As one of the best premium credit cards, the Citi Prestige credit card offers exceptional travel benefits to lucky guys who apply and get approved for it. Even though the card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, the Citi Prestige features explain why this card ranks high on active travelers’ credit card lists.
• Earn 3x ThankYou points per $1 on air travel & hotels,
• Earn 2x ThankYou points on dining & entertainment,
• Earn 1x ThankYou point on everything else.
• Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
• $250 Air Travel Credit: Use it for flight tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, and more.
• $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
• Access to VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select, including Citi Proprietary Lounges and Priority Pass Lounges with over 850 airport lounges worldwide.
• Enjoy a complimentary 4th night when you use your Citi Prestige to book a minimum 4-night stay through Citi Prestige Concierge Services.
• Receive a 15% discount on MasterCard Airport Concierge Services.
• Three annual complimentary rounds of golf at over 2,000 golf courses around the globe.
• Citi Price Rewind.
• Missed Event Ticket Protection.
• Apple Pay.
• Lost Wallet Service.
Security & Protection.
• Citi Identity Theft Solutions.
• Fraud Early Warning system.
• Travel & Emergency Assistance.
• Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
• Trip Delay Protection.
• Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
• Medical Evacuation.
• Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service.
• Lost Baggage Protection.
• Baggage Delay Protection.
• 90-Day Return Protection.
• Damage & Theft Purchase Protection.
• Extended Warranty.
• $0 liability.
• $450 annual fee ($50 per each authorized user).
• 15.74% APR on balance transfers & purchases; 25.74% on cash advances.
• Balance Transfer Transaction fees: $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• Cash Advance: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
• Late & Return Payment: up to $35.
• No foreign transaction fees.
What We Like
The ThankYou Points Program
Many things make this credit card offer compelling, but let’s start from Rewards! Citi ThankYou points are worth around 1.6 cents each, and redeemable for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and with numerous Citi’s partners, including Amazon and Expedia. You can use ThankYou points to pay bills and shop, but that’s not all: the best option is to transfer points to participating airline/hotel loyalty programs, including Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, TrueBlue JetBlue, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, EVA Air, Flying Blue by KLM & Air France, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Privilege Club, KrisFlyer by Singapore Airlines, Thai Royal Orchid Plus, Virgin America Elevate, Hilton HHonors, and Shop Your Way by Sears & Kmart.
As you can see, as a member of one or more frequent flyer programs, you can transfer points to your other accounts and get those award flights more quickly (and easily!). Usually, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, with some exceptions (JetBlue, for instance, where you get 500 TrueBlue points for 1,000 TY points). There are often promotions during which you can get better deals (like with Hilton at the moment: 1,000 TY points = 2,000 HHonors points).
You don’t even have to fly these airlines – transfer points to them, and then use those points to fly any airline-member of one of the three major airline alliances, as they are all somewhat interconnected. Great flexibility, definitely.
If you redeem for airfare, your points are worth 60% more when you redeem for American Airlines tickets, and 33% more with any other airline. Nevertheless, starting July 23, 2017, your points will be worth 25% more sharp when redeemed for airfare, regardless of which airline you fly. Even though Citi devaluated the card with these changes, the Citi Prestige still remains one of the best travel credit cards on the market.
The Signup Bonus
The current signup bonus is worth around $800 if we value one ThankYou point at 1.6 cents (i.e. if you redeem it for AA tickets). As I’ve mentioned, starting July 23, one point will be worth around 1.25 cents when redeemed for airfare, which is still not bad at all: $625 definitely beats the annual fee.
The Citi Prestige offers $250 travel credit and $100 Global Entry application fee credit, which are both highly valuable benefits if you ask me, leaving you $350 you’d usually need before and during your trip to spend on something else.
If you spend a lot of time between flights at the airport, then having free access to VIP lounges is more than welcome, am I not correct? If you travel for work, then you’re likely going to need a comfortable and quiet place to finish your tasks, make some phone calls, or simply relax before that meeting in, say, Singapore. With the Citi Prestige, you can have that.
Additionally, no matter at which hotel you decide to stay, if you book it through Citi Concierge, you will not have to pay for the fourth night – ever. Some people might really take advantage of this. And I mean – really. Like, spend 4 nights at one hotel, and other 4 nights at another hotel to get 2 free nights. And this is allowed.
What We Like Less
Credit Card Changes
Citi has made some changes to the card that not everyone is quite happy about.
Complimentary 4th Night
Starting July 23, the 4th Night Free benefit will be calculated based on the average nightly rate, not the actual room rate. Taxes won’t be included in the rate, so you will have to cover those.
