Is Citi Considering Changes To The Prestige Card?

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It’s no secret that the Citi Prestige® Card is my single all around favorite credit card, as it really excels in all three major categories I think about when applying for a card. It offers a great return on everyday spend, awesome ongoing perks, and a big sign-up bonus. Some of the benefits include the following:

Citi-Prestige-Benefits

The card is a no brainer for a vast majority of people, in my opinion. While it has a $450 annual fee, you’ll get $500 worth of airline credits before you even pay your second year’s annual fee. That’s $50 more than the annual fee, and doesn’t account for the awesome sign-up bonus and other incredible perks.

Citi-Prestige-Credit-2
Citi-Prestige-Credit-1

I’ve explained how I got over $4,000 of value out of the card in the first year, not accounting for the points I earned through everyday spend. That’s the biggest return I’ve gotten out of any credit card in a one year period.

Is Citi considering making changes to the Citi Prestige Card?

The Citi Prestige® Card offers outsized value. That’s something very few people dispute. Over time cards which are disproportionately generous tend to have some change in benefits. That being said, as of now I don’t know of any changes which are coming to the card anytime soon.

However, Out & Out wrote about a survey he received from a research company concerning possible changes to the Citi Prestige® Card.

Let me say off the bat that card issuers look at tweaking benefits all the time, and I’ve received similar surveys about other cards in the past. So I find these surveys interesting not because I think they’ll lead to immediate changes in benefits, but rather because I’m always curious to know which benefits card issuers are thinking of tweaking.

Out & Out notes that the survey brings up the following points:

Citi asks about an adjustment to the 4th night free perk, including:

  • Reimbursing actual room cost, but not taxes or fees
  • Limiting the perk to 2 times per year
  • Giving a straight 25% percent off instead of the 4th night free(to balance an expensive 4th night)

There’s some play about the travel perks, notably the $250 annual airline credit. They ask you to balance:

  • A $200 annual credit
  • Free checked bags
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free in-flight wifi

Most alarming is they seem hyper-focused on raising the annual fee. Or cutting benefits for the sake of a lower annual fee.

The changes result in a fee somewhere between $400 and $550 per year. I guess it would depend on what exactly gets added or taken away.

It shouldn’t be surprising that for the Citi Prestige® Card they’re trying to find the right balance between benefits and the annual fee, so:

  • At some point we might see a change to how the fourth night free benefit is structured, either by limiting  how often it can be used, or by tweaking other aspects of it
  • The $250 airline credit they offer right now is basically free money which for mental accounting purposes reduces the annual fee by more than half, so they’re trying to see if it makes sense to tweak that
  • They’re trying to find the sweet spot when it comes to the annual fee, somewhere between $400 and $550; would people rather pay a lower annual fee with fewer benefits, or a higher annual fee with more benefits?

Like I said, I don’t think we’ll see any immediate changes, as these kinds of surveys go out all the time. However, it’s always interesting to know what the issuers are thinking, especially with the Citi Prestige® Card, given how awesome it is.

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige® Card offers outsized value. Is it for everyone? No. But I think it’s the “premium” credit card which more people would get value out of than any other card.

Over time benefits on just about all cards are changed, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In the case of the Citi Prestige® Card, it’s so compelling that I can’t recommend enough picking it up sooner rather than later. The airline credit and fourth night free benefit are the icing on the cake, but then there’s Admirals Club access, a fantastic Priority Pass benefit, a great sign-up bonus, and much more.

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Comments

  1. Everyone’s situation is different. I travel ALOT and find this product worthless. ‘Access’ to Admirals Clubs rather than membership is very poor. Post-Aug 1 when all airline products and loyalty programs become commodities, this card will present even worse value as most people will be selecting flights based solely on price, not any loyalty to AA. You need to look at the big picture going forward.

  2. I’d value the 4th night free benefit around $500. Sure, I get more than $500/yr out of it, but often times I end up booking nicer hotels as a result, so it’s more of a value add than money saver.

    The rest of the perks – other than the airline credit – are basically throw-ins. I wouldn’t pay more than $10/visit to go to the AA club, and often barely have enough time with layovers so it’s just a free (decent at best) cup of coffee. Being CHO-based, I also strongly prefer Delta with their mainline service and better operation, so I rarely even fly AA.

    So yeah, I’d pay about $550-600 a year for this card, but any reduction in benefits or limiting of 4th night free would have me seriously reconsidering.

  3. @ Missy — No changes at all have been announced yet. They’re just sending out surveys, as many issuers do. I wouldn’t read too much into this yet. If there ever are changes, I imagine they’ll give some advance notice.

  4. While the benefits to cost are great compared to most cards, I find the largely incompetent staff and lack of responsiveness at the Concierge desk (aka, Aspire Lifestyles) to have me considering NOT renewing this card. At some point, the time invested and the battle to get reservations done right just isn’t work the hassle.

    Of course, that negative view is only reinforced by the ongoing battle with CitiGold over the 50,000AA miles I’m due. My perception–right or wrong–is that Citi, as an entity, just does get customer service like, say, Chase/JP Morgan (Sapphire Preferred, Ritz Carlton, etc.). While the reps can be pleasant enough, I never find anything “easy” with Citi.

  5. Lucky,
    We all know you get compensated by Citi. Suggest you try a little harder to take the view of the consumer, rather that which merely benefits Citi and you. Without more objectivity, your views are merely marketing for Citi. And your utility will wane ….
    “Fairness Rules”

  6. +1 MMM .I have had very bad service from Aspire, and am on round 3 of appealing a very expensive hotel booking I did not authorize and specifically told them NOT to book.
    I have no faith in Aspire, and the jury is out on Citi, depending on how this appeal goes.
    Warning to anyone asking about hotels with the “concierge”–if they book it, regardless of your instructions (even if you expressly say not to, that you’ll look elsewhere), Citi will charge you and so far, my detailed evidence and appeals have been totally ignored.

  7. Agree with modemed, the current benefit is unsustainable. Not that I’m complaining. I received the same survey and I was quiet careful in my responses. I would prefer them to raise the annual fee for new accounts, and lock the fee for exiting account. The 4th night benefits along I take advantage of have saved me at least $1200, not to mention other standardize benefits. The one benefit I’ll gladly give up is Global Entry fee which is only worth $100 every 5 years (average $20/year). All other benefits are much more valuable.

  8. I got the survey about a month ago. It had a series of questions where there were descriptions of 3 cards with varying benefits and you had to say which one you were most likely to apply for. It felt like they were trying to determine how accepting you would be a reduction in the 4th night benefit. It also felt like they were trying to determine how accepting you would be of removing Admirals Club access, and they also floated a higher annual fee. The annoying thing about the survey is none of the options had as good of benefits as the Prestige currently. It was difficult to decide if you wanted to pick what you felt was the best option or selecting none of the above.

  9. Not sure why the golf benefit is always left out. I played 3 rounds this year totaling $1200 in green fees saved. This is the reason why I keep this card.

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