No longer available, but potentially worth keeping: Citi Prestige Card review
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Editor’s note: This card is no longer open to new applicants, so we’ve updated this article with new information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
Citi Prestige® Card overview
The Citi Prestige® Card is still a valuable part of the premium travel credit card market despite losing numerous perks over the years. Although the card is no longer open to new applicants, its valuable earning rates and remaining perks may still make it an attractive travel rewards credit card for some current cardholders. 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.
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.
Then, in mid-2021, Citi stopped accepting new applications for the Citi Prestige. Although this card isn’t open to new applicants, current cardholders can continue to use and benefit from the card. So, here’s what you should know about the Citi Prestige.
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Who is this card for?
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:
- 5 points per dollar spent at restaurants, airlines and travel agencies
- Two fourth-night-free awards a year
- An annual travel credit of up to $250 (which you can use at supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2022)
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee credit every five years
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 Citi Premier® 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 Citi Prestige isn’t currently available to new applicants. So, you can’t apply for this card and earn a sign-up bonus.
However, the Citi Prestige’s lower-annual-fee sibling, the Citi Premier® Card, currently offers a valuable bonus. And two of the other top travel rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum, also currently offer 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 six months of card membership) that we value at $2,000.
Main perks and benefits
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 the Citi ThankYou travel portal. 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.
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 2022, 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.
Global Entry statement credit
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.
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 and 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.
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 1 point per dollar spent.
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.
How to earn points
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:
- 5 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent at restaurants, airlines and travel agencies (8.5% return based on TPG’s valuations)
- 3 points per dollar spent at hotels and cruise lines (5.1% return)
- 1 point per dollar spent 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.
How to redeem points
You can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to 18 airline and hotel partners:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Choice Privileges
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air
- Flying Blue
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Wyndham Rewards
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 are 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.
What cards compete with the Citi Prestige?
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.
Premium travel cards
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 but offers 10 points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5 points per dollar spent on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar spent on dining and other travel, excellent travel protections and a nice set of benefits. For example, cardholders get a $300 annual travel credit, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years and Priority Pass Select membership.
Meanwhile, the Amex Platinum charges a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) but offers a suite of luxury benefits. For example, Amex Platinum cardmembers get unparalleled lounge access, an airline fee statement credit of up to $200 per year, monthly U.S. Uber Cash of up to $200 per year, biannual Saks statement credits of up to $100 per year, elite status with Marriott and Hilton and more. Enrollment required for select benefits.
The Citi Prestige’s earning categories are effectively a compromise between the Amex Platinum and Chase 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.
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 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.
With so many options out there, is the Citi Prestige worth keeping in your wallet?
For those who 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 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’re getting from the Citi Prestige Card when your annual fee comes due.
Additional reporting by Katie Genter.
For rates & fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
Featured image by The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
This card offers a 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Plus, earn 3 ThankYou points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets and on air travel and hotels. 1 ThankYou point per $1 on all other purchases.
- For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
- 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases