Confirmed: Full Details Of The New Citi Prestige Card

Everything above the break is an update to a post from October 23, when we first found out most of these details.

Citi has now published details about the changes coming to the Citi Prestige Card on their website, and this contains the new terms and conditions, pretty graphics, and some other useful information. So if you had any questions about the new card, now you know for sure.

There are some further updated regarding the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit — one update is good, while one is very bad, so see this post for more details.

Here are some screenshots from Citi’s website:


The Citi Prestige Card is one of my all around favorite credit cards. Citi stopped accepting applications for the card in August, and promised that they were planning on refreshing the card with new benefits. Well, yesterday I posted about some rumored changes that would be coming to this card, and they’ve now (mostly) been confirmed.

Note that the card still isn’t open to new applicants, but is expected to once again be available to the public at some point in January 2019.

Citi Prestige: what’s improving

  • Starting in January 2019, the card will earn 5x points on dining and air travel, and 3x points on cruise lines
  • Starting in January 2019, the $250 airline credit will be expanded to a general $250 travel credit, meaning that any travel purchase will be eligible for reimbursement, up to that amount
  • Starting in May 2019, the card will introduce a cell phone protection plan (full details haven’t yet been revealed)

Citi Prestige: what’s staying the same

  • The card will continue to offer a Priority Pass membership, with the ability to guest two people into lounges
  • The card will continue to offer a TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit once every five years
  • The card will maintain the current protection benefits, including for travel

Citi Prestige: what’s getting worse

  • Starting in September 2019, the card’s annual fee is being raised from $450 to $495
  • Starting in September 2019, the fourth night free benefit will be limited to twice per calendar year
  • Starting in September 2019, the card will no longer offer 2x points on entertainment
  • Starting in September 2019, you won’t earn a 25% bonus when redeeming for air travel anymore; this means if you want to redeem your Citi points towards the cost of an airline ticket you’ll only be able to do so at the rate of one cent per point, though you’ll continue to be able to transfer points to airline transfer partners

Why I think Citi’s Prestige Card changes are smart

For me these changes will probably be a net negative. The fourth night free hotel benefit is the single most lucrative benefit offered by any credit card, in my opinion, and I get thousands of dollars of value out of that every year.

But I don’t actually put spend on the card otherwise, because there are better cards out there for that. So while I think these changes are a net negative for me, I don’t blame Citi for making these changes. The average cardmember probably uses this benefit on average at most once per year, so I can’t blame them for changing a benefit on which they were losing a significant amount of money from a small percentage of cardmembers.

The reason I think this is well played on Citi’s part is because they’ve finally created a card that has rich benefits while also making the card worth putting spend on.

To simplify it as much as possible, the card has a $495 annual fee but offers a $250 travel credit, which I more or less value at face value. So that means the card will really cost me $245 per year, or so.

I’ll continue to use the fourth night free benefit at top hotels. Sometimes I splurge and stay at very expensive hotels, and I’ll continue using the benefit for those hotels, which will pay for my annual fee and then some.

Then I’ll receive 5x points on airfare and dining, which will make this my go to card in both of those categories. While The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) also offers 5x points on airfare, it doesn’t offer the same great travel coverage that Citi does

What don’t I value?

The one thing I find interesting is that they’re devaluing the ability to redeem points as cash towards the cost of an airline ticket. While points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of all kinds of travel purchases, points on the Citi Prestige will only be redeemable for one cent each towards the cost of airfare or other purchases.

So even with the 5x points you’re only earning the equivalent of a 5% return, while the 3x points on the Sapphire Reserve would be a 4.5% return, by comparison.

Personally this doesn’t bother me much, since I’m happy transferring my points to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca Lifemiles, Etihad Guest, Singapore KrisFlyer, etc. I value ThankYou points at ~1.7 cents each thanks to the ability to transfer to partners, so that’s the equivalent of an ~8.5% return to me.

What does this mean for the Amex Gold Card?

Just recently we saw the introduction of the American Express® Gold Card, which is a $250 annual fee card offering some incredible bonus categories:

  • 4x points at U.S. restaurants
  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of spend per year)
  • 3x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines

On top of that, the card offers a $100 annual airline fee credit, and an annual dining credit of up to $120.

A lot of us were excited about this card because it was a new best card for U.S. dining, and one of the better cards for U.S. supermarket purchases.

But obviously all of these cards have substantial annual fees, so did Citi just basically kill the Amex Gold just a couple of weeks after it was introduced? The truth is, I’m not sure…

There’s still merit to the card, especially for those who spend a lot at supermarkets, and those who value Membership Rewards points more than other points currencies.

But in my own situation I know I’m trying to decide where the new Amex Gold Card fits in with regards to my overall strategy, now that the Citi Prestige Card has trumped it when it comes to dining (and not just in the US, but globally).

