Citibank keeps on making changes to their high-end Prestige card.
Originally this card offered perks like American Airlines lounge access, 3 free annual rounds of golf, and the ability to spend points at a value of 1.33 cents each towards airfare or 1.6 cents each towards airfare on American.
Those perks were killed off last year.
Currently Citi isn’t offering the Prestige card, but they will be relaunching the card in January.
When they do so, they will make the following negative changes:
- The $450 annual fee will climb to $495 in January. (Citigold clients will retain a $350 annual fee.)
- Spending on entertainment will go down from 2 points per dollar to 1 point per dollar next September.
- Points redeemed for paid airfare will go down from a current value of 1.25 cents each to 1 cent each next September.
- The 4th night free hotel benefit will be limited to 2 uses per year as of next September.
They will make the following positive changes:
- The $250 airfare credit will become a more broad $250 travel credit.
- Spending on airfare and at physical travel agencies and online travel agencies will climb from 3 points per dollar to 5 points per dollar. This matches 5 points per dollar on AMEX Platinum, but also includes travel insurances that AMEX doesn’t have.
- Spending on dining will climb from 2 points per dollar to 5 points per dollar.
- Spending on cruises will climb from 1 point per dollar to 3 points per dollar.
- Cell phone damage/theft protection will be added.
Benefits remaining the same:
- Hotel spending will remain at 3 points per dollar.
- Priority Pass lounge membership with 2 free guests remains
- Global Entry/Pre-Check reimbursement remains.
The $95/year Citi Premier card isn’t changing, for now at least. It earns 3 points per dollar on all travel, which is much more broad than the Prestige card’s travel spending categories. The Premier card also earns 3 points per dollar on gas and will retain 2 points per dollar on entertainment. The Premier card also still offers a value of 1.25 cents per point when redeeming for paid airfare. You can transfer points from the Prestige card to your own or to a friend’s Premier card.
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
- Avianca Lifemiles (Star Alliance)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (OneWorld)
- EVA (Star Alliance)
- Garuda Indonesia (Skyteam)
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia (OneWorld)
- Qantas (OneWorld)
- Qatar (OneWorld):
- Singapore (Star Alliance)
- Thai (Star Alliance)
- Turkish (Star Alliance)
- Virgin Atlantic
Assuming that you have access to a Citi Premier card and that the Premier card retains its increased points value for paid airfare, you can redeem the Prestige card’s 5 point categories at a value of 6.25 cents towards paid airfare. If you don’t also have access to a Premier card then the loss of the ability to redeem points for greater than 1 cent each hurts the value proposition of this card. It means that if you don’t value these airline transfer partners that a category that earns 5 points isn’t significantly more valuable than a category earning 3 points per dollar on a Chase card that allows points to be redeemed at a value of 1.5 cents each for any travel and to transfer points to partners like United, Southwest, and Hyatt. If you do value Citi’s transfer partners then the 5 points per dollar on airfare, travel agencies, and dining are excellent!
Many people do get outsized values from the 4th night free hotel offer on the Prestige card and given that the effective annual fee is $245 after the $250 travel credit, it can still make sense to hang onto the card even after they limit those 4 night free rebates to 2 per year. It could even make sense to have multiple Prestige cards just for that use, depending on what caliber hotel you redeem that benefit for.
Will you signup for a Prestige card when it relaunches?