Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Citi Prestige Card

Citi ThankYou points are overlooked, but the rewards program's airline transfer partnerships are noteworthy.
Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Citi Prestige Card

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If you’re a travel enthusiast (or just itching to get back into the swing of things) then you’ve probably come across the Citi Prestige® Card.

It’s laden with travel benefits, many of them well-known. But if you want a good idea of whether the Citi Prestige® Card, with its $495 annual fee, makes sense for you, don’t overlook these lesser-known benefits.

But first: The well-known reasons

Popular benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card include:

  • Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

  • Bonus miles on travel-related purchases: With this card, you’ll earn generous miles bonuses for travel-related purchases: 5x points on air travel and restaurant spends and 3x points for hotel stays and cruises (although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises avoiding cruise ships for now due to COVID-19 concerns).

  • Fourth night free on two hotel stays per year: Book a hotel stay of four nights or more through thankyou.com and the fourth night is free. You can use this benefit twice a year.

Underrated reasons

$250 annual travel credit

Use your Citi Prestige® Card to pay for travel and transportation costs and you’ll automatically be reimbursed up to $250 per year. That includes not just air travel tickets, hotel stays, rental cars, travel agencies and tour operators but also everyday commuter costs like ferries, subways, taxis, commuter railways, car services, tolls, buses and parking lots. And through December 2022, supermarket and restaurant charges qualify for the travel credit.

Lounge access

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you access to over 1,300 airport lounges in more than 600 cities in nearly 170 countries. Priority Pass memberships that offer unlimited lounge visits usually cost hundreds of dollars a year, making this a valuable perk for anyone who regularly flies out of terminals with Priority Pass lounges.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee reimbursement

Move faster through airport security with a Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership — the Citi Prestige® Card will reimburse you $100 for the Global Entry application fee once every five years or $85 for the TSA Precheck application fee once every five years. Just use the card to pay the fee and the credit will appear on your statement within a few billing cycles.

1:1 points transfers to airline partners

Want more ways to use your ThankYou points for flights? Citi ThankYou points transfer to more than a dozen airline loyalty programs including JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines and Qantas —  usually at a 1:1 ratio. This means you can compare redemption values when you search for flights, first finding out how many points you’ll need for a flight in the ThankYou redemption portal, then checking how many you’ll need for that same flight in a partner airline’s currency, like JetBlue TrueBlue points. Then, you can choose the cheaper of two options.

But in the era of COVID-19, it’s important to note that once you transfer ThankYou points to an airline loyalty program, you cannot transfer them back. So, especially now, use this option only if you’re certain you’ll want to book the flight.

No expiration date or limits on points

The points you earn on your Citi Prestige® Card never expire. There’s also no limit on the number of points you can rack up. So spend away — responsibly, of course.

The bottom line

The Citi Prestige® Card is a solid choice for committed travelers and offers all the things you’ve come to expect from rewards travel cards — from its welcome bonus to extra miles earned on travel expenses, and of course, its well-known fourth night free benefit.

While these perks are all well and good, the card’s lesser-known benefits aren’t to be overlooked. A $250 travel credit, 1:1 transfers to airline partners and Priority Pass lounge access are all lesser-known, but worthwhile, benefits.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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