Bottom line

The way I view it, long term this will essentially be a $245 per year card ($495 annual fee minus $250 annual travel credit) that gets me two fourth night free bookings, which I expect I’ll get $1,000+ of value out of. On top of that, this will be my go-to card for dining and airfare spend.

5x points on dining is a best-ever bonus category for that, while the airfare spend bonus matches what’s offered by the Amex Platinum, plus you get travel protection.

What do you make of the new Citi Prestige Card? If you’re an existing cardmember, will you keep the card, and are you happy or sad about the changes? If you don’t have the card, do you plan on applying for it when it opens to new cardmembers next year?

Comments

  1. The limitation of 4th night free is bogus. I used it 4 times this year, and my average 4th night was around $250 (not $1000+ as you say). It’s a limitation of $500 or more. On the other hand, there’s not another card out there that gives the same benefit.

  2. Under the “Citi Prestige: what’s improving” section you mention that the car will earn “5x points on dining and travel” but further down you mention that you’ll “receive 5x points on airfare and dining” – is it all travel that earns bonus points (like CSR) or just airfare? Thanks.

  3. Lucky, so is the 5x on airfare only or travle in general? Your article says travel first but then you mention it as airfare bonus elsewhere (I assume it’s airfare since the cruise line category would not make muh sense otherwise )

  4. @ Marcel @ Ziggy — Sorry, that should have read “air travel,” not travel. It is indeed only on airfare.

  5. Lucky, what do you think the chances are of seeing an increased sign-up bonus for those of us who’ve never had the card? Think a 75K or 100K offer may come around to create a splash like the CSR did? Even the Amex Gold doubled its signup offer from 25K to 50K…

  6. The fourth night benefit was the reason to get this card. That’s what set it apart from other “premium” cards. Not that that is being severely limited, it’s benefits don’t stand out.

  7. Don’t think it killed Amex Gold but definitely took away the traction it was getting. If you are going to keep the Amex Platinum, then having Gold makes sense. Also, Amex offers regular transfer bonuses and that easily brings the earn rate to higher than what you would earn on Prestige. Most bloggers are not going to say this but the biggest impact it should have would be on CSR as this card offers better travel insurance than CSR, better price protection than either Chase or Amex through its Price Rewind benefit and better warranty than either Chase and possibly Amex.

  8. Past two years I got well over 6k of hotel rebates. Would have gotten over 10k had hurricane not hit St Barth’s last year. Of course all good things must come to an end. I guess only redemption for the Brando and Aman Venice from now on.

    Glad I didn’t jump on the Amex gold train. 5x dinning is perfect. Def better than Sapphire 3x. Together with buying whole food gift cards at Office Depot with my ink card for 5x spend on grocery, I have perfect set of credit cards in my pocket!

  9. Love your blog and first time poster.

    I would be a new applicant to this card but have been following it for quite some time. I also just got the Amex Gold and I think the best value offered by that card is the 4x on supermarkets and access to Amex Rewards. To me, its also a $30 net cost card since I’ve been successful at redeeming the $100 airline incidentals award and dine out a lot for the $120 dining reward.

    The real question to me is, why would you keep the CSR now that the Amex Gold and Citi Prestige are out there? Just to collect UR points? Perhaps 3x on Uber / Lyft and other ‘incidental’ travel expenses? I would likely use the Amex SPG Lux and Amex Hilton Aspire for most hotel stays. Thanks!

  10. Can the $250 travel credit be used in strip clubs? I imagine that is the biggest expense for most business travelers that is not company reimbursed.

  11. The 5x on air travel and dining essentially kills the new Amex Gold and perhaps even the Platinum. This will be my go-to card for air/dining and even hotels. I would keep the CSP for point diversification and non-air travel. Is there a use for Amex Platinum or Gold now with this card?

    The limitation of fourth night free is a bummer (I got~$5k in value this year alone) but I guess Citi is smart as they will keep me with the 5x on air travel and dining.

    Do you know if the $350 AF for Citigold members will be grandfathered?

  12. @ Colin @ John W — The $350 fee should be grandfathered as far as I know. As far as the Amex Platinum Card goes, I agree there’s less value. At this point the card is worth keeping for the perks, and not for the 5x points on airfare, in my opinion.

  13. Wow, its a war out there… great for us… but hard to keep up with what to do.

    Big bummer on the 4 night deal, hotels are harder than flights and this made me thousands of dollars a year. The way the math worked on say a Marriott elite stay was basically when you factored in the discount and points you were getting on all 4 nights it costs ~55% of face value… on any hotel you could book four nights. So awesome.

    I was earning and burning my hotel points… I think I will change any reservation I can over the next year to a 4 night stay and hoard my hotel points instead… at least once the 4th night benefit is gone I will have a year or two of hotel points/certs to use.

    I think “4 times per year” would have been a lot more pleasing than 2, at 4 per year I would have thought that more fair, but I suppose I understand. Looks like I will reserve these 2 for expensive stays, probably at loyalty hotels to get the extra points factor above.

