The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
The Citi Prestige was once my go-to credit card. Back when I was dining out constantly and traveling a lot, paying the card’s $495 annual fee was a no-brainer. I earned thousands of points through the card’s generous category bonuses and got my money’s worth. Even after Citi stopped issuing the card, I held onto mine because of how valuable it’s been.
But things have changed in the past few years. In 2019, Citi removed nearly all travel and purchase protections. The 5X point travel bonus became harder to maximize without travel protection. The fourth-night-free benefit was later capped at just two per year, further devaluing the card. Moreover, with Chase and Capital One introducing new transfer partners, the Citi ThankYou program has lost some of its luster for me.
All of these developments culminated in the Citi Prestige becoming less valuable. I’m finally ready to part with this card. I’ve added some new cards to my wallet recently, and — along with my Amex Platinum — they will more than compensate. Here are the credit cards I’m using to replace the various perks I once got from the Prestige:
Travel protections: Amex Platinum
The Citi Prestige used to be my go-to card for all travel bookings, thanks to its 5X earn rate. When Citi removed travel protections in 2019, I had to stop charging my travel purchases to the card. It didn’t seem worthwhile to give up trip cancellation coverage, travel accident insurance and auto rental collision waiver to earn 5X Citi ThankYou points. Besides, I had The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offered exceptional coverage and 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels.
During the pandemic, having travel insurance became more crucial than ever. When my brother got COVID right before a family trip to the UK, I got his $1300 nonrefundable airfare reimbursed with my Amex Platinum benefit. He would have been out the money if I’d charged that purchase to the Citi Prestige.
Buying travel insurance is certainly an option, but why do that when some credit cards include it as a benefit? It’s not just high-annual-fee cards either. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $95 annual fee and offers trip cancellation/interruption coverage of up to $10,000 per person.
Free hotel nights: Amex Platinum
Citi Prestige’s 4th-night-free benefit was a great perk that saved me a few hundred bucks a year. But in recent years, its use has been limited to twice per year. Plus, reservations made through the Citi ThankYou portal don’t earn points, elite night credits or qualify for elite benefits. Plus, I rarely stay at hotels for more than two or three nights anymore anyway.
On the other hand, the Amex Platinum card gets me access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection. Many FHR properties frequently offer third-night-free deals that work out better for me. And most FHR bookings include complimentary daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out and on-site credits toward dining. These bookings mimic elite benefits and offer additional value since the nightly rates are often the same as direct bookings.
Priority Pass restaurant credits: Capital One Venture X
The primary reason I kept my Citi Prestige for so long was for the Priority Pass membership. Several credit cards offer airport lounge access, but not all Priority Pass memberships are the same. Some include dining credits at select airport restaurants, which come in handy when club lounges are closed or full.
If you have Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum or The Business Platinum Card from American Express, you won’t be eligible for this restaurant credit. That’s a huge downside for me, since I often fly out of San Francisco Airport’s domestic terminal. Getting a $28 per-person credit at Yankee Pier and Giants’ Clubhouse is a valuable benefit — especially now that the SFO Centurion Lounge is temporarily closed.
Since I’ve gotten hundreds of dollars in value out of this benefit, I kept renewing the Citi Prestige Card. But since getting the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, I don’t need this benefit from multiple cards. Venture X’s Priority Pass membership includes restaurant access and other competing perks to the Citi Prestige. With the Venture X card in play, it makes little sense to keep the Citi Prestige.
Bonus points on dining: Amex Gold
The Citi Prestige offers 5X on dining, which is one of my biggest spending categories. Most people like the American Express Gold Card for its 4X dining bonus, but since I was already paying $450 for the Prestige Card, it didn’t make sense to add a $250-annual-fee-card to my wallet.
However, Amex Gold also offers 4X points on up to $25,000 spent yearly at U.S. supermarkets. It’s also more appealing thanks to its $10 monthly dining credits at select restaurants and $10 monthly Uber credits valid at UberEats. These credits combined easily offset the annual fee, along with lucrative cash back rebates from Amex Offers. Even though the annual fee was steep, I got more than my money’s worth from various dining credits alone.
With so many of the Prestige Card’s benefits being replaced, the higher dining bonus isn’t enough to justify keeping it.
The bottom line
The Citi Prestige had a good run, but with new credit cards in my wallet — which now holds the Venture X, Amex Platinum and Amex Gold — and the introduction of Venture miles transfer partners, it no longer makes sense. And while the new credit cards I added to my wallet carry high annual fees, they also offer plenty of other benefits to make up for it. The fact that they help me finally eliminate the Prestige Card after years of back-and-forth is just icing on the cake.