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Citi Premier vs. Citi Prestige

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The Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card both come with a similar array of benefits, including travel-focused rewards structures and premium perks. While the Citi Premier Card is still accepting applications, the Citi Prestige is no longer available to new customers (meaning if you don’t already own this card, you can’t apply for it).

That said, if you already own the Citi Prestige, it’s worth comparing your options to make sure you have the right card for your circumstances.

Main details

Cards Citi Premier Citi Prestige
Welcome bonus 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening N/A
Rewards rate 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases; 1X points on all other purchases 5X points on air travel and restaurant purchases; 3X points on hotels and cruise line purchases; 1X points on all other purchases
Variable APR 18.24% to 26.24% 16.99% to 23.99%
Annual fee $95 $495

Citi Premier vs. Citi Prestige highlights

Here’s a look at how each card stacks up in terms of rewards, fees and more.

Welcome bonus winner: Citi Premier

Since the Citi Premier is the only card out of the two that is currently accepting new applicants, it’s by default the winner when it comes to the welcome bonus.

The Citi Premier offers a 80,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. These points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.

Rewards rate winner: Citi Premier

While both cards offer rewards for cardholder spending in the form of Citi ThankYou points, the Citi Premier Card has the edge when it comes to rewards categories that work for most cardholders.

The Premier earns 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases, along with 1X points on everything else. This means that, if you use the Citi Premier as an everyday credit card, you’ll be well-positioned to earn a good amount of ThankYou points.

One exception is if you plan to use this card primarily for travel expenses. In that case, the Citi Prestige, which earns 5X points on air travel and restaurant purchases and 3X points on hotel and cruise line purchases, may be a better fit.

Annual Fee winner: Citi Premier

The Citi Premier Card also has an edge when it comes to the annual fee. The card only charges a $95 annual fee, while the Citi Prestige charges a whopping $495 annual fee. Lower annual fees make it more likely that you’ll recoup (and then some) the fee through a combination of rewards and other perks.

Foreign transaction fee winner: tied

Neither of these travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made abroad. This means that you can avoid unnecessary fees while swiping either card outside of the United States.

Which card earns the most?

Whether the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige Card earns the most depends on what kind of purchases you make.

If you primarily use your card on expenses like groceries, dining, gas and travel, the Citi Premier is likely a better fit—meaning you might consider switching from the Prestige to the Premier. However, if you primarily use your card exclusively for travel purchases, like airfare and dining out, you might be better off sticking with the Citi Prestige.

Citi Premier vs. Citi Prestige spending example

Everyone’s budget is different, so the amount you spend on categories like groceries, gas, dining and other expenses in a given year may not be the same as another cardholder. That said, here’s an example of how these two cards compare in terms of rewards earnings.

Spending by category per year Citi Premier Citi Prestige
Restaurants: $2,500 75 points 125 points
Supermarkets: $9,500 285 points 0 points
Gas stations: $1,500 45 points 0 points
Hotels: $1,000 30 points 30 points
Air travel: $1,000 30 points 50 points
Cruise lines: $500 0 points 15 points
Other non-category spending: $10,000 100 points 100 points
Total: 565 points 320 points

As illustrated in the above example, while the Citi Premier may have lower rewards rates in a few categories, it still rewards much broader areas of spending compared to the Citi Prestige. If you’re not primarily using your card for a high volume of travel expenses, including hotels and restaurant purchases, then you’re probably better off downgrading to the Citi Premier.

However, if you primarily spend on travel-related purchases or travel frequently throughout the year, the math might look a little different. For example:

Spending by category per year Citi Premier Citi Prestige
Restaurants: $5,000 150 points 250 points
Supermarkets: $1,000 30 points 0 points
Gas stations: $1,500 45 points 0 points
Hotels: $5,000 150 points 150 points
Air travel: $5,000 150 points 250 points
Cruise lines: $2,000 0 points 60 points
Other non-category spending: $10,000 100 points 300 points
Total: 625 points 810 points

Why should you switch to the Citi Premier Card?

The Citi Premier has a variety of attractive benefits for cardholders, including rewards on supermarket and gas station purchases as well as a generous welcome bonus and travel  benefits. Keep reading to determine whether you should get the Citi Premier Card.

Additional benefits

This Citi credit card comes with some nice additional benefits, first and foremost a $100 annual hotel savings benefit. When you book with your card through thankyou.com (or 1-800-THANKYOU), you get a $100 discount on a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees).

Further, you get access to both Citi Concierge and Citi Entertainment, can enjoy purchase protection and extended warranty perks as well as World Elite Mastercard benefits (like Free ShopRunner membership and monthly Lyft credits).

Redemption options

Redemption options for this card include travel, cash back or statement credits, payment credits, gift cards, shopping with points via Amazon and PayPal and donating to charity.

The best way to maximize your rewards is to transfer your ThankYou points to a Citi airline or hotel transfer partner. Doing so can boost your points’ value up to 1.7 cents apiece, according to monthly valuations from The Points Guy.

Recommended credit score

While Citi doesn’t share credit score requirements for this card, a general recommendation is a score of 700 or higher.

Why should you keep the Citi Prestige Card?

While the Citi Prestige is no longer accepting applicants, there are a few reasons why you might want to consider keeping this card—including its hefty travel credit, lounge access and complimentary hotel night.

Additional benefits

The Citi Prestige comes with a variety of worthwhile benefits that may make it worth keeping. Most prominently, its complimentary fourth-night hotel stay. When you book a hotel for four consecutive nights through Citi’s travel portal, you only need to pay for three of the four nights (excluding taxes and fees).

The card also offers a solid $250 annual travel credit. As a cardholder, you automatically receive up to $250 in statement credits toward eligible travel purchases, from airfare to cruises to road tolls.

Further, owning the Prestige gets you (and two guests) access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges across the globe. You can also get up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications every four years.

Lastly, similar to the Premier, you get access to Citi Concierge and Citi Entertainment, World Elite Mastercard perks, extended warranty, purchase protection and more.

Redemption options

Like the Citi Premier Card, rewards can be redeemed for travel, cash back or statement credits, payment credits, gift cards, shopping via Amazon and PayPal and donating to charity.

The bottom line

While the Citi Prestige Card offers some luxury travel perks, it only really makes sense to own if you do a lot of traveling each year. If your day-to-day expenses trend more toward groceries, gas and takeout, the Citi Premier may be worth switching to—especially since it still has competitive rewards rates on travel-related categories, like hotels and air travel.

The information about the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

The information about the Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Margaret Wack
Personal Finance Expert Contributor
Margaret has written for Money Under 30, MoneyGeek, The Simple Dollar, CreditCards.com, Interest.com and Fiscal Tiger, among other publications. She writes about subjects including saving, credit, insurance, investing and other financial topics.
Edited by
Editor, Product
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Part of  Introduction to the Citi Premier Card