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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige is expired. You can find the current offer details here.
The Citi Prestige Card is the all around hottest credit card out there, in my opinion. It was refreshed last year, and offers an extremely compelling value proposition. This is a “premium” credit card, so it does have a $450 annual fee, but fortunately the benefits more than offset it. Here’s why a vast majority of people should still find value in the card, in my opinion:
A great sign-up bonus
The Citi Prestige Card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, which is a very generous bonus. Those 50,000 points can be redeemed for $800 towards the cost of a ticket on American Airlines, though below I’ll provide some other examples of how you can redeem those points.
We also don’t know how much longer that sign-up bonus will be around.
Bonus points on airlines, hotels, dining, and more
Most “premium” credit cards come with perks, but don’t offer much in the way of bonus points. The Citi Prestige Card is different. It offers the following structure on earning points:
- 3x points on airfare and hotels
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
- 1x point per dollar on other purchases
If you value those points at 1.6 cents each, that’s like a return of 4.8% on airfare and hotels, and a return of 3.2% on dining and entertainment.
A $250 airline credit
In case you’re intimidated by the card’s $450 annual fee, here’s something which will help offset it right off the bat. The card offers a $250 annual airline credit. This can be used towards any purchase directly with an airline, including a revenue ticket, taxes on a mileage ticket, etc. I assume most people spend at least $250 per year with airlines, so just about everyone should get value out of this.
Using my mental accounting, that lowers the real annual “out of pocket” on the card to $200 (the $450 annual fee, minus $250 of value for this perk).
A fourth night free hotel benefit
In my opinion this is the single most valuable perk offered by any credit card. With this benefit you get a fourth night free at thousands of hotels around the world. The best part is that you don’t have to pay some inflated rate to book this. You can use this perk on pre-paid or promotional rates, making it much less restrictive than similar benefits offered by other cards.
For more information on this, seem my previous post on the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free hotel benefit.
I’ve used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali
Great travel protection
This card offers excellent travel protection, in the event that you or your bags get delayed while traveling. This protection covers a wide range of things, from car rental insurance, to trip cancellation coverage, to baggage delay or loss protection. It’s among the best protection offered by any travel card. See my previous post about the Citi Prestige Card’s travel protection for more details.
American Airlines Admirals Club access
When you have the the Citi Prestige Card, you get access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs whenever you’re flying American the same day. The card entitles you and up to two guests (or immediately family members) to Admirals Club access. Other than the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, this is the only other credit card which gets you access to Admirals Clubs.
Exercise on your layover at the Admirals Club Dallas
A comprehensive Priority Pass membership
Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent collection of airport lounges, with over 850 lounges around the world. The Citi Prestige Card comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you access to those lounges regardless of which airline you’re flying.
Best of all, unlike with other credit cards, you can take in two guests for free with you.
Access lounges like the Plaza Premium Lounge Heathrow with Priority Pass
$100 Global Entry credit
While I used to dread immigration, Global Entry has made it a breeze. The cost to join is $100 for five years, and it also gets you TSA Pre-Check. This gets you expedited airport screening, where you don’t have to take off your shoes, or take your liquids or laptop out of your bag at many major airports.
Global Entry kiosks at most international US airports
The ability to pool points
The Citi Prestige Card accrues ThankYou points, though each card accruing ThankYou points has points with slightly different values. On the whole, ThankYou points accrued using the Citi Prestige Card are the most valuable. For example, they can be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of travel on American.
The good news is that if you have another card accruing Citi ThankYou points, like the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you can transfer those points to the Citi Prestige Card to maximize the value of your points.
Combine Citi ThankYou points from various accounts to maximize their value
Extremely valuable points
At a minimum, points earned on the Citi Prestige Card can be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on American. That means 100,000 points will get you $1,600 towards the cost of travel on American.
But there are many other ways to redeem your points as well, including transferring them to airline partners like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air France FlyingBlue, etc. Here’s a full list of the Citi ThankYou transfer partners:
|Air France/KLM | Flying Blue||Garuda Indonesia | Frequent Flyer||Qatar Airways | Privilege Club||Hilton | HHonors|
|Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles||JetBlue | TrueBlue||Singapore Airlines | KrisFlyer|
|EVA Air | Infinity MileageLands||Malaysia Airlines | Enrich||Thai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus|
|Etihad | Etihad Guest||Qantas | Frequent Flyer||Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club|
If you want to redeem points for travel in first & business class, transferring points to a mileage program almost always represents a better value than redeeming points towards the cost of a ticket. That’s because first & business class is often only marginally more expensive when redeeming miles, while it can be exponentially more expensive when paying cash.
The Citi Prestige Card is a card I don’t see myself canceling as long as the benefits remain as strong as they are. The card is a winner in all three categories I use to evaluate cards — it has a great sign-up bonus, compelling return on everyday spend, and generous perks. It’s tough to beat that combination.