Citi Prestige® Card review
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Citi Prestige® Card Overview
The Citi Prestige® Card is a premium travel credit card offering select luxury travel perks for frequent flyers. While its $495 annual fee is not for the fainthearted, regular travelers can make their money back easily by taking advantage of Citi Prestige benefits like a complimentary fourth-night hotel stay and an annual $250 travel credit. The card has a generous rewards rate too, so you can accelerate your ThankYou points balance and get more for your spending.
What are the pros and cons?
- $495 annual fee
- ThankYou points are only worth up to 1 cent each unless transferred to travel partner
- Fewer travel benefits and protections compared to other similarly-priced travel cards
- No intro purchase or balance transfer APR
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 5X points on air travel and restaurant purchases; 3x points on hotels and cruise line purchases; 1X point on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening
- Annual fee: $495
- Purchase intro APR: None
- Balance transfer intro APR: None
- Regular APR: 16.99 percent–23.99 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Citi Prestige comes with a respectable 50,000 ThankYou points if you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months. This sign-up bonus is redeemable for $500 in travel if you book through the ThankYou Travel center—effectively offsetting your entire annual fee in the first year.
While this is a solid bonus, Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a similar welcome offer for qualifying cardholders. But 60,000 Chase points (after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening) is worth $900 in travel—or 50 percent more—if redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The Citi Prestige earns Citi ThankYou points, which provide a solid 1:1 value toward travel through Citi. Luckily, there is a good variety of redemption options, but it’s hard to squeeze extra value out of your points without utilizing Citi travel transfer partners. Waiting till the right moment is no problem, though, since your points won’t expire as long as your account stays open. However, points that are shared with another account expire in 90 days and purchased points must be used within a year.
Unless you bank with Citi, the only way to earn substantial rewards is through spending with your credit card. Your biggest bonus category earns 5X points on air travel and at restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast-food restaurants—which isn’t always the case), but you’ll also rake in 3X points at hotels and on cruise lines. Naturally, you’ll also earn 1X points on all other purchases.
Rewards redemption is where Citi Prestige comes into its own. You can use points to cover recent travel purchases (such as flights, hotels and car rentals) or eligible online bills, redeem them for a gift card, pay for purchases at participating retailers, receive them as cash back, donate them to charity or even share them with another person who has a ThankYou account. You may also be able to use points for payments up to $1,000 toward qualifying Citi credit lines, like a mortgage or student loan.
What’s particularly special about the Citi Prestige is that points earned on this card (and the Citi Premier® Card) can be transferred to a partner airline loyalty program at a transfer ratio of 1:1. Points transfer at this ratio is not available with other no annual fee Citi credit cards.
How much are points worth?
Unlike other reward programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can’t redeem your ThankYou points for a higher value toward travel. The best value you can get from your points through Citi is 1 cent apiece toward booking travel, redeeming for gift cards or contributing to your Citi home mortgage or student loan balance.
Other redemption options typically bring less than a 1:1 value, but your best opportunity to wring more value from your points is to transfer them to a partner Citi travel loyalty program. According to The Points Guy’s point and mile valuations, ThankYou points can be worth up around 1.7 cents with the right transfer partner.
Outside the pack-in World Elite Mastercard benefits, the Citi Prestige carries the best additional features of any Citi card. If you travel regularly, these perks will elevate your travel experience and more than justify the hefty annual fee.
Complimentary hotel night
The Citi Prestige’s complimentary fourth-night hotel stay offer is by far the most popular benefit. Simply book a hotel of your choice through Citi’s online portal for four consecutive nights and you’ll only have to pay for three (excluding taxes and fees). What’s more, you can claim this benefit up to two times per calendar year.
Up to $250 annual travel credit
Every year, you’ll automatically receive up to $250 in statement credits toward eligible purchases that fall within the “travel purchases” category. Citi automatically identifies each of these purchases on your card and posts a credit one to two billing cycles later. Qualifying personal travel expenses include purchases from:
- Travel agencies, travel aggregators and tour operators
- Commuter transportation, including commuter railways, subways and bus lines
- Taxis, car services and limousines
- Bridge and road tolls
- Paid parking lots and garages
- Cruise lines
No worries if you’re hesitant to travel at the moment, your travel credit will also cover supermarket and restaurant purchases through December 2021.
