Citi Prestige Review: Applications Halted; Existing Customers Still Benefit

It's no longer gettable, but current cardholders still enjoy up to 5X points on travel, 5X at restaurants, valuable credits, lounge access, a prime hotel benefit and more.
Mar 23, 2022

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

If you already have the card, its blend of rewards and perks may be well-suited to your travel needs. The fourth-night-free hotel benefit is sweet; the list of transfer partners, not so much.

Jump to: Full Review
Citibank Prestige Credit Card
Citi Prestige® Card
Annual fee
$495
Regular APR
16.74%-24.74% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
720-850 (Excellent)

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Bonus categories

  • Luxury perks

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • Requires excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Flexible rewards, lower cost
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Unlimited 2 miles per dollar

If $495 is too much for your taste, consider this popular travel card. You earn 2 miles per dollar spent on most purchases. Miles can be redeemed for any travel purchase. There's a great sign-up bonus and a handful of nice perks. Annual fee: $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$250

Annual fee

$695

Regular APR

17.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

As of summer 2021, the $495-annual-fee Citi Prestige® Card was phasing out the acceptance of new applications.

But existing cardholders still get a lot in return for that pricey annual fee.

The card offers generous bonus rewards in major travel categories and several perks, including an annual $250 travel credit, a fourth-night-free benefit on hotel stays, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit of up to $100 every five years, airport lounge access via a Priority Pass Select membership, and multiple airline transfer partners, which could let you wring even more value out of your earnings.

If you're able to maximize that fourth-night-free benefit, and you do a lot of spending on airfare and via travel agencies, the Citi Prestige® Card will fit your travel needs like a glove.

But other players in the premium travel card field offer more extensive lounge access, fancier travel benefits and more domestic airline transfer partners. And you may find those perks are ultimately worth more to you. For current offers, check out NerdWallet's list of best credit cards to have.

Citi Prestige® Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $495.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 16.74%-24.74% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Rewards:

  • 5 ThankYou points per dollar on purchases at airlines and travel agencies.

  • 5 ThankYou points per dollar on purchase at restaurants, including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food.

  • 3 ThankYou points per dollar on purchases at hotels and cruise lines.

  • 1 ThankYou point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Earnings expire after three years to the day in which they were earned.

Redemption options:

  • Redeem for travel, cash back, gift card purchases, bill payments and more. All points are worth 1 cent each, regardless of which option you choose.

  • Transfer to one of Citi's partner airlines. Through strategic redemptions, you can potentially get more value out of your points this way. If you don't plan on traveling internationally, though, this option is somewhat limited. JetBlue is the only domestic carrier you can transfer points to.

Full list of Citi ThankYou® transfer partners

Airlines

  • Aeromexico (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France/KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • Cathay Pacific / Asia Miles (1:1 ratio).

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad (1:1 ratio).

  • Eva Air (1:1 ratio).

  • JetBlue (see below).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Qatar Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Thai Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Turkish Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Virgin Atlantic (1:1 ratio).

Hotels

  • Choice Hotels (1:1 ratio).

  • Wyndham (1:1 ratio).

Other benefits:

  • Complimentary fourth-hotel-night-free benefit: Get the fourth night free when booking four consecutive nights or more at any hotel through Citi ThankYou.

  • $250 travel credit every calendar year: This can cover travel purchases including airfare, hotel stays and car rentals, to name a few.

  • Priority Pass Select membership: Get complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges.

  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit: This covers your application fee for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application if you pay with your card.

The Citi Prestige® Card is the top-tier option when it comes to Citi's rewards cards. With an annual fee of $95, the Citi Premier® Card is the mid-tier option, and the Citi Rewards+® Card is more budget-minded with an annual fee of $0 and lower ongoing rewards than its sibling cards.

Why you might want to keep the Citi Prestige® Card

Rich ongoing rewards

Offering 5 points per dollar spent on airlines, travel agencies and restaurants, the Citi Prestige® Card soars past what most other cards can earn in these categories. If you're spending a bundle on travel and dining, this premium rewards rate could make the card worth getting. Spending on hotels and cruises will also earn you a respectable 3 points per dollar, which is on a par with what several other top-notch travel cards offer.

A $250 travel credit

The $250 annual travel credit on the Citi Prestige® Card can ease the sting of the card's high annual fee. Citi's definition of travel is broad and includes less-considered ways of getting around, including taxis, subways, parking lots and tolls. If you ever leave your house, you'll likely find a way to use up that credit and effectively bring the net cost of owning the card down to $245.

Nerdy tip: Through Dec. 31, 2022, the annual travel credit will cover more than just travel. Restaurant purchases (including takeout) and supermarket purchases will also trigger the travel credit.

Complimentary fourth night hotel stay

This is one of the more valuable perks of owning the Citi Prestige® Card. Anytime you book a hotel stay of four nights or more through the Citi travel portal through a paid booking, an award booking or a combination of the two, you'll get night four on the house — whether it's an inexpensive room or a presidential suite. It should be noted, however, that this once-unlimited feature was capped at two times a year as of Sept. 1, 2019. Even so, if you take advantage, that, combined with the annual $250 travel credit, you'll probably get more than your money's worth out of the card.

Lounge access and TSA Precheck or Global Entry credit

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you complimentary access to lounges in the Priority Pass network around the world. Waiting for your flight in one of those lounges instead of by a busy boarding gate might make your next airport experience a little more pleasant.

Another useful benefit: Every five years, the card offers a credit to cover the cost of your application fee for TSA Precheck (worth $85) or Global Entry (worth $100). If you qualify for one of these programs, you could get through airport security a little faster.

Drawbacks of the Citi Prestige® Card

High annual fee

Unless you plan on maxing out both the $250 travel credit and the fourth night free hotel perk, you'd have to do a lot of spending to break even with the Citi Prestige® Card's annual fee.

Limited transfer partners

The only domestic carrier eligible to transfer your ThankYou points to is JetBlue. The rest are foreign carriers, so if you don't have any plans to go abroad, this may not be much of a benefit to you.

If you're looking for a rewards card that allows you to transfer to a greater variety of travel partners, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® could fit the bill. Chase's many transfer partners also include multiple hotel and domestic airline partners as options.

It comes with an annual fee of $550 and earns 3 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining. Plus, purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards earn even more: 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining, hotel stays and car rentals and 5 points on air travel. Like the Citi Prestige® Card, you'll also get reimbursed for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck (or NEXUS), but once every four years (compared to five years on the Citi Prestige® Card). You'll also get an annual travel credit of $300 — that's $50 more than what the Citi Prestige® Card offers. But perhaps the biggest differentiator is that with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can redeem points for travel at a 50% increase in value when booked through the Chase portal.

Lounge access isn't available in some areas

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with Priority Pass Select membership — but if the airport you frequent doesn't have any Priority Pass lounges, that benefit won't do you much good.

For more extensive lounge access, consider another premium option: The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card, which has an annual fee of $695 (see rates and fees), comes with Priority Pass Select access (when you enroll) in addition to access to AmEx's Centurion lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (for folks flying with Delta on the same day) and several others. It also comes packed with several other useful travel benefits, including a $200 airline fee credit for purchases like checked-bag fees or in-flight refreshments and up to $200 in Uber Cash each year, paid out monthly, which can be used to cover Uber rides, Uber Eats orders and Jump scooter or bike rides.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.