Devalued, but still decent: Citi Prestige Card review

Jan 31, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with the latest information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

Update: This card is no longer open to new applicants. View the current offers here.

Citi Prestige® Card overview

The Citi Prestige® Card is still a contender in the premium travel credit card market despite its 2019 devaluation. With its valuable earning rates and numerous perks, the Citi Prestige remains a compelling travel rewards credit card for select consumers. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Citi’s credit card lineup went through massive changes in 2019. And the Citi Prestige, Citi’s most-premium travel credit card, saw significant changes.

On the positive side, Citi improved the card’s earning rates in early 2019. But massive devaluations hit the Prestige in late 2019 via a raised annual fee, stripped protections and caps on benefit usage. These devaluations weren’t the first for the card, which once offered perks such as unlimited Admirals Club access and free rounds of golf.

However, if you forget what the card once offered and instead look at its current offerings, the Citi Prestige is still worth considering. For select consumers, the Citi Prestige’s benefits will outweigh the cost of the annual fee.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Frequent travelers will be able to get the most out of the earning rates and benefits of the Citi Prestige. With a high $495 annual fee, this card is only worth it if you know you’ll take full advantage of its benefits. The Citi Prestige’s most valuable perks include:

If you don’t travel frequently, you may be better off with a lower-annual-fee mid-tier travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or American Express® Green Card. And if you’re looking for different top-tier luxury benefits, you should consider The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Citi Prestige is a valuable option for travelers who want to earn Citi ThankYou points. However, make sure you are eligible for the sign-up bonus before you apply. The Citi Prestige application page states:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+®, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

If you aren’t currently eligible to earn the bonus, I recommend considering other cards or waiting to apply until you can earn the bonus.

Related: Even though the Citi Prestige has lost a lot of benefits, I’m still keeping mine (for now); Here’s why

Sign-up bonus: As much as $850 in value

Citi card shot in French Polynesia
(Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Right now, you’ll earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 with the card within the first three months of opening your account.

TPG values this bonus at $850. That’s not the best bonus on the market, but it is solid. However, some mid-tier cards offer bonuses with a higher value. For example, the Citi Prestige’s lower-annual-fee sibling, the Citi Premier® Card, currently offers a more valuable bonus.

Two of the other top travel rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum, also currently offer more valuable welcome offers. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s 60,000-point bonus (after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.) is worth $1,200 according to TPG valuations.

And the Amex Platinum currently offers a 100,000-point welcome offer (after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership) that we value at $2,000. Some new Amex Platinum cardmembers can even get up to 100,000 points with the CardMatch tool (offer is subject to change at any time).

Still, you can get some great redemptions out of 50,000 ThankYou points, especially if you know your way around the Citi ThankYou Rewards program. Even if you redeem your Citi ThankYou points at a rate of one cent each to book travel through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, the sign-up bonus will provide enough value to offset the card’s annual fee for your first year.

Related: So close, yet so far: Comparing the Platinum Card from American Express and the Citi Prestige Card

Main perks and benefits

(Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)
Even though it’s been devalued, the Citi fourth-night-free award that comes with the Prestige can be quite lucrative at hotels such as the SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton. (Photo by Samantha Rosen/The Points Guy)

Citi eliminated most of its travel and shopping protections and devalued certain perks in 2019. But, there is still a lot to love about the card’s offerings.

Fourth night free

The Citi Prestige fourth night free perk has long been considered the most valuable benefit of the Citi Prestige. Although Citi devalued this perk in 2019, it can still be beneficial if used carefully.

The fourth-night-free benefit currently works like this: Citi will pay for the fourth night of your stay at virtually any hotel when you book through ThankYou.com. However, you can only use this benefit twice each calendar year. And the fourth night free is based on your average nightly rate, excluding taxes and fees.

Keep in mind that because bookings must be made through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, you generally won’t earn hotel loyalty points or receive elite benefits. And be sure to compare prices with several other booking methods, as the fourth-night free perk won’t always provide the best value.

