Citi has revamped the Citi Prestige® Card, which is their high-end ThankYou point rewards card. (You can tell, because the fancy cards are too cool to have your name printed on the front!)
You may be scared away by the $450 annual fee, but the card does include an $250 air travel credit every year good towards any airfare, American Airlines airport lounge access, improved rewards value for ThankYou points, and more. Can it really be worth it?
Here is the current sign-up bonus as well as one-time perks:
- Earn 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- $100 Global Entry application fee credit. Citi will cover the $100 application fee on a one-time basis when you charge it to the card. Global Entry allows you to get through international customs faster when entering the US.
Here are the ongoing highlights of the card:
- $250 Statement Credit for Air Travel each year. Unlike other cards, airfare counts as well as baggage fees, lounge access, and other incidental purchases. This renews every calendar year, so it can be used to help offset the annual fee every year.
- Complimentary access to nearly 40 American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select. Valid for you and your entire immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) or up to two companions. Citi and American are tight these days; the competing American Express Platinum no longer offers American Airlines lounge access at all. Priority Pass lounges tend to be at international airports.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels.
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment.
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on Purchases.
- Includes chip technology which increases acceptance overseas.
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay. This could be nice, but your stay must be booked through their designated travel agent, so I’m not sure if that means the rates will be the same as say Expedia or Travelocity.
- Complimentary greens fees at more than 2,400 public and private golf courses around the globe. The terms specify that you get 3 complimentary rounds of golf through the Citi Prestige® Golf Portal (provided by GolfSwitch, Inc.) each calendar year.
- $450 Annual Fee. Not waived for the first year.
The Citi Prestige is most attractive for people who fly on American Airlines. First of all, as long as you spend $250 a year on air travel, the $450 annual fee would be effectively reduced to $200. If you fly on American a lot, the airport lounge access alone might be worth $200 a year.
In addition, the ThankYou point rewards are now more valuable than in past years. With this card, you can redeem 1 ThankYou point to get 1.6 cents worth of American Airlines and US Airways airfare. So if you redeem your points towards American Airlines or US Airways airfare, you’ll get 1.6% back standard while the 2X and 3X categories turn into 3.2% back at restaurants and 4.8% back on airfare and hotels. (If you have CitiGold checking account or Citi Private Banker, you’ll get an additional 15% or 25% bonus respectively on ThankYou points earned.) You can also get 1.3 cents per point value by redeeming towards airfare on all other airlines.
The sign-up bonus of 30,000 ThankYou points is thus worth $480 in American/US Airways airfare, $399 in other airfare, or $300 in gift cards to various retailers. Along with the $100 Global Entry statement credit, you could view the initial sign-up perks as a way to offset the annual fee during the first year (as the annual fee is not waived).
Citi ThankYou points are also now available to transfer to certain airline mileage programs on a 1:1 basis including Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.