The Citi Prestige® Card is offering 50,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Redeeming towards flights booked through Citi is your best redemption option, where the points are worth 1.33 cents apiece, or $665 (this will drop to 1.25 cents per point in mid-2017). Your second best option for redemption would be with gift cards, where your bonus will be worth $500.
Keep in mind, the 50,000 bonus points offer is found by going directly to Citi’s website, rather than through their partner websites/blogs.
The Citi Prestige® Card is in the premium travel credit card category and carries a massive $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year either. Not surprisingly, most people wouldn’t even consider this card, and justifiably so. But this card has its place, and that’s with the frequent traveler who enjoys the premium travel benefits.
While there are many travel benefits exclusive to these types of premium travel cards, we feel the ones that stick out the most for the Citi Prestige® are:
- The free access to 1,000 airport lounges through Priority Pass Select.
- The $250 Air Travel Credit.
- The rewards rate: 3X on Air Travel & Hotels, 2X on Dining & Entertainment, and 1X on other purchases.
- The complimentary 4th night stay at any hotel of your choice.
- Of course, the 50,000 bonus points offer.
The newly introduced Chase Sapphire ReserveSM is our pick as the best premium travel card, but it’s always best to compare all your options before deciding on a card with such a big annual fee.
Priority Pass Airport Lounges With The Citi Prestige® Card
The Priority Pass program is the best around for airport lounge access, with over 1,000 locations available worldwide. The membership level that is complimentary with the Citi Prestige® Card is the Priority Pass Select, which is equivalent to the Prestige membership level when purchased directly through Priority Pass. This is a $399 value ($359 with this discount), which justifies the $450 annual fee quite a bit.
While many major airports in the U.S. have lounges in the program (e.g. JFK, LAX, ATL, ORD, etc.), many also do not. Luckily, the worldwide footprint is massive, where relaxation in lounges abroad benefit the most.
You can look on their website or mobile app to find all the current locations.
*Note: American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access is still complimentary with this card, but that is set to phase out after June 2017. Priority Pass Select membership will still continue on unaffected.
Get $250 In Air Travel Credit Annually
If you travel at all during the year, you’re probably going to use up this benefit and essentially cut out more than half of the annual fee. Every year, you’ll receive $250 in Air Travel Credit that will be automatically applied to flight related expenses charged to your card. Not only does it apply to incidentals like baggage fees and upgrades, but also the flight tickets themselves.
For frequent travelers who will take advantage of the lounge access and air travel credit, the $450 annual fee will already be more than negated.
The Rewards Rate Of 1.25% To 3.75%
For those that spend a significant amount on travel, the rewards earning rate of the Citi Prestige® Card will make more sense than with a traditional travel credit card. You’ll get 3 points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, and 2 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and entertainment.
Two popular travel cards with lower annual fees, the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM ($89 annual fee/2X miles on all purchases) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® ($95 annual fee/2X points on travel and dining), earn travel rewards at a lesser rate.
The actual earnings rate will be higher if you redeem towards travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, where each point is worth 1.33 cents (drops to 1.25 cents mid-2017). When redeemed with this option, your earnings rate will range from 1.25% (non-category purchases) to 3.75% (air and hotel purchases).
4th Hotel Night Complimentary
When you book through the Citi Prestige Concierge, you’ll get a free 4th night stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive night booking. The offer page notes that for reservations made on or after July 23, 2017, the benefit will be calculated as the average nightly rate of your total stay, not including taxes.This is certainly a good perk if you travel often and stay at luxury hotels. However, your options for booking through the concierge are by calling in or emailing them. There’s no streamlined web interface for price comparison versus booking through the hotel itself, or through travel sites like Priceline or Agoda. Regardless, if you’re staying somewhere that is $300+ a night, it may be worth checking the price through the concierge to compare with your outside booking options.
Getting The 50,000 Bonus Points
Again, you’ll find this offer by going directly to Citi’s website. We’ll monitor the offer and make updates if there are any changes.
You’ll have to spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening to qualify for the bonus. The bonus will put you in the positive right off the bat for the first year despite the $450 annual fee.
We strongly believe the targeted market for this card should not have any problems meeting that spending requirement for the bonus. However, if for some reason you need some spending options, use our Card Bonus Spending Requirement guide for the most popular ways others are using.
For bonus seekers, one popular method is by funding new bank accounts with their credit cards. Many do this to open new Checking accounts that have sign-up bonuses. Plan this out thoughtfully and you could end up with thousands of dollars in bonus money every year.
What’s The Competition?
Our team personally picks the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card as our favorite premium travel credit card. It was released in the latter half of 2016, and was a big hit for Chase. The sign-up bonus offer is better, the annual travel credit is higher, your points are worth more at travel redemption, you earn rewards faster on dining, and the Ultimate Rewards program is a long term favorite with consumers.
The other big player is The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card earns rewards faster than its competitors on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. You’ll also get more lounge access that includes The Centurion, International American Express, Delta Sky Club, and Airspace Lounges networks, as well as the Priority Pass Select membership. However, one big pitfall for international travelers is going to be the lack of American Express acceptance in many locations abroad.
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