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Many of the best Citibank credit cards earn ThankYou points. The ThankYou points program is Citi’s flexible points scheme, comparable to Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Citi ThankYou points transfer to 16 airline partners, but you’ll need either the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi Premier℠ Card to be able to transfer to all of the airlines.
The Citi Prestige is a premium travel credit card with a bigger annual fee ($495) and a handful of lucrative perks. It’s also one of the best cards for restaurant spending. Let’s review the card to see if it’s a good fit for you.
The information for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets and has not been reviewed by the card issuer.
Citi Prestige card review
Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Benefits and perks
The Citi Prestige is an excellent card for earning Citi ThankYou points. You’ll earn 5x points on dining and airfare purchases, 3x points with hotels and cruise lines and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
While Citi Prestige is lacking even the most basic travel protections and coverages you find on cards with much smaller annual fees, it does have some other useful perks.
Annual travel credit
Every calendar year you’ll be reimbursed for up to $250 in travel purchases. This credit is automatically applied to a wide range of travel spending including rental cars, hotels, airfare, tour operators, commuter transportation, taxis, limousines, passenger railways, cruise lines, tolls, parking and bus lines.
Fourth night free
Twice per year you’ll get your fourth night free on hotel bookings made through Thankyou.com. The discount is based on the average nightly rate not including taxes and fees.
This is a highly lucrative perk if you prefer to book hotel stays through third-party sites like the ThankYou travel site. The biggest drawback to booking hotel stays through a travel portal is that you won’t earn points or elite credit. Also, if you have elite status, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to take advantage of those perks when booking through a third-party site.
Airport lounge access
Citi Prestige cardholders are eligible for a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. With this membership you’ll get unlimited visits to 1,200+ Priority Pass airport lounges. You’ll also get airport lounge access for immediate family members or up to two guests when they are traveling with you.
Trusted traveler program credit
When you use your Citi Prestige card to pay for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck you’ll be reimbursed for the application fee. This benefit is worth up to $100 and can be used once every five years.
Cell phone insurance
When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Prestige card you’ll be covered for theft or damage on up to five phones. You can be reimbursed up to $1,000 per claim, with a $50 deductible and a yearly cap on reimbursement of $1,500.
How to redeem points
The Citi Prestige is one of only two cards (the Citi Premier is the other) that allows you to transfer ThankYou points to any airline partner at a 1:1 ratio. That unlocks the ability to take advantage of most of the best ways to redeem ThankYou points and greatly increases your ThankYou points value.
You can use ThankYou points for a variety of redemptions, like gift cards, booking travel (through the ThankYou travel site), mortgage/student loan payments or even for cash back. But the most value you’ll get per point with these options is 1 cent.
When you take advantage of Citi’s best airline partners the value of your points can increase exponentially. For example, you could transfer 15,000 points to Turkish Airlines and book a round-trip flight with United Airlines from the mainland to Hawaii. That includes flights from Denver, Houston or Washington D.C., which can easily top $500+ round-trip for a cheap ticket. That’s a value of over 3 cents per point.
Is the annual fee worth it?
Citi Prestige’s $495 annual fee is the sort that you’d expect to see on a premium credit card — but the $250 annual travel credit is super easy to use, and effectively brings your out-of-pocket cost down to $245.
Even with the card’s excellent spending bonus categories, however, it’s hard to justify paying the annual fee when it has no meaningful travel protections and many of its other perks (Global Entry credit, airport lounge access) are common on other cards. Most people are likely to be better off getting lounge access with a different premium card and sticking with the lower-tier Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) to enable ThankYou points transfers.
Who is the Citi Prestige card for?
The Citi Prestige is ideal for anyone who spends heavily on restaurants and airfare. We estimate the average value of a Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents per point, which means you’re getting an 8.5% return with this card’s 5x bonus categories.
In order to qualify for the intro offer you cannot have earned a welcome bonus with or closed another card in the Citi ThankYou points family in the past 24 months. Here’s what the card’s terms state:
Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+SM, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi PremierSM or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.
One of the best credit cards for earning cash back is the Citi® Double Cash Card because it earns 2% back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay). If you pair the Citi Double Cash card with the Prestige (or Premier card), you can convert the cash back you earn into ThankYou points and then transfer those to airlines.
Alternatives to the Citi Prestige
Both have similar intro offers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. The Amex Platinum card comes with a 60,000 Membership Rewards point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening.
With these cards you’ll pay a slightly higher annual fee of $550 (see rates and fees). But the extra travel protections and benefits you get are easily worth it. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits include a bigger (up to $300 every year) travel credit and $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021. The Amex Platinum’s benefits include up to $200 in Uber credits yearly, up to $200 in airline fee credits and up to $100 in credit at Saks Fifth Ave.
The Citi Prestige is Citibank’s premium ThankYou points card. It has several highly valuable benefits, like the annual $250 travel credit and the 4th-night-free perk. But it lacks some of the coverages you’d expect to have on a card that has a $495 annual fee.
If you won’t be taking full advantage of the Prestige card’s 5x bonus at restaurants and on airfare, you might be better off with a different premium card. The Amex Platinum and Sapphire Reserve are two excellent options to consider.
For rates and fees of the the Platinum Card from Amex, please click here
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