Is the Citi Prestige card the best dining rewards card available?

With 5x points on dining purchases, the updated Citi Prestige is one of the most rewarding dining cards currently available

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Whether dining at a fancy restaurant or grabbing a coffee and muffin every morning on your daily commute, eating out can add up. To help offset the expense, why not get rewarded for your food purchases by earning points that can later be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards or free travel?

While there are many credit cards that reward cardholders for dining out, the Citi Prestige card may take the lead, thanks to its recently increased rewards rate: Cardholders can now earn 5 points per dollar on dining purchases.

See what other factors make the Citi Prestige card a top choice for those wishing to maximize their rewards earnings.

Generous rewards rate

The Citi Prestige card increased its dining rewards rate from 2 points per dollar to 5 points per dollar on Jan. 4, 2019 – making it one of the highest rewards rates for dining purchases.

For those who frequently eat out, the 5-point bonus will be especially rewarding. For example, if you spend $500 each month at restaurants, you’ll earn approximately $300 in rewards from dining at the end of the year.

Yearly rewards rate on $500 monthly restaurant spend
$500 x 5 points x 1 cent x 12 months = $300

Plus, Prestige cardholders can earn the bonus while dining at restaurants overseas, unlike the Hilton Honors cards and American Express Gold® Card, which only offer a dining bonus at U.S. restaurants.

The Citi Prestige card is also rewarding for frequent travelers. Cardholders can earn 5 points per dollar on air travel, 3 points per dollar on cruise lines and hotel purchases and 2 points per dollar on entertainment through Aug. 31, 2019, then 1 point per dollar. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

$250 annual travel credit

Citi expanded the Prestige card’s annual travel credit on January 4 as well. Now, instead of being limited to air travel, the annual credit includes all travel purchases, including taxis, hotels, car rentals, parking tolls and more.

Free fourth night hotel stay

Citi Prestige cardholders receive a free hotel night when they pay for four consecutive nights with their Prestige card. The benefit applies to any brand of hotel, with no blackout dates.

Starting September 1, cardholders will be limited to using the benefit two times per calendar year. However, only bookings made on or after that date will count toward the 2019 cap.

Complimentary lounge access

As a Prestige member, you will receive complimentary access for you and two guests to more than 1,200 Priority Pass Select airport lounges worldwide.

Additional card perks

Other valuable benefits include a $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, no foreign transaction fees, 24/7 concierge, free roadside assistance, Citi Private Pass BEYOND, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost baggage insurance, baggage delay insurance, price protection and more. Plus, starting in May, cardholders will receive cell phone assistance for damage or theft of a phone when they use their Citi Prestige card to pay their monthly cell phone bill.

High annual fee

All of these card perks come with a substantial fee of $450 annually. While this amount may give you a bit of sticker shock, it’s actually a fairly standard amount for a premium credit card. Also, since each Prestige point is worth approximately 1 cent, the average consumer (who spends $15,900 each year on gas, food, clothing and general purchases) can cover a large amount of that fee with their rewards earnings alone: We estimate the average consumer can squeeze more than $300 in rewards value from the Prestige card annually.

Keep in mind, though, that the annual fee is scheduled to increase to $495 in September 2019.

Comparing dining rewards cards

While the Citi Prestige card offers one of the highest rewards rates on dining purchases, you may prefer a dining rewards card with a lower annual fee or one that offers points on grocery purchases as well.

See how the Citi Prestige card compares to similar dining rewards cards in the table below.

Comparing dining rewards cards

  Rewards rate Annual fee
Citi Prestige
  • 5 points per dollar on dining and air travel
  • 3 points per dollar on cruise lines and hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on entertainment (through Aug. 31)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$450
American Express® Gold Card
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$250
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$95, $0 first year
Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$0
Uber Visa Card
  • 4 points per dollar on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2 points per dollar on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping and video and music streaming
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$0
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (on first $7,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter)
  • 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on Costco purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$0 (requires $60 Costco membership)
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5 points per dollar on general purchases
$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve card
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurants (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$450
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$95, $0 first year
Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • 7 points per dollar on Hilton hotel stays
  • 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
  • 3 points per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$0
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
  • 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties
  • 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations
  • 3 points per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$95
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • 14 points per dollar on Hilton stays
  • 7 points per dollar on airfare, car rentals and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
$450
AARP Credit Card from Chase
  • 3% cash back at restaurants and gas station purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$0

Is the Citi Prestige the best dining rewards card?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a card. If you spend a large amount on eating out and traveling each year, the Citi Prestige card is a solid option. With its 5-point bonus on those purchases, as well as its travel credits and benefits, the card will essentially pay for itself each year.

But if your goal is to earn the highest rewards rate possible, the Hilton Honors cards are your best bet. Keep in mind, though, that you can only earn the dining bonus rate at U.S. restaurant. Also, Hilton points are vastly inflated – worth only half of the average credit card point.

Or, if you prefer to test out a dining rewards card for a year without commitment, the Savor Cash Rewards card from Capital One offers 4 percent cash back on dining purchases and waives the $95 annual fee the first year.

Can you apply for the Prestige card now?

Although Citi stopped accepting new applications for the Prestige card in August 2018, they plan to relaunch the card in late January 2019. So if you aren’t an existing Prestige cardholder, you can apply for the card at that time.

See related: Updated Citi Prestige card now offers 5x points on dining and air travel, Citi's upcoming no-fee card will reward you for every purchase 


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Updated: 01-19-2019