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Citi Prestige: Premium Perks at a Plump Price

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Citi Prestige® Card Editor's Rating: 3.7 / 5

Premium credit cards charge big annual fees but try to make it worth your while with bonus rewards, big sign-up bonuses, hundreds of dollars’ worth of credits and other travel perks. The Citi Prestige® Card is designed to appeal to the same high-end travelers as its better-known competitors, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠. Whether it’s right for you depends on how well its particular combination of rewards and credits matches the way you travel.  

Citi Prestige® Card: Basics

Sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* (This offer is no longer valid on our site) The bonus is decent, although the card used to offer 50,000 points for spending $3,000 in the same three-month period. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer more valuable sign-up bonuses. 

Annual fee: The $450 fee is high, but it’s the same as that on the Chase card and lower than on the American Express. Not sure whether the fee would be a fit for you? Our calculator can help you crunch the numbers: 

Rewards: You earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per dollar on all other spending. If you dine out a lot or like going to concerts or other entertainment, the Citi Prestige® Card is a solid choice. To earn more points on entertainment, take advantage of Citi PrivatePass, which gives you access to music, theater, dining, sports and other exclusive events.

Redemptions: Redeem ThankYou Points for travel, merchandise, gift cards, charitable donations or a credit on your statement. The best redemption value comes on travel. When you book through Citi, a point is worth 1.33 cents for airfare and 1 cent for all other travel. When you buy merchandise or gift cards or make charitable donations, a point is worth less than 1 cent. For a statement credit or cash, the points are worth 0.5 cent.

Nerd tip

Some Citi Prestige® Card cardholders who had the card before September 2016 can redeem points for American Airlines flights at a value of 1.6 cents per point. However, that option is not available to new cardholders. Also, redemption values are changing on July 23, 2017. After that date, all points will be worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for air travel on any airline.

Point transfers: You can transfer points to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs without a fee. However, the only domestic airlines among Citi’s partners are JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic. Most transfers are on a 1-to-1 basis, although JetBlue is 1.25-to-1 — meaning 1.25 ThankYou points get you 1 JetBlue point. There is a 1,000-point minimum for transfers. 

» MORE: Citi credit cards mobile app review

Travel benefits: Citi Prestige® Card vs. the competition

Premium cards are designed to appeal to frequent travelers, so that’s where their most valuable perks are concentrated.

Travel credit: With the Citi Prestige® Card, you get a $250 annual credit for airline travel, which applies to both airfare and incidentals such as checked-baggage fees, upgrades and other in-flight charges. The credit is larger and more flexible than the $200 offered by The Platinum Card® from American Express, which applies to incidentals, but not airfare, on a single airline. However, the Citi’s card’s annual credit is smaller than the $300 offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, which applies to all travel — flights, hotels and more — not just air travel.

Trusted traveler programs: The Citi Prestige® Card reimburses cardholders up to $100 once every five years for the application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, just as the other premium cards do. 

Lounge access: The Citi Prestige® Card used to get cardholders into American Airlines’ Admirals Club. New cardholders no longer get that benefit, and other cardholders will lose it after July 23, 2017. New cardholders — and all cardholders, starting in July 2017 — will have access only to Priority Pass Select lounges. That’s the same lounge network that the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ offers. The best lounge package comes with The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gets you into the Priority Pass Select lounges plus AmEx’s own Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and Airspace Lounges. 

Hotel benefits: The Citi Prestige® Card gives you your fourth night free at a wide selection of hotels when you book four consecutive nights through the Citi Prestige Concierge. This perk is unmatched by its competitors. 

Other perks: As you would expect from a premium card, the Citi Prestige® Card has all of the travel protections: trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption benefits, travel and emergency assistance, worldwide travel accident insurance, medical evacuation, roadside dispatch in the U.S., lost baggage protection and delayed baggage protection. The card also charges no foreign transaction fees. 

Want to see how this card matches up against other travel credit cards? Check out NerdWallet’s list of top credit cards.

Perks exclusive to Citi

The Citi Prestige® Card does have a few perks that set it apart from its competitors, beginning with Citi Private Pass. This program gives you presale access to concerts, theater, sports and dining events throughout the United States. You may also attend Behind the Scenes events just for cardholders. And if you’ve bought a ticket and for any reason can’t attend the event, the card offers Missed Ticket Protection: You’ll be reimbursed for the price of the ticket.

If you’d rather play than watch, the Citi Prestige® Card gives you access to more than 2,000 golf courses worldwide. The card has offered three free rounds of golf per year, but that perk is going away on July 23, 2017. You’ll still have course access. 

In addition to the usual purchase protections — 90-day return protection, reimbursement for damaged and stolen purchases, and extended warranty — you get Citi Price Rewind. Register a purchase at Citi Price Rewind, and for 60 days Citi tracks the price of that item. If Citi finds it for a lower price, you’ll be reimbursed the difference. Mastercard, Discover and Chase offer similar price protections, but only Citi does the work for you.

With so much credit card fraud happening online, the Citi Prestige® Card has virtual credit card numbers that you can use when you’re shopping online for additional security. And if your identity is stolen, the Citi Prestige® Card will help you with legal and paperwork to solve the problem.

Is this the premium card for you?

The Citi Prestige® Card has a lot to offer if travel, comfort and entertainment are what you’re after. Its annual fee is in line with its competitors’, and its annual travel credit is right in the middle of theirs. The bonus points categories are geared to people who like to travel and go out. If that’s you, this may be your card.

Information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Ellen Cannon is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ecannon@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ellencannon.

Updated April 28, 2017.