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Among the most valuable credit cards available today are the premium products that lavish customers with rewards, perks and benefits. While these credit cards are expensive, they’re also becoming more popular as more card issuers try to capture a piece of this lucrative market. For example, the Citi Prestige Card, from our partner Citi, offers a wide range of rewards, travel benefits and other services. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
Introduction to the Citi Prestige Card
This card offers triple Citi Thank You Rewards points for purchases from airlines and hotels, double points for dining and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. The points earned from this card can be redeemed for rewards such as merchandise, gift cards and travel reservations at a rate of a penny each. Points can also be transferred to miles with 12 airline partners, or to the Hilton Honors program. There is no limit to the amount of points that you can earn, and your points never expire.
In addition to these rewards, this card offers an impressive array of benefits. Cardholders receive a $250 air travel credit each year that can be used for nearly any airline expense. Cardholders also receive membership in the lounge programs of the American Airlines Admirals Club and the Priority Pass lounge network. Another valuable travel benefit is a complimentary fourth night at any hotel during a minimum four-night consecutive booking through Citi’s travel agent.
The standard interest rate for this card is a variable APR of 16.74% to 24.74%, depending on your credit. There is a $450 annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees. Finally, each additional authorized cardholder incurs a $50 annual fee, and late payments can incur a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99%.
What’s the Current Sign-Up Bonus?
New cardholders earn 40,000 points in Citi’s ThankYou rewards program after making $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The Advantages of the Citi Prestige Card
This card has an enviable list of perks and benefits, even compared to other competing premium travel rewards cards. For example, some competing cards will offer miles with a single airline and access to a single airline lounge program, but this card offers membership in two lounge programs and points that can be transferred to many frequent-flier programs or a hotel program. And even though it has an annual fee of $450, the $250 annual airline fee credit significantly offsets that expense, and the value of the rest of the benefits more than makes up for the difference. In fact, using the free fourth night hotel benefit just once can easily bridge the gap between the airline fee credit and the annual fee.
The Disadvantages of the Citi Prestige Card
The benefits offered by this card are heavily geared toward frequent travelers, and those who don’t spend much time away from home will have trouble realizing much of the value offered by this card, and may be unable to justify paying the annual fee. And, like most rewards credit cards, this card offers a higher interest rate than other similar cards that do not offer as many rewards and benefits. Therefore, those who carry a balance on their credit cards would be better off finding a card with a lower interest rate and fewer or no rewards.
Finally, this card features the ability to transfer points to 12 airlines, but almost all are foreign based, and they do not represent a particularly valuable selection of frequent-flier programs compared to other cards that offer transfers of points to airline miles.
Who Is This Card Right For?
This card is ideal for frequent international travelers who are looking for airline miles, travel protection policies and airline lounge access. At the same time, this card is best used by those who avoid interest charges by paying their balances in full each month. In addition, a cardholder should have an understanding of the best ways to use Citi ThankYou Rewards, including the use of the frequent-flier programs that are ThankYou Rewards transfer partners.
Plus, this is a premium credit card, so you’ll need a good credit score to qualify. You can see where you currently stand by viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.
Alternatives to the Citi Prestige Card
If you can’t justify paying the high $450 annual fee, or don’t travel as frequently, but still want travel rewards for when you do, there are other credit cards that may better suit you. We’ve selected two other cards for your review.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Card Details +
Why We Picked It: Generous sign up bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of the account opening-this adds up to $625 toward travel! You earn two times the points on dining, which is a bonus if you like eating out. You also earn two times the points on travel, and one point per dollar on all other purchases, so no matter where you spend, you’re racking up those points. Also, if you add an authorized user and they make a purchase within the first three months of the account opening, you get an additional 5,000 bonus points. There are no foreign transaction fees and no blackout dates or travel restrictions when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
On top of that, the card comes with other benefits such as trip cancellation insurance, extended warranty protection, and purchase protection.
Why We Picked It: This card also has a sign-up bonus-50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from the account opening. This equals $500 in travel. Cardholders earn unlimited two times the points on every purchase and can fly any airline and stay at any hotel. Cardholders also earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels.com/venture (learn more at hotels.com/venture). The miles never expire and there is no limit on how many you can earn. Like the Chase Sapphire, there are also no blackout dates, so you can travel anytime. The card has no foreign transaction fees, which is great when you’re making purchases outside the U.S.
Other perks included with the card are complimentary upgrades at hotels, resorts, and spas, a concierge service, and shopping discounts with certain retailers and online merchants. Not only that, but the card has a cool metal design!
Purchase Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
At publishing time, the Citi Prestige card, Chase Sapphire Card, and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
This article last updated September 20th, 2017. It was first published December 1, 2015.