Citi Prestige Admirals Club Access Being Eliminated After June 20, 2017

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As I’ve posted about, there are changes coming to the details of the Citi Prestige Card tomorrow, which is why I recommend people apply before then, as it really is a fantastic card.

While we don’t officially know what the changes are yet, earlier I posted about how Citi has made changes to the in-branch offer of the Prestige Card. Specifically, the pamphlet being shown in branches no longer lists 2x points on dining, and also lists a minimum spend of $5,000 to earn the sign-up bonus, rather than the current minimum spend of $3,000. We’re not sure if those are the changes being made to online applications tomorrow, but that’s what’s happening in-branch.

However, it looks like there’s a much bigger change occurring. Per the Citi Card Benefits website, the Citi Prestige Card will no longer come with Admirals Club access after June 20, 2017.

Citi-Prestige-Admirals-Club

The timing of this is interesting, as it follows American recently announcing that they’ve entered into a credit card agreement with both Citi and Barclaycard, meaning American is the only one of the “big three” US carriers to not have an exclusive credit card agreement. It sure seems like American and Citi couldn’t agree on a price for an exclusive deal. I’m guessing as part of that, American didn’t want to keep giving those with the Citi Prestige Card lounge access.

That means after June 20, 2017, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®  will be the only credit card that gets you access to Admirals Clubs. I guess American has more upside for their co-branded credit card, rather than a Citi card that isn’t specifically American branded.

Admirals-Club-LAX-2

I’ll be curious to see if Citi either adds more benefits or lowers the annual fee on the Prestige Card after they take away Admirals Club access.

Regardless, this will still be a really compelling card, between the Priority Pass membership with guesting privileges, the $250 annual airline credit, and the fourth night free hotel benefit, which is the most valuable benefit of all, in my opinion. This wouldn’t change my approach to applying, and if anything, would make me even more likely to apply. It’s entirely possible that if you apply after the changes are announced, Admirals Club access will no longer be a perk, but rather the above only applies for people who already have the card. We don’t know…

What do you make of Citi eliminating Admirals Club on the Prestige Card access after June 20, 2017?

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Comments

  1. Doesn’t affect me much, but hope the annual fee gets lowered similarly to what your previous post mentioned.

  2. Lounge access is a primary reason I have this card. I will cancel the card should they eliminate access.

  3. The primary reason I have this card is lounge access. When I fly internationally it’s ~90% in first and ~10% in business, and never the back of the plane, so Priority Pass is not useful* since I already have access to at least one lounge on int’l tickets. US domestically it’s a mix of first and steerage, and lounge access was the reason for getting this card.

    Citi will need to come waaaaaaaay down on the annual fee for this card (even if it’s $350 that’s still pretty steep) for me to keep it in my wallet. Either that or throw points at me or give me a statement credit every year when I call in to cancel.

    *Well, it’s useful when I fly Porter out of IAD to YTZ** (one can access the nice AF lounge in IAD), but that is so seldom for me it barely warrants a mention…

    **Sure, it’s international, but it’s a one-hour trip each way

  4. I’ll have to see where (including terminal location) Priority Pass gets me compared to Admirals Clubs. If there is a PP lounge a few gates away from most Admirals I visit, not a huge deal. If not, might be a deal breaker. I haven’t blinked at the $450 price so far, but I’ll have to give it a second look now.

  5. This seems like an opportunity for Barclays to come out with a premium card, but the 4th night free benefit will hard to beat!

  6. Damn, that’s terribly disappointing. That’s the primary reason I got this card. Better all around than the AAdvantage Executive card as an AA FF.

  7. My annual fee is billing this week. the only reason I have the card is for lounge access and the 1.6 cents/pt. If this is the case, I will likely renew this year, throw a fit for some points/statement credit and then cancel next year after having lounge access for 11/12 months.

