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The Citi Prestige® Card has been in my wallet for almost two years, despite the recent removal of valuable travel and purchase protections. Here are eight reasons why I love my Citi Prestige® Card.
» Learn more: Citi Prestige: Premium perks at a plump price
Super generous category bonuses
The Citi Prestige® Card offers some of the best category bonuses out there. Cardholders earn 5 Citi ThankYou points per $1 on travel and restaurants, 3 points per $1 on hotels and cruises, and all other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. As someone who travels and dines out frequently, those bonus rewards really add up.
While the removal of travel protections is a huge negative, most of my travel expenses are covered with points and miles anyway. I don’t mind charging airline award taxes and fees under $300 to my Citi Prestige® Card, since $300 is what I can have reimbursed by the annual travel credit. If I’m staying at a hotel on points and accruing the occasional room service charge or resort fees, the lack of travel protection isn’t really relevant anyway.
Restaurant spending accounts for a bigger portion of my monthly budget, and the Citi Prestige® Card’s 5x bonus in that category is a pretty big incentive.
No foreign transaction fees
The Citi Prestige® Card has no foreign transaction fees, which is why I always pack it in my wallet when I travel abroad. I won’t use it for every purchase because of the aforementioned lack of travel protections, but I’ll gladly use it to cover non-prepaid hotel expenses like room service or additional taxes and fees that some hotels charge on award stays.
Transfers to valuable airline and hotel partners
Hands down, my favorite thing about the Citi Prestige® Card is the 1:1 transfer ratio to more than a dozen airline transfer partners (and the 1:2 ratio to Choice Hotels, Citi's lone hotel partner). They consist of mostly foreign carriers’ frequent flyer programs, many of which offer some incredible sweet spot redemptions. We’ve covered some Turkish Airlines sweet spots like 90,000-mile round-trip business class awards to Europe. And Etihad Guest has one of the cheapest rates for award flights to Morocco: just 44,000 miles each way.
Air France/KLM’s joint Flying Blue program offers terrific value through its monthly Promo Awards. For example, if you book by the end of November 2019 for travel through February 2020, you can save 25% off economy class and premium economy travel between Europe and Houston, 50% off economy class travel between Europe and Minneapolis, and 50% off business class travel between Europe and Chicago-O'Hare.
» Learn more: The 4 best Citi transfer partners (and 7 to avoid)
JetBlue is my go-to program for comfortable seats and cheap domestic awards. While 1,000 ThankYou points normally transfer to 800 TrueBlue points, that ratio is increased to 1:1 for Citi Prestige® Card, Citi Premier® Card, and American Express Chairman cardholders.
Lastly, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has one of the cheapest transatlantic economy class awards you’ll find anywhere: 15,000 miles one-way between the West Coast and London or 10,000 miles departing from the East Coast. These valuable partnerships combined with the generous category bonuses are a big part of why I keep this card.
» Learn more: Citi Premier review: Potentially lucrative for travelers
Fourth night free
Twice a year, you can book a four-night hotel stay with your Citi Prestige® Card and get the fourth night free, exclusive of taxes and fees. That’s essentially a 25% discount on hotel bookings. If you take advantage of this twice a year at an average rate of $250 per night, you’ll save enough to offset the card’s $495 annual fee.
Priority Pass Select membership
Priority Pass lounges may not have the same wow factor as AmEx Centurion Lounges, but for most of us it’s still a huge upgrade from spending layovers at crowded gates. The Citi Prestige® Card comes with free Priority Pass Select membership. Just register for the program, download the app and scan it for complimentary access at one of over 1,300 lounges worldwide. You can bring up to two additional guests free of charge.
What’s great about the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership offered through this card is that authorized users also get access to the benefit. And unlike American Express, Citi still offers its cardholders airport restaurant credits as part of their lounge benefit. This can come in handy at airports where lounges get particularly packed and a restaurant provides a quieter atmosphere.
$250 annual travel credit
Cardholders also receive an annual $250 travel credit, with no airline restrictions or registration requirements. Simply charge your purchases to the Citi Prestige® Card — if it gets coded as travel, Citi will automatically credit your account up to $250 per year. Through December 2022, supermarket and restaurant charges qualify for the travel credit, including takeout.
This $250 credit goes a long way toward alleviating the $495 annual fee as well. Cardholders can use it to cover airfare, airline award ticket fees, car rentals, cruises, hotels, parking and even bridge tolls. Regardless of whether I’ve been a frequent flyer or a daily commuter, I’ve managed to make use of this credit every year.
Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
The Citi Prestige® Card comes with a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck application fee credit. Since I already cover my Global Entry application credit with my American Express Hilton Aspire Card, I recently utilized this credit toward my brother’s Global Entry application fee. It will make his travels easier and costs me nothing. The credit gets replenished every five years.
One of the best things about getting the Citi Prestige® Card was receiving bonus points after meeting the initial spending requirement: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*. Taking into account the incredible transfer partner award possibilities, this welcome bonus can go quite a long way.
The bottom line
The Citi Prestige® Card has taken some hits recently, but thanks to a robust rewards program, category bonuses and useful travel perks, it remains one of my favorite rewards credit cards.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card