What was once my favorite credit card seems to no longer be open to new applicants.
Citi Prestige closes to new applicants
The $495 annual fee Citi Prestige Card disappeared from the product page on Citi’s website recently. This created a lot of speculation as to whether the card was being discontinued, or what exactly was going on. Well, we now have an official answer.
Citi has confirmed that the Citi Prestige has been removed from the Citi card product offering “for the foreseeable future,” though Citi remains “committed to servicing existing Citi Prestige customers.”
As a Citi spokesperson explains:
For the foreseeable future, the Citi Prestige Card is removed from the Citi card product offering. Citi remains committed to servicing existing Citi Prestige customers and encourages customers interested in applying for a new Citi card to visit CitiCards.com for our full suite of card options, including the Citi Premier Card and the newly launched Citi Custom Cash Card.
What should we make of the Citi Prestige’s disappearance?
Initially when applications were taken down, many wondered if it was just an outage for a few days, which does sometimes happen. While Citi hasn’t confirmed that the card will be discontinued permanently, it’s clear that we’re talking about the card not being available for an extended period of time, at a minimum.
If you ask me, there are a couple of most likely explanations for Citi Prestige applications being taken down:
- The plan could be to discontinue the card permanently, because Citi couldn’t make money on the product, and/or didn’t want to compete in the premium card space
- The plan could be to refresh the card significantly, and the card is closing to new applicants until that happens; we’ve seen major refreshes to both the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve, which are the biggest competitors
It has seemed pretty clear for a while that Citi has been pushing people towards the Citi Premier® Card (review) over any other product. The card offers some fantastic spending bonuses, and at the moment it’s even offering its best-ever welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points (if you don’t have the card, it’s totally worth applying).
While updates have been made to the Citi Premier in recent years and months, we haven’t seen much movement on the Citi Prestige, which leads me to believe that Citi may have given up on the card a bit.
How I feel as a current Citi Prestige customer
I’ve had the Citi Prestige Card for years. Back in the day it was the single most valuable credit card out there. Why?
The card offered a fourth night free hotel benefit, which worked at virtually all hotels and on virtually all rates, and was even eligible for points accrual with major hotel groups. That benefit alone saved me thousands of dollars per year. Go figure that benefit was cut back significantly in 2019, and I haven’t found value in that perk ever since.
So, why do I continue to have this $495 annual fee card without that perk? The card has a $250 annual travel credit, which is more or less worth face value. The way I view it, the card really costs $245 out of pocket, after subtracting that.
Now the primary perk of the card is earning 5x ThankYou points on dining, which has historically been a big category for me. I’d say that at this point the Citi Prestige is more or less breakeven for me, and I’ve certainly gone back and forth about whether the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige makes more sense. At this point those without the Citi Prestige have had the decision made for them. 😉
The Citi Prestige Card will no longer be accepting applications from new cardmembers for the foreseeable future, though existing accounts will continue to be serviced.
It’s unclear whether the Citi Prestige will ever make a comeback. It’s possible that the card will be refreshed and relaunched, and it’s possible that the card will just never open to new cardmembers again. Personally I think the latter scenario is most likely, as consumers will instead be encouraged to get the excellent Citi Premier Card.
Even as an existing Citi Prestige cardmember, I’m kind of lukewarm towards the card, so I don’t necessarily view this as a huge loss.
What do you make of the Citi Prestige closing to new applicants?