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I first picked up the Citi Prestige® Card after Citi announced some major improvements to the card a couple of years ago, and it quickly became the most valuable credit card for me. Unfortunately over time the value of the card has decreased somewhat, both in absolute and relative terms. Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve Card, and Amex made improvements to The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Beyond that, Citi announced some major changes to the Prestige Card, that kick in as of July 23, 2017.
Changes being made to the Citi Prestige Card
- Cardmembers no longer receive access to American Admirals Clubs when flying American
- The value of redeeming points on American is decreasing; previously you got 1.6 cents per point towards the cost of a ticket on American, while you’ll only receive 1.25 cents per point going forward
- There will no longer be three free rounds of golf per year
- The way the fourth night free benefit is being calculated is changing, as it will no longer include taxes, and will be based on the average nightly cost over four nights, rather than the cost of the fourth night (which could be much higher than the cost of the first three nights)
These changes are obviously negative, though to me don’t change the fundamental value proposition of the card.
Rumored improvements to the Citi Prestige Card
While this hasn’t at all been confirmed, Doctor of Credit shares four rumored changes that will be made to the Citi Prestige Card. Again, these haven’t been confirmed officially, but rather these are just rumors. Specifically:
- Card will be metal, featuring Mastercard logo
- ShopRunner membership
- Citi ThankYou points worth 1¢ towards cash/gift card redemption
- Citi ThankYou points can be used towards the 4th night free benefit
To me, none of these changes would make much of a difference:
- A metal card is nice, but doesn’t change the value proposition of a card, and it’s also not as special as it used to be
- Many Amex cards with much lower annual fees offer a ShopRunner membership
- Redeeming points for a penny each towards cash or gift cards is hardly a good value, especially when there are cards that offer up to two cents on every dollar spent, like the Citi® Double Cash Card and Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
- If you can use Citi ThankYou points towards a fourth night free benefit you’re still getting at most 1.25 cents of value per point, which I wouldn’t consider to be great, though this is still the best of the rumored improvements
Again, these are all rumors, though I figured they were worth passing on. I certainly hope there’s more to these changes, as these would be underwhelming.
This doesn’t change whether I hold onto the Citi Prestige
Even though I’m not impressed by the rumored improvements to the Citi Prestige® Card, it doesn’t change whether or not it makes sense for me to hold onto this card. To simplify it as much as possible:
- The card has a $450 annual fee
- The card offers a $250 annual airline credit that can be used towards any airline purchase
- I pretty much value that at face value, meaning for me the real “out of pocket” on the card is $200 per year
And for that I get an amazing fourth night free benefit that saves me thousands of dollars per year, and more than justifies the annual fee. I still consider this to be the single most valuable credit card benefit out there.
For me the card is still worth holding onto, but it’s just not worth putting much spend on. It would be nice if Citi made some improvements to the card that actually justified putting spend on the card, especially given how much the competition has improved lately.
Where do you stand on the Citi Prestige® Card — do you still consider it worthwhile for the fourth night free benefit alone, or do you plan on canceling it?