Citi Prestige vs. Platinum card from American Express

Which card is best for you?

Citi Prestige vs. AmEx Platinum

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If you’re a heavy traveler and can afford to spend several hundred dollars on an annual fee, the Citi Prestige card and its longtime rival, the Platinum card from American Express, offer some of the plushest travel benefits you can get on a rewards card.

The Citi Prestige card, for example, has earned a loyal following amongst heavy travelers for its fourth night free benefit, which gives you a complimentary fourth night, no matter where you’re staying or how expensive your hotel. Meanwhile, the American Express Platinum card has long reined as a favorite among elite travelers who appreciate the card’s luxurious extras, including posh airport lounges and a resort credit for select hotels. 

Which card is best for you?

It depends on what kind of rewards you’re after and how much value you’re seeking to get out of your rewards card. The Platinum card is not only more expensive, but its benefits also tend to cater to high-spending cardholders who shell out a lot on airfare and prefer to stay at high-end hotels.

The Citi Prestige card, by contrast, offers more value for the money after the card’s first year and has a more interesting rewards program – including a unique two-point bonus on entertainment. But it no longer offers a sign-up bonus to online applicants – which is a huge drawback for such an expensive card. It also doesn’t come with nearly as many high-end perks.

Here’s what else we found when comparing the two offers:

  Citi Prestige card
Citi Prestige card
Platinum card from American Express
AmEx Platinum card
Rewards rate
  • 3 points per dollar on air travel and hotels
  • 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline
  • 5 points per dollar on hotel stays booked through amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus
  • None
  • 60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee
$450 $550
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900) $181 $106
Pros
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • $250 air travel credit
  • $100 application pass for Global Entry
  • Access to VIP airport lounges through Priority Pass Select
  • Discounts on luxury tours and vacation packages
  • Platinum concierge service
  • Large welcome bonus
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $200 Uber credit
  • Access to American Express airport lounges, such as the Centurion Lounge and the International American Express lounge, and partner lounges such as Delta Sky Club and Priority Pass Select.
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Free Wi-Fi access
  • $75 hotel credit and free room upgrade when available when you book two consecutive nights with American Express Travel
  • Special perks at participating hotels, such as free breakfast, late checkout, free room upgrade and early check-in when available
  • Free upgrade to Starwood Preferred and Hilton Honors Gold status
Cons
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Annual fee is not waived the first year
  • You must travel a lot to earn enough to make up for the high annual fee
  • Annual fee is not waived the first year
  • You need to travel a lot to earn enough value to make up for the card’s high annual fee
Who should get this card?
  • Someone who wants a more accessible long-term travel card
  • Someone who wants to earn bonuses on dining and entertainment
  • Someone who frequently stays at hotels for longer than a few days
  • Someone who wants a large introductory bonus
  • Someone who spends a lot on air travel
  • Someone who wants luxury perks

Best for someone who wants a large introductory bonus: AmEx Platinum card

If you’re looking for a quick infusion of rewards in the first year, the Platinum card is the clear winner. Unlike the Citi Prestige card, the Platinum card offers a generous 60,000-point introductory bonus that’s worth as much as $714 in free travel or other card rewards. You have to spend $5,000 in the card’s first three months in order to qualify for the generous bonus, though.

Best for someone who wants a more accessible, long-term travel card: Citi Prestige card

The Citi Prestige card is a better pick for someone who wants a long-term card, but doesn’t want to make as big of an investment to maintain it. The Prestige card, for example, costs $450 a year, which is pricey for a rewards card. The Platinum card, by contrast, charges $550 a year – a $100 difference that’s difficult to make up, even if you take into account some of the Platinum card’s more generous benefits, such as its $200 Uber credit and $75 resort credit.

Best for someone who spends a lot on dining and entertainment: Citi Prestige card

The Citi Prestige card awards bonus points for purchases that cardholders are likely to make regularly, such as an evening out on the town or a quiet family dinner. For example, it offers 2 points for per dollar on dining as well as 2 points per dollar on entertainment. The card also offers an entertainment bonus, which covers amusement parks, movies, streaming services, the performing arts and more.

The Platinum card, by contrast, only offers bonus points on big ticket purchases, such as flights and hotels, making it harder to earn a significant number of points when you aren’t traveling. 

