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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