The Citi Prestige has seen quite a bit of turmoil the last few years. It's had its perks stripped back all while most credit card bloggers sleep on it in favor of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. What made us pick it as a top contender then?
Even as the Prestige started to lose it's travel partners, or golf benefits, it still managed to maintain some important core benefits. Strong earning rates in competitive spending categories, premium lounge access, easy to use travel credits, and an awe inspiring 4th night free hotel room benefit keep us coming back for more when it comes to the Prestige. This all comes with a cost though, and with a $495 annual fee you should consider the trade-offs carefully before taking the next steps with an application.
Citi Prestige has a few different earning tiers, so let's take a closer look at how to earn:
Points can be redeemed for travel at a 1 cent per point value. When compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that means you're earning an additional .5 cents per dollar spent on travel. Not huge, but you know what we say...every (half) penny counts. Points can also be redeemed for gift cards or statement credits. (Boring!)
Points can also be transferred to a handful of partners including TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. This is a pretty limited number of partners, but it shouldn't be completely overlooked.
Aside from earning points on daily spend, the Prestige card has a lot to offer:
Prestige is really best for the frequent traveler that will make use of the fourth night free benefit. The fourth night free perk really makes this card shine and helps make the annual fee worthwhile. You should also have excellent credit for this one. We'd hesitate to apply if your score was much lower than a 740 and you've had any missed or late payments in the last year.
The lounge access is nice and the rewards categories are generous. Don't get sucked in by those though. With the Prestige the value comes down to the travel credit and the fourth night free perk. If you're not sucking $500 in value out of those two perks each year, another card is going to be better for you long term.
If you're new to travel rewards and you aren't sure if you'll make use of the travel perks you should ease in to a high annual fee credit card. Starting with the lower annual fee Amex Gold, which is more experience focused might be a good bet. The Capital One Venture card also waives its annual fee for the first year and will unlock transfer partners for you.
Okay, okay. We get it. All of your friends have the Sapphire Reserve. It's hard to argue with that. It's also a good card for frequent travelers. The rewards rate is slightly lower, but you'll have access to a stronger group of transfer partners and a slightly lower annual fee. If you're looking for a luxury travel card with lounge access and you won't use the fourth night free on the Prestige card, Sapphire Reserve is a good bet.
$495 in annual fees is a lot of money to plop down just to be able to pay for things you need to purchase. Before committing to that kind of fee, make sure you can make use of the perks. Don't get sucked into a travel credit card just because everyone and their mother rages about the perks. A cash back card may suit you better and there is nothing wrong with that. The Citi Prestige probably shouldn't be anyone's first credit card. If you're on the fence, start off with a no annual fee credit card, figure out what you want out of your card, and come back in a year to upgrade. We think it's safe to say that credit cards aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Well, except for a digital wallet. That is definitely happening.