Update: The Citi Prestige® Card now offers 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.
Earlier in the week I wrote a post entitled “How To Get Admirals Club Access For $200 Per Year.”
I was referring specifically to the Citi Prestige® Card, which offers Admirals Club access as a perk for as long as you have the card. While the card has a $450 annual fee, you get a $250 airline fee credit each year.
It’s worth noting that this is basically a “no strings attached” airline fee credit. Per the terms, the credit can be used towards airfare, baggage fees, lounge access, and some in-flight purchases. That’s right, the credit can officially be used towards airfare. And who doesn’t spend at least $250 per year on airfare purchases (or at a minimum on taxes on award tickets)?
Make money by applying for the Citi Prestige Card
What I didn’t point out last time (and didn’t even think of) is that the annual $250 airline fee credit is based on a calendar year, and not your card member year. Or I guess to be really exact, here’s the verbiage:
This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December.
In other words, if you applied for the Citi Prestige® Card now you’d be hit with the $450 annual fee, though would immediately get a $250 airline fee credit. Then on January 1, 2016, you’d get another $250 airline fee credit. That’s a $450 annual fee and $500 worth of airline fee credits in your first year as a card member.
That’s right, you can “make” $50 and get Admirals Club access by applying for the Citi Prestige® Card.
Gain access to the DFW Admirals Club, the only airline lounge (I know of) with a gym
The best Priority Pass Select membership offered by a credit card?
Beyond that, I think it’s also worth pointing out that the card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. But what makes the Citi Prestige® Card unique is that you have guesting privileges with your Priority Pass Select membership. Per the terms:
Primary and Authorized users are granted complimentary access to the Priority Pass lounges and allowed a maximum of up to two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age). Any additional guests will be charged a $27 per guest, per visit charge.
Let’s keep in mind that while other cards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express (which is also an awesome card) offer Priority Pass Select memberships and you get two free guests. With the Citi Prestige® Card you also get two free guests or immediately family members, and only additional guests beyond that are charged $27 per guest per visit.
This is extremely useful. For example, I access the Alaska Board Room all the time using my Priority Pass Select membership, so being able to bring in guests for free would be awesome (I guess having guests requires traveling with people, which requires having friends, but I digress!).
Enjoy tasty pancakes at the Alaska Board Room
Lots of other great perks with the card
The above doesn’t even account for the card’s sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open. And it also doesn’t account for the card’s excellent earnings rates, as it offers the following return on spend:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
For the most part high annual fee cards seem to be more focused on the perks than the earnings rates on the card. In this case you have a card which has some great perks and a high return on everyday spend.
I know I’m not the only one who applied for the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card last year. And now that the annual fee is coming up, I’m looking for a better alternative than spending $450 to renew the card. I think the Citi Prestige® Card is a no brainer for any frequent American flyer.