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On July 23, 2017, the following benefits will change for Citi Prestige cardholders:

  • Free Golf: no more reservations for your free rounds of golf will be accepted (you had three total to begin with per calendar year).
  • 4th Hotel Night Free: The “4th hotel night free” benefit will be calculated differently. Instead of getting the actual fourth hotel night free, including taxes, you will get 25% off (the average of all four hotel nights), not including taxes.
  • Point Value: The rate at which you can directly redeem ThankYou points on airfare, like cash, will change from 1.33 cents each to 1.25 cents each.
  • Lounge Access: If you applied for a Citi Prestige Card before September 1, 2016, then you’ve had Admiral’s Club Access on top of Priority Pass lounge access. As of July 23, you will no longer be granted access to Admiral’s Clubs. Your Priority Pass membership will remain as is.

Some of these benefits can be maximized ahead of time. Below I’ll go over what you can do today to ensure you get your money’s worth.

Free Golf

Check out tee times to see if any available line up with your travel plans or are at courses close enough to home to merit booking. Any reservations made before July 23 will be honored, no matter whether they are before or after July 23.

Most of the private courses must be booked between 14 and 3 days before teeing off…

….but many of the resort courses can be booked farther in advance.

To be clear, this benefit is totally disappearing after July 23 whether or not you book any remaining reservation credits you might have.

4th Hotel Night Free

The 4th Hotel Night Free benefit is a rebate, so I don’t think there’s still time to maximize it before the cutoff of July 23. If your rebate is processed before July 23, then you’ll still get the actual fourth hotel night free (even if it’s a more expensive weekend night) including the tax for that night. If the rebate is processed after, I imagine you will not, despite when you make the hotel reservation–but I could be wrong. Perhaps if you book your four+ nights before July 23, the old rebate will apply. If you already know your plans, you might as well book now in case I’m wrong.

Point Value

There are two main ways to redeem ThankYou Points.

  1. Like cash toward the purchase of any flight on any airline. Toward any airlines’ flights, ThankYou Points are worth 1.33 cents each. The cool things about using points like this: ease (points work like cash to pay all or part of any fare), availability (any flight on any airline), and you earn miles and status from these flights because the airline sees a paid ticket not an award.
  2. By transferring the points to one of 12 airlines or Hilton. Once you transfer, the points are Singapore miles or Flying Blue miles or wherever you transferred and now must be redeemed in accordance with those rules and that award chart. The cool thing about transferring points to miles: miles are the only economical way to book luxury First Class products. When transferred and redeemed this way, we value ThankYou points at 1.9 cents each.

The benefit that’s changing on July 23 is the fixed value at which you can redeem ThankYou points on cash flights. So, if you were planning on using ThankYou Points to cover a cheap cash flight (that’s pretty much the only situation in which you should redeem ThankYou points for a fixed value), then do it before July 23 so you can squeeze a little more out of each point (1.33 cents versus 1.25).

For example, today, a $200 flight would cost 15,037 ThankYou Points. July 23 and onwards, the same $200 flight will cost 16,000 ThankYou Points.

Lounge Access

Of course, visit Admiral’s Clubs while you can, but other than that there’s no way to maximize this benefit before July 23…unless someone can let us in on the secret of time travel.

The DeLorean from "Back to the Future Part III"
The DeLorean from “Back to the Future Part III”, Photo by Simon Davison

Bottom Line

Hopefully you were already aware of these changes via communication from Citi. We’ve also covered them. This is your reminder to book reservations for golf, any flights you want to spend ThankYou Points on like cash, and any hotel reservations that are four nights or longer now. As of July 23, you can’t make reservations for golf, your ThankYou points will be worth 1.25 cents instead of 1.33 when redeeming them on cash flights, and your free 4th hotel night on paid stays won’t include coverage of taxes anymore.

Hat tip Rapid Travel Chai 

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