Weekend tidbits: St. Regis specials, taxation of miles, Citi Thank You Points

  • For those of you who like to stay at luxury properties but don’t like paying full price, Starwood is offering a couple of promotions at its high-end St. Regis properties.  First, at participating properties, book a suite for the first night at regular price and get the second night at $4.  Of course, the term “participating properties” is going to be the fine print, but it’s worth a look here.  Consecutive reservations count, so you could do four nights and pay for two.  Not quite ready to pay up for a suite?  You can still get a fourth night free when you pay for the first three.  Check out the promo here.
  • Are miles taxable?  The answer, as put forth by our friends at the IRS, is generally not, at least when earned in the course of ordinary accrual (i.e., miles for flying, credit card purchases, etc.).  But there are cases when you might end up getting taxed on miles earned.  One infamous example is when Citibank gave customers 20,000 miles for opening a checking account and then, at the end of the year, hit them with a 1099-Misc valuing the miles at 2.5c each, which no reasonable person would use as a figure.  Win miles in a contest?  Likely taxable.  Etc.  The bottom line is that if all you are doing is earning miles from flying or getting them from a credit card (which the IRS views as a rebate), you are probably safe.  Note: I am not a tax advisor.  Nothing in this post represents tax advice.  For questions about what is and isn’t taxable, please ask your tax advisor and don’t trust the word of a random guy on the internet.
  • One of the cards that I have is the Citi Thank You Premier Mastercard, which gives Citibank “Thank You Points,” or TYP, for purchases.  On their own, TYP aren’t worth a heck of a lot (each point is worth less than a penny), but you get triple points for dining or entertainment expenses and double points for travel.  Citi cards can also be paid with a debit card, meaning you could receive bonus points if you buy a debit card at a supermarket to pay your bill.  But Citi just upped the game by adding airline redemption partners to its rewards.  You can now transfer miles 1-for-1 to Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific), as well as the mileage programs for Eva Air, Etihad, Garuda, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.  In particular, Singapore is considered the gold standard of airlines, but getting a redemption on the airline in a premium class can be next to impossible without Singapore points.  Here’s your “in.”



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