Why It’s Time To Take Another Look At Citi Prestige & Premier Cards

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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.

Arguably the most improved card offerings we’ve seen in the second quarter have been from Citi, as they’ve refreshed and improved the sign-up bonuses on both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. Both of these cards launched improved sign-up bonuses in April, and it has now been over 65 days since that happened.

Below I’ll discuss why that’s significant, though first I wanted to post a refresher about the two cards:

Value proposition of the Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige Card is a “premium” card, in the sense that it has an annual fee of $450. While that sounds high, it’s totally worth way more than that.

Some of the perks of the Citi Prestige Card include the following:

Not only that, but the Citi Prestige Card is actually rewarding for everyday spend as well, as it offers the following bonus categories:

  • 3x points on air travel and hotels
  • 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1x point for all other purchases

In late April I wrote a post about how much the Citi Prestige Card sign-up bonus is worth. So far I’ve earned the 50,000 point sign-up bonus (which can be redeemed for $800 worth of travel on American), a $250 airline credit (I’ll get another $250 credit next year, before paying my second year’s annual fee), access to Admirals Club, a comprehensive Priority Pass membership, and I’ve used the fourth night free benefit at hotels three times (which has saved me about $600 so far).

I used my fourth night free benefit at the Andaz West Hollywood, among other hotels

So for me the Citi Prestige Card has been extremely beneficial, and is a card I plan on holding onto long term.

Value proposition of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

With the refresh of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, Citi has really introduced a product which is competitive with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

The card has an impressive points earnings structure, as follows:

  • 3x points on travel
  • 3x points on gas
  • 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1x point on all other purchases

On a per point basis, that’s arguably a more compelling earnings structure than what’s offered on the comparable Chase and American Express products, depending on your spending patterns.

But the best part is that points from both cards can be pooled, so you can have 90,000 points towards a single redemption, be it a $1,400+ credit for travel on American, or 90,00 points to transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

Why now is a time to reconsider applying

It has been just over 65 days since Citi first introduced the increased sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige Card. Why is that significant? Because of Citi’s policy on applying for new credit cards.

Citi’s policy when it comes to new credit card applications is as follows:

  • You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
  • You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days

I know a lot of people were at their Citi application limit when the refreshed cards were first introduced, given that there were some great offers on Citi American AAdvantage cards earlier in the year.

So if you haven’t applied for a Citi card since the offer was introduced, you should be in the “clear” for applying, based on Citi’s application limits.

I was approved for both the Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, and if you haven’t had an application with Citi in the past 65 days, you should be able to get them eight days apart.

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card are both extremely compelling cards. Some will get value out of one, some will get value out of the other, and many will get value out of both. It has been over 65 days since the increased offer first launched on the Prestige Card, so if you haven’t yet applied, this is probably a good time to do so, given that there these are by far the two best Citi offers available at the moment, in my opinion.

Does anyone plan on applying for the Prestige and/or Premier, but hasn’t done so yet? If so, what’s holding you back?

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  1. You mentioned that you can combine both of the 50,000 point bonuses into 100,000 kris flyer miles. What would 100,000 kris flyer miles get you in terms of flight routing and class?

  2. About a month and a half ago I was strongly debating between the Citi Thank You Premier and the Chase Sapphire, with eventually choosing the Citi card. The biggest reason I thought it was the better choice was the 3x points on ALL travel (flights, bags, gas, hotels, etc.) which would be very rewarding for someone like me who flies every once in awhile but does drive to work everyday. The only thing that was originally holding me back was how few valuable partners Thank You points can transfer to, but I was able to convince myself that if nothing else it was worth the Flying Blue / Singapore combo and I could most definitely easily redeem with either of those. Boy was I shocked at how quickly Citi Thank You points can rack up. Definitely a very beneficial card, and I would highly recommend to anyone who is in a similar situation!

  3. Unfortunately the equivalent product in Australia is nowhere near as good value. $700 per year, *one* free hotel night a year and priority pass – that’s it. No airline credit, no fourth-night-free, no AC access, no bonus points for dining. All for 50% more per year.

    Lucky I know you are American (at least when you want to be :)) but your blog has global reach and appeal – it would be nice if you could be a bit less focused on US-only card products every now and then.

