Citi Prestige Card
A $250 annual travel credit lowers the effective annual fee to $245. Citigold customers pay a total effective fee of $100.
NoneSignup Bonus Chart
5x Restaurants (≈7%)
5x Airfare and Online Travel Agencies (≈7%)
3x Hotels and Cruises (≈4.2%)
1x Everywhere Else (≈1.4%)
No Foreign Transaction Fee
If you spend a lot of money on restaurants and online travel agencies (and possibly airfare) and you are comfortable redeeming your points for frequent flyer points, it can be worth getting the Citi Prestige card to take advantage of its 5x reward rate on these bonus categories.
If you aren't getting Priority Pass access from other cards, such as the Sapphire Reserve, the Citi Prestige can be a good option, particularly for people who often travel with more than one child. It also has a unique and potentially valuable "free 4th night" benefit.
Because it is hard to use credit card travel benefits during the pandemic, Citibank will automatically apply your travel credit to grocery and restaurant spending during 2021 and not just travel spending. Since the Citi Prestige offers the highest reward rate on restaurant purchases anyway, it should be no problem to use the entire amount of your credit.
Introduction to ThankYou Points
ThankYou Rewards is the name of Citibank's own rewards program. ThankYou Rewards Guide.
- ThankYou points can be transferred to many different frequent flyer programs. his gives you the flexibility to take advantage of award space on over a hundred different airlines. In many cases, you can choose to book a flight through one of several different partner programs, allowing you to take advantage of whichever program requires the fewest miles and fees for your trip.
- ThankYou Rewards occasionally offers promotional transfer bonuses. When the promotion is active, you'll get extra airline miles when you transfer your ThankYou Reward points to a specific airline. For example, if Citibank is offering a 40% bonus for British Airways, you'll receive 14,000 British Airways points for every 10,000 ThankYou points you transfer. See Take Advantage of Transfer Bonuses to Get More Value from Your Reward Points for more information or visit Frequent Miler’s Current Transfer Bonuses page for a list of current (and past) promotions.
- You can also "cash out" your points at 1 cent each. Citi Prestige customers can very easily convert their points to cash. If you only have the Citi Premier Card, you can purchase gift cards or get a check payable to your bank through their "mortgage and student loan" program. You can also get 1 cent per point by buying travel through Citibank's website, but there are significant drawbacks to doing so. If you had the Citi Premier card before April 10, 2020, you get 1.25 cents per point until April 10, 2021.
- If you have the no-annual-fee Citi Rewards+ card, you get a 10% rebate on your points redemptions. This is capped at to your first 100,000 points of redemptions each year. For example, if you transfer 50,000 points to British Airways, you'll get 5,000 points back. This gives you an easy boost of 11% to point values, regardless if you convert your points to frequent flyer tickets or cash them out.
- We value ThankYou points at 1.4 cents each. Because you can take advantage of award space and "sweet spots" from many different frequent flyer programs and the occasional transfer bonus, ThankYou points are generally worth more than any single type of airline miles. If you highly valuable premium-cabin award tickets, ThankYou points are worth even more. But because Citibank has a weaker set of airline partners, ThankYou points are typically somewhat less valuable than Membership Rewards points. On the other hand, if you expect to be able to take advantage of Turkish Airlines awards for domestic and Hawaii travel on United Airlines, they may actually be more valuable the other types of bank points. How Much are Points Worth?
- If you aren't comfortable using your points for frequent flyer tickets, they are only worth 1 cent each. Unlike Chase's Ultimate Rewards, transfer rates for hotel programs aren't very attractive, there are no fixed-value airline partners (like Southwest), and there is no cash out option for greater than 1 cent per point.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- It is worth signing up for this card just to collect the signup bonus. The typical signup bonus is 50,000 ThankYou points, valued at $700 (at 1.4 cents per point). In addition, the card comes with a easy to use $250 travel credit, and because the credit is available every calendar year, you can earn it twice during your initial year.
- However, you can only collect one signup bonus every 24 months from the Citi ThankYou card family. More accurately, you can't collect a signup bonus within 24 months of signing up for, or cancelling, the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, Citi Preferred, or Citi Rewards+ card. While cancelling a card resets the clock, converting a card from one to another usually does not. This special signup bonus restriction doesn't apply to the Double Cash or AT&T card, even though they can earn ThankYou points.
- From a pure signup bonus perspective, you are probably better off signing up for the Citi Premier card. Its normal signup offer is 60,000 points. You'll save $400 in annual fees and receive an extra $140 worth of points. This is more than the value of the Prestige card's travel credits. But the net signup values are close enough that you should also consider the reward earning rates and other benefits.
- To maximize the bonuses you collect from Citi's ThankYou cards, carefully time when you cancel your cards. If you don't want a card after your initial year, convert it to the no-annual-fee Rewards+ card instead. A year later, you'll be eligible for a new signup offer. If you have more than one Rewards+ card, you should cancel it just after been approved for the new card, so it doesn't reset the clock.And you need to avoid cancelling any card that still has ThankYou points associated with it.
After subtracting the annual fee and the opportunity cost of using the card for $4,000 of spending, the calculated net value for the initial year is $660 (17 cents per dollar spent). Your value may be higher or lower, depending on how much you value ThankYou points. How Much are Points Worth?.
Annual Travel Credit
- The Citi Prestige's annual travel credit is automatically applied to to your first $250 of travel purchases each year. You simply use the card to make travel payments (for anything from airfare to taxi fares, tolls, tour operators, and public transit) and the credit cancels out the charge on your credit card statement. If necessary, the credit will be spread across multiple smaller charges.
- Because the travel credit is available each calendar year, you qualify for two credits the first year you have the card. For example, if you sign up for the card in August, you can get up to $250 credit for purchases made between August and some time in December, and you can get take advantage of another $250 credit between January and August.