  14. @ SantiCE — It’s a great question. I do still think there’s value in the CSR for the fact that it’s a great card to have to maximize Ultimate Rewards points with all the other cards in the UR ecosystem. The 3x points on travel purchases other than airfare still remains a best option for that category, in my opinion. But everyone will have to crunch the numbers for themselves based on their spend patterns.

  15. @ Daniel — True, but I’m guessing most people who greatly used this benefit will still get more than $245 of value out of it every year, so it will likely still be a keeper.

  16. @ Ethan — It’s anyone’s guess. I have no clue, but wouldn’t be surprised to see a 50K offer with a fairly low spend requirement, or a 75K offer with a high spend requirement, though only time will tell.

  17. CSR is the one that is impacted. UR is losing ground, KE gone, Hyatt devaluing, dumbass 5/24 rule where you cannot even get the card (fair enough if they do not want to give the bonus).

  18. Even if you only use the 4th night bonus twice and save $200 each time, you’re still coming out ahead of CSR in terms of annual fee. For those transferring points for air travel, the bonuses add even more value. Redeeming for a set value for air travel doesn’t make sense if you can get a 30%+ bonus on top of what the airline is offering. This is definitely taking the #1 spot in my wallet come January.

  19. The Amex Platinum and Gold still offer:

    1) 4x on Supermarkets (not sure why no one else is matching this)
    2) Centurion and Delta SkyClub access (used dozens of times a year for me)
    3) Uber, Saks, Grubhub credits (all useful for me)
    4) AMEX Offers
    5) Transfer bonuses
    6) Airline fee credits (though I admittedly get little value out of these)
    7) Wide variety of transfer partners

    The Citi card seems to suffer from a lack of transfer partners, particularly domestic network airlines and any hotel partner. It is still a good card though.

    I would still keep a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve for the travel category, access to Visa (if you are using primarily Amex) and overseas earning. The Preferred may be the best card for many. And Hilton/Marriott cards are still useful for spending at hotels.

    Most people should be carrying:
    – Two or three cards that earn transferrable points (Amex charge cards, Sapphire, Prestige)
    – An airline card that helps you get status / waive fees
    – Two or three hotel cards
    – One or two general spending cards (Freedom Unlimited, Business Blue Plus)
    – A cash back card

  20. Is the new card also be losing 3% on hotels? If so, that’s a pretty big negative, especially since you have to use the Prestige card to get the 4th night free benefit.

  21. If the 5X was on all travel, not just air travel, I would sign up for it and it would become a high-use card in my wallet. For me, thankyou points are not as valuable as UR and MR (due to lack of desirable versatility) so I would need additional incentive to prioritize TY points higher. I do have the Citi Premier card and it’s used mostly for gas purchases. I would take 5x MR over 5x TY in the airfare category. This means the new Prestige card would only be a restaurant card for me, and even though 5x at restaurants is big, it’s not big enough for me to justify the annual fee. I currently use the CSR for my restaurant spend so I’m not getting a bad return.

    I think my situation might be similar to many others. I have the Amex Platinum & CSR. I could put swayed to put my spend elsewhere, but this offer isn’t intriguing enough for me.

  22. You really benefit most only if you are transferring. If you use the cash portal it’s nearly a wash at 4.5% vs 5%.

    I like the idea of cell phone protection. I prefer the ability to use my points at a decent rate. That is a bummer regarding the 4th night. Wish it was more!

  23. @Lucky – do you know how expansively they define dining? I believe Chase includes Seamless/Grubhub, whereas Amex doesn’t. That is a huge part of my dining spend!

  24. This race to the bottom among card issuers is certainly great for consumers. I used to prefer how easy it was to rack up chase/citi pts compared to Amex, but now you can efficiently earn any of the three easily and diversify as you like.

    I feel like people saying Citi points are less valuable than Amex/Chase is entirely based on which of the transfer partners they’ve previously used. All of them have options in all three air alliances, so (while sweet spots vary of course) you can use each of them for just about any flight that you’d get with the other two.

  25. Any word if the 5x airfare would be applicable on purchases where air cost isn’t clear such as OTAs or airline vacation packages?

  26. I have a few 4th night free trips already booked for 2019 and confirmed with Aspire / Citi prestige. Do you know if they all will be honored since they have already been booked under the existing policy, or will the 4th night benefit only now apply to the first two trips of the calendar year?

  27. @ R — I would imagine they’ll honor this for all bookings that have already been made. Keep in mind this policy change only kicks in as of September 2019 anyway.

  28. @ Mike S — Currently online travel agencies are included in the 3x points category for air travel, so I would guess that won’t be changing, since they’re maintaining the 5x points category.

