50,000 Points for the Citi Prestige Card
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Citi just launched an increased 50,000 sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months for the Citi Prestige, making this a great card to consider. Citi enhanced this card in November of 2014, by adding an annual $250 air travel credit and a 4th hotel night free.
I value Citi ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents apiece, in my latest monthly valuations, meaning the value of the sign-up bonus is worth a minimum of $800 in award travel, which more than pays for the annual fee, before taking into account the incredible perks of the card.
We’ve covered this card in August in a comparison against the Amex Platinum vs. Visa Black Card, and the Citi Prestige came out victorious. With this new increased signup bonus, it’s a no brainer if you know how to maximize the perks!
Citi ThankYou® Prestige Card
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
Several important and valuable benefits are not included on this list, such as Priority Pass and Admirals Club lounge access, the $100 statement credit for Global Entry, the bonus for redeeming ThankYou points on American Airlines flights, the Citi banking relationship bonus, or the lack of foreign transaction fees. Here’s a rundown of the most important benefits, and how much value I think they offer to cardholders.
Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points
In my latest monthly valuations, I list Citi ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents apiece, so I value the sign-up bonus for Citi Prestige at $800 in award travel. You can use these points with any of Citi’s 12 transfer partners, or you can redeem them directly for travel on American Airlines at 1.6 cents apiece (or 1.33 cents apiece on other airlines). Those direct redemptions have added value, since they count as paid fares, and are eligible to earn frequent flyer miles and count toward elite status.
$250 Air Travel Credit
Citi Prestige used to offer a $200 annual airline fee credit, which covered incidental costs like checked bag fees or in-flight purchases. The current benefit is much more valuable since it can be used to cover airfare. Furthermore, this benefit is offered once per calendar year, so you should be able to use it twice in your first year of cardmembership for a total credit of $500. If you’re not sure Citi Prestige is a good fit for you and are wary of the annual fee, this benefit alone should be able to cover it at the outset.
Complimentary 4th Hotel Night
Citi Prestige cardholders receive a free 4th night at any hotel booked through Citi’s designated travel advisor, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. While the restriction of having to book through CWT is annoying, they generally price out about the same as (or often better than) the major online travel agencies, and the terms of benefits actually state that “Rates provided will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly-available fare at the hotel’s official website.” Generally, these rates will be eligible for the earning of hotel points as well.
Global Entry $100 Credit
If you travel internationally, Global Entry can make re-entering the United States much easier. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that expedites clearance for pre-approved, low-risk international travelers upon arrival in the United States. Citi Prestige offers a $100 statement credit to cover the cost of applying for primary cardholders. I think Global Entry is well worth the price if you travel outside the U.S. with any regularity, but when the fee is covered it’s a no-brainer.
Airport Lounge Access: With this card, you’re provided with complimentary access to nearly 40 American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select. When it comes to Admirals Clubs, the primary cardmember may bring their immediate family or up to two traveling guests with them each time.
The Citi Prestige card comes with a host of value-added benefits that can make its $450 annual fee more than worthwhile. The annual $250 air travel credit covers more than half the annual fee, and Citi made a ton of improvements to the ThankYou program in general over the last year, including the addition of new transfer partners (and there may be more to come). This card also offers other great benefits like lounge access, a Global Entry fee waiver, that fourth-night-free hotel benefit, and more.
Personally, I don’t have this card yet, but it’s on my list of cards to get on my next app-o-rama, since the 50,000 points valued at over $800 is a no-brainer to me. Citi is really upping their game in the premium card market, and this increased sign-up bonus shows that!
Are you planning on getting the Citi Prestige card? Feel free to comment below!