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As most of you probably know by now, there’s a very nice increased sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige® Card. At the moment they’re offering 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months.
The annual fee on the card is $450, which is line with the premium cards from other issuers. Some readers have commented that the card isn’t worth applying for because of the high annual fee, which is a natural reaction to a card with a $450 annual fee.
That being said, the card does come with a lot of benefits, including:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- Access to American Admirals Clubs
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
But before dismissing the value of applying for the card because of the $450 annual fee, let’s look at the value of the perks you get on the card.
Here’s what I value the “fixed” perks of the card at:
- $250 — first calendar year’s airline credit
- $250 — second calendar year’s airline credit
- $100 — Global Entry credit
- $800 — 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points redeemed for travel on American/US Airways
Redeem your 50,000 points for $800 of travel on American
Those are pretty concrete benefits, which to me are worth ~$1,400 with the first year’s annual fee. Given that it’s a $450 annual fee, by my valuation you’re ahead at least ~$950 your first year alone.
That doesn’t factor in the other major benefits, which will be of differing value depending on your travel patterns. The three biggest variable benefits of the card are as follows:
- American Admirals Club access
- Priority Pass Select membership with guesting privileges
- Fourth night free hotel benefit
For my personal travel patterns I can say that I get at least $400 of value out of the Admirals Club and Priority Pass benefits. Since I’m an Executive Platinum member with American I do value Admirals Club domestically, so an Admirals Club membership would otherwise cost me $400. With the Citi Prestige® Card I get both Admirals Club access plus a Priority Pass Select membership with free guesting privileges (while other cards issue Priority Pass Select memberships, they don’t typically come with free guesting privileges).
Get access to 700+ lounges with a Priority Pass membership
As far as the fourth night free benefit goes, I won’t initially put a value to it. Instead I’ll judge the value of it after I’ve had the card for a year. I could see it being something that saves me thousands of dollars, or it might not be something I ever end up using. We’ll see.
By my valuation, most people should get at least a “net” value of $950 out of the Citi Prestige® Card the first year. If you’re a frequent American flyer like me and value Admirals Club access, then that valuation only goes up. So I’d value my “personal” gain from the card within the first year at ~$1,350.
My point is, while a $450 annual fee might seem steep, I do think there’s lots of value to be had with the card, and virtually everyone will come out ahead, in particular the first year. I’d argue this is the single most lucrative publicly available sign-up bonus out there right now.
How much do you value the Citi Prestige® Card sign-up bonus at?