  29. @ Sam — I believe Citi generally includes Seamless/Grubhub as dining, though someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  30. Interesting news. I just signed up for Amex Gold, which I’ll keep as I spend a lot on groceries and I also value the Seamless credits. I also have the Platinum, which I personally keep mostly for airfare 5x bonus, and Amex FHR (also the IAP can be useful at times). The 5x airfare bonus will now be better with Citi given that their travel protection is much much better, and I could use Virtuoso instead of FHR for the most part so not sure if it’s worth keeping the Plat anymore.
    The real question, as others pointed, will be if I should keep the CSR or not. I spend a fair amount on MTA, Uber, Juno, Lyft and such but I’m not sure it outweighs the annual fee… Gonna have to think about it, as I don’t want to pay another premium annual fee.
    Gotta love this fierce competition though 🙂 .

  31. Is there 3x still on travel? Meaning uber, taxi, train, etc, etc? Or is ‘travel’, not ‘air travel’ change to 1x?

  32. First Time, Long Time. I can see how this can be a diminished value for those that would use the 4th night free quite a bit. However, the 5X dining and 5X air with protection is a game-changer for me. I think that’s worth valuing a bit more, especially if you know how to use your TYP’s to transfer correctly. That being said, I have the Gold Card, and while there is still some merit for their Transfer Partners, the 4X in Supermarkets, and credits they offer in regards to dining and airfare, wouldn’t be shocked if I jumped on this card. But that being said, your move Chase.

  33. @Sam, AMEX counts Seamless/Grubhub as 4X. Saw it on my last statement. Actually Seamless/Grubhub is 5X to the end of the year with AMEX offers

  34. @ Frank — Just on air travel. The Citi Prestige previously offered 3x points on air travel and hotels, so it didn’t generally offer 3x points on travel.

  35. @Sam – Amex includes Seamless/Grubhub. I dine out with it a lot living in NYC and have always received the bonus points. It comes up on my statement as GRUBHUB – RESTAURANT NAME – RESTAURANT/RESTAURANT and then in the MR Statement Bonus as simply GRUBHUB.

  36. I don’t think the CSR takes a hit here. Despite Lucky’s unique circumstances CSR UR points are worth a lot more than TY points for the masses. Better baseline value at 1.5 cents with decent online portal, solid hotel transfer options, near instant transfers. And they are easier to acquire with broad travel and dining definitions (plus super easy to varying individual expense 3x credited). Plus Visa still has much better acceptance than AMEX generally, and the CSR works at Costco, while the prestige doesn’t. Really no better card for people who only want to use one or two cards.

    Amex Platinum is the real loser. Is that premium card best in class for any type of spend at this point? I think no, right? Plus the airline incidentals, pick an airline, PITA credit seems really outdated and backward at this point. Again, absent unique circumstances that card, at that annual fee, is becoming pretty marginal by comparison to the new options.

  37. In my opinion these new benefit for the Prestige makes me wonder whether I should cancel my Amex Platinum card. The 5x on airfare for Prestige is better due to better travel delay coverage, so I’ll be using it instead of the Platinum. The annual fee for the Platinum is $550. If you use all the Uber and airline incidental credit the effective annual fee is still $150. If you use Uber a lot then it’s fine but some of us has to go out of our way every month to milk it. Marriott Gold is worthless, and if you get the Aspire card you won’t need Hilton Gold. Saks credit is kind of gimmicky and not really worth it for me. What comes down to is how often you use the Centurion and Delta lounge. If you use more than 3-4 times a year then it’s probably worth it. But for some of us it’s really hard to justify since the annual fee is $550. Amex transfer partners are marginally better than TYP partners, in my opinion. The biggest advantage is the ability to transfer to Delta, but then again Sky Pesos are so worthless most of the time. TYP has Avianca which is a good Star Alliance partner. I really think TYP partners are underrated by most bloggers. I’ll put Amex has a slight advantage on hotel and Skyteam partners whereas TYP has a slight advantage on Star Alliance.

  38. “Starting in September 2019, the fourth night free benefit will be limited to twice per calendar year” suppose I book 5 four nights stays separately and complete the travels by Aug 2019, will those credits still be honoured? The sept starting time for twice per * calendar * year is confusing

  39. Hey Lucky, How will the September 2019 deadline work for 4th night free benefit. Any reservation made until 9/2019 or any stay date after 9/2019? I’m guessing it may not be published yet.

  40. @ Ben — Any details available on what “Sept 2019” means in practice? Reservations made before then? Stays completed before then? Furthermore, how is the limit ox 2x per year tracked from September 2019? 2x per calendar year except 2 x Sept – Dec 2019?

  41. Well this is confusing. I never do hotels so the value of that is near zero to me. Even with the discount Airbnb is cheaper.

    Hmm 5x dining and airfare international. Thats pretty damn good, if it stays like that I might get one longterm. I imagine Citigold card will be $395

  42. Lucky —

    You mentioned that all protections will remain the same.