Rewards on $300 monthly restaurant spend

Citi Prestige card Platinum card
$300 x 2 points x 12 months x 1.11 cent average point value = $80 $300 x 1 point x 12 months x 1.19 cent average point value = $43

Rewards on $200 monthly entertainment spend

Citi Prestige card Platinum card
$200 x 2 points x 12 months x 1.11 cent average point value = $53 $200 x 1 point x 12 months x 1.19 cent average point value = $29

Best for someone who spends a lot on air travel: AmEx Platinum card

The Platinum card easily beats the Citi card when it comes to air travel purchases, making it a good card for someone who frequently books flights and hotels. The Platinum card offers a generous 5-point bonus for every dollar spent on flights booked directly with an airline and another 5 points for hotels booked through amextravel.com. The Citi Prestige card, on the other hand, only offers 3 points for every dollar spent on flights and hotels.

Because American Express membership rewards points are worth slightly more than Citi Thank You points, you’ll also be able to buy more with the points you earn. For example, if you spend $5,000 a year on air travel, you’ll collect nearly $300 worth of rewards just by using your Platinum cad. With the Citi Prestige card, you’ll earn just over $160 in rewards.  

Rewards on $5,000 annual air travel spend

Citi Prestige card Platinum card
$5,000 x 3 points x 1.11 cent average point value = $167 $5,000 x 5 point x 1.19 cent average point value = $298

That said, the Prestige card does offer a more generous air travel credit, helping make up for its lower rewards value. Citi Prestige gives cardholders $250 a year to pay for any air travel expense, including tickets. The Platinum card, by contrast, gives cardholders $200 and only allows the credit to be used for incidental expenses, such as baggage fees.

Best for someone who frequently spends more than three nights at a hotel: Citi Prestige card

The Citi Prestige card offers a more generous hotel benefit that, in some cases, surpasses the value of the Platinum card’s hotel bonus. Cardholders who stay at one hotel for at least four nights in a row and charge the full hotel bill to their Citi card will be credited with the fourth night free. That benefit alone could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year in hotel bills if you frequently travel for longer than a few nights. The Prestige card benefit works no matter whether you stay in a hotel that costs $100 a night or $300 a night, and you can take advantage of it as many times as you want. So, depending on how often you travel, you could end up netting significantly more value from the Prestige card than you would if you used a Platinum card.

It doesn’t take multiple trips to see a big benefit either: Just one fourth night in a mid-range hotel, for example, could potentially save you as much $100 or more, depending on where you stay – earning you well above what you would get with the Platinum card. Charging a four-night stay at a hotel that costs $150 a night to your Platinum card, for example, would net you $35.70 in rewards. Charging the same stay using your Prestige card, by contrast, would only net you $14.99 – but you’d also get your fourth night free, saving you $150.

Average rewards value for 4 hotel nights ($150/night)

Citi Prestige card Platinum card
($150 x 3 points x 3 nights x 1.11 cent average point value) + $150 free night = $165 ($150 x 5 points x 4 nights x 1.19 cent average point value = $36

Best for someone who wants luxury perks on their vacations: AmEx Platinum card

Both the Citi Prestige and the American Express Platinum card offer a variety of hotel perks, including early check-in, late checkout, room upgrades when available, complimentary breakfast and free WiFi. The Platinum card, however, also includes a free upgrade to Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors Gold status – giving cardholders access to even more privileges and special perks at Starwood, Marriott and Hilton hotel properties. Additionally, the Platinum card boasts a bigger and more luxurious network of airport lounges. 

Citi Prestige vs AmEx Platinum card travel perks

Citi Prestige card Platinum card
  • Complimentary airport lounge access (Priority Pass lounges only)
  • $250 travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Citi Prestige concierge service
  • Fourth night free at any hotel
  • Luxury hotel perks ($50-$100 hotel credit, early check-in, late checkout, free breakfast, room upgrades, etc.
  • Complimentary airport lounge access (Priority Pass, American Express, Airspace, Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounges)
  • $200 airline free credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Free Boingo WiFi access
  • Platinum concierge service
  • Luxury hotel perks ($75-$100 hotel credit, early check-in, late checkout, free room upgrades, etc.

Conclusion

Overall, the Citi Prestige card offers more value and potential than the Platinum card – especially if you use the fourth night free benefit more than once or twice a year. However, the Platinum card offers more comfort and convenience and is an ideal card for those who enjoy a little luxury.   

See related: American Express Premier Rewards Gold vs. Platinum card from American Express, American Express Rewards guide: The best ways to earn and use Membership Rewards points


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Updated: 08-14-2018