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The Citi Prestige Card has been closed to new applicants for quite some time and, while the card has remained unavailable, Citi has been making some serious changes to the Prestige’s offering so this isn’t the Citi Prestige Card of old.
On 31 January 2019 (yesterday) Citi reopened the Prestige card to new applicants and, at the same time, launched a 50,000 point sign-up bonus to attract new customers…..but what exactly does the revamped Citi Prestige Card offer?
The Citi Prestige Credit Card
Forget everything you once knew about the Citi Prestige card as the revamped card is different enough to almost be a new card – the earning rates have changed, the annual fee has changes and there have been changes to the benefits offered too.
- Primary cardholder – $495
- Authorised users – $75
- 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
Note: Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier/Citi Premier or Citi Prestige or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months
Link to sign-up page (no affiliate link)
- 5 points/dollar spent at restaurants worldwide
- 5 points/dollar spent on air travel
- 3 points/dollar on spending with cruise lines
- 3 points/dollar on spending with hotels
- 2 points/dollar spent on entertainment (through 31 August 2019 – 1 point/dollar thereafter)
- 1 point/dollar spent on all other purchases (no change)
- $250 travel credit per year which will be applied to most travel spending*
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit up to $100 every 5 years as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- No foreign transaction fees
- Rental car insurance (secondary within the US and primary outside the US)
- Trip cancellation & interruption insurance
- Trip delay protection
- Baggage delay protection
*For the avoidance of doubt, travel purchases which will trigger the annual travel credit include purchases from/through: airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, and bus lines.
Important To Know
The complimentary 4th night free benefit will be limited to two bookings per calendar year from 1 September 2019 but only bookings made after this date will be limited by the cap.
From 1 September 2019 Citi Prestige Concierge will no longer be available for Fourth Night bookings so all bookings will have to be made either online at ThankYou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou in order to be eligible for the Fourth Night free benefit – this is a big negative change.
Bookings through the Citi concierge service are treated in a similar way to direct bookings by the hotel chains while bookings through the ThankYou channels are viewed as 3rd party bookings.
All the popular hotel chains view bookings through 3rd party channels in a negative way and this means that:
- The bookings do not qualify for elite status benefits (no complimentary upgrades, no complimentary breakfasts etc…)
- The bookings don’t qualify for elite night credits
- The bookings don’t qualify for points earning
- The bookings aren’t be eligible for discounts like those offered by AAA (unless specifically mentioned on the site)
- The hotel chains that ordinarily allow members of their loyalty program to upgrade cash bookings with points (e.g. Hyatt) will not let members do so on bookings through the ThankYou channels.
This will make the 4th night free benefit very unattractive to anyone looking to maximise the benefits the big hotel chains offer them with their elite status.
Under the new Citi Prestige Card benefits any ThankYou points earned will only be worth 1 cent each when redeemed them directly for airfare.
In the past the Citi Prestige Card offered a 25% bonus when cardholders used ThankYou points to purchase airfare (1.25 cents each) so the new redemption rules are distinctly less attractive.
It’s nice to have the Citi Prestige card open to new applicants but there have been as many negative changes pushed through during the revamp as there have been positive ones.
It’s undoubtably fantastic that we now have a credit card that earns 5 points/dollar on airfare while at the same time offering good trip cancellation/delay insurances (unlike the Platinum Card from American Express) and it’s great that the Citi Prestige Card offers 5 points/dollar on worldwide restaurant spend as well….but the negatives mustn’t be glossed over.
The 4th night free benefit is going to be considerably less useful after 1 September (to the point where I expect a lot of people to avoid it) and the fact that Citi ThankYou points earned through the Prestige Card (costing $495) will be worth 1 cent each towards airfare when ThankYou points earned through the Premier Card (costing $95) will be worth 1.25 cents towards airfare doesn’t sit well.
I’ve held the Citi Prestige card since it was first introduced and I’ve nearly cancelled it a few times but, for the time being, I can see the value to keeping the card in my wallet.
I do a significant amount of spending that earns 5 points/dollar with this card so it works for me as a card to earn with rather than a card whose added benefits I value.
That’s not to say that the benefits that come with the card cannot be valuable (their value will vary from person to person) but it does mean that I don’t see the main benefits of this card to be a good enough reason to hold it – essentially I pay a net of $245/year for the privilege of holding a card that will earn me a lot of ThankYou points while insuring my travels as well.
For me the Citi Prestige Card works but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone – think closely about how much value you’ll really get out of what the card offers before you apply and, if you do apply and get the card, make sure you get your money’s worth once it arrives in the post.