Related: How valuable is the Citi Prestige’s 4th-night free when booking mid-tier hotels though Citi ThankYou?

Up to $250 travel credit

Citi Prestige cardholders get a travel credit of up to $250 every calendar year for travel purchases. Specifically, you’ll automatically get a statement credit for the first $250 of travel purchases that you make each year. This credit applies to a wide variety of travel purchases, including purchases from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, travel aggregators, tour operators, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis, limousines, car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots, garages and bus lines.

Plus, through the end of 2021, Citi Prestige cardholders can use the travel credit for purchases at supermarkets and restaurants.

This credit effectively lowers the $495 annual fee to $245, since everyone with the Citi Prestige card can easily use this credit. Additionally, most new cardholders will receive two travel credits in their first year as cardmembers. After all, your travel credit resets every calendar year. So, if you apply and receive your new card before the end of 2021, you’ll be able to receive a $250 credit in 2021 and 2022.

Related: How credit card issuers classify travel and dining purchases

Global Entry statement credit

Global Entry kiosks
Global Entry can save you significant time when returning to the U.S. (Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

I love having Global Entry — it’s saved me from standing in countless hours of TSA security and U.S. Customs lines. Citi Prestige cardmembers get up to a $100 credit every five years that can be applied toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

Several other cards also offer a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit. But, if you’ve already enrolled in either of the two programs, you can use the credit for a family member or friend’s application.

Related: Denied for Global Entry or PreCheck? Here’s how to appeal

Priority Pass lounge access

As a Citi Prestige cardholder, you’ll also get access to the Priority Pass lounge network. The Priority Pass network includes more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.

Citi Prestige cardholders get a Priority Pass Select membership that provides complimentary lounge access for the cardholder and immediate family members or up to two guests. There are some excellent Priority Pass lounges in the U.S., but most of the best Priority Pass lounges are outside the U.S.

Several other cards offer Priority Pass lounge access. But, unlike Amex-issued Priority Pass memberships, Citi-issued memberships still offer the Priority Pass restaurant benefit.

Related: How valuable is a Priority Pass lounge membership?

Cellphone protection

Woman using a cell phone
Cell phone protection can save you money if your phone is stolen or damaged. (Photo by @criene/Twenty20)

Citi added cellphone protection to the Citi Prestige in 2019. When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Citi Prestige Card, this protection will cover you against theft and damage for up to five phone lines. You can get up to $1,000 per claim and $1,500 per 12-month period. However, each claim is subject to a $50 deductible.

The Citi Prestige doesn’t offer bonus rewards for cellphone services. But, you may want to pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Citi Prestige, even though you’ll only earn 1x points.

Related: Credit cards that cover cellphone loss and damage

Extended warranty and purchase protection

Although Citi removed shopping and travel protections from most of its cards in 2019, several cards (including the Citi Prestige) kept several shopping protections. Specifically, Citi Prestige cardholders still get extended warranty protection and purchase protection when buying eligible items with their card.

The Citi Prestige’s extended warranty protection is relatively generous. This protection extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible purchases for an additional 24 months (although total coverage won’t last more than seven years from the purchase date). With this protection, Citi may repair, replace or reimburse eligible items up to the cost you paid for the item or $10,000, whichever is less.

Meanwhile, the Citi Prestige’s damage and theft purchase protection covers eligible items for 90 days after purchase or delivery. You can get up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per year.

Related: Purchase protection saved us $1,700 — reader success story

How to earn points

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

An essential part of evaluating a card is assessing how easily you can earn points through spending. Luckily, earning is one area where the Citi Prestige improved in 2019. Specifically, now you’ll earn as follows with the Citi Prestige Card:

  • 5x Citi ThankYou points at restaurants, airlines and travel agencies (8.5% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 3x points at hotels and cruise lines (5.1% return)
  • 1x points on other purchases (1.7% return)

However, remember that Citi removed travel protections from its cards back in 2019. So, despite the effective 8.5% return on airfare, I usually use a credit card that provides travel insurance when booking flights. And, I typically use a hotel credit card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve when paying for hotel stays. As such, I usually only use my Citi Prestige at restaurants, cafes and bars.

