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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Prestige
As I reported back in August, Citi is completely overhauling its flagship Citi Prestige card, adding benefits like a free 4th hotel night, a $250 annual statement credit for airline purchases (including airfare), and Priority Pass lounge access. The card will also lose some benefits, such as the flight points program, the worldwide companion coach class ticket, and the worldwide 15% discount on airfare.
These changes are set to take place this Sunday, October 19; anyone who is approved for Citi Prestige after that date will receive the new package of benefits. However, cardmembers with accounts opened between October 18, 2013 and October 18, 2014 will be given an extra year to use some of the expiring benefits (specifically the companion ticket and 15% discount). That means if you apply and are approved in the next few days, you can get a supercharged Citi Prestige card with the new benefits and some of the old ones for the first year.
Companion Ticket and 15% Discount
These two expiring benefits can offer a lot of value. The companion ticket is valid for one round-trip, one-way, or multiple destination coach class airfare with the purchase of another. The 15% discount is good in either coach or first class, is valid on purchases of up to 4 tickets, and can be used an unlimited number of times. Read more details about both benefits to see what you can get out of them.
The catch previously was that to use either benefit, you had to book travel through Spirit Incentives; sometimes their prices were equal to (or even better than) what you’d find elsewhere, but sometimes prices were inflated. However, after this weekend Spirit Incentives will be out of the loop, and you’ll book through Citi customer service until the benefit expires for good next year. It’s hard to predict how that will impact prices. Generally the Citi ThankYou Travel Center has prices comparable to any online travel agency (though sometimes with fewer options), but it’s not clear whether that will be the avenue for booking. At worst, you may end up paying slightly more in order to then pay less, but you should come out well ahead with either benefit.
Citi Prestige currently offers 30,000 ThankYou Rewards points after you make $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership. There’s also an in-branch offer for Citigold customers to get 60,000 ThankYou points (30,000 after spending $3,000 within 3 months, and another 30,000 after spending $10,000 within 12 months) with a lower annual fee.
Other benefits (after October 19, 2014) include:
- 3x points for airlines, hotels, and travel agencies, including online companies like Priceline and Travelocity. 2x points on dining and entertainment.
- $250 annual air travel credit valid for any airline expense, including airfare.
- Priority Pass membership, with access to 700+ lounges worldwide.
- Admirals Club and US Airways Club lounge access.
- Free 4th night at hotels worldwide.
- 60% bonus when you redeem ThankYou points through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for travel on American Airlines or US Airways, or 33% bonus when you redeem on other airlines.
- Global Entry $100 statement credit.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Chip and signature.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the new version of Prestige, and I think with its new transfer partners, Citi has done a lot to elevate this card and the ThankYou Rewards program in general to the level of the competition. In a comparison of premium credit cards, TPG Contributor Nick Ewen recently declared Citi Prestige the winner over the Amex Platinum and Visa Black cards.
If you’re thinking about applying, now is certainly a good time to do it, so that you can take advantage of the companion ticket and 15% discount for the next year. But if you’re not ready to apply now, I still think Citi Prestige offers good value even without those expiring benefits.
What do you think of the new benefits on Citi Prestige? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.