It should be extremely easy to take full advantage of this credit every year, lowering the effective annual fee by $250.
4th Night Free Benefit
The Citi Prestige card has a unique and potentially lucrative benefit—you get your 4th night free on every hotel reservation booked through Citibank.
The “4th night free” benefit works whether you are booking an $80 per night hotel on the outskirts of town or an $800 per night resort hotel in some exotic locale, and you can use it two times every year. Get Your 4th Night Free with the Citi Prestige Card.
Unfortunately, you need to book your hotel through Citibank's website. That means you can only book hotels and room inventory that is available via their system, only have access to whatever rate they are offering, and generally won't receive any hotel loyalty program benefits or points with your stay. In practice, Citibank's website tends to have higher room rates than other booking options, frequently doesn't provide a non-refundable option even when one is available elsewhere, and often shows "no availability" when hotels still have plenty of room.
Always check to see if the rate for all 4 nights on another site is actually higher than Citibank's rate for 3 nights. Sometimes, the 4th night free benefit will save you a bunch of money. Other times, it may only be a little less expensive (or even more expensive) than booking elsewhere. In addition, for chain hotels, make sure whatever you are saving makes up for any potential loss of benefits and hotel rewards.
Other Notable Benefits
- Airport lounge access. Like the other premium cards, a get a Priority Pass membership that provides free access to over a thousand airport lounges and restaurants. With this card, you can bring in your family or up to two travelling companions. Get Free Airport Lounge Access from a Credit Card
- Cell phone protection. If you pay your cell phone bill with the Prestige card, you'll receive coverage on up to five lines. The maximum claim is $1,000, with a $1,500 annual cap and a $50 deductible.
- $100 TSA fee credit. Every five years, you can receive an automatic reimbursement of your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (up to $100).
- Elite car rental status. As with all World Elite MasterCards, you get free National Emerald Club Executive and Sixt Platinum status. Instant Car Rental Elite Status.
- Access to Mastercard's luxury hotel program. Another benefit of high-end MasterCards is access to MasterCard's luxury hotel program. When you use the program to book one of the participating hotels, you'll get a number of valuable benefits, like free breakfast, a $100 hotel credit, a room upgrade, and late checkout.Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
- Free ShopRunner membership. Like all World Elite MasterCards, your card entitles you to a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day and return shipping from around 150 of the largest online retailers. ShopRunner.
- DoorDash and Hello Fresh discounts. Cardmembers who have a DoorDash membership get $5 off their first two orders each month when paid for by their Mastercard. If you don't have a free membership from Chase, you can get your first three months membership for free through Mastercard. You also get a 5% credit back on each HelloFresh purchase.
- Some additional discounts. If you pay for at least 5 Lyft rides each calendar month with your Mastercard, you'll receive a $10 Lyft credit good for the following month (once you enroll in the Lyft app). You also receive double Fandango points, a 5% reward rebate at Boxed, and $5 off every Postmates order of $25 or more.
- The Prestige card earns fantastic rewards on restaurant, online travel agency, and airfare purchases. You'll earn 5x ThankYou points, valued at at least 7 cents per dollar. Even if you simply redeemed your points to offset travel purchases, this works out to 5 cents per dollar (over 5.5 cents if you also have the Rewards+ card}}. Best Credit Cards for Restaurant Spending
- It can be a good choice for hotel and cruise purchases. You'll earn 3x ThankYou points, worth around 4.2cents per dollar. The only card that is generally preferable is the Sapphire Reserve.
However, if you already have one of the Amex Platinum cards, you probably prefer to use it to earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare and receive some travel insurance benefits. And if you already have the Sapphire Reserve, you may prefer to settle for 3x easier-to-redeem Ultimate Rewards points and it's best-in-class travel insurance benefits. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
Getting Rid of the Card
- You could lose your ThankYou points when you cancel your card. Any ThankYou points associated with your card will expire 60 days after you cancel. You can transfer them to another person's account, but they will then expire after 90 days. You need to either hold onto your card, downgrade it to the Citi Premier, Citi Rewards+, or Citi Preferred Card, or transfer your points to your favorite travel partner. You can downgrade to the Rewards+ Card even if you already have one.
- Before cancelling or converting your Citi Prestige card, try to use up any remaining amount of your annual travel credit. Since the credit operates on an annual year basis, you normally have plenty of time to use it before you need to cancel your card. If it is near your December statement date, it can be worthwhile to postpone cancelling or converting, try to quickly take advantage of the next year's credit, and then downgrade the card to receive most of your annual fee back.
- Cancelling your card resets the clock for earning another ThankYou point signup bonus. You aren't eligible if you've opened or closed account within the last 24 months. Product changing, rather than cancelling, shouldn't reset the clock. But sometimes it does and there is really no rhyme or reason to it. You should theoretically be able to product change to any other Citibank personal credit card.
- If you don't already have one, the Rewards+ card is a compelling product change option. It gives you a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year. And you aren't missing out on its signup bonus. It isn't very big to begin with and directly applying for the card would block you from earning a more attractive signup bonus from the Premier or Prestige Card.
- You can wait to cancel your card until after the annual fee shows up on your statement. As long as you cancel within 30 days of the statement closing date, Citibank will refund the fee. After 30 days, you can receive a pro-rated refund by downgrading to a lower-priced card, such as the Rewards+.
- You might be able to receive a retention offer to keep your card. It could be enough to make it worthwhile to keep the card.
Note that without a Prestige or Premier Card, you can't transfer your points to travel partners. If you don't have one and you downgrade your card to one of the no-annual-fee options, you'll hold onto your points and can redeem them for 1 cent each, but you'll need to upgrade back or otherwise get one of these cards in the future to regain the ability to transfer your points to partners.
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