Citi Prestige card review

Citi Prestige card review

Published: June 17, 2019
Published: June 17, 2019
Ratings Policy
Luxury Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.5
3.8
Features: 4.0

In a Nutshell:

Luxury travelers should enjoy the Citi Prestige card’s solid list of benefits, including its robust set of travel protections and a fourth night free on hotel stays up to twice per year.

Rewards Rate

  • 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50.000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$495

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($75,000 spend)
$1,986

APR
17.99-25.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Collect unlimited number of points
  • Many redemption categories: gift cards, merchandise, travel, cash
  • Bonus value on points redeemed through Citi portal for travel rewards
  • Pool points with other Citi cards
  • Transfer points to 13 travel partners at 1:1 rate

Cons:

  • Low value for rewards outside of gift cards and travel
  • Travel must be booked through Citi ThankYou portal
  • Limited number of travel partners, mostly foreign airlines

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: Free Priority Pass lounge access for card member and 2 guests, 4th night free at any hotel up to 2 times per year, $250 travel credit, $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, trip delay insurance, lost baggage insurance, baggage delay insurance, medical evacuation insurance, missed event insurance, price protection, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

Rewards Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.6
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.8
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience: 3.5

In a Nutshell:

Though the updates to the newly relaunched Citi Prestige card are a mixed bag, the card is still a strong choice for a luxury travel card.

Rewards Rate

  • 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Annual Bonus

  • $250 travel credit (applies to most travel purchases)
  • Priority Pass membership
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck every 5 years
  • 4th night free on any hotel stay (twice per year starting Sept. 1)

Annual Fee
$495

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$751

APR
17.99-25.99% (variable)

Pros:

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • Collect unlimited number of points
  • Many redemption categories: gift cards, merchandise, travel, cash
  • Bonus value on points redeemed through Citi portal for travel rewards
  • Pool points with other Citi cards
  • Transfer points to 13 travel partners at 1:1 rate

Cons:

  • Low value for rewards outside of gift cards and travel
  • Travel must be booked through Citi ThankYou portal
  • Limited number of travel partners, mostly foreign airlines

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: Free Priority Pass lounge access for card member and 2 guests, 4th night free at any hotel up to 2 times per year, $250 travel credit, $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, trip delay insurance, lost baggage insurance, baggage delay insurance, medical evacuation insurance, missed event insurance, price protection, return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty

Citi Prestige Card Review: More Details

Earlier this year, the Citi Prestige card relaunched after being closed to applications for several months, ushering in several changes. The biggest update was a huge draw for foodies – a new bonus category offering 5 points per dollar on dining purchases.

But that’s not the only great benefit that comes with the card. Frequent travelers can also enjoy a great rate on travel purchases and a more flexible travel credit. Plus, travelers who enjoy luxury perks like lounge access can get great value out of the card by taking full advantage of its benefits. For example, the card comes with a fourth night free at any hotel up to two times per year (yearly limit effective Sept. 1, 2019) – which can save smart spenders hundreds on longer vacations.

Unfortunately, the card also comes with an increased annual fee of $495, putting it out of reach for more moderate spenders.

Sign-up bonus

The Citi Prestige card is currently offering new cardholders 50,000 points if they spend $4,000 in the first three months. This is a decent sign-up bonus, but not the highest you can find among travel cards – especially with such a high annual fee. If you redeem your ThankYou points for travel, this introductory offer is worth around $500.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for comparison, also offers new cardholders 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months. But due to a higher point value, this bonus is worth up to $750 toward travel redeemed through Ultimate Rewards.

Earning points

Thanks to a generous rate on dining and air travel purchases, earning points on the Citi Prestige is simple. In fact, the Citi Prestige is currently offering the highest rewards rate currently available on restaurant purchases – 5 points per dollar. This makes it a great choice for foodies and especially travelers who enjoy eating out while they vacation.

In addition to a top-tier dining rate, the Citi Prestige offers 5 points per dollar on air travel, 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. This rate makes it easy to earn points on most travel purchases – though it is not the most inclusive travel card available. Purchases like ride-share rides, parking garages and train fares will only earn 1 point per dollar.

What are Citi Prestige points worth?

Unfortunately, the Citi Prestige card no longer offers a higher point value for redeeming your ThankYou points for travel purchases. That means that the most value you’ll be able to get out of your points is 1 cent per point. This has a big impact on the overall earning potential of the Prestige card, despite a high rewards rate.

See Related: Earning and using Citi ThankYou points

Since many travel cards offer a higher point value when redeemed a certain way, they can earn more in rewards value for every dollar you spend – even with a slightly lower earning rate. Here’s a quick look at some of our most popular travel cards and what we estimate you can earn per dollar of spending (factoring average earning rate and point value):

As you can see, the Citi Prestige ranks below many other travel cards in average rewards value earned. However, it does come with a few travel perks that can help add to the card’s value.