  4. I signed up for the Prestige Card about a month ago, met the minimum spend in a week (including airfare, so I collected the $250 airline credit). My first statement arrived and the TY points we’re already posted, but my annual fee was only $350. I swear when I signed up it was $450. Am I losing it or are others seeing this too?

  5. Hi Lucky, which card do you suggest to use on purchasing AA domestic ticket? Citi Platinum AA which give 2% and come with group boarding 1 or using Citi Premier Thank you which give 3% and might be the last group going to the plane. Assuming no baggage check. Thanks.

  6. Lucky – Thanks for your advise !!
    I got the Citi Prestige in April and have spend over $6k on the card, but the 50k points were not credited to the account. Upon calling Citi, I was told, that it will be credited ONLY after 3 statements ! Did that happen to you as well ?
    Oh I applied for the Citi Premier, as well today, and was told to call in, (not sure why), but was instantly approved 🙂
    Advise – Thinking of travelling to Australia , would Alaska be the best place to transfer the 100,000 points ? but my struggle is living in Texas , how to make that work since the best deals using Alaska is either LA or Seattle.. any suggestions ?


  7. When I first saw this deal a month or two ago on this and other blogs, I said to myself, “That’s crazy! Who would pay a $450 annual fee?” Fast forward to today, my wife and I each have both cards, we were reimbursed $100 each for our Global Entry Application fees, we both purchased airline tickets and received the $250 credit and we will soon have a combined 200K Thank You miles in the bank for our next international trip where we will use the 4th night free feature at hotels probably over $200/night and the lounge pass. Actually, we’ve already used the lounge pass at an Alaska Board Room. This was all in the first 6 weeks. What a deal!

  8. my friend works for a consulting company that’s pretty flexible on where she can stay (as long as it’s under a certain amount) and allows her to use her personal cc for her weekly hotel stays. It’s usually a 4 night stay every week. with the Prestige card, couldn’t she be pocketing the extra 4th night money since it’s no where on the hotel invoice or credit card receipt?

  9. Also, if you open a CitiGold checking account (even if you close it after a few months) the annual fee is $350. Not counting the TY points, I have gotten much more than $350 out of this card on just a couple months. Highly recommend this card!

  10. I applied and was approved for the Prestige two weeks ago, using your link. Hope you received the commission due to you from Citi Bank.

  11. My wife and I have multiple LLCs (primary one for each of our businesses, and a third for side projects we do not wish to co-mingle). Does anyone know if we can sign up for this (or any business card) on the third LLC. Would only hold for the bonus, then likely churn. Thanks!!

  12. Does it matter to Citi which one you apply for first (eg is it hard to justify getting Premier after already getting Prestige?)

  13. @ LK — Nope, the order shouldn’t matter. You’re eligible for both bonuses, and there are perfectly justifiable reasons to want them both.

  14. @ Brian — These are personal and not business cards, so you’d have to apply for them as personal cards and not as cards for LLCs. Sorry!

  15. @ Andrew F — Very odd, usually shouldn’t take that long, but sometimes does. I’d just be patient, frustrating as it might be.

    As far as Australia goes, Alaska is a great option, given access to Cathay Pacific. From Texas you could either buy separate tickets to the gateway, or use positioning flights on Alaska via Seattle/Portland. Good luck!

  16. @ JH — I’d probably use the Citi Premier/Prestige or American Express PRG, since the extra points earnings can definitely be worth it.

  17. @ Patrick — I’ve redeemed KrisFlyer miles for JFK-FRA in Suites Class, which costs ~57,000 miles one-way. Great value.

  18. What’s holding me back is that, despite the fact you haven’t covered this at all, Chase seems to have a new policy that if you’ve applied for more than 5 cards in the past 2 years you can’t get any of the Ultimate Rewards personal cards at all, and I’m planning to apply for a CSP soon…

  19. @Bill S: I signed up for the CitiGold checking account 3 years ago (for the AAdvantage miles) and cancelled it after 6 months. My only active relationship with Citi is through various cards – but when I login it still shows CitiGold branding. This $100 savings on my annual fee is a nice bonus. Hope they don’t catch on.

  20. Signed up for the Prestige for myself, and the Premier for my wife, both thru your links. Just as enthusiastic about these cards as you and the people who commented above. When our 65 day limits are up, we will both be getting the other card, again thru your links. Thanks for the great postings on these cards, as that has really helped me understand the value they provide.

