With Rumors of Upcoming Changes, Is Now the Time to Get the Citi Prestige?

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Citi Prestige Application Considerations

Citi Prestige Application Considerations

Yesterday One Mile at a Time warned readers that the Citi Prestige bonus will be changing next Tuesday. In the post, the only information given is that a change will occur, but not as to whether the bonus will increase or decrease. I thought it might be good to go through my thoughts on the card and take a look at the overall likelihood of positive or negative changes next Tuesday.

Citi Prestige Overview & Bonus

Right now the bonus on the Citi Prestige is as follows:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Given the rumors of an upcoming change, the question becomes whether or not this bonus will go up or down next Tuesday. I do trust that a change will come, since One Mile at a Time is a Citi affiliate and they no doubt were given advanced info that a change will occur. So what will the change be?

Well, both the ThankYou Preferred and Premier cards recently saw their bonuses cut down to “0” points so my guess is that the news won’t be good. At a time where Citi is seemingly hiding the AT&T Access More card and has no public bonuses on two of their most popular cards, I simply can’t see them increasing a bonus on this one. Especially given how overly generous the card benefits are. (See below.) Of course they also just spent a ton of money on acquiring Costco too.

Citi Prestige Benefits

Citi Prestige Application Considerations

Before going any further into assumptions, let’s look at what makes this card so great. Here are some of the benefits you get for the $450 annual fee:

  • $250 annual airfare credit
  • American Airlines Admiral’s Club access when flying AA
  • Priority Pass access for yourself and 2 guests
  • Fourth night free on hotel bookings
  • $100 Global entry application credit
  • 3X ThankYou points on Air & Hotels
  • 2X ThankYou points on Dining & Entertainment
  • Ability to transfer points to travel partners
  • Redeem ThankYou points at 1.33 cents each for airfare and 1.6 cents each for AA airfare
  • 3 free rounds of golf per year

As you can see, that is a HUGE amount of value, especially considering the airfare credit is per calendar year meaning you get $500 worth of credits in the first cardmember year. Additionally, Citigold clients only pay a $350 annual fee!

Should You Apply?

Citi Prestige Application Considerations

Before I go any further, this whole section is just my personal opinion. For the record I have no affiliate links and am not trying to sell you on anything. Personally, I feel the bonus will go down on this card and/or some of the very generous benefits mentioned above could change. As I mentioned in my post yesterday about the erosion of deals, when a deal is too good, the market will work to remove inefficiencies. That could very well happen here.

While I already have the card, I had already been considering an application for my wife and plan to go forward with it. She is still a Citigold client and thus her annual fee will only be $350 the first year. Between the 50K points and $500 in airfare credits the deal is good, especially given the other benefits. Of course if she has the card, my decision as to whether or not to renew my card will be made more difficult.

Applying In-Branch or Online

If you want to apply online, here is a direct application link. Citigold members will automatically have the fee reduced by $100. In addition, some non-Citigold customers have had success getting a $350 annual fee by applying in-branch. The application apparently asks for the Citigold number, but if left blank it will still process. I have also heard of others being rejected and given the normal fee instead, so YMMV.

Getting a Match

So the worst case scenario is that you apply under the current 50K offer and the bonus actually goes up next Tuesday. This is entirely possible, although unlikely in my opinion. If this happens the question becomes whether or not Citi will match. The answer to that isn’t clear. In the past they have matched some offers and not matched others. Persistence is the key with Citi and so is getting to someone who is empowered. I would say there is a decent chance of getting matched given that this is a premium card, but Citi doesn’t make it as easy as other banks like Chase.

Conclusion

With the likelihood that some sort of changes are coming to the Citi Prestige card next Tuesday, I think my wife will go ahead and lock in the current version of the offer on the card given its overall value. I also think many of you may benefit from the card, although that is a decision you must make yourself. As always, I recommend not messing up your plans to chase this or any deal and if you miss out then remember another deal will come.

What are your thoughts about the Citi Prestige? What changes do you think are coming? Do you have the card? Do you like it? Let us know in the comments!


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13 COMMENTS

  1. I have the card. All in all, the card pays for itself if you travel frequently. Citibank isn’t doing itself any favor in terms of brand loyalty, however. Citibank service has markedly declined. You can wait on hold forever if you call in the evening. The last time I called for the fourth night free, their new agency – Aspire – never called me back with the information I requested. The “Private Pass” is a cruel joke – there is never availability of any event and you can waste hours on hold only to be told the event is sold out. I don’t even bother with Private Pass anymore.

  2. I agree with rjb that the Prestige’s customer service is anything but premium: long hold times, impossible robo-menus, an unimpressive welcome package that takes a week to show up. Amex is far superior in this regard.

    The benefits are good, but for $450/yr, they should be. What sets this card apart from the competition is that it provides good benefits AND it’s also a good points earner. However, these are ThankYou points, so take them for what they’re worth.

    As for me, I’ve switched to the Executive AAdvantage card. They have their act together regarding customer service, and I feel it’s perfect for a married couple where one spouse has a elite status. The non-elite spouse can be the primary holder and get all the pseudo-elite benefits, while the other spouse gets Admirals Club membership as an authorized user.

  3. I have the card. I love it. Getting hubby to apply before the change. Maybe I can convince him to try and apply in branch to try to save $100.

  4. Exact same situation my wife and I are in. I currently have the card (AF due on 9/1), while she does not. I was planning on her getting it later this fall, but will probably pull the trigger now.

    As far as mine, I believe I will be downgrading it to the TY Preferred at the last possible moment, to possibly preserve my existing TY points.

  5. If the benefits change on the offer it will change on the old version too, correct? I mean at best you might get grandfathered in for a set amount of time before they automatically convert you to the new benefits right?

    • It depends, but generally they will give some notice. For example with the ThankYou Premier when they switched the bonus categories, they grandfathered in existing cardholders for an extra year.

  6. I applied for this two days ago. The way I figure it, even if they trimmed the bonus a bit, cut out some of the airfare and trimmed the 4th night free, any frequent traveler can still make this work quite easily, and it has transferable points, so I think it is a good investment. If you stay in a good hotel (250 -400+) once and use the priority pass once you are ahead of the AF.

  7. Worst case scenario – The annual fee will go up to $500 and the airline credit goes down to $200 per calendar year. the bonus will go down to 40k after $4k spend (instead of $3k)

  8. FYI applied for Prestige in branch (Chicagoland). Application paper listed AF as $350, nothing about being a Citigold customer, which I am not. Funny point, banker told me the best use of the 50K TYP was for the purchase of gift cards…

  9. Citi Gold account holders pay $350 per year for ever, not just the first year. That’s assuming you’re still Gold, obviously.

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