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When we first learned that the Citi Prestige would be adding some new benefits, chipping away at some others and reopening to new applicants, the rough timeline for the card being relaunched was “January.”

Well, it’s Jan. 31 and scarcely a day’s passed this month where we haven’t received questions on just when the card would once again be available. With 5x points per dollar for dining and air travel on the line, it’s a question we’ve had as well — and Citi certainly kept the answer to itself.

However, on the final day of the month, the card’s finally open for applications right under Citi’s self-imposed deadline. The Citi Prestige is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after $4,000 in spending in the first 3 months. The annual fee is now $495 (up from $450) though for current card holders the annual fee increase won’t take effect till later this year.

That’s not the most exciting sign-up bonus considering how much anticipation there’s been for this card to reopen to applicants (and we’ve seen 75k in the past), but something is better than nothing. Based on TPG’s applications, 50,000 transferrable Citi ThankYou points are worth $850. Here’s how to redeem your Citi ThankYou points for maximum value. 

If you’re an existing Citi Prestige card holder, you’ve been able to earn 5x points on dining and air travel, 3x points on hotels and cruises, 1x elsewhere since early January. At that time, the card’s $250 annual air travel credit was also expanded to apply to all travel purchases. Starting in May, the Prestige will also add cellphone protection.

Beginning in September, a second round of updates will take effect — and these fall squarely in the “devaluation” category. The card’s exceptional 4th Night Free benefit, which gets you a free night on paid hotel bookings, will be capped at two uses per year, and you’ll no longer be able to book 4th Night Free stays through the concierge to earn hotel elite status credit and benefits. Thankfully, any stays booked in 2019 before that date won’t count against your two for 2019. The annual fee for the card is also increasing to $495 for existing card holders in September.

Those considering adding the Citi Prestige to their wallet should take note of Citi’s “family rule.” To be eligible for the Citi Prestige’s welcome bonus, you cannot have opened or closed another card in the ThankYou Rewards family in the last 24 months. This would include not only the Citi Prestige, but also the Citi Premier Card and Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.

Bottom Line

We’re happy to see that Citi came in just under the wire, and re-opened the Citi Prestige for new card holders before the month ended. While we would have liked to see the welcome bonus come in a bit higher, earning 5 points on dining and air travel (worth a combined 8.5 cents per dollar) is a very strong offering. This is especially true given the card’s built-in travel protections. While the 4th Night Free perk will be capped later in the year, you still have several months to use that benefit as much as you wish.

Know before you go.

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