Citi Prestige Review: High-End Benefits for Frequent Travelers

This is a luxury card with some great benefits, if you travel enough to make the annual fee work for you
Last updated Jan 13, 2020 | By Robin Kavanagh

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Travel credit cards often deliver exceptional value to cardholders who want to be rewarded for their swipes. But there is a higher tier of travel card that caters specifically to customers who travel often and enjoy the finer things along the way. The Citi Prestige card is one such option for those with enough spending power and a healthy dose of the travel bug. Here is a closer look at the Citi Prestige card and whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

Luxury Travel Benefits

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Benefits

  • 50,000 bonus point sign-up offer
  • 5X points on airline purchases and restaurants
  • Up to $250 travel credit every calendar year
  • Complimentary 4th night hotel stay
  • Transfer points to airline partners

Drawbacks

  • Annual fee


Who should get this card?

The Citi Prestige card is aimed at those who have excellent credit and are looking for more high-end experiences from their travel credit card. You would have to travel often during the year to earn enough ThankYou points and travel credits to offset the card’s $495 annual fee. However, the benefits of being a Citi Prestige cardholder also go beyond what many of its competitors offer, which may well deliver enough value for some.

Card basics

Annual fee $495
Intro bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
Recommended credit score Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: You can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening. These are redeemable for $500 in travel purchases through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.
  • $250 annual travel credit: Every year, you can get up to $250 in automatic statement credits for purchases categorized as travel.
  • Free night at hotel: When you book 4 consecutive nights at a hotel using 1-800-THANKYOU or ThankYou.com, you get the fourth night free. You can take advantage of this benefit twice per calendar year.
  • VIP lounge access: As a Citi Prestige cardholder, you are given complimentary access to VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select. With hundreds of locations in the U.S. and over 1,300 lounges and restaurants in airports worldwide, you can have some downtime before flying in luxury.
  • Earn major points: Citi Prestige rewards travel and dining purchases with huge point earnings per dollar spent. You can get 5X points for airline purchases and restaurants, 3X points on hotels and cruise lines, and 1X points for all other purchases.
  • Lots of options for redeeming points: ThankYou points can be used for travel purchases, statement credits, exclusive events and experiences, gift cards, cash payments, and even charitable donations.

Earning & Redeeming

Best ways to earn

Airline and dining purchases are by far the best and fastest ways to earn ThankYou points. You’ll earn 5X points for every dollar you spend on airline purchases and restaurants — even fast food, cafes, bars, and lounges.

Purchases with hotels and cruise lines get you 3X points per dollar. So when you’re sleeping on the road or sailing the seas, every swipe of your Prestige card earns you points that can be turned into dollars to put toward your next trip.

Categories Rewards rate
Air travel 5X
Restaurants 5X
Hotels 3X
Cruises 3X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to using your points. Citi offers a travel marketplace through which you can book your flights, hotels, cruises, and other arrangements for a trip and pay with points. If you make enough card purchases to qualify for the welcome offer, you’ll have $500 worth of points you can spend within months of opening an account.

You can apply your annual $250 in travel credits and possibly some of your points to the expense of booking four consecutive hotel nights through ThankYou.com, then get your fourth night for free.

You can also transfer points to several airline loyalty programs, including TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, and redeem directly through those airlines. If these options don’t appeal to you, you can always trade in points for statement credits, gift cards, or even cash.

Common Questions

Is the Citi Prestige worth it?

It can be for the right kind of customer. This card is for the frequent traveler who wants to take advantage of perks and opportunities to earn lots of points while they see the world. It is a high-end card that delivers high-end benefits that make the $495 annual fee pay for itself if used right.

If you don’t travel enough to redeem $250 in travel credits, a free fourth night at a hotel of your choice, free access to VIP lounges in airports around the globe, or a credit to pay for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, then this card may not be worth looking into.

Does the Citi Prestige have Priority Pass?

Yes. When you are approved for the Citi Prestige card, you become a Priority Pass Select member. This means you complimentary access to more than 1,300 VIP lounges and restaurants around the world. You can also bring up to two guests with you for free.

Is the Citi Prestige card metal?

Like many other high-end credit cards, the Citi Prestige card is metal.

Does the Citi Prestige waive the annual fee for the military?

Citi currently waives all fees for those who qualify for benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but you have to apply to Citi directly for this waiver.

Other cards to consider

If you’re thinking the Citi Prestige card might not be your cup of tea, but you’re still looking for a high-end travel credit card, here are two other options to investigate.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase’s Sapphire offerings are popular and deliver good value for travelers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 3X points for travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and restaurants is less than what you get with Citi Prestige. New cardholders can earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months — worth $750 in redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and the annual travel credit is $300 instead of $250.

The Platinum Card from American Express

American Express’ Platinum Card comes in with a higher annual fee of $550, but some significant benefits for those dollars. Cardholders can earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

Plus, this card comes with luxury perks like access to VIP properties in the American Express Global Lounge Collection and its partner networks, complimentary benefits with Fine Hotels & Resorts, and up to $200 annual credits for Uber and airline fees. These benefits, coupled with complimentary rental car insurance and elite status with Marriott and Hilton make the annual fee worth it for many cardholders.

Luxury Travel Benefits

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Citi Prestige

Special Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • 10X points on Lyft rides (starting Jan. 12, 2020)
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2020 and 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply

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