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How to Get Access to Special Citi Prestige Benefits With Citi Banking

Aug. 24, 2017
8 min read
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The Citi Prestige Card has received lots of coverage over the last month, thanks in large part to the newly increased sign-up bonus of 75,000 points after $7,500 in purchases within three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $1,125 based on TPG's most recent valuations, and when you factor in the card's $250 annual air travel credit, you can easily offset the card's $450 annual fee. However, there's a way to sweeten the value proposition on the Prestige even further, and today I want to go through how to leverage Citi's banking programs to do just that.

Let's start with a quick run-down of the applicable bank account types for this enhancement. As a full-service financial institution, Citibank offers a wide array of accounts for customers. Here's an overview of the five main personal banking products available at the time of writing:

Account TypeDeposit RequirementsMonthly FeeHow to Avoid the Monthly Fee
Citigold PackageCombined average monthly balance of at least $200,000NoneN/A
Citi Priority PackageNone$30Combined average monthly balance of at least $50,000
Citibank Account PackageNone$25Combined average monthly balance of at least $10,000
Basic Banking PackageNone$12Combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500
one direct deposit AND one bill payment each month
Access Account PackageNone$10Combined average monthly balance of at least $1,500
one direct deposit each month
One bill payment each month

As you can see, these different account types require different levels of investment or activities to avoid fees, and you can click on each one to learn more. For today's post, however, I'm going to focus on the first two (Citigold and Citi Priority) and highlight two key perks that aren't really advertised:

Both Citigold and Citi Priority clients receive a $100 discount on the Citi Prestige Card annual fee and a relationship bonus on purchases made with the card.

If you click on either of the above links for these accounts, you won't find these perks listed anywhere. You also won't see them on the application page for the Citi Prestige Card. However, these are verified perks of these two account types, so let's take a closer look:

Discounted Annual Fee

The Prestige usually carries a $450 annual fee, but you could knock $100 off that with either a Citigold or Citi Priority account.

The first benefit to holding being both a Prestige cardholder and a Citigold/Citi Priority client is a $100 discount on the card's annual fee, bringing it down to just $350. Even though this may still seem like a large out-of-pocket expense for a travel rewards credit card, it's critical to factor in the other perks that lower the fee even further. Two in particular stand out, especially during the first year:

In other words, if you're a Citigold or Citi Priority client, apply for the card now and use the Global Entry fee credit, you've essentially erased the entire annual fee.

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While I don't have any personal experience with this, anecdotal evidence indicates that your account should automatically reduce this annual fee when you apply. And that was the case for TPG when his Prestige annual fee came due when he was a Citigold member:

Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 3.20.49 PM

However, I would still encourage you to double-check by calling customer service once you're approved to ensure your status is recognized in the system.

Relationship Bonus

Citi Prestige Brian New TPG
You can earn a 15% bonus on all purchases with the Prestige card and a Citigold/Citi Priority account.

The second enhancement that applies to cardholders with Citigold and Citi Priority accounts is a relationship bonus in the form of extra ThankYou points based on your purchases in a cardmembership year. As mentioned above, this is hardly advertised by Citi. However, I was able to find a PDF of the terms & conditions of the Citi Prestige Card online, and it included the following language:

Relationship Bonus. If you have a checking account in The Citigold Account Package, a Citi Priority Account Package, a Citi Private Bank account, or if you are a Citi Global Client or an employee with a special offer, you will earn additional Points for purchases with your Card Account each year. The additional Points will be based on purchases made during each membership year, which is each annual period beginning when you became a Citi Prestige card member. We’ll total up the dollar amount of purchases you made with your Card Account during the membership year, and then multiply that by the applicable percentage listed below. We’ll give you a number of Points equal to the result of that calculation.
  • Citigold: 15%
  • Citi Priority: 15%

As you can see, this only applies to the purchases you make and has no connection to the types of purchases you make that may earn you bonus points. In other words, you won't earn a 15% bonus on the 3 points per dollar spent with airlines and hotels; it'll be based on the "base earning rate" of 1 point per dollar spent.

Here's an example of how this would work. Let's say that you're a Citi Priority client and typically spend $2,000 per month on the Citi Prestige Card. That equates to $24,000 per year, and at the end of your membership year, Citi will multiple that amount by 15% to determine your relationship bonus:

$24,000 x 0.15 = 3,600 Thank You points

This haul is worth $54 based on TPG's valuations, sweetening the value proposition of this card/account combo even more.

Other Benefits

Priority Pass Select membership is another key benefit for all Prestige cardholders.

Of course, the Citi Prestige Card is lucrative for other reasons besides the sign-up bonus, the annual air travel credit and the Global Entry fee credit. Here's an overview of the other perks on the card that make it a great option to add to (and keep in) your wallet:

  • 4th Night Free: If you frequently pay for hotel stays of four nights or longer, this perk could easily make the card one of the most lucrative in your wallet. Some cardholders have saved literally thousands of dollars through this benefit, though even a less over-the-top stay still brings substantial value.
  • Priority Pass Select: Prestige cardholders will enjoy access to Priority Pass lounges, which has recently expanded to include non-lounge locations like restaurants and distilleries. You can also bring in your immediate family members or two guests and don't even need to remember the physical card.
  • Trip delay protection: With the Prestige, you'll enjoy up to $500 of reimbursement for expenses you incur when your trip is delayed by just 3 hours, a noticeably shorter time when compared to other premium travel rewards cards.
  • Other coverage and protection: The Prestige also provides a wealth of other protections for travel and purchases, including access to the Citi Price Rewind program, baggage delay coverage and event ticket cancellation coverage.

All that being said, I always point out the following language from the card's application page:

"Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months."

If you've had any of these cards over the last two years, you're likely ineligible for the 75,000-point sign-up bonus and should thus hold off on applying until you're well outside that window.

Bottom Line

It's always nice to see banks offer added perks to credit cardholders who also have checking, savings and/or investment accounts at that particular institution. Citi is one such issuer with this type of benefit, allowing Citigold and Citi Priority clients a discounted annual fee and a 15% earning bonus on the Citi Prestige Card. Thanks to an increased sign-up bonus and an array of valuable perks, now's a great time to jump on the card, especially if your accounts fall into one of these two categories.

What are your experiences with the Prestige and Citigold/Citi Priority?

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