My Decision to Keep or Cancel Citi Prestige & Current Retention Offers for the Card

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Citi Prestige Keep or Cancel & Retention Offers

See also:  Tripling Up Citi Retention & Great Offers on ThankYou & AAdvantage Cards

Citi Prestige Keep or Cancel & Retention Offers

Last summer Citi gutted their flagship Citi Prestige card. Among the changes were:

  • Loss of Admiral’s Club Access in 2017.
  • Loss of 1.6 cents per point value for AA flights in 2017.
  • Loss of 1.33 cents per point value for other flights in 2017.
  • Loss of free golf benefit in 2017.
  • Change to 4th night free benefit for 2017.

You can find out more about the changes here.

Keep or Dump?

My annual fee on the card was due today, so after putting it off I decided to call Citi. Here is some key information for you to know.

Annual Fee: $350 (Normally $450 for most people, but I was charged a lower rate as a Citigold client)

My goal was to decide whether I was justified in paying $350 to keep a card that will have Admirals Club access, golf and higher redemption values for only half of the year I am paying for. To start, the card comes with a $250 airfare credit per calendar year. That means in 2017 I will be able to cash that in. That roughly brings my out of pocket cost to $100. For that I will get:

  • 6 months of Admirals Club access

Yup, that is it. I don’t value the Priority Pass membership since I already have a better membership with my Sapphire Reserve and while I plan to use the free golf, I have yet to do so and thus don’t want to count it into my calculations. I also rarely pay for four consecutive nights anywhere, so the 4th night free benefit isn’t worth counting on. Finally, my wife also has the Prestige card and we redeem most of our points from her account so the higher redemption values aren’t a gamechanger.

Related: Full Guide to Citi Retention – Answers to all of your questions & how to get the best offers!

The Retention Call

Citi Prestige Keep or Cancel & Retention Offers
Photo by Plantronics Germany.

To help make my decision, I decided to call to see if there were any offers available for the card. I called the number on the back of my Citi Prestige card and said “Representative” when prompted by the automated system. (Do not say cancel!) Then, when I reached the first representative I explained that my annual fee was due and I wanted to cancel. Hearing those magic words, he transferred me to a retention agent.

If you have never spoken to Citi retention as a Prestige cardholder, then you will be surprised at just how pleasant and efficient they are.  The agent on the other end was polite and went right down to business. My goal for the call was to get an offer that I feel offsets the $100 I am paying out of pocket for the annual fee. He was able to give me three options.

  • Option 1: $200 statement credit after spending $4K per month for 3 months.
  • Option 2: 10K bonus ThankYou points after spending $3K total in 3 months.
  • Option 3: Additional 4X ThankYou points per dollar on hotels and airfare for 6 months. Up to 35K bonus points.

Picking the Best Offer

Citi Prestige Keep or Cancel & Retention Offers

Can you guess which one I picked? Well let’s start with the offer that I eliminated. Option 3 is a good deal considering the card already earns 3X points for air and hotel purchases, but I don’t plan to have that much spend in those categories and thus would be gambling a bit. Plus, I like simple offers and this one stretches on awhile. It is a good deal, but wasn’t for me.

Both options 1 and 2 are attractive, but I ultimately decided to go with option 2. I value ThankYou points at about 1.5 cents each and thus the 10K bonus points will more than offset my $100 or so cost after the airfare credit. While the $200 credit looks nice, it requires 4X the spend (which has an opportunity cost) and also requires a lot more tracking since I have to spend in each of 3 months. I value simplicity and thus Option 2 won out.

Conclusion

While I was disappointed that Citi decided to gut their premium travel card, I’ll keep it for another year considering the annual fee is essentially offset for me. I will get use out of Admirals Club access until it goes away and can redeem points at a higher value from my account so that will be nice as well. Mostly though I am hoping that Citi wakes up and realizes that their card is simply noncompetitive at a time when Chase is killing it with Sapphire Reserve and Amex is getting ready to beef up their Platinum card.

