Citi Prestige Changes Kicking in Sunday

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At the beginning of the year Citi announced a change to its benefit package, debuting competitive new category bonuses like 5 Thank You Points per dollar spent at restaurants and on air travel but devaluing a few other perks. This coming Sunday, September 1, the following changes to the Citi Prestige Card take effect:

The Fourth Night Free on paid hotel stay benefit will be limited to two uses per calendar year.

Restriction of this benefit is likely going to be the biggest hit for the most people. Note that any reservation made before September 1, 2019, will still fall under the current, unrestricted Fourth Night Free benefit policy, so you still have a handful of days to pump the benefit for what’s it worth before the cap kicks in.

When redeeming ThankYou points towards cash flights via Citi’s online travel portal, their value will change from 1.25 cents to 1 cent a piece.

I don’t recommend redeeming ThankYou Points this way anyways, but this is still a devaluation for many.

Entertainment purchases will earn only 1 point per dollar spent instead of the prior 2.

Again, not a positive change, but probably not a big deal for most people.

Annual fee increases to $495

The next cardmember anniversary after September 1 you will be charged $495 instead of $450. Citigold and Private Bank clients’ annual fee will remain $350.

Don’t forget that later in September, the Prestige will lose its travel protection benefits as well.

Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa, & Casino. Book as many Fourth Night Free hotel stays before September 1 to milk that benefit before it gets capped!

Bottom Line

None of these changes make the Prestige sound very appealing, but it does remain a very competitive option with 5x ThankYou Points on dining and air travel purchases. The Prestige’s $250 travel credit benefit was also improved: Prior to January of 2019, only charges with airlines counted. Now all travel related charges count. The air travel credit benefit is based on calendar year and not card member year, so it’s possible to squeeze $500 of travel credit out of it before the second annual fee hits, which cancels out the $495 annual fee if you’d already spend that much on travel.

It’s an easy decision to hold for at least a year to scoop up the 50,000 ThankYou Point bonus. Beyond that, you’ll need to perform a careful cost/benefit analysis. Unless you spend a significant amount on dining and air travel, I’d guess that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is probably a better value proposition long term for the majority.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. I was planning to cancel but my renewal was August and I have two 4th night free bookings already booked in September for my Italy trip. I’ll hang on to it until mid 2020 and apply for the Premier prior to cancelling the Prestige. I still have a pretty good stash of points I need to use.

    BTW, my trip to Bologna was greatly affected by the BA pilots announced strike so I had to do a last minute book with Alaska miles and scored a biz flight to Dublin on Aer Lingus for 60k.

    American Airlines refunded my BA ticket for no fee so I got miles and fuel surcharges returned!

  2. I have a question about thank you points. If you cancel your Prestige card account and still have Points in your account I assume you will lose them?

    • Correct. You could downgrade to a no annual fee ThankYou Preferred Card but then you’ll lose the ability to transfer your points to airline program partners and only be able to redeem them for 1 cent each towards travel. Instead I would transfer your ThankYou points to the program you use the most often before canceling.

  3. I find the Priority Pass for two guests well worth the difference between $495 minus $250 for air travel. Throw in two four night stays at a $100/night hotel and that Priority Pass cost drops to $45/yr. Toss in $100 every five years for Global Entry and Priority Pass drops to $25/year.

    • I stopped looking @ a $4k profit the first year . I love the lounge Restaurant perks too . If I can’t get C1 venture card I’ll have to keep it and I think it’s a calendar year for 2 so 4 per card year .
      Correct me if I’m wrong .
      CHEERs

    • It really just depends on what frequent flyer program you use the most often. I’d go back and look at recent redemptions to make that decision if you don’t have any future travel plans yet. Popular partners include Singapore Airlines, Avianca, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, and Flying Blue. As for how, the steps are outlined in this post. It was written a few years ago but the process should be similar.

  4. If the $250 travel credit is based on cardmember year, how do you squeeze two credits in before the second annual fee hits? Will Citi give you the second credit even if you cancel the card once the annual fee hits? I understand how you can get two credits if they are based on a calendar year, but I thought the whole purpose of using a cardmember year is to prevent people from being able to use the credit twice while only paying one annual fee.

    • 8/5/2018 to 8/5/2019 as as in $250 which I got in 8/2018 then $250 again in 1/1/2019 that’s when they reup the rebate . Goldmine first 12 months AFTER like Sarah said u have to LOOK .
      CHEERs

      • I called Citi the $495 Fee (mine $450) is prorated too so u can cancel early and u get $$$$$ back . Which I will IF I get the C1 card after my May trip because I got the 4th nite rebate when I booked online Cool..
        CHEERs

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