Citi Prestige Card Review: New 40,000 Point Offer, Feature Changes

Citi ThankYou Prestige Card Art

This offer is now EXPIRED.

Our partner Citi has relaunched the Citi Prestige® Card, their premium ThankYou point rewards card. The sign-up bonus is now 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Here are the updated highlights:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • 40,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $500 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates or $400 in gift cards
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year, and receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check
  • 4th night hotel benefit for any hotel stat at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige® Concierge
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels
  • Earn 3x Points on Air Travel & Hotels
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Early 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • $450 annual fee, not waived the first year.

What’s different than before? While many features remain, there are a few notable changes from the previous offer.

  • The sign-up bonus was previously 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases.
  • Citi and American Airlines connection appears to be going away over time. For example, the application does not mention the previous ability to redeem at 1 ThankYou point = 1.6 cents in American Airlines airfare. There is now only the claim that you can redeem 1 ThankYou point = 1.33 cents in airfare from any airline. Thus, 40k ThankYou points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
  • Existing Citi Prestige cardholders have been told that the ability to obtain complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges will be ending July 23, 2017. Free access to the Priority Pass Select program and its affiliated airport lounges will remain.

What’s the same as before?

  • $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. Specifically, “This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.”
  • Citi ThankYou points also transfer directly 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.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit details. 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. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck as well. The $100 application fee credit will reset once every 5 years.

My personal bottom line. As an existing cardholder, there is no doubt the card has lost some important features. I’ve gotten my $100 Global Entry credit and $250 annual airfare credits without issue. But my most often-used feature, the Admiral Club lounge access will last until July 2017 but will disappear after that. Unless the annual fee drops significantly, that single change will probably make it not worth paying for another annual fee.

Overall bottom line: This card still offers a pretty good package during the first year of card ownership. Assuming you fly enough on any airline to make the airfare purchases, you can redeem the $250 annual airfare credit in both later 2016 and again in early 2017, for a total of $500 statement credit. (The $250 annual credit resets every December billing statement.) Then you have the $532 in airfare redemption value from the 40,000 ThankYou points, good on any airline. That’s $1,032 of flexible value, minus the annual fee of $450, for $582 minimum net value in the first year. Then you add in whatever value you place on the other perks like $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement, 3/2/1 rewards tiers, and the 4th night free benefit.

In addition, if you have a big stash of Citi ThankYou points, getting this card could increase the value of your existing point balance due to the special 1.33 cents per ThankYou point conversion rate towards airfare.

  • Citi Prestige® Card Application

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Comments

  1. Can you anyone confirm that citigold member can get this card for 350 a year? Citi credit cards says no but I read that they do discount the annual fee for citigold members

  2. This really seems like a phenomenal deal if you use the miles to pay for AA flights.

    Not only are you getting 1.6 cents per point, but you are also double dipping because you are getting AA miles for your flights. The actual value is then north of 1.6 cents per point

  3. What makes you think that airfare counts? Application still says “incidental air travel” under desfriptions

    Purchases made by the Primary cardmember and Authorized Users on the Card Account are eligible for this statement credit. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account. This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit. Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.

    • Look at the 2nd to last sentence of your own quote:

      “Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account.”

      • True… You are correct… Then why call it it “incidental air travel” 🙂

        • The use of “incidental” is a bit curious, but it does say incidental *air travel* for Citi Prestige, not incidental *airline fees* as it says on the AmEx Platinum. On the Prestige application page it is more clearly called “$250 Statement Credit for Air Travel each year”. Either way, I hope we can all agree that airfare is covered.

          • I’ve had the card for 6 months and air travel was reimbursed, apparently based on merchant code. Even better, it’s automatic and on the same statement as the charge!

  4. The citi thank you premier credit card seems better starting 4/19/2015, since they give 50k bonus points after spending $2k in first 3 months of applicant, PLUS 3X ThankYou Points on Travel including Gas, and 2X ThankYou Points on Dining Out and Entertainment. The annual fee becomes $95 then too.
    For this Citi Prestige card, when does the credit post? Would they give 250 credit airfare bought in November 2015 in December, and airfare in February 2016 in March?

    • earning wise yes, premier is better, but when it comes to redemption premier card holder only get 1.25 cents per point value.

      Prestige also comes with AA club access, 250 credit x 2 (since it’s calendar year based), which effectively make the AF 50 if you were going to spend 500 on airfare during the 12 month period anyway. In the end, it’s the difference between 50 and 95, and that’s if we disregard the $100 credit for global entry from Prestige.

      To sum it up, Prestige is a no-brainer for year 1, year 2 depends on your personal situation, annual fee is 200 vs 95.

    • The airtravel credit posts automatically after the air charge is incurred. Even better, it’s calendar based: I received a $250 credit soon after I got the card in October 2014 and another one in Q1/2015! So, fee wise, I got more than my first annual fee back already!

  5. Need to keep this in mind, thankyou points expire after 30 days if the credit card that earned such points is cancelled. You’ll have to use up all the points, or keep this card for a 2nd year if you want to keep 1.6 cent per point value.

  6. There were significant changes to the features of this card as of July 25th, 2016. Comments dated prior to this date may refer to features that no longer apply. Please see the post for the most updated features.

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