Citi Prestige® Card Review: Premium Travel Benefits and 5x Points
Lyle is a writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.
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Of all the premium travel cards, the Citi Prestige® Card has had the most tumultuous journey in recent years. With its complimentary fourth night on paid hotel stays, it was always a favorite for the most frequent travelers, but it hadn't broken through with other consumers the way more popular travel cards had.
Citi even closed applications for the card in 2018, but it wasn't a sign of surrender. A few months later, the Citi Prestige® Card was back with completely revamped features. There's a lot to like about this version of the card, but it will also cost you a hefty annual fee to carry it. Dive in to our breakdown to see whether all the perks make the Citi Prestige® Card one of the top credit cards.
Citi Prestige® Card
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
The annual fee is justifiable for many travelers, due to a robust points program and valuable statement credits
Credit Rating Requirement:
- Big bonus
- 5x points categories
- Yearly statement credits
- Annual Fee: $495
- Regular APR: 18.49% to 25.49&, variable
- Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
50,000-point sign-up bonus: You'll receive these 50,000 bonus points when you spend at least $4,000 within three months of opening the credit card account.
Up to 5 points per $1: The rewards rates for the Citi Prestige® Card are as follows:
- 5 points per $1 on air travel and at restaurants
- 3 points per $1 at hotels and on cruise lines
- 1 point per $1 on all other spending
These are some of the highest rewards rates you'll find, even from the best travel rewards cards, and they give the Citi Prestige® Card some serious earning potential.
$250 annual travel credit: This card will cover your first $250 in annual travel, and the credit applies to any type of travel purchase, making it easy to use.
Complimentary fourth night on paid hotel stays (up to two free nights per year): When you make a paid hotel booking of at least four nights, the fourth night is free. So on a four-night booking, you'd pay for three nights, and on an eight-night booking, you'd pay for six nights. While this benefit could previously be used as often as the cardholder liked, it's now capped at two free nights per year.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit: Like many travel cards, the Citi Prestige® Card will issue you a credit for either your Global Entry or your TSA PreCheck fee, enabling you to get through airport security more quickly. Since a Global Entry membership will include a TSA PreCheck membership but not vice versa, you should always go with Global Entry.
Airport lounge access: You'll get a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select, which has a network of airport lounges covering most of the major airports in the world.
Cell phone insurance: If you pay your cell phone bill with the Citi Prestige® Card, you'll get complimentary cell phone insurance protecting against damage or theft.
What could be improved
Reward redemption options: One big problem with all Citi travel cards is the subpar redemption options for your points. You can either:
- Transfer points to a partner in the Citi ThankYou® Rewards program
- Redeem points at a fixed rate of $0.01 per point towards travel purchases
Citi's travel transfer partners are all airlines, and most of them are international, with JetBlue being the only domestic carrier. It's a decent lineup, but it pales in comparison to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program or the American Express Membership Rewards® program.
Is the annual fee worth it?
Based on all the card's benefits, the Citi Prestige® Card more than justifies its $495 annual fee.
You should get this card only if you can use the full $250 travel credit every year. If you do that, it brings the card's true cost down to $245. You could easily get another $245 or more in value from the Citi Prestige® Card through the complimentary fourth night it offers on up to two paid hotel stays. In addition, you'll earn plenty of points due to the card's high rewards rate.
Suggested credit score
As a premium rewards card, the Citi Prestige® Card is aimed at consumers with good or excellent credit scores. You'll have a better chance of approval with a credit score of 670 or higher.
However, it's possible to get approved with a score below 670 or to get denied with a score above that mark. Your credit score is just one of a wide range of factors that credit card companies consult when evaluating applications.
Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi Prestige® Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card can earn 2% back, as you receive 1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% back when you repay that purchase on time. And if you have a card in the Citi ThankYou® Rewards program, you can turn this cash back into points at a rate of 100 points for every $1 of cash back you transfer.
That's a huge benefit, because it means you can effectively earn 2 points per $1 or more on all your spending. On purchases where the Citi Prestige® Card would earn you bonus points (air travel, restaurants, hotels, and cruise lines), you'd use it for the transaction. On all other purchases, you'd use the Citi® Double Cash Card and then convert the cash back to points on your Citi Prestige® Card.
Keep in mind that this strategy makes sense only if you can manage both credit cards without spending more or missing any payments. It's not worth earning more rewards if you also accrue credit card debt or fees.
This card is right for you if:
The Citi Prestige® Card would be an excellent choice if you:
- Travel at least three to four times per year
- Have high spending on air travel and at restaurants
- Stay at hotels for four nights or longer at least twice per year
If all of the above are true, then you'll have no problem making the most of this card's benefits.