This offer is expired. See the new offer and analysis here

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The Citi Prestige® Card now comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

The is a huge increase on the previous sign up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, which I signed up for in April, 2015!

The card also comes $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, free access to Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and guests, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, the fourth night free on paid hotel stays, three free rounds of golf per year, and a $450 annual fee.

I’m sure that $450 annual fee catches your eye, but everyone reading this blog should be able to get $500 to $600 in statement credits in the next 12 months as I explain in detail in this post, so the annual fee should be more than made up for. Plus now with 40,000 bonus points and huge category bonuses, this card’s rewards can book some amazing award travel.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending
  • 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 hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for most people

Sign Up Bonus

The headline sign up bonus is 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the card.

I have explained the two main ways to use ThankYou points:

  1. Like cash toward the purchase of any flight on any airline. ThankYou Points are worth 1.33 cents each toward airfare. 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 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.

I transfer my ThankYou Points to airline miles.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines miles to fly from Atlanta to Honolulu in a flat bed for 30,000 miles. I’ve also used Singapore miles to fly from Colombia to Argentina in Business Class for half the price it would have been with United miles. Singapore miles are also the only way to fly Singapore Suites, cheaper than United miles to book United flights to Europe, and offer two stopovers in addition to your destination on roundtrip awards.

I also love Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner because of its cheap awards to Europe, Israel, Hawaii and South America.

Because of all the valuable uses of ThankYou Points, I value them at 1.9 cents each. That puts this new 40,000 point sign up bonuses among the most valuable out there. When you factor in the category bonuses and other benefits of the card, this could be the best current offer on any credit card.

Category Bonuses

  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment

This card is very clearly designed for frequent travelers, since a number of its benefits like free hotel nights and lounge access will be most used by travelers. The category bonuses are no exception. If you buy a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays, and if you dine out while traveling, you will rack up a ton of extra points from these category bonuses.

Note that the 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels is worth at least 3.99% back toward airfare. That’s an incredible return on spending.

Air Travel Credit

Every calendar year, you get a $250 air travel credit to offset airline fees. Airline fees include airfare itself:

“Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.” (Emphasis mine.)

That means that you can buy airline tickets with this card, and the first $250 will be reimbursed each calendar year (plus you’ll earn 3x on the purchases, win-win!) Or you can use the airline fee credit to pay the taxes on award tickets.

This is a calendar year benefit, that means in the first 12 months you have the card, you can get this $250 credit twice: once in 2016 and once in 2017. That $500 in statement credits pays for your annual fee plus $50 extra.

Even without considering the sign up bonus and other benefits, the card would already be a great deal.

Here are my experiences getting my $250 Air Travel Credit in 2015 and in 2016.

Lounge Access

Citi Prestige® Card holders get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Prestige Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

I downloaded the Priority Pass app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

You can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free. You can access Priority Pass lounges no matter which airline you’re flying.

Lounge access usually costs $50 per visit. Heavy users of this benefit–especially the free family or guest access–will get hundreds of dollars of value from this benefit.

Here’s my experience using the Prestige’s lounge access benefits on a typical trip.

Fourth Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). 

Interestingly, you don’t get 25% off a four night stay. You get the fourth night free. If you book a stay where the fourth night is the most expensive–like December 28 to January 1 at a New Year’s Eve destination–you can save a lot more than 25% on your stay.

Full article on Fourth Night Free Benefit.

Global Entry Fee Credit

Prestige card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Prestige cards.

Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Patrol program designed to let trusted travelers skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

Global Entry also lets you use TSA Precheck lines in the US, even on domestic itineraries.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat for Global Entry even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer. How and Why I Got Global Entry.

Global Entry is good for five years, so I will use this benefit of my Prestige in two years when I need to renew my Global Entry.

If you already have Global Entry, you can use the credit to pay someone else’s $100 fee.

Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees

It shouldn’t surprise that a card very clearly designed for travelers comes with chip technology for global acceptance and zero foreign transaction fees. The only surprising thing is that not all cards have these basic features.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and not waived. That should be a dealbreaker if you don’t use the benefits of the card, but it’s a fair price to pay if you are maximizing the card’s perks.

If you apply for the card and use the airline fee credit twice before the next annual fee, you can get all of this for the cost of the first annual fee:

  • 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points
  • $500 worth of airfare or fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Priority Club lounges
  • Fourth night free on hotel stays with no blackouts

Those benefits clearly dwarf the $450 annual fee. After testing out the card and seeing how much you actually use the benefits, you’ll have a better idea going forward whether to keep the card for $450 per year in return for:

  • $250 worth of airfare or fee credits
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Priority Club lounges
  • Fourth night free on hotel stays with no blackouts
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment

I got this card ten months ago! I was attracted by the sign up bonus, the $250 annual airfare credit, and lounge access.

I’ve since redeemed the points for amazing First Class awards to Hawaii, decided to definitely renew the card, and I can’t wait to start playing my free golf rounds and finally take advantage of the fourth night free hotel benefit.

If you have a Citi Prestige, share your experiences in the comments.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

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