  21. Lucky, any idea if/when the Citi Premier offer will end? Although I’m at the 65 days from last two Citi card apps, am holding off getting the card as long as possible as have quite a few apps in last few months and don’t want to take the risk of my app being rejected.

  22. @ Cynthia — No published date for it to end, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it sticks around for a while. If I receive any indication that it will end soon, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

  23. Hi Lucky,

    This might be a stretch but do you think the 4th night benefit of the Prestige would work on a cruise?


  24. I certainly want this card. Since I’m already paying annual fees on the AA Citi card, Chase Sapphire and SPG, I feel both overwhelmed and like I don’t reap all the benefits from these. I also only take 1-2 aspirational trips per year. I’m AA platinum and SPG platinum. Any simple thoughts on which one or two cards to drop? Thanks 🙂 too bad SD pride got rained on.

  25. Hi Ben/Lucky. This is a great blog. Thanks for sharing. I was approved for the Premier a few days back. My wife & I don’t travel as much as we want to so I’m thinking that we don’t really need the Prestige because of the hefty annual fee. I was thinking to open up the preferred card with the 20K sign up bonus. Do you know if the 20K sign up bonus from the preferred can be transferred to the premier?


  26. @ Patrick — It could be transferred over, though personally I think you’d still get a ton of value out of the Citi Prestige Card. The sign-up bonus is huge, and the card offers so many recurring perks that help offset the annual fee. I think it’s worth trying for at least a year, especially when you factor in the big sign-up bonus.

  27. Thanks for the info Ben. I’d definitely consider it. Any inputs on when is the best time to open the prestige? Is the beginning of the year better? Or the end of the year? And also, would it be possible to open all three to get all 120K points?

  28. @ Patrick — Sure, as long as you wait at least eight days between two applications and 65 days from then before a third application, you should be able to get all three. Timing of opening the Prestige doesn’t really matter. If you get it now then you’d still get an airline credit now and then one in 2016.

  29. @lucky
    I use those the most ( SPG, AA Citi, Chase Sapphire and potentially now Prestige) along with Discover for the 5% cat bonuses and a BofA for 2% grocery. I also have Hilton, Marriott, United and Delta cards but those i don’t use frequently.

  30. @ Robb — If you’re going to cancel cards and try to save on annual fees, I would probably cancel the United or Delta cards, assuming you’re not getting much value out of them. Otherwise I might consider canceling the American Citi Card, unless you’re maximizing the 10% refund on redemptions, up to 10,000 miles per year.

  31. I have the Citi Thank You Premier card (opened it 4 months ago and received the 50k bonus points), and called to ask about the Prestige card. The customer service rep said that I won’t get the 50k bonus points if I get a Prestige card since I received bonus points on the Premier card.

    That doesn’t seem to correlate with what was posted in the comments above.

    Can someone clarify if you can truly receive 50k each from the Premier and Prestige cards?


  32. @ Mark — You absolutely can receive the bonus on both cards. Let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

  33. Thanks Lucky. Can you provide a link to the Citi Prestige app, so you get comp’d.

    Appreciate the fast reply to my question!

  34. Unfortunately, after talking with 4 different Citi representatives (Application Team, 2 in Thank You, and the “specialized team”), no one within any of these areas can/will confirm that I would be eligible for 50k T.Y. points for the Prestige card, when I recently got the same bonus on my Premiere card.

    The Application team said that I would not be eligible. The others said I have to apply for the Prestige card and then I’ll find out. What a mess of a company.

    Can you send me a link that specifically states that a Premier cardholder can get additional bonus points when becoming a Prestige cardholder? I don’t like the idea of applying and having a hard inquiry on my credit, only to find out that it was a waste.


  35. @ Mark — Tons of people (including me) have earned the sign-up bonuses on both cards. You can read more in this post:

    The restriction on this card for the sign-up bonus is as follows:
    “Bonus ThankYou Points not available if you have had a Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 18 months”

    Can assure you you’ll earn the bonus on both cards, just as I recently did. There’s nothing in the terms preventing that, and anecdotal evidence universally suggests that to be the case.

    Let me know if you have other questions. 🙂

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