Citi Prestige Card
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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. But at the end of of 2017 it did away entirely with its sign-up offer, a move that severely hurt its ranking compared to other premium rewards cards.
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.
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.
When you use your points to book travel through Citi’s portal, your points will take on 25% more value. So if you accrue 75,000 points, it 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.
As we said before, the main thing dragging down this card’s overall ranking is the lack of a sign-up bonus–it’s the only premium rewards card not to offer one.
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.
Fees and APR
- You’ll pay a variable APR of 16.99% to 24.99% 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 either $5 or 3% of the amount being transferred, whichever is greater.
- 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
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.
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.