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Update: The Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou® Premier now offer 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.
Citi is offering an increased sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige® Card. You can earn 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months.
Previously the sign-up bonus on the card was 30,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first three months.
The card also has a $450 annual fee. Below I’ll explain how you can actually come out ahead with the first year’s annual fee as well.
Big picture, here’s what makes the Citi Prestige® Card awesome:
- A $250 annual airline fee credit
- Access to American Admirals Clubs
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
- No foreign transaction fees
To explain some of the above in a bit more detail:
Maximizing the annual airline credit on the Citi Prestige® Card
The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 airline credit each calendar year, which can even be applied towards the purchase of an airline ticket:
This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December.
Thanks to this benefit being based on the calendar year, you can actually do quite well with airline credits the first year.
If you applied for the Citi Prestige® Card now you’d be hit with the $450 annual fee, though would immediately get a $250 airline fee credit. Then in January 2016, you’d get another $250 airline fee credit. That’s a $450 annual fee and $500 worth of airline fee credits in your first year as a card member.
You already come out ahead thanks to this perk alone.
Admirals Club access with the Citi Prestige® Card
Last year a lot of people applied for the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card thanks to the mega sign-up bonuses, and one of the most useful perks of the card was Admirals Club access.
However, that’s not the only card which gets you Admirals Club access — the Citi Prestige Card does as well. The one distinction to note is that the Citi Prestige doesn’t offer an Admirals Club membership, but instead offers Admirals Club access.
Citi Prestige cardholders may only access the club when traveling on American or US Airways that same day. You’re still allowed to bring in two guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age).
Receive Admirals Club access with the Citi Prestige Card
An awesome Priority Pass membership with the Citi Prestige® Card
It’s worth pointing out that the Citi Prestige® Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. But what makes the Citi Prestige® Card unique is that you have guesting privileges with your Priority Pass Select membership. Per the terms:
Primary and Authorized users are granted complimentary access to the Priority Pass lounges and allowed a maximum of up to two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age). Any additional guests will be charged a $27 per guest, per visit charge.
Let’s keep in mind that while other cards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express (which is also an awesome card) offer Priority Pass Select memberships, you get two free guests. With the Citi Prestige® Card you get two free guests or immediately family members, and only additional guests beyond that are charged $27 per guest per visit.
This is extremely useful. For example, I access the Alaska Board Room all the time using my Priority Pass Select membership, so being able to bring in guests for free would be awesome (I guess having guests requires traveling with people, which requires having friends, but I digress!).
Enjoy tasty pancakes at the Alaska Board Room
Lots of other great perks with the Citi Prestige® Card
This card actually also has an extremely rewarding earnings structure for everyday spend, as you can earn bonus points in the following categories:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
For the most part high annual fee cards seem to be more focused on the perks than the earnings rates on the card. In this case you have a card which has some great perks and a high return on everyday spend.
I was considering applying for the Citi Prestige® Card when it had a 30,000 point sign-up bonus, though the 50,000 point sign-up bonus just about makes this card a no brainer.
In addition to the points you make $500 the first year, or long term it’s like paying $200 per year for Admirals Club access plus a Priority Pass Select membership with guesting privileges, which is pretty tough to beat.
Add in the fact that the card has a rewarding earnings structure, and I’d say this is quickly becoming one of the most competitive “premium” credit cards out there.
Is this 50,000 point sign-up bonus enough to push you to apply for the Citi Prestige® Card?