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For the past several years, the Citi Prestige Card has been one of the most valuable credit cards for travelers. The card has had a $450 annual fee and has offered a $250 annual airline credit, 3x points on airfare and hotels, 2x points on dining and entertainment, a Priority Pass membership, and more.
The greatest benefit of the card has been that it offers a fourth night free hotel benefit, which has saved many of us thousands of dollars per year. It’s a pretty incredible perk.
Unfortunately the Citi Prestige Card is no longer open to new applicants. Citi has said that they “remain committed to the Prestige product and servicing our valued existing cardmembers. We look forward to reintroducing the card for new cardmembers in the near future.”
So while I think it’s safe to say that the existing perks will remain for existing cardmembers for some amount of time, I do wonder what the card will look like in the future. Will they keep the name and general benefits, will they introduce a new premium card, or what?
Rumors of a new Citi premium credit card
While I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from this yet, reader @ithacxa shares a survey he received from Citi regarding a possible new card product, called the Citi Explore. It presents a few different versions of the cards, though the core benefits seem to be the same across them. Let me once again emphasize that as of now this is just a survey, so this is a card that may or may not every be introduced.
This new premium card is supposedly called the Citi Explore. The card has a $450 annual fee, and offers:
- A $300 annual travel credit
- 3x points on travel and dining
- Points worth 50% more when redeeming for travel through the Citi ThankYou portal (in other words, 1.5 cents per point)
- A TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit
- Either a Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits, OR a Priority Pass membership with 10 visits per year and 2x points on gym memberships (which is a benefit that’s similar to The World of Hyatt Credit Card)
— Ithacxa (@ithacxa) September 24, 2018
Notably absent is the fourth night free benefit, though that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since I can’t imagine how costly that has been for Citi. Again, we don’t know if this card will be introduced at all, and for that matter we don’t know if current Citi Prestige cardmembers would be transitioned to a new product, or if they’d continue to offer the card for existing cardmembers.
Chase Sapphire Reserve copy?
The card they’re proposing sounds almost exactly like the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which has a $450 annual fee, offers a $300 travel credit, offers triple points on dining and travel, has a Priority Pass membership, and lets you redeem points for 50% more when booking travel.
I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Citi is considering an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em approach,” given how wildly successful the Sapphire Reserve has been.
I’m increasingly finding ThankYou points to be very worthwhile, and I might just prefer them to Ultimate Rewards points at this point. So essentially paying $150 per year for a card that offers triple ThankYou points on dining and travel with a 50% points bonus sounds like something that could be worthwhile.
How does this compare to the Citi ThankYou Premier?
Citi also has the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which currently has its best-ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months. The card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and if you don’t yet have the card I highly recommend it.
This card offers triple points on travel and gas and double points on dining and entertainment.
If the Citi Explore Card were introduced, would it be a good alternative to the Citi Premier?
- After the first year the cost difference would be $55 per year ($450 minus the $300 travel credit, vs. a $95 annual fee)
- The premium card would have the benefit of letting you redeem points for cash towards a travel purchase at a higher rate (1.5 cents towards any travel purchase, vs. 1.25 cents towards airfare)
- The premium card would offer triple points on travel and dining, while the Premier offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment
It’s normal for card issuers to throw around different card ideas in a survey. Let me once again say that it’s possible the above card will never be introduced. However, at a minimum I do think it’s interesting to discuss, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the new card that’s introduced:
- The Sapphire Reserve has been so popular, so it’s not surprising to see another issuer copy the idea
- We should expect the fourth night free benefit wouldn’t be offered on any new card, given how costly and valuable of a perk it is
- It’s interesting that the different survey ideas being thrown around all have the same core benefits (a $300 travel credit, triple points on travel and dining, etc.)
Would you be interested in a card like the rumored Citi Explore Card?