  8. Pretty disappointing as it was the benefit I used most often. The 4th night free is nice but I am rarely spending four consecutive nights in the same place when traveling…

  9. I already decided to change to JetBlue and Delta, so I don’t have much need for the opulence of unlimited cheese cubes and crackers anymore. I’ll probably keep the card for the fourth night benefit and the 3x points on airfare – but if they also cut one of those I’ll just cancel the card after my second $250 airline credit comes through in January.

  10. if Admiral’s clubs weren’t so awful i’d care….still a great card without this perk, in fact, if i can use this as a talking point to get a reduction of a couple hundred in cash or points come renewal time, i’ll consider this a net positive!

  11. I have a lifetime Admirals Club membership so it doesn’t affect me and if I get a lowered price as a result, so much the better.

  12. Are the lounges over crowded? In the last few years my lounge access has mostly been in the evenings so I don’t notice crowding. Whatever the reason, I’m sure this is a deal breaker for lots of folks.

  13. Key word in that new language is ‘complimentary’. Wonder if you will be able to get in for a low or reduced price?

  14. This is probably one of my most used “non-points” benefit, so this really hurts.

    I am rarely in one city more than 3 days so the fourth night benefit is not very useful for me.

    Disappointing. My AF comes due in Oct/Nov so hopefully they will lower the fee significantly ($250-300) or add another valuable travel benefit (i.e. Free wifi on any flight) to make up for this big blow.

  15. Means very little to me… AA is garbage these days anyways, so I rarely fly them if I can help it — slow wifi, old planes (in particular the US 320 fleet and AA MD88 fleet), bad service, and crummy hubs. I fly paid DL (or B6) domestically and redeem for first/biz internationally, so I’m not really affected.

  16. I will cancel next year unless the vastly reduce the annual fee. They don’t let you know in their ads that you have to book the hotel with them for the 4th night free. I just spent 8 days in London at a 5 star great hotel and booked on the hotel website with a 20% summer discount. I called Citi and they told me it would have had to be booked with them (it was $200 more a night!!!!!!!!) No free 4th night for me.
    Don’t see the value of the Black version over the Silver now.

  17. Very confused on why you think this ( card is “great”.
    Citi AA Executive Card ($450 or so) = free Admirals Club passes- AND- 10K EQM when you spend money of about $40K per year.
    Citi Premier = only $95 and you get GREAT Thank You points on gas and travel expenses.
    AMEX Platinum = some silly Centurion Lounge access….. as each time I go, its SUPER crowded and annoying.
    Priority Pass= never used in 10 years. Once, the lounge was worse than the common areas. If you have access to Emerald Lounges then the Priority Lounges are redundant.
    and so the list of issues continue……. (aka airline credit for purchases…)

  18. @Eric. I read that as you can only use the $250 towards airline fees now and not airfare anymore. I dont want to play the gift card game.

  19. Have the card coming in the mail. But looks like I will only keep it for a year, then cancel. I don’t see much benefit for the card if the $250 doesn’t work on airline tickets and no AA Club access. I could live with the 2x only for 4th free night.

  20. As an AS elite, AA is pretty much dead to me after Aug 1st anyways but it certainly reduces the values of the card considerably. Luckily I signed up for the card in branch so I have the $350 A/F otherwise I’d be seriously rethinking this. What I’m not liking is the Restaurant 2X going away. All my restaurant spend will go on a different card which does bonus restaurant spend when they make this change.

  21. The card is $350 if you’re city Gold or applied in branch (not sure about the latter) but I pay $350. I don’t care for the lounge access. PP is great when you have kids. It’s not the best lounges for some but some are pretty decent like the Virgin America First class lounge at LAX among others. The 4th night free is the best deal of all. I say in the past year I’ve saved over $5000 on hotels for my family of 3 and now 4. I say even if the card was $450, I wouldn’t blink an eye for the latter perk. The $250 works for tickets, fees, etc. It’s not like Amex where it only works on “fees”.

  22. @Rob in Miami: The bloggers will continue to say this card’s great until Citi drops the hefty referral $$$ per new signup they get. Don’t worry, that’s coming shortly after the benefit reduction, at least if what I’m hearing is true.

