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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 Admiral’s Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.
Citi has two fantastic sign-up bonuses on cards which accrue ThankYou Preferred points at the moment, including:
- The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which offers 40,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months
- The Citi Prestige® Card, which offers 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months
The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is a mid-range card with excellent spend category bonuses, so is intended to compete with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
Meanwhile the Citi Prestige® Card is intended to compete with the higher annual fee cards out there, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, by not just being rewarding for everyday spend, but by also offering lots of travel perks.
The Citi Prestige Card comes with two great lounge access perks, so I figured I’d dive into the details of the benefits, given that there are lots of questions about the specifics:
Admirals Club access
The Citi Prestige Card offers access to Admirals Clubs with same day travel on American and US Airways. The basic terms of lounge access are as follows:
- You can access any Admirals Club within 12 hours of your American or US Airways flight arriving or departing
- You can bring in either two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age)
- Only the primary cardmember receives this Admirals Club benefit — additional cardmembers on the Citi Prestige Card don’t receive Admirals Club access
- To access the Admirals Club, simply show your Citi Prestige Card, which has verbiage on the card indicating that you receive Admirals Club access (if you’re an additional cardmember then you won’t see the “Admirals Club lounge access” verbiage on the back of the card)
It’s important to note that the card comes with Admirals Club access and not an Admirals Club membership. The main distinction is that an Admirals Club membership would get you access to Admirals Clubs even when you’re traveling on a different airline.
Access the Admirals Club Honolulu with a Citi Prestige Card
If you’re a frequent American flyer, then Admirals Club access is just about as useful as an Admirals Club membership, in my opinion.
Priority Pass Select membership
In addition to Admirals Club access, the Citi Prestige Card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the largest independent collection of airport lounges, with over 700 lounge across the world.
You’ll receive a separate Priority Pass card once you apply for the Citi Prestige Card, which is required to access Priority Pass lounges. It should arrive automatically within a couple of weeks of when you first receive your Citi Prestige® Card in the mail.
While Admirals Club access is limited to the primary cardmember, even the authorized cardmembers on the Citi Prestige Card receive a Priority Pass Select membership. Since you can add authorized cardmembers for just $50 each, that’s a great way to get an inexpensive Priority Pass Select membership for several friends and family members.
I’ve received quite a few emails asking if the card does in fact come with free Priority Pass Select lounge access, since the terms do seem to (slightly) contradict themselves.
Bullet point one of the Citi Prestige Priority Pass Select terms & conditions read as follows:
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.
Meanwhile bullet point six reads as follows:
Lounge visits are subject to a $27 per person per visit charge. Priority Pass may amend the lounge visit charges at any time on providing 30 days’ notice in advance of such change. Where the cardholder receives the Priority Pass card through third party card issuer, any changes in lounge visit charges shall be notified to Citi, who is responsible for advising the cardholder. The cardholder agrees that the Priority Pass Group of companies is not responsible for any disputes that may occur between the cardholder and Citi nor for any loss incurred by the cardholder relating to any lounge visit charges debited by Citi.
I’ve followed up with Citi on this, and they’ve confirmed that bullet point six refers to lounge access beyond the member and their first two guests.
There’s one other distinction worth noting. The Citi Prestige® Card offers a Priority Pass Select membership, which is slightly different than a “standard” Priority Pass membership. The distinction is that a Priority Pass Select membership doesn’t get you access to United Clubs. But this will become a moot point as of May 15, 2015, anyway, since even “standard” Priority Pass memberships will no longer get you United Club access.
Access the Korean Air Lounge Seoul Incheon with a Priority Pass Select membership
Lounge access is only one of the many awesome benefits of the Citi Prestige Card. I think the Citi Prestige Card is valuable for just about everyone for the first year, but in my case this is a card I’ll be holding onto long term.
As an Executive Platinum with American this will be my “ticket” into the Admirals Club for all my domestic travel, as well as the card I use for Priority Pass access.
While the Citi Prestige® Card has a $450 annual fee, it also comes with a $250 airline credit each year. With your first year’s annual fee you’ll get two of those credits (since the annual fee is based on cardmember years while the airline credit is based on calendar years). So you’re $50 ahead already, and that doesn’t even account for all the points and other perks you get.
Hopefully that answers all the questions anyone could have about lounge access with the Citi Prestige Card — if not, please let me know!