Citi to Cut Off Prestige Applications on 8/18? A New Rumor Has Surfaced! A Possible Refresh or the Death of a Former Legend?

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Citi Prestige Application Shutdown

Citi Prestige Application Shutdown

The Citi Prestige card has a long and storied history. You see, Citi decided to enter the premium card market to challenge American Express long before Chase blew the entire segment up with Sapphire Reserve. And back then the Prestige was perhaps the MOST VALUABLE CARD on the market. 

In the “good old days” the 4th night free benefit was better, the card came with Admiral’s Club access, it gave a ridiculous 1.6 cent per point for AA redemptions, had the most generous version of Priority Pass, had amazing trip delay and purchase protection, gave free golf at very expensive courses and still had the $250 airfare credit it has today. Better yet, those of us who had a Citigold account, were able to get the card locked into a $350 annual fee.

Too Good to Be True

It was all too good to be true and it cost Citi money. So, in 2016 they did what any giant bank does. They devalued the card just as Chase and others entered the market. Since then the Prestige has lost a lot of its value, although it is still beneficial for some.

Things have gone up and down for the Prestige since 2016, but mostly down. In an effort to hide their huge cuts to the benefits, in 2017 Citi touted new features such as the ability to book the 4th night free online and a metal card. Earlier this year they also cut their purchase and travel protection benefits. The sign-up bonus has also been removed and with it any compelling reason to get this card.

A New Rumor

But it might be going away anyway. Or at least in its current form. Garykung on Flyertalk reports being told by a banker that the bank will stop taking applications for the Prestige on August 18, 2018. This kind of makes sense, but I doubt they are pulling the card completely.

Citi has made announcements and changes to this card in late Summer each of the past two years. My guess is they are going to refresh the card in some way. They haven’t been very competitive in this market for awhile, so I highly doubt they will do anything too positive, but who knows. Maybe they are ready to compete again? Or maybe this means even more cuts. Sigh.

Either way, this once mighty card with amazing benefits and a huge sign-up bonus is a shadow of its former glory. What do you think will happen on 8/18? Share your thoughts and memories of this great card in the comments!

HT: Doctor of Credit


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18 COMMENTS

  1. I have no idea what they’ll do but even with the devalued earning, we have found the 4th night free and $200 flight credit still outweighs the cost. We used it this year on a $600 a night room in Kauai and $200 a night room in Phoenix. So when you carve out the flight credits since I consider the $200 paid and the $200 credited a wash, that means we paid $250 to get $800 in room nights. That’s still a good deal to me.

  2. Love the card as my hotel stays are usually 4 nights at least so it has saved me a buttload.

    But, I’ll say, the loss of the lounge access with AA really sucked. I could care less about the golf, and the priority pass is not a huge perk.

    It’s been harder to book through their service, but if they do away with the 4th night, or devalue that.. I’m out.

  3. Since so many of us have multiple premium cards that offer Priority Pass access, maybe they should drop PP access from the card entirely and bring back AA Admirals Club access. The loss of PP access from the card would have no effect for most of us, but the addition of Admirals Club access would be a game changer.

  4. The 4th night free benefit has been the reason I’ve kept the card. I’ve seen surveys, don’t know which card company is running it, that asks participants how they would rate the value of various free night limitations (e.g. 4th night free just 4 times per year while adjusting the annual fee). I hope the survey wasn’t issued by Citi to evaluate the effect of changing this benefit.

    • it certainly is! while the change may not exactly be the same as what was shown in the survey, i’m sure that’s part of their user research to evaluate how different people value the benefits and the priorities. at least they are doing some research before making a draconian cut (not that it makes it any less painful)

  5. If they’d bring back the 3 free rounds of golf, I’d pick the card back up even if there wasn’t a signup bonus. I loved that benefit.

  6. There was a survey Citi sent out late last year that explored consumer preferences for the Citi Prestige. It seems whatever is coming is a result of that research. They wouldn’t send out a survey like that to ultimately kill the card, so I’m 100% sure it’s a revamp. I took the survey, and seem to recall one of the options was a limit on the number of times per year the 4th night free benefit can be used. I’m willing to bet that this will be part of the revamp, probably a llmit of somewhere between 4-6 per year. Hopefully there will be some improvements as well, but I’m sure they just want to stop the bleeding with the 4th night free.

  7. I was fortunate to get the Citi Prestige card last Summer with 75k welcome bonus. I’ve used the 4th night free benefit to book rooms in New York, London and Paris. Also love their extended warranty benefit. So definitely net positive in the first year. AF renewal is coming up in the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see if they upgrade any benefit or introduce new ones. But I suspect it will be a devaluation / limitation of existing benefits. I have the CSR too and i definitely spend more on this card for the 3x UR points and 1.5x travel booking value.

  8. I love this card for the travel delay benefit. With a 3 hour delay, you can have up to $500 per person in charges reimbursed. It is very easy to file a claim and I’ve had it go through twice now. One of the best redemption I have ever had was when my flight was canceled from Quebec City to Philadelphia and I had to stay over night in Quebec. Hotels were expensive, but I had $1000 debited to my account within two weeks.

  9. While this card has been gutted over the years, it’s still a solid one for me. Several of the business conventions I attend are 3 days, so the 4th night free is perfect. But I just got the AMEX Business Platinum, so I might be test-driving the perks of the Fine Hotels in lieu of the 4th night free with the Prestige. Still a keeper IMO.

  10. This card lacks room upgrades and breakfasts at the hotels we stay at (think Amex Platinum and Chase Rrserve)
    The upgrades and breakfasts in addition to the 4th night free would keep me a Prestige member.
    But I got the card originally for the American Lounge status.

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