Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
These are both excellent cards with a 50,000 Citi ThankYou point sign-up bonus after completing minimum spending requirements. That’s enough for at least $625 in Big Travel (or more) with each card!
But each card has different perks! So the best card for you depends on how you like to travel!
Who Should Consider the Citi Prestige?
Link: Citi Prestige
If you buy paid tickets frequently (or pay lots of airline fees), enjoy free airline lounge access, or fly American Airlines or US Airways often, the Citi Prestige card may be a better choice for you.
That’s because with this card, you’ll get:
- A $250 statement credit for airline fees such as airfare and baggage fees appearing on your statement from December to the following December
- Access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges for the primary cardholder, immediate family, or 2 guests, as long as you’re flying on American Airlines or American Eagle that day
- Priority Pass Lounge access for the primary cardholder and up to 2 guests (additional guests $27 per person, per visit)
- A better rate when you use your points to pay for American Airlines or US Airways tickets (1.6 cents per point vs. 1.33 cents per point on other airlines – so the 50,000 ThankYou point sign-up bonus is worth $800 in American Airlines flights)
And if you want to save time waiting in airport lines, you can get a $100 Global Entry fee credit with this card.
The $450 annual fee is NOT waived for the 1st year. But because you’ll get $250 in airline fee credits per calendar year, if you apply now and spend $250 in 2015 and $250 in early 2016, you’ll earn credits that more than make up for the annual fee!
And that’s not even considering the value of lounge access, the $100 Global Entry credit, and other perks like:
- 4th night free when you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel (must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge and paid in full with your card)
- Free golf at more than 2,400 courses around the world
So you should consider the Citi Prestige if you:
- Will likely spend $250 on airfare (or fees) before your last 2015 statement and another $250 on airfare in 2016 before the annual fee is due
- Are interested in getting a good deal (with no blackout dates) when using your Citi ThankYou points to buy tickets on American Airlines
- Travel often and are considering applying for Global Entry to avoid waiting in long airport lines when returning to the US or to get through security faster on domestic flights
- Enjoy free airport lounge access
- Are planning a paid hotel stay and could use the 4th hotel night free perk
Who Should Consider the Citi ThankYou Premier?
Link: Citi ThankYou Premier
If you’re not as frequent a traveler, don’t buy paid tickets often, and prefer a lower annual fee, the Citi ThankYou Premier might be a better choice.
That’s because the annual fee is $95 and is waived for the 1st year.
If you use the points to buy airline tickets through the ThankYou Travel Center, they’re worth 1.25 cents per point (on all airlines).
With the Citi ThankYou Premier, there’s NO bonus for American Airlines or US Airways purchases. So the 50,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $625 in airfare.
(On the other hand, the 50,000 point bonus with Citi Prestige is worth at least $665 in airfare because with that card, each point is worth 1.33 cents when you book a flight. Or 1.6 cents when you book American Airlines or US Airways flights.)
With either the Citi ThankYou Premier or the Citi Prestige card, you can also transfer your Citi ThankYou points to airline partners like Singapore Airlines or Air France / KLM Flying Blue. I explain in more detail here.
The Citi ThankYou Premier does NOT offer extra perks like airport lounge access or statement credits for airline purchases, but it doesn’t come with a big annual fee, either.
Folks who should consider the Citi ThankYou Premier:
- Would rather not pay a high annual fee
- Don’t buy paid tickets frequently
- Aren’t interested in airport lounge access (or already have it through other cards)
What About Applying for Both Cards?
Readers have asked if you can get both cards. Yes, you can! But there are some rules to keep in mind:
- Citi will only approve 1 application per day
- You should wait at least ~8 days between applications
- They won’t approve more than 2 applications in ~65 days
If you already have a lot of Citi cards, you may not be approved for both cards. That’s because there’s a maximum amount of credit Citi will extend to you.
You could consider closing or lowering credit lines on your other cards to increase the likelihood of having both applications approved. But there are no guarantees!
That said, with the sign-up bonus from both cards could earn you 100,000 Citi ThankYou points. That’s worth a lot of Big Travel such as $1,600 in American Airlines flights (because you can transfer all the points to the Citi Prestige card). Or award flights to Europe or Hawaii!
A Good Deal for Most, but Not All
Before you apply for either card, think about your travel plans and how you’ll use the points.
If none of Citi ThankYou’s airline and hotel partners fit into your travel goals, other cards might be a better choice. For example, none of their airline partners are US-based.
So, for example, if you only like to fly United Airlines or Southwest, you might be better off with other cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, because United Airlines and Southwest are Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners.
That said, you can always use Citi ThankYou points to buy paid tickets through the Citi ThankYou travel center.
And points earned with either card do NOT expire, so even if you don’t have firm travel plans now, you may find a use for the points in the future!
You can get both cards. (Though not on the same day!)
But if you’re deciding between the 2, consider your travel plans, how often you fly, and whether extra perks like lounge access are important to you.
The Citi Prestige is a better choice for folks who fly frequently (especially on American Airlines and US Airways) and buy paid tickets. Plus it offers lounge access and statement credits. But the annual fee is $450.
The Citi ThankYou Premier has a $95 annual fee which is waived for the 1st year. But you won’t get many extra benefits, and there’s no bonus for spending your points on American Airlines and US Airways tickets.
Folks who are slowly starting out with miles & points might do better by skipping these offers and applying for a card with better airline and hotel transfer partners such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.