    Does that include the missed entertainment event protection due to illness, etc? even though Entertainment purchases will earn 1 point/$ going forward in 9/19?

    Thank you.

  43. @SEAguy: I couldn’t agree more! The Amex Platinum is the odd man out here. I know people will come up with creative ways in their minds to justify that crap card, mainly the Centurion lounge, but besides that, it holds no real value outside of an airport.

  44. Do you know of any changes to the $50 per Authorized User? I have two such AUs (for the Priority Pass Select membership).

  45. Lucky,
    Would love your thoughts on whether it makes sense to get the Amex Gold. I called yesterday to confirm I’m not eligible for any signup bonus. On the one hand, the AF is worth it because I would get travel credit of $100 x2 (2018+2019), $120 dining credit and the $100 dining spend refund for signing up before January. But no sign up bonus.

    Is there a chance Amex will come up with a sign up bonus without lifetime language? Do they do that on non-Delta cards? I’ve only see it with Delta cards.

  46. Re: “The card will continue to offer a Priority Pass membership, with the ability to guest two people into lounges”

    Unlike CSR & Amex Plat the Citi Prestige PP also allows access for cardholder and immediate family members (defined as your spouse/domestic partner and/or children under the age of 18).

  47. Does anyone else have problems verifying category bonus spend with Citi? AmEx and Chase make it much easier to confirm bonus points in my experience.

  48. @House If you have the Schwab version of the Platinum card you can transfer MR points to your brokerage account at 1.25 cents per point. This, the 5X earning on airfare and the International Airline Program are the reasons I will keep the AMEX Platinum.

  49. Now that more people are going to be using the Prestige for flight purchases with the 5x on TYP, I think it might be good to do a more detailed article about Citi Prestige travel protection coverage, particularly the Trip Delay coverage. Here’s what I’m not understanding:

    The key thing that has got everybody worked up is this one: “The Covered Traveler(s) is delayed due to a missed connection of their Common Carrier, but the delay that caused the missed connection does not meet the required time period of 6 hours.”

    So if you have a 5.5 hour delay on Flight 1 that is caused by a covered reason, say severe weather, that causes you to miss Flight 2, do you in fact have coverage based on the fact that severe weather is a covered reason or do you not have coverage because the severe weather did not delay you the minimum of 6 hours? Also, if you end up having to spend the night due to a missed connection caused by a covered reason at your origin that ended up being less than 6 hours, seems like you’d be out of luck with Prestige insurance while CSR insurance would still cover your hotel that night, no?

    In my experience, filing Citi claims it seems very much at the mercy of the person reviewing your claim. But it would be good to get some clarity on this matter just so people can have a better understanding of this 6-hour rule and implementation and therefore feel more comfortable about using this card for flight purchases.

    Thanks!

  50. How does the new Amex Gold card compares to the Citi Premier card? My initial feel is that those are more similar comparison points despite the annual fee difference.

    It seems to me like the Citi Prestige loses out to Amex Platinum and Chase Reserve (similar annual fees) AND loses out to Amex Gold for the reasons stated in this article as well as being significantly higher annual fee.

  51. Well it is a lot less exciting for me. It was a go to card since I used it for points to upgrade on Turkish and for the fourth night free benefit. Now? Meh. I guess I’ll use it on airfare and two hotel stays a year but then use CSR for the rest since the points transfer partners are so much more flexible. Thanks for the heads up and explanations.

    I too am curious how a 2x a calendar year limit can become effective with a quarter of a year left (Sept 2019)….

  52. I currently hold the Amex Plat, CSR, and Citi Prestige. I just got the Citi Thankyou Premier because I was worried the sign up bonus was going to drop, I wanted the 3x gas, and was already contemplating getting rid of the Prestige, probably by downgrading it to a Thankyou Preferred, due to previous devaluations of the Prestige and the fact that I don’t use the 4th Night Benefit more than once a year on average. I mainly like the Amex Plat for FHR, Delta Skyclubs, and Centurion Clubs, so I am keeping it. I currently put my dining and travel on the CSP because of 3x points and travel insurance. Now, with these improved bonus categories on the Prestige, I think the CSR provides me with the least value of the big 3 and will probably downgrade it to a CSP and likely only use it for domestic rental cars. I was planning on getting the Amex Gold for the 4x dining, but now will hold off unless I need the MR points. Being that Chase has already said they don’t expect to make money on the CSR, I wonder if they will react with any improvements.

  53. I have been considering the combo of the new Amex Gold and the Amex Business Platinum. Those cards would offer the same 5X on Dining and Air and when redeemed for certain air travel would be worth 1.5 cents/point. That’s about 7.5% back which beats my current 4.5% from the CSR. Now this chips away at the Amex deal because the Prestige is at 5% (and I already have it). The 4th night benefit goes from the main benefit to a nice kicker and it’s ok to limit it to twice a year. I also wonder if getting the Thank You Premier would still offer 1.25 cents/point on travel? If so then I’d be happy to add that to my wallet.