Related: How to earn 5x points on dining, airfare and more with the Citi Prestige Card

How to redeem points

United aircraft
You could transfer Citi ThankYou points to Avianca Lifemiles and then redeem for a United-operated flight within the U.S. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to 16 airline partners:

Some of the Citi ThankYou transfer partners overlap with Amex, Chase and Marriott. But I’ve found it useful to have a variety of transferrable currencies. If you’re not sure which transfer partners are best, here some ideas for redeeming Citi ThankYou points on Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld carriers.

You can also use your Citi ThankYou points to redeem for travel through Citi’s travel portal. Doing so will usually provide less value than transferring to airline partners. But, depending on your travel goals, there may be times when doing so works best for you.

Related: Is Citi ThankYou Rewards the most underappreciated and misunderstood program?

What cards compete with the Citi Prestige?

(Photo by The Points Guy)

The most direct competitors to the Citi Prestige are two other premium travel cards: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum. However, several mid-tier cards also compete with the Citi Prestige.

Related: Battle of the premium travel rewards cards: Which is the best?

Premium travel cards

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)

Let’s start by considering the Citi Prestige’s competitors in the premium travel rewards landscape.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a $550 annual fee in exchange for a 60,000-point sign-up bonus (worth $1,200 according to TPG’s valuations), 3x on dining and travel, excellent travel protections and a nice set of benefits. For example, cardholders get a $300 flexible travel credit (that can be used for purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through 2021), a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years and Priority Pass Select membership. Plus, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get partner perks with brands such as Lyft, Doordash and Peloton.

The Amex Platinum also charges a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). It offers a 100,000-point welcome offer (worth $2,000 according to TPG’s valuations) and a suite of luxury benefits. For example, Amex Platinum cardmembers get unparalleled lounge access, an airline fee credit of up to $200, U.S. Uber credits of up to $200, Saks credits of up to $100, elite status with Marriott and Hilton and more. However, you should also check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a 100,000-point Amex Platinum welcome offer (offers are subject to change at any time).

The Citi Prestige’s earning categories are effectively a compromise between the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve. After all, you get broader categories than the Amex Platinum and higher earning rates than the Sapphire Reserve. The range of benefits, earning structure and annual fee all place the Citi Prestige in the premium cards category. But many consumers will find the Citi Prestige sits a step below the Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum.

So which of the three is right for you? It all comes down to what perks you’ll use. The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum offer more in the sheer volume of their benefits, but volume doesn’t matter if those cards come with benefits you won’t use.

Related: Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

Mid-tier cards

Of course, if you don’t travel enough to maximize the perks on a premium travel rewards card, you may prefer a mid-tier card. For example, the Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, American Express Green Card and American Express® Gold Card might be better choices. Each of these cards offers a lower annual fee and a selection of perks that may provide more value to you.

Related: The best credit cards with annual fees under $100

Bottom line

With so many options out there, is the Citi Prestige worth adding to your wallet?

For those who will use most of the Citi Prestige’s benefits, the card can certainly be worth the cost. The fourth-night-free benefit can still provide hundreds of dollars in value when used strategically. And the $250 annual travel credit is easy to use, especially now that you can use it at supermarkets and restaurants. Plus the card’s 5x earnings and shopping protections can provide significant value.

Even with the devaluation of the fourth-night-free benefit, the Prestige retains a spot in my wallet. But, the Citi Prestige isn’t a clear-cut choice for everyone. As such, it’s worth carefully considering how much value you’ll get from the Citi Prestige Card before applying.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

For rates & fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.

Featured image by The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.