About Citi Prestige Card
If there was a magic fairy tale land in the world of credit cards, it would be the luxury genre.
These cards carry a high annual fee, but offer all kinds of perks and privileges reserved for the select few who are approved for them.
The Citi Prestige is one of those luxury cards. With an annual fee of $450, it definitely qualifies as one of the priciest cards on the market. However, its intro offer of 40,000 points and several other swanky benefits may very well be worth its steep annual fee.
To figure out if the Citi Prestige Card is actually worth its price tag, we’ve dug through the fine and not-so-fine print about this card, researched its fees, read through reviews and arrived at a few conclusions.
We’ll share our findings with you in the form of three main sections:
- What are the short-term and long-term perks of this card?
- What are its fees and penalties?
- What are other people saying about it?
So, let’s get started on the first section of this review.
What are the Short-Term and Long-Term Perks of the Citi Prestige Card?
Every credit card, whether luxury or just ho-hum, comes with some sort of introductory offer meant to coax you into signing up for the card.
Citi Prestige Card’s Short-Term Perks
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Citi Prestige is offering a 40,000-point bonus to cardmembers who spend $4,000 in the first three months of owning the card. That three-month clock starts ticking the moment you are approved for the card, not when you actually get it in the mail.
Although, the time between approval and delivery of the card isn’t that long – Citi overnights the card, another point in the short-term column.
Now, back to the points – they’re what’s known as ThankYou Rewards points, and can be cashed in through Citi’s ThankYou purchase portal.
Through this portal, you can buy all kinds of gifts, gift cards and transfer your points to 12 different airline frequent flyer programs. You can also transfer your points to the Hilton HHonors loyalty program, where one ThankYou point is equal to 1.5 HHonors points.
You can also book travel through the ThankYou Rewards program. When you do, you get a 33% bonus on your points. So, if you spend 10,000 points ($100) in the ThankYou portal, they’ll actually be worth $133.
The Citi Prestige does not offer a promotional APR.
Citi Prestige Card’s Long-Term Perks
Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a similar luxury card, the Citi Prestige gives the discerning traveler a lot of great advantages:
- $100 reimbursement for the GlobalEntry program
- Free entrance into Priority Pass airport lounges
- Up to $250 in reimbursements each year for travel expenses
- A fourth free night on hotel books of at least four nights through the ThankYou Rewards portal
In our opinion, these are great perks for travelers. Priority Pass entrance fees start at $27. A night in a hotel in New York is, on average, $254. Throw in the $250 in travel reimbursements and you’re looking at least $500 in savings per year, which more than pays for this card’s annual fee.
As for accruing miles, you’ll get three points for every dollar you spend on air travel/hotels, two points on dining/entertainment and one point on everything else.
We read through the card’s terms and conditions and found that the “entertainment” category includes the following things you wouldn’t normally think of:
- Hulu and Netflix
- Record stores
- Art galleries
Based on the short- and long-term rewards of this card, it’s our opinion the Citi Prestige is a good fit for a family who travels a lot and has an interest in arts and culture.
Now, let’s move on to the card’s fees and penalties.
The Fees and Penalties That Come With the Citi Prestige Card
Every credit card you’ll see has a series of fees and penalties you may have to pay during your time as a cardmember. The most well-known fee is APR, an interest rate assigned to you when you’re approved for your card.
Exactly what your APR will be is based on your credit history, credit scores, your income and other factors. The better the credit and income you have, the more likely you are to get a lower APR. The APR only kicks in when you don’t pay your balance off in full.
Also, the Citi Prestige Card has a penalty APR, which is an interest rate that kicks in when you make a late payment. It’s usually higher (in some cases, twice as high) as your normal APR.
Some credit card companies will hit you with a penalty APR but will analyze your account in 6 months to reconsider the penalty (the American Express Blue Cash Preferred is a good example).
Here’s a quick list of the fees and penalties you may have to pay:
- APR on purchases and balance transfers: 15.24%
- APR on cash advances: 25.49%
- Fee for a late payment: Up to $35
- Penalty APR: up to 29.99% (may apply indefinitely)
- Foreign transaction fee: None
Now that you know about the Prestige’s benefits and its fees/penalties, let’s discuss what credit card experts and consumers like you are saying about the card.
What Other People Say About the Citi Prestige Credit Card
Personal finance website and discussion sites like Reddit are a great place to get a sense of what consumers are saying about a particular credit card.
We searched out several sites and found the following ratings for Citi’s Prestige card:
- Value Penguin: 88 out of 100. Their review says, “Despite its high annual fee … this card holds a lot of value for consumers who can fully take advantage of its perks.”
- Nerd Wallet (editorial): 3.7 out of 5. Article author Lindsay Konsko wrote that the card is great for big spenders who like luxury and that “considering the number, variety and high value of the elite perks you’ll receive, its annual fee actually isn’t so outrageous.”
- Nerd Wallet (consumers): 2.5 out of 5 from 11 consumer reviews.
- Credit Karma: 4.5 out of 5 from 14 consumer reviews.
Some of the complaints from customers include an absence of perks that can make the card worth it, as well as complaints about perks that cardmembers once had are not available for new cardmembers.
According to The Points Guy, Citi Prestige members used to have access to American Airlines Admiral’s Club airport lounges and also had excellent redemption rates on American Airlines flights booked through the ThankYou portal.
So, with all this information in mind, you’re probably wondering if this Citi credit card is right for you.
Our Conclusions: Is the Citi Prestige Credit Card a Good Fit For You?
The Citi Prestige Card is definitely in the upper tier of credit cards. Its hefty $450 annual fee gives you free access to airport lounges around the world, a $250 yearly credit toward travel expenses as well as a modest 40,000-point sign-up bonus.
All of these perks sound great, and they are … if you travel enough to take advantage of airport lounges and the travel credit Citi offers.
But let’s say you don’t travel much and you’ll probably use your points for one round-trip flight to visit family – would the card still be worth it?
Here's what our stats say. The average American spends about $1,400 a year on travel, and, to be optimistic, we’ll say 60% of that budget goes toward plane tickets and hotels, or $840 (2520 ThankYou points). We also spend about $3,000 a year eating out, which is 6,000 ThankYou points.
When you add in the average of about $21,000 we charge on our cards each year, that’s about 29,500 points, which is good enough to pay for a few nights in a Hilton or a round-trip ticket to pretty much anywhere in the United States on JetBlue (one of the frequent flyer programs you can send your points to).
Throw in the $250 travel bonus you get every year and one or two visits to a Priority Pass lounge and, even for the average consumer, this card could be worth it.
However, you’d have to try pretty hard to hit all those marks, and if you don’t live in a city with an airport that has a Priority Pass lounge, or you only fly once a year, then there’s a chance this card isn’t good for you.
If you find yourself thinking the Citi Prestige isn’t the right fit for you, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One Venture. Both cards have annual fees under $100 and offer enough intro points and yearly points to get you at least one free flight a year.
If you’re a frequent traveler and you aren’t satisfied with the level of perks and miles opportunities you can get with the Citi Prestige Card, we suggest you read through our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Reserve has the same annual fee but includes a 100,000-ponit bonus along with a $300 yearly travel reimbursement.