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Citi Prestige® Card Review

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Citi Prestige® Card

Sizeable Benefits for a Sizeable Fee

A credit card with a $450 annual fee is a niche product. The Citi Prestige® Card is not the only credit card to charge a $450 fee, but its fee is still well above what most consumers are willing to pay. However, it’s worth evaluating the fee on its merits. When you do that, you see that the Citi Prestige® Card offers some serious travel perks. 

When you swipe your Citi Prestige® Card, you’ll earn 3x points on air travel and hotels and 2x on dining at restaurants and entertainment. All other purchases earn you rewards at a rate of 1x point per dollar spent. 

These points are known as ThankYou® Points and can be redeemed for flights on any airline when you use the ThankYou® Travel Center. You can also redeem for gift cards from the ThankYou® Rewards collection. 

The more you travel and the more nights you spend in hotels, the more you’ll love what the Citi Prestige® Card has to offer. You’ll be able to extend your trip with a complimentary fourth night at a hotel of your choice after you spend a minimum of four consecutive nights at a hotel you book through the Citi Prestige® Concierge. 

The primary cardholder and authorized users of the Citi Prestige® Card will get complimentary access to hundreds of airport lounges through the Priority Pass™ Select program. The primary cardholder and authorized users are entitled to bring a maximum of up to two guests and any immediate family members in your party. Additional guests will be charged $27 per guest, per visit. 

International travelers will appreciate that the Citi Prestige® Card comes with up to $100 application fee credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck® every 5 years. Plus, there’s no foreign transaction fee.

And then there’s the $250 Air Travel Credit that you’ll get each year. Your credit will automatically be applied to flight-related expenses you put on your card. That includes flights, baggage fees and upgrades, among other charges. 

That $250 credit effectively brings the annual fee down to $200. The Global Entry/TSA Precheck® application fee credit knocks the fee down to $100 for the first year (valid once every five years). If you travel frequently and you normally pay for airport lounge access, getting free lounge access from the Citi Prestige® Card can shave hundreds of dollars off your yearly travel spending. 

Smart Features

3x points on air travel and hotel spending – When you swipe your card to book air travel and hotel rooms you’ll earn triple points. 

2x points on dining and entertainment – Love to go out? You’ll love getting double points on your dining and entertainment purchases. 

1x point per dollar spent in other categories – You’ll never make a purchase that doesn’t earn you points when you swipe your Citi Prestige® Card. 

No foreign transaction fee – You won’t have to worry about a transaction fee when you swipe your card abroad.  

Citi Prestige® Concierge service access – Need help booking travel or making a restaurant reservation? Buying tickets to a sold-out show? You can access the Citi Concierge service 24/7.

Free airport lounge access – Your Citi Prestige® Card gives you access to over 400 airport lounges worldwide. 

Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck® application fee credit – Have you been on the fence about whether to spring for Global Entry or TSA Precheck®? Your Citi Prestige® Card has your fee covered. 

$250 Air Travel Credit each year – As a cardholder you’ll automatically receive a $250 Air Travel Credit annually. You can apply the credit to purchases booked through the airlines you fly with, for things like tickets and excess baggage fees. 

Complimentary fourth night at luxury hotels – When you book a hotel stay of at least four consecutive nights through the Citi Prestige® Concierge and pay with your Citi Prestige® Card your fourth night will be complimentary.  

Who It Benefits

Big spenders who travel frequently and love airport lounge and hotel perks are the consumers who have the most to gain from the Citi Prestige® Card. Breaking even on the $450 fee and coming out ahead becomes easier the more you spend on travel. 

Those who travel infrequently will have a harder time making the most of the card. Sure, you can redeem points for gift cards but you won’t get as much for your money as you would if you took advantage of the Air Travel Credit, Global Entry or TSA Precheck® application fee credit, airport lounge access and hotel perks. 