  54. With respect to my spend, looks like I will move my airfare to Prestige for the insurance benefits. It was always a tough decision, but usually went for the 5X with Amex. This is a loss for Platinum. Interesting, I was planning on keeping the Prestige, but was deciding whether it was worth it to keep my wife on the card as it was not really useful for most of her spend. Now with the 5X dining it is a keeper for her too. I hope they continue to discount the card for those with relationship discounts, such as Citigold. Will miss the 2X on entertainment as it is great for theater tickets and museum memberships. The big loser in spend will be CSR. I expect to keep it, but not sure where I will use it other than miscellaneous travel expenses. It is a toss-up when staying at a Marriott vs. one of the Marriott/SPG cards.

  55. Does anyone know of any change to the overseas rental car insurance – the Citi prestige offers ‘primary’ insurance on cars valued up to $100,000 for up to two weeks. I have been enjoying renting the Sixt Range Rovers on trips to the UK on this card and feel properly covered. Does any other card offer such good rental car insurance?

  56. @ Lucky – this is not the best use of TY points but if you have both Prestige and Premier, would it make sense to use the 1.25x on Premier to combine with the 4th night free to book hotels?

  57. Does this devalue Thank You points earned through Citibank’s checking accounts? My understanding is that one cannot transfer these points to airlines, but that one with a Prestige account can still spend them through the travel portal getting the value of 1.25 cents per point.

  58. Be interesting to see what the signup bonus on “refreshed” Prestige card has.
    I assume like the “refreshed” Amex gold your ineligible if you already have a Prestige even if has been 24 months since gotten any Citipoint card bonus or closed a card under current Citi churning rule.

    Citi’s personal cards including the Prestige do not give additional user their own card number.
    My annual spend on Prestige would be a lot higher but adding additional users to Prestige creates a book keeping nightmare since charges for each user is not segregated.

    SInce all cards are same card number if an additional user loses card or is defrauded all cards have to be canceled and reissued. All auto payments need to be changed .

    Amex is smart to give each additional user on both Personal and Business cards their own card number and a website where additional users can have their own login see only their history .

    Citi – are you listening ?

  59. @ guflyer
    Have you tried linking those two thank you point accounts? I was able to link my AT&T Access More and Prestige accounts and can now transfer points earned with AT&T Access More to the transfer partners.

  60. Another benefit is that my understanding is that Mastercard has the best international foreign exchange rates.

  61. I got the Citi Prestige in 2015 in the heady days of Admirals Club access and fourth night free including taxes. I’ve been disappointed in the downgrades to the card over the past couple years, but have found that the main thing I like about the card is that, of all the high-end cards I’ve had, it has the best online interface. Disputes are simple, and I don’t have to dig around to find charges or other aspects of the statement. So I’ve been using it as my top-use card for the main reason that if there’s something screwy with a charge, this card is the easiest in terms of correcting a faulty charge or filing a fraud claim. I guess that the 5x dining will also be a big benefit, though I’ll miss unlimited fourth night frees.

  62. After 9/1/2019 only TWO free nites a year .Can I book Sept and Jan BEFORE 9/1/2019 and STILL get the 4th nites free like 8 nites ????

    THANKS

  63. I can see how this new Citi Prestige would be AMEX Platinum Killer if AMEX doesn’t increase its airfare points or add other perks.

  64. I know most of the readers of this blog are US based but does anyone know if the fourth night benefit will be changed for non-US issued cards?

    I’m based in HK and our benefits are very different + the card is still available for new applications. It’s been communicated to us that the fee is going up from Dec 1st but nothing else.

  65. It is interesting that Chase ended its relationship with Connexions and now Citi is eliminating its 1.25% benefit. Is Citi ending its ties with Connexions as well? The number of errors the reps make is outstanding. For me, the discount was fantastic for small unaffiliated airlines or when points were unusable.

    The fourth night benefit is terrific when it works. Three times this year, I tried to use it, and the agent told me that the perk wasn’t available for the hotels I wanted. Pro-tip, the Concierge service can also book the reservation, but the consumer needs to pay for the full stay and wait for reimbursement. Eliminating the 3x points for hotels decreases the 4th night benefit since you are technically paying for part of the discount with reduced points. Plus, the points are less valuable to me now that I can’t used them for independent airlines.

    The Citi Rewind benefit which was rolled back previously is a terrific perk that adds tremendous value, but my other Citi cards have the same feature with a reduced cost.

    The card’s value has decreased tremendously while the price increased.

  66. Funny that everyone is comparing this to Chase and AmEx cards, when there are so many fewer airline transfer partners to use the points on.

