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The Citi Prestige has earned a place in many folks’ wallets (including several Million Mile Secrets team members) for its excellent benefits and travel insurance. But it’s been unavailable to new applicants for months. Now, it’s confirmed Citi is relaunching the Citi Prestige in 2019 and updating the card’s perks.
Some of these changes aren’t good. But Citi adds enough positives to stifle my discontent, including much improved earning on dining.
The biggest devaluation concerns the card’s 4th night free benefit. You’ll only be able to use it TWICE PER YEAR (instead of an unlimited amount).
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the revamped Citi Prestige.
Positive Changes to the Citi Prestige
The Citi Prestige application will go live some time in January 2019. At that time, we’ll see a number of improved perks. It’s not yet known what the welcome bonus will be.
1. Better Earning Rates
The card will earn more points on some purchases than before. You’ll earn 5 Citi ThankYou points per $1 on dining (even overseas) and air travel (2 points higher than before). And 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 on cruises (2 points higher than before).
That’s a pretty unreal return. Citi ThankYou points aren’t as useful as other points like the Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but for 5 points per $1, I may very well switch my dining expenses to my Citi Prestige.
This is even better than the 4X points on dining at US restaurants offered with the new American Express® Gold Card (you can read our review of the AMEX Gold Card here) or 4% cash back at restaurants (worldwide) with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card (here’s our review of the Capital One Savor).
2. More Useful Travel Credit
The card’s $250 airline credit will turn into a $250 travel credit. In other words, you can use it for just about anything travel related. That’s useful for folks who don’t pay for air travel.
I’ve personally never had an issue using my travel credit each year, so this change is a wash for me.
3. Phone Protection
Beginning May 2019, the Citi Prestige will cover your cell phone against damage and theft, presumably when you pay your phone bill with the card. We don’t know how much it will cover you for, but we’ll tell you when we find out.
Negative Changes to the Citi Prestige
Beginning September 2019, Citi is limiting the card’s best benefit. And making a few other negative changes, too.
1. 4th Night Free Cap
You’ll only be able to use your 4th night free benefit twice per year. For folks who travel often and use the daylights out of this perk, this is devastating news. For others, who probably only use it a couple times per year anyway, this isn’t too big a deal. You can likely make up for the annual fee with 2 uses anyway.
This was definitely the most valuable card perk on the market for folks who could use it multiple times.
2. 25% Bonus for Air Travel Disappears
Folks will receive a value of 1 cent per point (instead of 1.25 cents) when redeeming points for airfare through the Citi ThankYou Portal.
However, if you also have the Citi Premier, you can transfer your points over to that card and continue to receive a value of 1.25 cents each towards travel!
3. Entertainment No Longer a Bonus Category
Entertainment purchases will earn 1 point per $1 instead of two.
4. Increased Annual Fee
The card’s annual fee will jump from $450 to $495. However, if you have a CitiGold banking account or you’re a Private Bank client, you’ll continue to pay $350.
Note: Other perks, like Priority Pass Select membership, travel protections, and Citi Price Rewind, are not slated to change.
I’m sad to see the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit devalued. But it was too good to last.
Fortunately, Citi will add several new perks to the card that may well make it worth keeping. Even with an increased annual fee. It’s hard to beat 5X points on dining!
Do you plan to apply for the revamped Citi Prestige when it relaunches this January?