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Update: The Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou® Premier now offer 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.
Early last year, Citi came out with what was hands down the best sign-up bonus of the year — they were offering a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card.
Probably the reason for such a big bonus was that the American Express Platinum Card would no longer get you into Admirals Clubs, and Citi wanted to make a push for the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card and hopefully gain some market share. Their card did get you into the Admirals Club, so it was a compelling point of difference for many.
With the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus it was an absolute no brainer, and for the past year I think a vast majority of us have had an Admirals Club membership. Justifying the $450 annual fee isn’t that tough with such a huge sign-up bonus.
But for many of us the card is now up for renewal. If you’re like me, you’re likely trying to figure out what to do.
I do value Admirals Club access, given how much I fly with American domestically. While Admirals Clubs aren’t glamorous, it is useful to have a quiet place with wifi from which to work.
The Citi Prestige® Card also offers Admirals Club access
The Citi Executive AAdvantage Card isn’t the only card that can get you into an Admirals Club — the Citi Prestige Card can as well. The one distinction to note is that the Citi Prestige doesn’t offer an Admirals Club membership, but instead offers Admirals Club access.
The major distinction is Citi Prestige cardholders may only access the club when traveling on American or US Airways that same day. You’re still allowed to bring in two guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age).
Admirals Club access for $200 per year
The awesome thing about this card is that the Citi Prestige offers a $250 annual airline fee credit. This credit can be used towards airfare, baggage fees, lounge access, and some in-flight purchases. That’s right, the credit can officially be used towards airfare.
Is there anyone here that doesn’t spend at least $250 per year on airfare, be it on taxes or the fare itself? To me that’s as good as cash, and lowers my “cost” to keeping the card to $200.
The Citi Prestige® Card also offers a $100 Global Entry application fee credit, if you’re not yet enrolled.
Citi Prestige® Card basic details
Here are the very basic details of the card:
- Sign-up bonus: earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open
- Annual fee: $450
- Foreign transaction fees: none
The Citi Prestige® Card is rewarding for everyday spend as well
The Premier Card will be undergoing some changes in terms of its bonus categories as of April 19, 2015:
But what’s worth noting is that the Citi Prestige® Card also offers some extremely lucrative bonus categories. The card offers:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
So in terms of category bonuses, the only difference between the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is that the latter offers bonus points in more “travel” categories — not just airfare and hotels, but also gas, car rental agencies, etc.
But if those specific travel categories aren’t that important to you, the Citi Prestige Card can actually be a great substitute for the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
Regardless, it’s a great card for everyday spend thanks to the lucrative bonus categories.
I’m seriously considering this card, given that my Citi Executive AAdvantage Card is up for renewal next month. I don’t want particularly want to pay the $450 annual fee, give the card isn’t actually rewarding for everyday spend.
So picking up the Citi Prestige® Card seems like a no brainer. Not only is it rewarding for everyday spend, but it’s also the cheapest way I’ve been able to find for accessing Admirals Clubs. $200 per year is a price I’ll gladly pay for Admirals Club access.
Has anyone found a cheaper way to get Admirals Club access, or “jumped ship” to the Citi Prestige® Card for that reason?