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The Citi Prestige is often overlooked when compared to other premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express. That’s partially because when the Prestige relaunched earlier this year, the various changes included devaluations and an increased annual fee. But some travelers can still find significant value in having and using the card. Indeed, the Citi Prestige is my go-to card for dining and non-connecting airfare, as well as much of my general spending while traveling abroad.

If you’re like me and you find significant value in the Citi Prestige, with the 60,000-point sign-up bonus now back on the Citi Premier Card, you may be wondering: Is there value to be found in having both cards? We’ve compared the cards in the past, but today we’re considering a different question: What value can the Citi Premier provide if you already have the Citi Prestige?

In This Post

Sign-up Bonus

The Citi Premier currently offers 60,000 points when you sign up for the card and spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. These points are worth $750 if you use them to book airfare through the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel center, but TPG’s valuations peg these 60,000 points at $1,020 due to the value that can be obtained through transferring them to airline partners.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
The Citi Premier 60,000-point sign-up bonus could take you on a nice vacation. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Note that you won’t be eligible for the bonus points if you received a new cardmember bonus for the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige in the past 24 months, or if you have closed any of these accounts in that timeframe. So, make sure you’re eligible for the bonus before you apply.

The Citi Premier’s sign-up bonus provides clear value in your first year — seven to ten times the annual fee depending on how you value Citi ThankYou points. But let’s also look at the ongoing benefits you can get from having and using both Citi cards.

Earning

Here are the bonus earning categories for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier, as well as the estimated return on spending for each category based on TPG’s current valuations:

Category Citi Prestige Citi Premier
Air Travel 5x (8.5%) 3x (5.1%)
Restaurants 5x (8.5%) 2x (3.4%)
Hotels and Cruise Lines 3x (5.1%) 3x (5.1%)
Travel, including Gas 1x (1.7%) 3x (5.1%)
Entertainment 1x (1.7%) 2x (3.4%)
All Other Purchases 1x (1.7%) 1x (1.7%)

So, by adding the Citi Premier, you can improve your earnings on general travel spending (besides air travel, hotels and cruise lines, which already earn 3x or more with the Prestige), (most) gas purchases, and entertainment purchases — assuming you don’t already have other cards that you use for these purchases.

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
Earning 3x points on gas purchases can take some of the sting out of refueling. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Granted, there are better cards on the market for entertainment, gas and general travel spending if you consider these bonus categories independently. But the Citi Premier is the only card that’s considered a top choice for all three categories. Assuming you were previously earning 1x ThankYou points on gas purchases and general travel expenses such as car rentals, ride-hailing apps, tolls, parking, ferries and trains with the Citi Prestige, based on TPG’s valuations, you’d only need to spend $2,794 each year — just $233 per month — in these 3x categories combined on the Citi Premier to offset the card’s $95 annual fee.

If you already have another card that you use for some of these categories, then you need to consider what value (if any) you’d gain by switching your spending for that category or categories to the Citi Premier. For example, if you already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll likely want to continue putting your general travel spending on the Sapphire Reserve instead of switching it to the Citi Premier where you’ll get a smaller return.

Redeeming

As you already know if you have the Citi Prestige, you have two main options for redeeming your Citi ThankYou points: transfer to partners or book through the ThankYou Rewards travel center. There are other options, such as statement credits and gift cards, but these options generally provide less value.

TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each is derived from the value that can be obtained when you transfer your points to airline partners such as Etihad Guest and Avianca LifeMiles. To meet or exceed this valuation, you’ll want to utilize your miles only when you can get solid value from doing so and take advantage of sweet spots.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
Use your points toward a flight, either booking through the travel center or transferring to an airline partner. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Although there are many valuable redemptions that can be made with Citi ThankYou transfer partners, many travelers prefer the ease of using their points to book travel though the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel center. Until September 2019, both Citi Prestige and Citi Premier cardholders will be able to redeem points at a flat 1.25 cents each toward airfare. However, starting in September, Prestige cardholders will no longer have access to this bonus.

As such, this is one area where the Citi Premier Card can provide significant value. This is because Citi Premier cardholders will continue to be able to redeem points at a flat 1.25 cents each toward airfare, and you can move ThankYou points between your Prestige and Premier accounts. So, if redeeming points toward airfare through the ThankYou Rewards travel center is how you prefer to redeem Citi ThankYou points, getting 25% more from your points will justify paying the Citi Premier’s annual fee if you redeem more than 40,000 Citi ThankYou points toward airfare each year — even ignoring the Premier’s earning potential and other benefits.

Benefits

Frankly, the Citi Premier doesn’t offer any notable benefits when compared to the benefits offered by the Citi Prestige (besides the ongoing 25% more toward airfare redemptions described above). However, many of Citi’s shopping benefits have a coverage limit per year per account. So, you could increase your coverage limit by having an additional Citi card and putting purchases on both cards.

(Photo by @alesha_macarosha via Twenty20)
Having two Citi cards may be beneficial if you frequently use Citi’s shopping protections. (Photo by @alesha_macarosha via Twenty20)

Let’s consider the shopping benefits provided by these cards:

Shopping Protection Citi Prestige Citi Premier
Purchase Protection Within 90 days, up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per calendar year per account Within 90 days, up to $10,000 per incident and up to $50,000 per calendar year per account
Price Protection Within 60 days, up to $200 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year per account Within 60 days, up to $200 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year per account
Extended Warranty Extends up to 24 months (no more than 7 years), up to $10,000 per item Extends up to 24 months (no more than 7 years), up to $10,000 per item
Return Protection Within 90 days, up to $500 per item and up to $1,500 per calendar year per account Within 90 days, up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year per account

So, if you tend to reach the annual account maximums for purchase protection, price protection or return protection on your Citi Prestige, getting the Citi Premier and strategically charging different purchases to each card could increase your coverage limit.

Bottom Line

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
Can you benefit from adding the Citi Premier to your purse or wallet? (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

There are many reasons you may want to apply for the Citi Premier Card when you already have the Citi Prestige. As discussed in this guide, the four main ways in which you can benefit are:

  • 60,000-point bonus for eligible applicants that are accepted and spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points toward airfare through the Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Center (this bonus is going away for the Citi Prestige as of September 1)
  • Improving your earning rate in select categories (general travel, gas and entertainment)
  • Increasing the annual maximums for shopping protections by splitting spending across two accounts

Each of these aspects can certainly provide additional value — in fact, as noted in this guide, each aspect could easily justify the Premier’s $95 annual fee for particular customers. Even if you don’t think most of these aspects will be particularly useful — perhaps because you transfer most of your Citi ThankYou points to airline partners, don’t hit the shopping protection coverage limits and already have other cards that earn bonus points in the Citi Premier’s bonus categories — the sign-up bonus alone provides enough points to justify paying the annual fee for multiple years.

Here’s the link to apply now for the Citi Premier Card with a 60,000-point bonus.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

Know before you go.

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.