This coming Sunday, July 23, the Citi Prestige Card will lose some benefits and gain some new ones.

This is the current offer, as of today:

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $4,000 in spending within 3 months of opening card
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air Travel Credit:  $250 statement credit per calendar year ($500 during first year of cardmembership)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Lounge access: Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and two guests
  • Free golf: Three rounds of golf annually booked through Citi
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free (including taxes) on all paid hotel stays booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge, through the phone only (no blackout dates). The discount is on the actual fourth night, no matter if it’s more expensive than the other nights, and comes in the form of a rebate some time after your stay.
  • Value of points: Transfer to 13 Airline programs or 1 Hotel program, for our estimated value of 1.9 cents eachRedeem for 1.33 cents each on cash flights
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Card Design: Plastic
  • Annual Fee: $450

This will be the offer as July 23, 2017:

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $4,000 in spending  75,000 ThankYou Points for $7,500 within 3 months of opening card (for a limited time only, end date unknown)
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air Travel Credit:  $250 statement credit per calendar year ($500 during first year of cardmembership)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Lounge access: Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and two guests
  • Free golf: Three rounds of golf annually booked through Citi
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free (including taxes) (not including taxes) on all paid hotel stays booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge, through the phone only through the phone or online (no blackout dates). The discount is on the actual fourth night, no matter if it’s more expensive than the other nights, and comes in the form of a rebate some time after your stay. The discount is the average of the four nights, and is refunded when you check out.
  • Value of points: Transfer to 13f Airline programs or 1 Hotel program, for our estimated value of 1.9 cents each; Redeem for 1.33 cents each on cash flights; Redeem for 1.25 cents each on cash flights; Redeem for 1 cent each as cash back; Redeem for 1 cent each on fourth night free hotel bookings.
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Card Design: Metal
  • Annual Fee: $450

To summarize, these are the big changes:

  • Larger sign up bonus for an increased minimum spending requirement
  • Losing the three free rounds of golf benefit
  • The 4th hotel night free benefit will be calculated and refunded differently and you will be able to book it online (although at a cost, more on that below)
  • The fixed value you can redeem ThankYou points for on cash flights is decreasing, and you’ll be able to redeem them for 1 cent each cash back or towards 4th night free hotel bookings

Details, Thoughts, & Caveats

New Sign Up Bonus

For those who have no issue with spending $7,500 in three months or can manufacture spend, the new bonus is an improvement.

For those that can’t organically meet the new bonus’ spending requirement nor manufacture spend, the new bonus is worse.

The old bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Points for spending $3,000 on the card within three months of opening it yields a return of a little less than 17 ThankYou Points per dollar spent. The new bonus of 75,000 ThankYou Points for spending $7,500 on the card within three months of opening it yields a return of 10 ThankYou Points per dollar spent.

No More Golf

For those that enjoy golf, this is a big bummer, as golf reservations can be very expensive. Definitely an overall negative change, although I imagine (?) the majority of cardholders didn’t take full advantage of this benefit anyways.

4th Hotel Night Free Changes

This is likely the worst change coming to the Citi Prestige card. The way the benefit has worked in the past is that if you booked four nights or more at a hotel through the Citi Prestige Concierge, you would get the cost of the fourth hotel night rebated some time after your stay (including that night’s taxes). As of July 23, the discount will be an actual 25% off of your stay (the average of four nights), and you will have to pay taxes on all four nights. No more are the days of getting a more expensive weekend or holiday night free. While you will at least get your rebate faster (the discount should be reflected in the receipt at check out), this also probably means you won’t earn any hotel points/elite credits for the fourth night.

Previously, in order to get your fourth night free, you could only book through the Citi Prestige Concierge over the phone. That is also changing. Come Sunday, you’ll be able to book online. While being able to book anything online versus over the phone is an improvement, there will likely be negatives to booking online that could deter you from using the online platform (like an inability to book special rates, and perhaps the inability to earn any points or elite credit on the stay). We’ll keep any eye on how that plays out.

Value of ThankYou Points Changes

When redeeming ThankYou points on cash flights, as of July 23 they will be worth 1.25 cents each instead of 1.33. This is obviously a negative change, but not hugely different. If you’re only redeeming ThankYou Points on cheap cash flights (which is the only circumstance in which you should), then the difference will be minor.

You will also be able to redeem your ThankYou points for 1 cent each in the form of cash back as of July 23, as well as 1 cent each towards 4th night free hotel bookings. While you can easily get more than 1 cent of value out of each ThankYou point by transferring to an airline loyalty partner, redeeming for 1 cent cash back could be a good option for those with some leftover ThankYou points hanging around if you decide to close your card (or at least better than letting them expire if you have no idea what airline loyalty program to transfer them out to).

Attention Current Prestige Cardholders

If you currently have a Citi Prestige card open, read Citi Prestige Changes Kicking in July 23: What To Do Now to learn how you can maximize the benefits ahead of time that are disappearing/going away next Sunday.

Bottom Line

Citi is changing the benefits and sign up offer for its Prestige Card on July 23. We’ve known about some of these changes for a while, but the new sign up bonus, how exactly the fourth night free benefit works, and the new ways to redeem ThankYou points for 1 cent each is news.

What’s your take? Anyone planning on going for the 75k bonus?

Hat tip The Points Guy

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