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Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige - Our Favorite Card for the Frequent Traveler

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. 


Counting Your Pennies - How To Earn Rewards with the Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige has a few different earning tiers, so let's take a closer look at how to earn:

  • Earn 5x points on airfare and dining. Airfare randomly includes purchases coded as travel agencies, so theoretically, any travel booked with a travel agent should earn 5x points
  • 3x points on hotel and cruise purchases 
  • 1x on everything else

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. 


Prestige Benefits and Bonuses 

Aside from earning points on daily spend, the Prestige card has a lot to offer:

  • Start your travel bank off with a bang by earning 50k ThankYou points after spending 4k in the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Enjoy a complimentary fourth night when you book an eligible stay of 4 nights or more through Citi's travel portal. This perk can only be used twice a year.  
  • A $250 travel credit helps take the sting out of the annual fee, and is automatically credited to your account after you make an eligible travel purchase. The travel credit applies to all kinds of purchases, including, but not limited to:  
    • 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. 
  • Receive a priority pass select membership, granting you access to hundreds of lounges.


Who is the Prestige Best for?

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. 


Who Shouldn’t Apply for the Prestige?

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. 


Other Considerations: What about the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

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. 


Common Cents

$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.  


Citi Prestige Card Highlights

  • $495 Annual Fee
  • $250 Air Travel Credit
  • Complimentary 4th Hotel Night Free
  • 5x points on flights and restaurants
  • 3x points on hotels and cruises
  • 50,000 bonus points after spending 4k on your card within 3 months of account opening

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