Redeeming Citi Prestige points

Once you’ve racked up ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige card, there are several different ways you can choose to redeem them. Travel booked through the ThankYou Rewards center gets the most value out of your points, while other options might not be quite as valuable.

Citi Prestige redemption options

Redemption option Point value (cents)
Flights 1
Gift cards 1
Shopping through ThankYou portal 0.83
Amazon/Best Buy 0.8
Select and Credit (statement credit for eligible purchases) 0.75
Cash back 0.5
Statement credit 0.5

As you can see, opting for cash rewards sacrifices half the value of your points. To get the most out of your ThankYou points, we recommend saving them for flight bookings.

Transferring points

In addition to the standard redemption options, Citi Prestige cardholders can transfer their points to several travel partners at a 1:1 rate. Since many airline miles are worth more than 1 cent per mile, this can be a great option to stretch your points.

Transfer partner Mile value (cents)
Singapore Airlines 2.36
Avianca Lifemiles 1.7
Etihad Guest Miles 1.4
Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) 1.2
JetBlue TrueBlue 1
EVA Air 1
Garuda Indonesia 1
JetPrivilege 1
Malaysia Airlines 1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1
Thai Royal Orchid Plus 1
Turkish Airlines 1
Asia Miles 0.94
Qatar Privilege Club 0.8
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 0.8

Unfortunately, there are no major airlines on the list, and domestic flights are particularly limited.

Fourth night free benefit

One of the most popular perks that comes with the Citi Prestige card is the fourth night free, which lets cardholders receive a free night on stays of four nights or longer at any hotel booked with the card (offer capped at two uses per year starting Sept. 1, 2019). This is an incredibly valuable offer, even with the impending usage limit. Travelers who use their fourth night free strategically can save hundreds of dollars with the perk.

Priority Pass lounge access

Another plush benefit that comes with the Citi Prestige is Priority Pass Select membership – which grants access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, restaurants and Minute Suites around the globe. Plus, cardholders can bring up to two complimentary guests on each visit.

See Related: Guide to Priority Pass lounges

If you are hoping to bring the entire family into Priority Pass lounges, keep in mind that authorized users of your Citi Prestige card can enroll in their own Priority Pass access – and bring their own guests. While there is a $75 fee per year for each authorized user, this is a great way to save on food, Wi-Fi and more while traveling, even with the whole family.

Travel credit

When the Citi Prestige card updated earlier this year, one major change was to increase the flexibility of the card’s travel credit. Each calendar year, cardholders can receive statement credits up to $250 to cover any travel purchase – including airfare, hotel stays, subway rides, ride-share services, parking garages and much more. Any time you make a qualifying purchase, you will automatically receive a statement credit to cover the cost – until you meet your full $250.

Travel Protections

The Citi Prestige card is packed with travel protections and insurances that can save you money if your travel doesn’t work out as planned. As long as you put all major travel purchases on the Prestige, you can take advantage of numerous benefits, detailed below:

  • Roadside assistance – If you have car trouble and need a jump start, spare tire or tow, you can call the roadside assistance line for 24/7 help.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance – If your trip is canceled or cut short due to illness or severe weather, you can be covered up to $5,000 per traveler for nonrefundable trip expenses.
  • Trip delay insurance – When you travel by common carrier, you can be reimbursed up to $500 for expenses due to a delay over three hours.
  • Lost baggage insurance – If your bag is lost or stolen when traveling by common carrier, you can be covered for the missing items (maximum $3,000 per traveler per trip).
  • Baggage delay insurance – In case your baggage is delayed more than three hours, you can be covered up to $500 per traveler to cover personal items like toiletries.
  • Medical evacuation insurance – With this coverage, you can travel safely knowing you are covered up to $100,000 for medical evacuation in case of emergency.
  • Car rental insurance – For rental cars booked and paid for with the Citi Prestige, you can receive secondary coverage up to the cash value of the car in the case of damage or theft.

These protections are some of the most extensive offered by a rewards card and can give you some piece of mind when you travel.

Other benefits

The travel protections that come with the Citi Prestige card are just a few of the great perks the card offers. You’ll also receive perks that can save you money while shopping.

  • Purchase protection – If an item you purchase with your Citi Prestige is damaged or stolen in the first 120 days, you can be covered up to $10,000 per item (max $50,000 per year).
  • Citi Price Rewind – When you enroll in Citi Price Rewind, Citi will automatically monitor online prices for registered purchases. If it finds a lower price within 60 days of the original purchase, you can be reimbursed for the difference.
  • Extended warranty – Add an additional 24 months to eligible manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less.
  • Return protection – If you try to return a purchase made with the Prestige card in the first 90 days and the merchant won’t take it back, you can be refunded up to $500 per item (max $2,500 per year).
  • Missed event ticket protection – For tickets purchased with your card, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket if you can’t attend the event for a covered reason.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit – You can be reimbursed up to $100 for your application fee for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck.

