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Update: Many details for the Citi Prestige® Card from CitiBank have changed as of 3/18/18. You can learn more about the new offer and card benefits here!
A bit over a year ago I signed up for the Citi Prestige® Card, which I now consider to be the all around best credit card out there. I was motivated to sign up when the card offered an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points upon completing minimum spend.
However, now that I’ve had the card for over a year, I consider it to be the all around most lucrative card out there, when you factor in the sign-up bonus, return on everyday spend, and most importantly, the perks.
Shortly after I signed up for the Citi Prestige® Card I wrote a post trying to estimate what the sign-up bonus is worth. Well, I’ve now had the card for a bit over a year, and have just recently been billed for the second year’s annual fee of $450.
With that in mind, I figured I’d put numbers to the value I’ve received from the Citi Prestige® Card in the first 12 months:
Sign-up bonus: $625
The Citi Prestige® Card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points upon completing minimum spend. Those points can be transferred to one of the ThankYou airline partners, or otherwise can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on any airline.
As a result, at a minimum those 50,000 points get me $625 towards travel on any airline. Since I’m an American flyer, I value that more or less at face value.
However, in my case I actually used the 50,000 ThankYou points towards a Singapore Airlines Suites Class ticket between New York and Frankfurt, which I find to be considerably more valuable. A one-way ticket can be booked for just 57,375 KrisFlyer miles. Converting Citi ThankYou points into KrisFlyer miles is one of my favorite uses of those points.
Airline credits: $500
While there are a few cards out there offering airline credits, I don’t know of any others which are as “no strings attached” as the one offered by the Citi Prestige® Card. Each calendar year you get a $250 airline credit which can be spent on any airline purchase.
Once you make a purchase directly from an airline, it will automatically be reimbursed, up to $250.
And then for my 2016 credit, I took advantage of it in January:
In other words, before my second year’s annual fee was even due I already received $500 in airfare, which in and of itself is more than the first year’s annual fee.
Global Entry credit: $100
So I was able to use my $100 credit to get Ford signed up for Global Entry.
Priority Pass membership: $150
The Citi Prestige® Card offers the most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any credit card. While some other cards also offer a Priority Pass membership, there’s one major difference — the membership through the Prestige Card comes with free guesting privileges, while those with other cards charge you $27 per guest.
The thing is, I also have The Platinum Card® from American Express, so to be completely fair I’ll only value the Priority Pass membership offered by this card based on the ability to take guests. Based on the number of times I’ve taken guests into lounges using my Priority Pass membership, I’d value it at ~$150.
Access the Plaza Premium Lounge London Heathrow using a Priority Pass membership
Fourth night free hotel benefit: $2,200
The fourth night free benefit is a killer perk which puts the Citi Prestige® Card in a league of its own. The benefit works at a vast majority of chain hotels, and is available on virtually any publicly available rate.
Best of all, you still earn points and elite qualifying stays/nights for your stays when booking through the card, and even earn points for the night for which you’re reimbursed. That’s because the reimbursement happens on the back-end, directly onto your credit card statement.
In some cases you can even use this benefit to get two or more nights for free on a longer stay, as I explained in a previous post.
All-in-all I’ve used this benefit nine times since I got the card, and it has saved me ~$2,200. That’s insane.
I used the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali
Citi Prestige Card bottom line
By my math, I’ve gotten over $3,500 of value out of the Citi Prestige Card in the first year. The Citi Prestige® Card is already the credit card which has given the most lifetime value, and I’ve only had it for a year. This card really has it all — a great return on everyday spend, excellent sign-up bonus, and incomparable perks.
It goes without saying that I gladly paid the annual fee for another year, and look forward to continuing to use it.