cash back and waived fees. For others, it’s more about the rewards programs that open the door to experiences like incredible dining, adventures and entertainment.
In recent years, Citi Entertainment has become something of a torchbearer for the “experiences” camp. Fashioned for the Citi cardholders with a certain zest for life, Citi Entertainment is all about getting its customers to places, events and experiences that might otherwise pass them by. This includes exclusive access to events, presale tickets and VIP packages like sporting events, concerts, dining experiences and more.
Why use Citi Entertainment?
Citi Entertainment is a Citi cardholder favorite for many reasons. But the biggest reason? With hardly anything to venture, you’ve still got everything to gain.
All it takes to qualify for Citi Entertainment is an eligible Citi credit card. Just about every Citi credit card qualifies as long as it carries the Visa, Mastercard or American Express logo. Even Citi debit cards qualify for the program. So whether Citi is your full-service bank or another card in your wallet, Citi Entertainment is right at your disposal.
Think of Citi Entertainment as your personal concierge, cruise director and tour guide all in one. One peek at the Citi Entertainment homepage and you’ll see a variety of presale tickets for exclusive experiences available in your locale. Even non-cardholders can preview the sorts of events available, so go ahead and take a look for yourself to see what’s happening now.
Another reason that customers love Citi Entertainment? It’s kid-friendly. It stands to reason that most rewards programs focus on nightlife, travel and dining—adults are 100 percent of their customer base, after all. But Citi breaks the mold with a number of family events and performances, too.
What’s missing from Citi Entertainment?
There isn’t much to critique about this program. The sign-up is simple, the events are plentiful and there is no additional cost for hard-to-get reservations. If there’s anything to be mindful of, it’s that many competitors have either caught up or forged ahead in the same space. The credit card industry is no stranger to event marketing—it’s one of the most popular ways to promote brand awareness at broader scales.
For example, Mastercard’s Priceless™ Cities program tracks down tickets to high-end seating options at major sporting events, not to mention exclusive travel packages and tasting sessions with master sommeliers. The same goes for Chase Experiences, a program that provides VIP access to Chase-sponsored events and venues like the U.S. Open and Madison Square Garden. And then there’s American Express Experiences, which offers cardmembers early access and invitation-only access to events worldwide—including Wimbledon VIP packages, season tickets for sporting events, museum events, Broadway shows and more.
How to maximize Citi Entertainment
The beauty of Citi Entertainment rests in its simplicity. One Citi card equals one Citi Entertainment membership. And one Citi Entertainment membership equals any number of indelible experiences you wouldn’t easily find in the wild.
That said, there’s a little more to know about the program to help you get the most from it. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way:
- Email subscribers are almost always at the front of the line. Citi offers its customers the chance to opt in to semi-regular event emails that loop you into the latest attractions. We know it’s not easy to opt into yet another subscription when your inbox is already flooded, but this one is almost certainly worth your while. Exclusive access is only as exclusive as availability permits, and getting there first means letting your emails guide the way.
- Look for the term “VIP Package” while browsing for tickets or reservations. VIP Packages hardly differ from any experience you’ll find on Citi Entertainment, but each one includes a kicker beyond your standard presale or reservation such as merchandise offers, a meet-and-greet or even backstage access. Keep an eye out for what’s included. It could sweeten the pot quite a bit.
- Monitor one or two event categories at a time. Citi Entertainment organizes its program into five categories: Music, Sports, Dining, Theater & More, and Virtual Events. That’s plenty to keep track of. Since most tickets are a race against the clock, we’d recommend monitoring one or two of the categories and giving yourself permission to take the rest as they come. Promise yourself the world, and anything short is sure to disappoint.
- “Theater & More” puts the emphasis on “& More.” While you’ll see a fair number of Broadway shows pop up on the Citi Entertainment homepage, you’ll also see scores of comedy acts, movie screenings, festivals and a whole lot more.
- “Presale” can be a bit of a misnomer. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get early access to every single seat in the building. Presale tickets are often released just two to three days in advance for select sections, rows or seats—that means you’ll still have to move quickly. The max number of purchasable tickets may also vary from show to show, so keep that in mind as you search.
The bottom line
Your Citi card can take you far. But plenty of other issuers could potentially take you just as far. Before you assess the premium experiences that come with a credit card, be sure to dig into the actual financial benefits for that card to make sure it meets your needs. Take a look at associated fees, intro offers, rewards rates and more. Then, think about the icing on the cake—the fun experiences that await.