Citi Prestige vs. Citi Premier

If you are eager to start earning ThankYou points – but hesitant to pay such a high annual fee – Citi offers another travel card at a much lower price point. The Citi Premier℠ Card charges an annual fee of $95 and offers a 60,000 point sign-up bonus to users who spend $4,000 in the first three months. The Premier card also offers a 25 percent higher point value on rewards redeemed for travel in the ThankYou Travel Center.

See Related: Citi Prestige Card vs. Citi Premier℠  Card: Which is best for you?

On the downside, the Citi Premier comes with a much lower earning rate – especially on restaurant purchases. The card earns 3 points per dollar on travel purchases (including gas), 2 points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. If you are focused on earning the best dining rewards, the Citi Prestige easily outpaces the Premier, even with a lower point value.

While the Citi Premier boasts a great point value and flexible travel bonus category, it doesn’t come with nearly as many travel perks as the Prestige. Cardholders looking for yearly travel credits or unique perks like the fourth night free might be able to eke enough value out of the Prestige card’s extra benefits to make up for a high annual fee.

Customer experience

Among major credit card issuers, Citi’s customer experience falls in the middle of the pack. In J.D. Power’s 2018 customer satisfaction survey, the bank scored 787, ranking sixth out of 11 issuers. On the plus side, Citi does offer 24/7 customer service, including an online chat feature. The bank’s app also receives decent reviews – rating 3.9 out of 5 in the Google Play Store and 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple App Store.

Approval odds

The Citi Prestige card is designed for users with excellent credit (above 740), so you’ll want to ensure you meet those qualifications before you apply. Additionally, you won’t be eligible for the card’s sign-up bonus if you’ve received a bonus for or closed a Citi Rewards+℠ Card or Citi Premier card in the last 24 months.

How does the Citi Prestige card compare to other luxury travel cards?

The Citi Prestige offers some great travel perks to offset a high annual fee, including a fourth night free at any hotel twice per year and a flexible travel credit. However, it might not be the best option for every cardholder. Here’s a quick look at a few luxury travel card alternatives:

The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
American Express Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
Rewards rate

  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel
  • 5 points per dollar on hotels booked with amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
Rewards rate

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants wprldwide
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Welcome bonus

60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months

Welcome bonus

50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months

Welcome bonus

35,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months

Annual fee

$550

Annual fee

$450

Annual fee

$250

Other things to know

  • Priority Pass lounge access
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits per year
  • $100 hotel credit for stays with The Hotel Collection
  • Hilton Honors gold status
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi access
  • Terms apply
Other things to know

  • 50% higher point value when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Priority Pass lounge access
  • Primary car rental insurance
Other things to know

  • $100 airline fee credit
  • Up to $120 in dining credits at participating restaurants
  • $75 hotel credit for stays with The Hotel Collection
  • Free ShopRunner membership
  • Terms apply

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express is one of the most expensive luxury cards on the market, but it also comes loaded with some of the most luxury perks offered by a rewards card. Platinum cardholders receive extensive lounge access, including Priority Pass Select membership and access to plush Centurion lounges.

See Related: Citi Prestige vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Platinum cardholders also receive several yearly credits – such as a $200 credit for incidental charges on a selected airline – that can help make up for the card’s annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

One of our most popular travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with an incredibly flexible $300 travel credit. Similar to the credit on the Citi Prestige, Reserve cardholders can receive statement credits to cover purchases like ride-shares, parking garages, bus tickets and much more. Additionally, the Reserve card offers a 50 percent higher point value on travel redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

American Express Gold Card

The Amex Gold card is another top rewards card among foodies, thanks to its generous rewards rate on both restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases. While the card offers a slightly lower rewards rate on dining out than the Citi Prestige, it comes with a much lower annual fee of $250. Unfortunately, the travel benefits on the Gold card are much more limited. Most notably, you won’t receive any sort of lounge access.

Who should get the Citi Prestige card?

  • Frequent travelers who will take advantage of a flexible travel credit.
  • Travelers who frequently stay at a hotel for four nights or longer.
  • Cardholders seeking lounge access.
  • Cardholders who spend a significant amount on dining purchases.

How to use the Citi Prestige card:

  • Redeem your ThankYou points for airfare to get the best value.
  • Consider adding an authorized user ($75 annual fee per user) to grant them the same benefits, including lounge access.
  • Charge all restaurant and travel purchases to the card to take advantage of bonus points and the annual travel credit.
  • Pay for hotel stays of four nights or longer with your card to take advantage of a fourth night free twice per year.

Is the Citi Prestige worth it?

The Citi Prestige card comes with a hefty annual fee, but it also includes several travel perks that can help offset this cost. If you are a frequent traveler – especially if you often book hotel stays of four nights or longer – you can leverage the card’s benefits and protections to save hundreds every year. Plus, you’ll earn great rewards on dining purchases along the way.

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