If you have credit card debt that you want to transfer to a new card, the Citi Prestige® Card is not your best bet because it doesn’t come with a 0% introductory APR. And of course if you’re on a very tight budget, a card with a $450 annual fee like the Citi Prestige® Card has is not ideal for you. 

How It Works

Every time you swipe your Citi Prestige® Card you’ll earn points. Air travel and hotel purchases will earn you rewards at a rate of 3x points per dollar. Dining at restaurants and entertainment purchases earn you 2x points per dollar. All other purchases will earn you 1x point per dollar you spend. 

ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for flights on any airline through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or for gift cards. You’ll get the highest value per point when you redeem for flights. You can redeem at a value of 1 cent per point when you redeem for flights. 

You can also transfer your ThankYou® Points to other loyalty programs, including TrueBlue®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hilton Honors™ and more. There is no fee to transfer your points, but you must transfer at least 1,000 points at a time. 

Your APR on your Citi Prestige® Card will be 17.49%-25.49% Variable, that can change with the Prime Rate. Balance transfers will also be subject to a 17.49%-25.49% Variable APR and must be completed within two months from the date your account is opened. 

Cash advances are subject to a 26.74% variable APR. And if you miss a payment, you’ll pay a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99%, based on your creditworthiness.  

What’s the Catch

If you’ve had problems making your credit card payments in the past, the penalty APR on the card is a catch. And if you have a balance to transfer, the lack of a 0% APR will be a catch for you. 

Redeeming the points you earn on your Citi Prestige® Card is also not the most flexible process. For example, you can only apply your Air Travel Credit to purchases you make directly from an airline, not from a site like Kayak or Expedia. 

Just the Math Please

Rewards

The Citi Prestige® Card earns you 3x points on air travel and hotel spending. You’ll earn 2x points on dining and entertainment and one Thank You® point per dollar on all other purchases. Each year you’ll get a $250 Air Travel Credit you can use to offset purchases you make from airlines. As you can see, it’s not hard to break even on the annual fee if you travel. 

Balance Transfers

The APR on any balances you transfer within your first two months as an accountholder will be subject to a variable APR of 17.24%-25.24%. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of each balance transferred, whichever is greater. 

Rates and Fees

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases

Your purchase APR will be a variable rate of 17.24%-25.24%.

APR for Balance Transfers

Any balances you transfer within two months from the date your account is opened will be subject to a variable APR of 17.24%-25.24%.

APR for Cash Advances

The APR for cash advances is 26.74% variable.

Penalty APR and When It Applies

Up to 29.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The penalty APR is a variable rate and will apply if you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned. 

How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases

Your due date is at least 23 days after the close of each billing period. If you pay your entire balance by each month’s due date you will not accrue interest charges. 

Annual Fee

$450

Transaction Fees

  • Balance Transfer $5 or 3% of your transferred balance(s), whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction None

Penalty Fees

  • Late Payment Up to $35
  • Returned Payment Up to $35

How It Stacks Up

How does the Citi Prestige® Card compare to other rewards credit cards? The Chase Sapphire Reserve? Card also charges a $450 annual fee, but offers 3x points on travel and restaurant spending and one point per dollar on all other purchases. That’s a higher rewards rate than the 2x you’ll get on dining with the Citi Prestige® Card. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve? Card also comes with a $300 travel credit each year, compared to the $250 Citi Prestige®. While the credit on the Citi Prestige® Card only applies to airline purchases, the $300 credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Card can be applied to any travel spending. The Chase Sapphire Reserve? Card also comes with airport lounge access and a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck® fee credit. The Chase Sapphire Reserve? comes with a bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, whereas the Citi Prestige® Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. 

Bottom Line

The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 travel credit. You’ll earn points you can use for travel, transfer to partner programs or redeem for gift cards. If you’re on the fence between this card and other high-fee rewards cards, it’s a good idea to compare the various partner programs for point transfers and see which airlines and hotels are on offer. That way, you’ll be able to find the card that will benefit you the most.