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Update: Citi has clarified that existing and new cardholders will receive all the current benefits of the Citi Prestige until 7/23/17. The post below has been updated to reflect this.
Over the past week the Citi Prestige Card has undergone some major changes, which we at least had a bit of advance notice about. I was sad to see that changes were coming to the card, given that I consider it to be the all around most lucrative card out there. Over the past several days we’ve slowly learned about the changes being made, and it seems like we now have full info as to what the changes are.
With that in mind, I figured I’d cover the four changes being made to the Citi Prestige Card. While the changes are mostly negative, the good news is that many of them don’t take effect until late July of 2017.
Decreased sign-up bonus with increased minimum spend
The Citi Prestige Card used to have a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months, while the sign-up bonus is now 40,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.
Of course this change is bad news, though on the plus side at least the bonus didn’t drop to zero, as was the case with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. That would be much more drastic.
No more Admirals Club access
American Admirals Club access will no longer be a benefit of the card after July 23rd of 2017, but all Citi Prestige cardholders will have access in the interim. Citi and American renegotiated their contract, and I’m guessing the two companies couldn’t agree on a price, since American ended up going with a non-exclusive agreement with both Citi and Barclaycard.
Do keep in mind that the Citi Prestige Card still comes with the best Priority Pass membership of any credit card out there, as you get access to Priority Pass lounges with up to two guests for free. Meanwhile other premium credit cards charge you to take guests into lounges.
Decreased value for redemptions on American
Previously ThankYou points could be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of travel on American, or 1.33 cents each towards the cost of travel on other airlines. Going forward, the card will offer a flat 1.33 cents per point towards the cost of an airline ticket, so there’s no longer extra value for booking on American.
Fortunately there are other great uses of ThankYou points, like transferring them to Singapore KrisFlyer.
No more free golf
The Citi Prestige Card comes with three free rounds of golf per year, which many people valued. It’s not something I ever used, but I know it saved a lot of people money. That benefit isn’t advertised for new cardmembers anymore, though all cardholders will still receive three rounds of golf per year, provided reservations are made on or before 7/23/17.
What do I make of these changes?
Of course the changes are negative, and I’m not happy to see them. Do keep in mind that many of these benefits continue for the next year, so at least we’re getting plenty of notice.
On one hand I’m a bit disappointed to see so many negative changes at once. A decreased sign-up bonus and fewer perks while maintaining the same annual fee is unfortunate. At the same time, we can hope that they ripped the band-aid off all at once here, so to speak, and that these are all the changes that are in store.
Is the Citi Prestige Card still worth it?
Given that many of the perks of the card are still around for the next year, is the card still worth it for those who might just be applying? Personally I think the answer is still yes.
The card has a $450 annual fee, though still comes with a $250 airline credit (really it’s $500 of credits before your second year’s annual fee is due). That essentially lowers your yearly out of pocket on the card to $200, at least for mental account purposes, if you subtract the $250 airline credit from the $450 annual fee. Keep in mind that the airline credit can be applied to any airline purchase, including the cost of a ticket.
So for $200 per year you’re getting:
- A Priority Pass Select membership with two free guests per visit
- A great rewards structure where you’re earning triple points on airfare and hotels, and double points on dining and entertainment
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
That last benefit is really the best, and singlehandedly what gets me the most value with the card. I’m thrilled that no changes were made to that benefit. For example, in the first year alone I got ~$2,200 of value out of the fourth night free benefit.
The Citi Prestige Card isn’t as beyond-amazing as it used to be, but it’s a card I’ll still get a ton of value out of. The fourth night free perk is the benefit on this card that gets me the most value, and that’s sticking around. As long as that isn’t modified further, I’m a happy camper.
I’d rather all the above changes be made than them eliminate the fourth night free hotel benefit, personally.
Still, there’s no denying that all around these are negative changes. But the card sort of was too good to be true, so…
How do these changes impact whether or not you’ll keep the Citi Prestige Card?