Citi Prestige Card

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Frequent travelers stand to benefit the most from this card’s top-notch rewards.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

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Citi significantly boosted the sign-up offer in July 2017 for its Citi Prestige Card, putting it more in line with other premium travel rewards cards. That move was enough to rank this among the best cards in its class.

Frequent travelers, or those who tend to spend at least four nights away at a time, stand to benefit the most from the perks and rewards with this card. If you don’t travel much by air, you’ll miss out on most of the benefits.

Review

If you travel a lot, or aspire to do so, there’s a lot to love about the Citi Prestige Card. For an annual fee of $450, you get a $250 annual air travel credit, a one-time $100 Global Entry application fee credit and Priority Pass lounge access. If you take advantage of all these goodies, their value is worth the upfront fee to own the card.

There are other premium travel cards that give fat rewards and perks in exchange for a hefty annual fee. But where the Citi Prestige has an edge in its fourth-night-free benefit, which could save frequent travelers a ton of money. If you book a stay of four nights or longer at any hotel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, you’ll receive a credit for the average nightly price for one night minus taxes and other fees.

It also comes with a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Citi ThankYou Points after spending at least $7,500 on the card within the first three months of opening the account. That’s among the most expensive spending requirements to earn a sign-up bonus that we’ve seen.

When you use your points to book travel through Citi’s portal, your points will take on 25% more value. So that 75,000 bonus can be used to book $937 worth of travel or $750 worth of gift cards or a statement credit. (Book the travel. It’s a much better deal.)

If you love Hilton properties, this card will let you directly transfer your points into the Hilton Honors loyalty program. It’s the only hotel chain you can transfer your ThankYou Points directly to, which may be a drawback for some. But there are about 14 different airline loyalty programs you can transfer your ThankYou Points to. That may ultimately offer more value to you depending on your travel preferences.

The card also pays a generous 3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on air travel and hotels, 2 ThankYou Points on restaurant and select entertainment merchants and 1 ThankYou Point on all other purchases.

Who should get this card

The card is tailor-made for travelers with attributes like no foreign transaction fees, airport lounge access, air travel credits and that awesome fourth-night-free perk. If you’re looking to earn and burn travel rewards, this card is likely to be a good fit for you.

Advantages
  • The fourth night reimbursement benefit could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year in travel expenses.
  • Get a $250 air travel credit every year.
  • The card’s rewards rate is competitive with other premium travel cards.
  • Points take on 25% more value when booking through the Citi portal.
  • When transferring points to Hilton properties, the points increase 50% in value. So, if you’re transferring 1,000 Citi ThankYou Points to Hilton, you’ll end up with 1,500 Hilton Honors points.
Disadvantages
  • Citi’s ThankYou Points aren’t transferable to as many travel partners as some of the other premium travel rewards cards.
  • If you rarely travel, the benefits and cost of card ownership may not be worth it.
  • You need excellent credit to apply for this card, which may put it out of reach for some.

Fees and APR

  • You’ll pay a variable APR of 16.74% to 24.74% based on your creditworthiness.
  • The annual fee is $450.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside the U.S.
  • You’ll pay a balance transfer fee of 3% if you transfer debt from another card.
  • There’s a penalty APR of 29.99% that may apply if you make a late payment.

Extras, perks and using points

This card comes with travel and emergency assistance, trip cancellation and interruption protection, lost and delayed baggage protection, roadside assistance and worldwide travel accident assistance.

Citi Prestige cardholders also get price protections with Citi Price Rewind, extended warranty protection and damage and theft purchase protections.

Points can be redeemed at Citi’s Thank You site thankyou.com.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
  • Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on travel and at restaurants.
  • Earn 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on all other purchases.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee

$450; each additional card: $75 per year.

Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a rewards structure much like the Citi Prestige card, but its distinguishing feature is a 50% increase in the value of your points when you book any travel — air, hotel or otherwise, through the bank’s portal. This may make it a better option if the Chase travel partners are good for you.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite®
  • Earn 3X points per dollar for travel and mobile wallet spend.
  • Earn 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.74%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee

$400.

Balance Transfers Intro APR

Another contender in the premium rewards card category is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite, which, in addition to its boosted rewards on travel also offers 3X points per $1 on all mobile wallet purchases — something no other card currently offers. This means you could theoretically earn triple points on all your spending with this card. The only catch is you have to be a U.S. Bank customer to apply.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.