Other travel perks
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access. You and up to two guests can access hundreds of Priority Pass Select VIP lounges worldwide.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit. Get up to $100 back in fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications every five years.
- Concierge service. Cardholders are entitled to Citi’s Concierge service, which gives you access to a personal assistant who can help with travel planning, shopping, restaurant reservations and more.
Annual Citigold banking relationship bonus credits
This valuable perk is a bit under-the-radar but can make a difference in offsetting your annual fee each year. By being a Citi Prestige cardmember with a qualifying Citigold wealth management account, you can earn a $145 statement credit within three billing cycles of your assessed $495 annual fee being charged to your card. If you happen to have one or more authorized users, you’ll also receive a $25 statement credit for each $75 authorized user fee on your account.
Rates and Fees
The Citi Prestige has an annual fee of $495 and a further $75 for an additional authorized user, but there are no foreign transaction fees. Late payment triggers a fee of up to $40, and a penalty APR of 29.99 percent variable may apply.
In line with other travel rewards credit cards, there are no introductory APR periods with the Citi Prestige. However, if you need to transfer your balance with Citi, the balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3 percent of the transfer amount (whichever is greater). Both your purchases and balance transfers will be subject to the ongoing 16.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR, which is on par with other elite travel cards.
How the Citi Prestige Credit compares to other premium travel credit cards
The Citi Prestige’s main rivals are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Both of these cards are loaded with more travel benefits, especially travel and purchase protections but have a higher annual fees. Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a seemingly lower 3X rate on travel and dining (after earning your $300 travel credit), but you’ll get a stronger $300 annual travel credit and 50 percent more value when redeeming points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The Platinum Card, on the other hand, offers 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, plus a rich portfolio of extra benefits. The Platinum Card stands alongside the Sapphire Reserve as one of the best credit cards for travel insurance and delivers perks like complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors elite gold status, annual credits for merchants like Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue and top-tier airport lounge access worldwide.
Citi’s Prestige Card may have a lower annual fee and wider category coverage, but it could be hard to stack up to these rivals’ perks and higher potential point value (The Points Guy’s latest point valuation rates both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece). However, the Citi Prestige may be the best choice hands down if you already bank with Citi or are considering other Citi rewards cards. The regular ThankYou points from eligible Citi banking activity and the partial annual fee credits from Citigold can pad out your rewards balance. Citi’s no annual fee rewards cards also compliment the Prestige card incredibly well, perhaps making the most cost-effective issuer card combinations to maximize rewards.
Best cards to pair with Citi Prestige
To fast track your ThankYou points, you could pair this card with the no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card. While you’ll earn up to 2 percent unlimited cash back on purchases — 1 percent when you buy and 1 percent when you pay — you can convert cash back rewards into ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio and pool them with your Citi Prestige. The Double Cash is already one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, but it can seriously buff up your rewards income by doubling the points on purchases that fall outside your Prestige card’s bonus categories.
Citi’s rewards card is also amazing for earning extra ThankYou points on everyday purchases outside these categories. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card has a novel approach to cash back: earn 5 percent cash back on your top spending category per billing cycle (up to $500, then 1 percent back). This bonus rate can apply to one of 10 categories that the Citi Prestige doesn’t cover, including common travel expenses like gas stations, select transit, live entertainment, grocery stores and more. The best part is that you actually earn ThankYou Points that can then be converted to cash back if you’d like. You can squeeze even more value from your purchases by pooling these points with your Citi Prestige and transferring them to a travel partner, or—if you’re not traveling soon—funnel your Prestige card’s points through the Custom Cash for a higher cash back redemption rate.
Bankrate’s Take—Is Citi Prestige worth it?
If your life or work involves regular travel, then you can no doubt get a lot of value from the Citi Prestige Card. Once you take benefits into account, like the $250 yearly travel credit and the biannual complimentary fourth night free for eligible hotel stays, the Citi Prestige’s annual fee is pretty easy to recoup—especially if you already have a Citigold bank account or plan on getting another Citi card.
While the Citi Prestige has fewer benefits compared to other issuers’ flagship travel cards, its issuer-centric focus elevates the Prestige card’s comparative ongoing value if you’re a loyal Citi customer.
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
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.