Have you recently received Citi Prestige retention offers? Feel free to share them in the comments!


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19 COMMENTS

  1. Same options here last night and I choose the $200 option. Worth about $35 more plus some extra points from spend. Live near Simon mall so spend is not a big issue

  2. Shawn
    Thanks for the breakdown on the thought process. Agree with nominal value of Admiral Club access. Buying TYPs at $.01/mile plus opportunity costs not a terrible deal, I suppose. Other keep-or-cancel considerations: 1) can you re-start the 24 month churn clock by cancel or downgrade (or do you have other TYP family cards?) 2) impact to overall credit line/avg. account age by cancelling 3) One less promo spreadsheet row to manage/one less bill to monitor and pay. Did he provide offer options piecemeal or all in one batch?

  3. If your AF is due today, wouldn’t you be able to cancel around 1/13/17 and get a pro-rated (~10months) AF refund? That would allow you to get the $250 credit again in (very) early 2017.

  4. I’ll be in a similar situation in 6 months, but unlike you I do get value out of the 4th night free. Hotels are about the only thing I use the prestige for. Therefore, if presented with the same options, I will likely take option 3, since $500/month hotel spend will net me 12k additional points with no worry about meeting a minimum spend.

  5. i put $100k spend on my prestige in both my 1st and 2nd years with it. did not try to get a retention offer at end of 1st year (forgot); at end of 2nd year, made retention call, no offer. HUCA’d twice, same thing. was stunned at their tough-guy stance. cancelled the card, whereas i would’ve kept it and spent on it for at least 1 more year. anyone else with a surprise no-offer?

  6. Thanks for the heads up, I just called and despite my annual fee not due till April was given virtually the same offers. The only difference was 5K points for 3K spend. I went with the airline offer as I have probably 3-4k in airline tickets coming up. So once again thank you for the post I will now earn 12 to 16,000 extra points!

    • Option 1 required 4K spend PER month for 3 months (12k total) so the additional $40 in value was not worth it for him to track the additional spend if I am reading it right.

  7. i got the additional 1 point for all spend upto 50000 points for next 6 months. So 2x ty points for next 6 months on all categories and AF is due only by next march.

    • Same here. I pushed enough and got one extra point each category which for me is better than the 3 offers suggested here.

  8. When it came time to renew, I opted for 7x on air, hotels and travel agencies. This is because I will be traveling a lot during the 6 month period of the offer. I’ve gotten fourth night free at two hotels already and expect I will use that feature at least two more times in the next few months. It made sense for me to go with option 3.

    • With the removal of the current benefits, hard to say. Varies from person to person. My opinion is the transfer to etihad guest for business awards to Europe. Your initial flight has to be New York to Brussels (~36k round trip!) and adding on some connections within the continent are very reasonable. EVA and Singapore to Asia can be valuable, too.

  9. It seems Citi is downgrading all their cards rewards and perks. Being the bank that received most on the bailout, one of the largest banks in the world and other cards upping their game it is disappointing. I have all my cards and accounts with them. Just got bumped down from Gold to Priority

  10. Does Citi prorate the annual fee on the Prestige? My annual fee posted on 10/24. Was gonna cancel in Nov but I had a 4th night free stay I needed to redeem first, wonder if I cancel now if they’ll prorate.

  11. We just don’t find a lot of value in Thank You points. I won’t spend as much starting in 2017 since I transferred my business to my son and retired. We will get our $250 airline reimbursements asap in January and close all of our Thank You cards soon after they post. I don’t care if it takes 24 months to get any new Thank You cards. One less thing to monitor. I might keep my Prestige card until my annual fee posts later in the year so we can get into Admirals Clubs for 6 months.

    Not to be completely done with Citi though…
    I will probably apply for a Citi AA Executive card later in 2017. AA miles are low hanging fruit for us and we used to be a USAirways hub (so lots of flights from our home airport).

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