The Citi Prestige Credit Card – An Unbiased Opinion

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As the information above tells you, a number of links on this blog (and possibly even in this post) will earn TFM a commission if readers use them but there are no credit card affiliate links here whatsoever. That means that my opinion of the Citi Prestige credit card is genuinely unbiased (it makes no financial difference to me if readers apply for the card or not) so, hopefully, that’s the way it will be taken.

I got the Citi Prestige credit card at the end of last year when I decided that my Citi AAdvantage Executive card wasn’t worth the $450/year annual fee and when I could see a real benefit to holding the Citi Prestige credit card instead (which, coincidentally, also costs $450/year).

Citi Prestige Credit CardIt wasn’t the sign-up bonus that attracted me to the card but the benefits that the card offered.

Citi Prestige Credit Card Benefits

Here are the main current Citi Prestige credit card benefits:

  • $250 airline credit per year – can be used on all airlines and included airfare
  • American Airlines Admirals Club access
  • 4th night free at hotels when you book a minimum of 3 nights
  • Priority Pass membership – in my opinion the best Priority Pass membership available
  • $100 credit towards Global Entry
  • Three complimentary rounds of golf per year (select golf courses)
  • Redeem ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents each for travel on American Airlines
  • Redeem ThankYou Points at 1.33 cents each for travel on all other airlines

Global EntryYou don’t have to use the Global Entry credit on yourself – I used it to pay for Joanna’s application last year

And here is what the card earns in terms of Citi ThankYou Points:

  • 3 points/$ on airfare and hotels
  • 2 points/$ on dining and entertainment
  • 1 point /$ on other purchases

The benefits are great and as I’ve already made use of the $250 airline credit, the $100 credit towards Global entry and the 4th night free benefit (on two occasions) I’ve already made back more than the $450 annual fee. The card has been a no brainer for me.

Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end and Citi are devaluing the benefits of the Prestige card quite significantly.

Citi Prestige Credit Card Benefits Being Cut

From 23 July 2017 the Citi Prestige credit card will lose some pretty major benefits and this will have a significant bearing on how useful the credit card is going forward.

The main benefit cuts are as follows:

  • No more American Airlines Admirals Club access
  • The 4th night fee benefit will now see the credit calculated based on the average nightly rate of your stay and taxes will not be included within the credit.
  • ThankYou points will now only be redeemable at a 1.25 cents each across all airlines, including American Airlines.
  • The 3 complimentary rounds of golf benefit is being withdrawn

grand-hyatt-san-franciscoView from the Grand Hyatt San Francisco – one of the hotels at which I used the 4th night free benefit

For me the single biggest loss will be the Admirals Club access and, as I explained last week, the loss of this benefit has seen me increase the value I put on my Amex Platinum card.

The fact that the “4th night free” benefit will be calculated based on the average nightly rate won’t make too much difference to me but the fact that taxes will not be included is certainly unwelcome.

I’m in two minds about the reduction in ThankYou point redemption values – on the one hand it was nice to be able to get 1.6 cents of value per point towards American Airlines fares (especially as those fares still qualify for elite status and mileage earning) but, on the other hand, when you can transfer ThankYou points to Singapore Airlines and then use them to book one of the airline’s premium cabins, should you be using the points for American Airlines fares anyway?

Will I Be Keeping The Card?

There is no doubt that the value of the Citi Prestige card will be falling dramatically from July next year but I’m still going to keep hold of it.

Irrespective of anything else I will always be able to use the $250 airfare credit so that, effectively, brings the annual fee down to $250 and, in the course of a year, I’ll easily get at least $250 in value from the 4th night free benefit…so the Prestige card will pay for itself.


Added to that I love the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with this card. Unlike the membership that comes with the Amex Platinum card, this one allows members to guest 2 people into lounges rather than one….and, as I often travel in a group of three, this is perfect.

Should You Apply?

Not only will I be keeping the card but I also think that this card will remain useful to a lot of travelers despite the devaluation.

Anyone even considering this credit card must surely be able to use up the $250 airline credit so lets agree that we’re starting from a point where, to make the card worth it, a user needs to get at least $200 of further value from the card.

A combination of a single free night at a reasonably good hotel will see you over that $200 mark and, if that doesn’t quite do it, then the Priority Pass membership certainly should!

Even if you don’t believe that either of those benefits will see you over the $200 mark then the sign up bonus of 40,000 certainly will. 40,000 ThankYou points at 1.25 cents each are worth $500…so the card is worth it for at least one if not two years.


Like I said, despite the devaluation I think the card still has plenty of merit and is definitely still worth consideration….especially if you do any amount of  Economy Class travel somewhere like Europe where the Priority Pass membership will get you and 2 guests into a good number of airline lounges that your airline status may not.

Don’t Apply Now!

If you’ve just read this blog and thought to yourself that perhaps you should apply for this card, don’t! At least not yet.

Chase is bringing out its own high-end credit card next week and that too will have a $450 annual fee – you shouldn’t apply for any credit cards until you’ve considered this card first.

14110-9C ihero14chip_vpwci_fr_hThe new Chase card is expected to be issued as a Visa Infinite card

I wrote a post about the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card yesterday and, if you’re considering applying for the Citi Prestige card, you should read that blog first to see how the benefits of the two cards compare and why you should probably be holding off all credit card applications for a few more days.

Bottom Line

The Chase Prestige credit card is taking a big hit to its benefits from July next year but that doesn’t mean that the card is no longer worth holding or that it’s no longer worth applying for – far from it.

Sure, for some people the Admirals Club membership was the major reason for holding the card and, if you’re one of them, then quite possibly this card is no longer for you.

But this card is a lot more than just Admirals Club access and it can easily pay for itself (often multiple times over) if it’s in the right hands…and only you can really tell if you are “the right hands”.

If you’re not really going to use the Priority Pass membership, if you rarely stay at hotels for more than 2-3 nights at a time and if you don’t really rack up ThankYou points on the bonus categories on offer then you’re not someone who’s going to maximise the value of this card

But if you are going to be using those benefits and if you’re comfortable in knowing how to maximise the value of any Citi ThankYou points you earn then this card should almost certainly be in your wallet.


  1. […] The Citi Prestige Mastercard has taken a bit of a beating recently following the news that a number of its better benefits are either being scaled back or removed completely. The card’s cause hasn’t been helped by the recent introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit card which has got a lot of people all whipped up in a frenzy. But, as I pointed out in my review, the Prestige card still has some merits and I’ve just been a recipient of an unexpected one. […]

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