Citi Prestige to Offer 75,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus and New Features
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When we think about travel rewards credit cards, we consider two things: the points and the perks. And when it comes to perks, one of our favorites is the 4th Night Free feature of the Citi Prestige card. What other credit card benefit is worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars every time you use it, all while being infinitely reusable, uncapped and applicable to virtually any hotel property in the world?
That said, ever since Citi announced nearly a year ago that it was removing some benefits from the Citi Prestige as of July 23, 2017, savvy consumers have been wondering if the bank was going to enhance the card with new benefits to stay competitive with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Platinum Card from American Express. Well, we’re happy to report the answer is yes: Citi is going to be rolling out some new features for the Prestige on July 23 — including major improvements to the 4th Night Free perk — and we have the exclusive scoop on the coming changes.
Online 4th Night Free Benefit
The staff here at TPG has collectively saved tens of thousands of dollars using 4th Night Free — like that time Zach stayed at Amanpulo and saved $1,490. Even with the previously announced changes to how it’s calculated (it’ll be based on the average nightly rate instead of the actual fourth night and taxes won’t be included), we already knew it was going to remain a regular go-to in our travel toolbox.
The one downside of the perk has always been the difficulty in using it. In order to get your 4th Night Free, you had to contact the Citi Prestige Concierge with the booking details — property, dates, room, rate and so on — and then wait for them to book it on your behalf and get back to you with a confirmation showing everything done correctly (hopefully). After that, you had to wait for the hotel charge to come through, and then the cost of the fourth night to appear as a statement credit. In today’s world, that’s entirely too many hoops for a busy traveler to jump through.
However, starting July 23, cardholders will have the ability to book 4th Night Free hotel reservations online at the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. You’ll be able to just log in to your account at thankyou.com and make your reservation there — no human involvement (or email) required. You’ll no longer have to wait for a statement credit to reimburse you for the fourth night — it’ll be applied as a discount at checkout. And you’ll now be able to pay for all or part of the rest of your reservation with ThankYou points at the rate of 1 cent per point, using any mix of points and cash you desire. That essentially brings the value of ThankYou points to 1.33 cents apiece when redeemed for 4th night stays.
An Improved Sign-Up Bonus
Also starting on July 23, for a limited time the Citi Prestige card will come with a 75,000-point sign-up bonus — the highest publicly available bonus we’ve ever seen on this card — for all new cardholders after spending $7,500 in the first three months. Yes, that’s a lot, so make sure you can hit the spend minimum. If you can, that’s worth $750 in cash or over $935 when redeemed directly for airfare at the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. Or you can get nearly $1,000 in value from the bonus on a hotel redemption if you combine it with the 25% discount from the 4th Night Free.
And based on TPG’s most recent valuation of ThankYou points at 1.6 cents apiece, you can get $1,200 in value by transferring the points for potentially even greater redemptions to any of the 15 partners in the ThankYou program, which includes 13 airlines (like Singapore, Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific and JetBlue), as well as the Hilton Honors hotel chain and Sears Shop Your Way.
An Improved Cash Redemption Rate
While ThankYou points will continue to get the most value when redeemed for travel, there are people who still prefer cold hard cash. In the past, some folks even went to some questionable lengths in order to turn ThankYou points into cash at a decent rate. Fortunately that’s no longer necessary — the Citi Prestige card will offer the ability to redeem ThankYou points for cash at a rate of 1 cent per point. That means if you wish, you can use the Citi Prestige as a 3% cash-back card for air travel and hotel purchases, or get 2% cash back on dining and entertainment. Plus there’s no annual dollar cap or limit to the number of cash redemptions you make.
An Improved (Now Metal) Card
The Citi Prestige is undoubtedly a premium card geared toward high-end travelers and as such it should look and feel like one, so it’s been redesigned into a sleek metal version. As you can see from the photo below, we’ve already gotten our hands on the new card — it’s actually a bit lighter than other metal cards, which we greatly appreciate because our wallets are getting heavy from all the premium cards. New cardholders will receive the metal card upon approval, while existing cardholders will receive a metal card in the coming months with the same account number they already have (though the CVV and expiration date will change).
Existing Benefits That Aren’t Going Away
Of course, we still want lounge access, airline credits and all the other good stuff that comes with a premium credit card. The Citi Prestige will keep everything else we’d expect it to have without raising its $450 annual fee, including:
- An annual $250 Air Travel Credit
- $100 statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA Pre√ application fee
- Priority Pass Select lounge access for you, your immediate family or two free guests traveling with you
- 3x points on air travel and hotels, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- 24/7 access to the Citi Prestige Concierge
- Travel and Emergency Assistance, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Trip Delay Protection
It’s great to see a credit card company upping its game in an unmatched way. While we’re sad to see some of the current Citi Prestige benefits go away like Admirals Club access and 1.6 cent direct American Airlines redemptions, our favorite travel benefit is here to stay and now even better. The ability to use ThankYou points for 4th Night Free bookings — and to do it all online at once — is a potential game changer and we’re excited to try it out. So if you already have the Citi Prestige card in your wallet, this gives you yet another reason to keep it there. And if you don’t have already have a Citi Prestige card, the new 75,000-point sign-up bonus means that July 23 may be the perfect time to get one.