    I also wonder if they’re going to reduce some of the other non-points benefits like trip delay protection to reduce their costs. After all, these “benefits” really are just insurance policies taken out by the banks. The easier something is to claim, the higher the premium.

    I’m curious to see if the 4th Night Free promotion will be leaving as well. If I was a betting man, I’d say it’s probably staying for now. I’d imagine most people who have this card never/rarely use it. Those who do use it probably hit it hard, but it’s offset by the majority who will never use it more than once a year.

    As for me, Citi’s screwed the pooch. I’ve just about filled up my Chase portfolio and was about to apply for this card. Not now. CSP ($95) or my Wells Private Bank (free) have similar benefits and rewards structures, and the annual fees are less. My Wells card even reimburses me for Global Entry fees, not bad for a $0 annual fee card.

  23. Dropping 4th night free would be an odd move only days after providing $50 amazon gift cards as a reward for using the benefit. I’m sure the gift cards only strengthened affinity for the benefit. If Citi was planning to eliminate 4th night free, it would make much more sense to provide gift cards afterwards as compensation.

  24. you guys are thinking of dropping this card over “Snack Towers of Sadness” ???
    grow up people !

    its not even a great lounge and you need to pay for food !

  25. If you are a AA frequent flyer this card is not the right one for you. There is another Citi card that is specific for AA. I couldn’t care less about Admiral’s Club access. I never fly AA and if I do I still have access to Amex and Priority Pass lounges.

  26. The lounges are almost always over crowded, so to me this is a positive change. I don’t have the Prestige card and honestly don’t think it fits my needs.

  27. As someone who flies in AA coach frequently (4x per month), this is a deal-breaker.

    But I’m surely not getting the co-branded CC, that’s even worse. Time for something new.

  28. Citi updated their website. AA Lounge access expires 7/23/17. Anyone that recently signed up will still have access for their full first year. The 2X dining is also still a benefit according to The Points Guy. So for the 11/12

  29. Bye, bye Citi Prestige. AA owns my market, so Admiral Club access + $250 statement credit for AIRFARE purchases made this a no-brainer. Everytime that I have attempted to visit a Priority Pass lounge, they’ve been in an international terminal that means that they were inaccessible for domestic flights and consequently of little to no value.

    With free bag checks & seat upgrades, what value is a $250 “incidental” airline credit??

    Card renews in Feb., so that this point sayonara UNLESS the annual fee has a significant drop.

  30. A year’s notice sure beats what Delta did to their reward chart, AA did to devalue their miles, and what Alaska did to their rewards. Admiral’s club access is not a big deal in my book. For those who did not look at the Citi prestige travel insurance benefit, it pretty much negates the need for trip insurance.

  31. I will most likely be leaving the Prestige card and going back with the American card if this happens. This could change based on whether I switch my traveling to Alaska because of American’s horrible service and upgrade policies that have been implemented this year. I am a 8 year ExPlat. Only time will tell. If I knew this was going to be happening, I would have never gone through the trouble to sign up for the Prestige card.

  32. @ AlanG — While I agree the verbiage is confusing, I don’t think it actually represents a change. Per the current cardmember agreement:
    “Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.”

    So airare is included as an airline fee, so that’s good news.

  33. I will be cancelling the card as I paid $450.00 for the year for the Admirals access. The priority clubs all suck as they are 3rd class lounges with minimum amenities. Most of them are in different gate terminals and will not allow you access unless you are departing from that gate.
    I was chatting today with a friend and he made an observation. Most airports have nice take out restaurants and lounges to enjoy. Unless you are travelling more than once per month, it is not worth it. The Centurion lounges are nice lounges but once again, they are in most cases not near the gate of departure. I departed from Miami to San Francisco last month and arrived in the American Airlines terminal area. The Centurion lounge was in another terminal so I was not able to use it until I returned. When I returned, I had to wait through security to use the lounge which was located in the United Airlines hub. When I left the Centurion lounge, I had to wait again in security for my American Airlines flight. Never again.

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