  67. Frankly, I LOVE these changes. I only use the Fourth Night Free maybe once a year. I like that the credit is now a general travel credit (though I have used the airfare credit in total ever since I have had this card), but the 5x dining is a major game changers. I waited for about 18 months to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve and use it for all my dining and travel. Come January, I will shift the dining spend to the Citi Prestige. I do potentially see value in the Sapphire Reserve for the 3x travel but I am not sure that that alone is worth keeping the card given what I can earn on other cards. I have the Ink Business Preferred so I still have a path to travel rewards if I close the Sapphire Reserve. The fact that Chase makes it so hard to get their cards makes me hestitant to close it but I do not have to decide right now. Last winter, I wrote a series of articles on my blog doing a deep dive analysis on my credit card portfolio. When it comes time for next year’s edition, I am going to have to do some serious analysis on the Sapphire Reserve and decide what to do before the renewal date.

  68. It’s a soft meh for me. If anything, I am pretty sure this *reduces* the allure of Citi line up for me.

    I personally think there are 2 strategies for approaching reward rates:
    1) As a standalone package (i.e. if you can have only 1 card, this is it).
    2) As part of a credit card strategy (i.e. you have 2-5 cards, each for a particular spending type).

    CSR is an excellent standalone card. Nothing else approaches it, IMHO. If you can have only 1 card (or only a few cards), you want CSR, period. It’s easy to earn, easy to spend, with just the right perks for the long (read: 5-10 years) run. Amex Gold, I think, is a decent standalone card (so long as you live in US). It’s relatively easy to earn (the categories make sense), slightly harder to spend, with OK OK perks that compensate the fee.

    Now, Amex Platinum *sucks* as standalone card. It’s very constrained in earning, slightly harder to spend (same as Gold), with perks that only make sense if you travel a lot (which, well, contradicts with its earning potentials). It’s pretty much given that if you hold Amex Platinum with something else.

    Now, Citi Prestige used to be a well-rounded standalone card. However, the refreshment cripples it. For example, hotel stays no longer give extra points (which is insane! How can a travel card be well-rounded if you can’t book hotels with it? Even Amex does better, since you can book through amextravel). Furthermore, its spending ability is also crippled. This is clearly a nod to more sophisticated users who know how to maximize traferrable miles. Thus, this card can ONLY be part of a card strategy.

    However, if you are looking at Chase vs Amex vs Citi bifectas or trifectas, Citi is the weakest. It has fewest cards, worst set of partners (no hotel!), and now below average direct redemption. Plus, I don’t (want to) spend that much. I can probably split between 2 (with Hilton in between just because I love Aspire card that much), but 3 will be too thin and useless. Which means: no Citi.

    In other words, Citi Presage has been reduced to uselessness. It can’t be used alone; and except when you spend at least $100K/year, it can’t be used with others. What good is it for?

  69. Thanks for the analysis. Ginormous plus for me and expect most people who don’t live in hotels. I planned on cancelling but now buh bye amex Platinum I’m keeping my prestige.

    I spend at least a grand a month on dining and about 5k a year on airfare and this is a game changer. Dgaf about the phone protection but you probably need to pay your bill with this card to receive it and that stays on my ink at 5x.

    Will probably get there everyday preferred for 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas to show amex some love as they just for bitch slapped by Citi. They broke the value proposition of both the Platinum and gold in a single stoke. I always thought Citi was the weakest of the big three but this was genius. Bet your regret getting the gold card as I doubt you spend much time at the grocery store.

    I think this is so baller I might short amex.

  70. Lucky, any idea on what the annual fee will be for those with a Citi bank account? I pay $350 per year now because of my banking with Citi, wondering what my annual fee will go up to?

    My card renews in September so I’m happy about at least getting the full benefits before having to make a decision.

  71. Citi has never been the weakest of the three if you compare their credit card offerings to other competitors. Just because something doesn’t work in your favor, doesn’t mean that other people are not finding tremendous value for themselves. Most people just follow blogger’s advice and essential are just followers and cannot think on their own. They judge based on who they think is important. It’s only because most bloggers (the points guy) has been hammering/talking down Citi for years that the followers take the bait. To me the points guy is bitter with Citi maybe because Citi won’t “bend” over backwards for him, nor pay him and his affiliates an outrageous compensation. Now the points guy is singing the praises of Citi loud and clear after being informed of the changes to the Prestige card. Citi in my opinion is better than both Chase and AMEX as far as credit card offers, innovation etc. The only “alt” or “complaints” you constantly hear against Citi is about their transfer partners. But that doesn’t seem to stop people from jumping on every credit card bonus offer Citi advertise.

  72. @Clem and for those who think the Citi Prestige has superior travel protections, I would take a look at the many posts around the internet that indicate Citi’s benefits administrator does everything possible to deny claims. Plus, it played games with coverage for trip delay protection (previously a reason to book airfare with the Prestige), denying coverage when the benefits guide clearly showed the situation was covered. They recently changed the policy to reflect what they were doing behind the scenes: they only cover delays on a flight if its over 3 hours, but if a flight delay (say 2 hours) results in a missed connection and you have to overnight or are delayed over 3 hours total, denied. That is the definition of a trip delay, isn’t it? What good is the protection or extra 2x points if you’re SOL during a delay.