Currently, Citi is offering three complimentary rounds of golf to Citi Prestige cardholders. Nevertheless, this benefit is changing. Beginning July 23, 2017, you will still continue to have access to over 2,000 golf properties in North America, but no free rounds of golf will be offered for reservations made on or after July 23.
While this might not be that important for everyone, many people have managed to save a lot of money thanks to this benefit.
Fixed Airline Redemptions
As I’ve said, ThankYou points were worth 1.6 cents each for redemptions on American Airlines, and 1.33 cents on other airlines. However, starting July 23, all airline redemptions will be fixed at 1.25 cents per point. So, the previous $800-worth signup bonus dropped down to $625: a not-so-insignificant $175 difference caused quite a stir.
No More American Airlines Admirals Club Access
After July 23, Citi Prestige cardholders won’t have complimentary access to the AA Admirals Club lounges. On the bright side, cardmembers will still enjoy free access to Priority Pass lounges with up to two guests. So, partnerships break up, and consumers suffer the consequences. We have to get used to this.
Whom is this card good for?
Frequent travelers who like to enjoy high-end benefits, such as VIP lounge access.
Who should not get this card?
People who barely leave their houses, let alone country. Seriously, if you don’t travel often, don’t apply for this card. Even though the Citi Prestige offers amazing benefits, you actually have to use them to offset the cost of the card.
Which card should I get if I don’t like this one?
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the newest premium credit cards offered by Chase. At the moment of writing, the card offers 100,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months. If redeemed for travel, the signup bonus is worth $1,500, because Ultimate Rewards points you earn on this card are always worth 50% more when you use them to make travel arrangements through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Unfortunately, the bonus offer expires on January 11, 2017. However, you can earn 3x points on travel and dinning, and 1x on everything else. You can transfer points to numerous Chase travel partners, including Hyatt, United, and Marriott, or redeem them for travel, without restrictions. You will enjoy premium travel benefits, including a $300 travel credit each year, Global Entry or TSA Pre ✓ fee credit, complimentary airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select, exclusive benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, special benefits when you use your card to rent a car with National Car Rental, Avis, or Silvercar, and 24/7 concierge service.
While this credit card offer is more or less similar to the Citi Prestige, the signup bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is incredible. For $450, you get $400 in statement credits, special benefits with some brands, 50% more in travel redemptions, and $1500 as a bonus. Nice!
2. Platinum Card from American Express
You might think that $450 is too much for a piece of rectangular metal, but the Platinum Card from American Express offers perks that far outweigh the fee.
First of all, with this card, you will earn 5x points when you book flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel; 2x points per $1 when you book with AmEx Travel; and 1x point per every $1 spent elsewhere. The signup bonus of 40,000 points (when you spend $3,000) is worth around $760. You can use Membership Rewards points to get many great rewards (travel is always the best choice), or transfer them to numerous frequent traveler programs. You will have complimentary access to over 1,000 airport lounges in 120 countries, and the possibility to enroll in Priority Pass Select for free. Each year, you will receive $200 in statement credits you can use for in-flight purchases with your favorite airline. You will also get a $100/$85 Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ application fee credit every five years.
Furthermore, the Platinum Card offers exclusive hotel benefits to cardmembers, such as $550-worth complimentary benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts (breakfast for two, complimentary upgrades, $100 amenity, late check-out, free Wi-Fi, and more); a $75 hotel credit and a room upgrade at The Hotel Collection when you book 2+ nights with American Express Travel. As a cardholder, you can also upgrade your elite status with Starwood and Hilton to Gold without meeting stay requirements!
There’s more, but I should seriously stop here. I hope you see why frequent travelers who also like to travel in style adore this card. The Platinum Card might be a better option if you’re looking for a premium card that offers more hotel-specific benefits, and a greater signup bonus.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you’re looking for a great travel credit card that doesn’t come with a high annual fee, then you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, and you can still enjoy premium travel rewards and benefits. Your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which means that the 50,000-point signup bonus is worth $625. Plus, you will receive 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make your first purchase within the first three months. Those points are worth $62.5 in travel rewards. You will also earn 2x points on travel and dining, and 1x point on all other purchases. The card allows you to transfer points to Chase Ultimate Rewards partners, which gives you more flexibility when redeeming rewards.
Furthermore, if you’ve got another credit card from the UR family, you can maximize your earnings in no time. No foreign transaction fees, full account & travel protection, and 24/7 access to customer support make this product even more valuable. The Chase Sapphire Preferred should definitely be one of those cards you’ll always carry in your wallet, because it’s so easy to use it, redeem rewards, and transfer points to airline and hotel partners, including United, Southwest, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and many other.
If you spend a lot of money and need a credit card that suits your luxury lifestyle, then you should consider the Citi Prestige card. When you look at all the benefits it offers, the annual fee isn’t that high at all.