    I’ll stick with CSR and Chase, as they don’t play games like Citi, and I would go Amex if they offered travel protections outside of baggage.

  73. Hey Lucky,
    Seems that per TPG the Citi Prestige will keep 3x on hotels. Is this true?

    “All other benefits — including 3x points on hotel purchases, Citi Price Rewind, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, trip delay insurance and missed event protection — are staying the same.”

    Thanks!

  74. Can someone help me on the welcome bonus ? I got ThankYou Premier in Aug-17 and after one year I got it converted to a no AF Preferred card. Should I wait till Aug 19 (24 months) to get welcome bonus ?

  75. Since this keeps coming up, the $350 AF is ONLY for Citigold/Private Bank clients. Citi specifically stated in their email that Priority accounts are excluded! They are also getting rid of the 15% anniversary point bonus. I am not terribly happy about these changes…

  76. The new limitation on the 4th night free are much more severe than expected. Those now have to be booked through the portal and not through the concierge which means:
    1. No points, no status recognition, no nights.
    2. No special rates (forgot about AAA, 3rd night free, etc.)
    3. Loss of flexibility – even cancelled rate have to be paid in advance.

    I could have lived with 2 well timed 4th night free a year, but those limitations can be a deal breaker.

    I’ll have to evaluate every year now whether I can extract value from the card. At one point this mental calculation is just too much and the card will be dumped.

    Considering the only positive aspects here is the increase point earning, but the esoteric (and not in the good way) partners, and the loss of the 1.25 redemption on travel make it all a wash.

    As usual Citi is trying to be too smart and will fail again. Another revamp to this card will be coming in 2021 after plenty of cards will be cancelled. Now if only Citi could get Hyatt into the portfolio it would be the double whammy of actually have a good transfer partner and the kiss of death the Chase UR.

  77. Sweet spot is Jan – Aug 2019. 5X earnings at a more favourable redemption rate (should you do Pay-with-Points). Also, BOOK FOURTH-NIGHTs AWAY!! literally no cap Jan-Aug then two more Sept-Dec. I guess Citi’s tech just can’t handle a more restrictive approach to the value prop change

  78. Regarding Citigold pricing, in the email I received this morning it included the following:
    If you maintain a Citigold or Citi Private Bank account, these annual fee and authorized user fee increases will not apply to your account.

    Which is good news!

  79. @John W: from what I read in the email Citi sent me, it seems that $350 is staying for Citi Gold account holders but for those with only Citi Priority the new annual fee will be charged.

  80. @MDDCFlyer – I’m not sure where you saw that limitation. In the email I received from Citi today, the fine print regarding the 4th night free still says booking via Concierge is eligible. You just have to wait up to 2 billing cycles to receive the credit, rather than having it taken out when booking online.

  81. @Ruizhi Liu:

    “Beginning 09/01/19, Citi Prestige Concierge will no longer be available for Fourth Night bookings and bookings must be made either online at ThankYou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou in order to be eligible for the Fourth Night benefit.”

  82. @Lucky…your write-ups are generally solid but missed calling out this very important point in the T&Cs regarding the 4th night free changes…no more Concierge

    • Through 08/31/19, reservations made through any party or channel other than online at Thankyou.com or Citi Prestige Concierge or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou are not eligible for the complimentary Fourth Night benefit.

    • Beginning 09/01/19, reservations made through any party or channel other than online at Thankyou.com or by phone through 1-800-ThankYou are not eligible for the complimentary Fourth Night benefit.

  83. I was about to cancel my premier but may wait now so I don’t restart the clock to a full two years. Would apply again for the prestige but closed it within the last two years. However, the amount of time spent trying to make sure I don’t lose the benefits of these expensive cards is getting to be more and more of a hassle.

  84. @MDCCFlyer, wow! Thanks for the clarification. I definitely overlooked that aspect. It’s still 10 months out till they chopped the concierge 4th night benefits. I’m secretly hoping Citi will improve the portal or have another way to earn hotel points and have 4th night free…but I also know all good things come to an end.

  85. I’m not sure why Lucky keeps saying 3x Hotels is going away. That is not accurate. You will continue to earn 3x points on hotel spend. It was clearly stated on the email I received from Citi.

  86. The annual dining credit of up to $120 on the AX Gold card is only good at very few restaurants. It can’t be used, Carte Blanche.

  87. Do you think it is a good idea to downgrade CSR to CSP and apply for Citi Prestige?
    Considering I already have AMEX Luxury card, and Hilton Aspire to make up for the hotel benefit that CSR has better than Citi Prestige.

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