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Citi Prestige® Card: Is It Worth The Annual Fee?

Citi Prestige® Card
Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card: Is It Worth The Annual Fee?

Despite its high annual fee of $450, this card holds a lot of value for consumers who can fully take advantage of its perks.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

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4.5/5.0

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With a $495 annual fee, The Citi Prestige® Card is one of the most expensive credit cards on the market. Despite its expensive upkeep cost, we believe the Citi Prestige® Card is a worthwhile consideration for frequent travelers who can take advantage of the airport lounge access or complimentary hotel stays it offers. With a great rewards rate (up to 3.75%), the card is competitive with other popular choices in this category, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express. For a more detailed look at the Citi Prestige® Card, read our review and benefits analysis below.

Citi Prestige® Card Pros:

  • Useful features for the frequent flyer, including air travel credit, Global Entry or TSA Pre ✔® credit, and discounted American Airlines flight redemption
  • Number of other free perks, including complimentary nights on hotel stays
  • 1.25% to 3.75% rewards rate

Citi Prestige® Card Cons:

  • $495 annual fee
  • ThankYou® Points aren't as versatile as other rewards programs

Review: Is the Citi Prestige® Card Worth the $495 Annual Fee?

The Citi Prestige® Card provides its users with fantastic luxury travel benefits, as well as discounts on travel and free hotel nights. Despite its high cost of $495, any consumer who takes advantage of these benefits will be making up for the annual fee. The card offers up to $250 in airline travel credit, as well as airport lounge access (through the AA Admirals Club and Priority Pass) – these two benefits alone are worth upwards of $600 to $700. It's also well-equipped and convenient for travel abroad, thanks to having no foreign transaction fees (about 3% savings) and an EMV chip.

On top of its great side benefits, we think the Citi Prestige® Card earns nice rewards rates on their purchases. Users can earn decent rewards when they use the Citi Prestige® Card on air travel and hotel stays (3.75% rewards rate), and when it’s used for dining at restaurants and entertainment (2.5%). All other spending earns a sub-par rewards rate of just 1.25%. There's a relationship bonus to these rewards rate if you're an existing Citigold or Private Bank client.

The one downside in our opinion is the relatively limited value of ThankYou® Points, the rewards program. They are generally not as good as some of the other competing programs like, for example, Chase Ultimate Rewards, because it doesn’t have as robust of a point-transfer program. This makes it hard to combine your ThankYou® Points with other loyalty programs you may be participating with. Membership Rewards points, which can be earned with The Platinum Card® from American Express, can be transferred to 21 other loyalty programs (vs. just 1 with the Citi Prestige® Card).

What are the Citi Prestige® Card Benefits and Features?

The benefits that can be gained from the Citi Prestige® Card can be broken down into one of two rewards categories: spending and travel. The first are all the perks and value you get out of using the credit card to make purchases. The travel benefits are upfront perks you get just for being a cardmember – these are tailored towards and mostly worthwhile consumers who are frequent travelers.

Citi Prestige® Card
Citi Prestige® Card
Citi Prestige® Card
Annual Fee
$450
Purchase APR
15.24%
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Complimentary 4th night at luxury hotels when booked through Carlson Wagonlit Travel
  • Unlimited access to 400+ airport lounges
  • $100 global entry fee credit
  • Chip technology
  • 24/7 concierge
  • Lost baggage coverage

Rewards from Card Purchases

Using the Citi Prestige® Card to pay for air travel and hotels earns individuals 3 ThankYou® points for every $1 spent. When the card is used for dining at restaurants or entertainment, the point accrual is just 2 points per $1. All other purchases net you 1 ThankYou® point.

What the Citi Prestige® Card considers “entertainment” might be a little vague to some. The card’s Pricing & Terms include movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores and video rental stores among merchants who fit into this classification. Whether or not you get the 2 points per $1 depends on how a merchant chooses to classify themselves with MasterCard.

We value a single ThankYou® point to be worth, on average, $0.008. Your value will vary depending on how you choose to redeem your points. The Citi Prestige® Card has the added benefit of allowing you to transfer your points, which can extend the value of a single point. You can see Citi ThankYou® redemption options in the table below, or read our detailed analysis on the rewards program here.

UsageExampleValue Per Point

Cash Back

$50 Cash Back: 10,000 points.5 cents

Gift Cards

$25 Best Buy Gift Card: 2,500 points1 cent

Redeem For Flights

$450 fare: 45,000 points1 cent

Shopping

$829 Apple iPad Mini: 100,000 points.83 cents

Statement Credit

$10 Statement Credit: 2,000 points.5 cents

Select And Credit

$150 Credit: 20,000 points.75 cents

Amazon

$80 purchase: 10,000 points0.8 cents

Bonuses: There are opportunities to earn bonuses for your spending if you hit a certain amount in the first few months, or if you have an existing banking relationship with Citibank. On top of ThankYou® for everyday purchases, new Citi Prestige® Cardholders have the ability to earn a 50,000 point bonus. To qualify, you must use the card to make $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of the account opening – this bonus is worth anywhere between $500 and $800! The bonus is enough to cover the card’s annual fee for approximately 1-2 years. If you have a Citigold® or Global Client relationship with Citibank, you will receive a 15% bonus to your ThankYou® Points every cardmember year. Citi Private Bank clients get a 25% point bonus.

Transferring Your ThankYou® Points

Citi Prestige® Cardholders have the ability to transfer points to participating loyalty programs. These transfers must be made in increments of 1,000 (meaning you cannot transfer any points until you have accumulated at least 1,000 ThankYou® Points). This is one of the most profitable things cardmembers can do with their points, as this can stretch their value beyond $0.0125 per point.

All point transfers occur at a rate of 1:1, except for Hilton HHonors where the rate is 1:1.5 (that is 1 ThankYou® Point = 1.5 Hilton HHonor point). The full list of participating loyalty programs can be found in the table below:

Citi Prestige® Card ThankYou Point Transfer Partners

Asia Miles

Malaysia Airlines Enrich

Etihad Airway Guest EVA Air Infinity Mileage Lands

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Flying Blue Air France KLM

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Hilton HHonors

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Travel Perks

Air Travel: These benefits are where the Citi Prestige® Card tries to make its comparatively high $495, annual fee worth it. Cardmembers will receive $250 in Travel credit each year. This credit can be applied towards things like airline tickets, extra baggage fees, in-flight meals, etc. However, the airline credit will only be applied towards purchases booked directly through the airline. If you book a flight through a travel service, like Expedia, it will not count. Citi Prestige® Cardholders are entitled to access various airport lounges, including American Airlines Admirals Club (50 lounges), and Priority Pass™ Select (700 lounges worldwide). This benefit is approximately worth a combined value of $600, and cost-efficient to anyone who enjoys access to these lounges, has long layovers, delayed flights, or just has time to pass before flights.

Travelers who fly with American Airlines or US Airways can get an additional deal through the Citi Prestige® Card: their ThankYou® Points can be worth more when redeemed for AA or US Airways flights through the Citi ThankYou® Travel Center. Citi estimates that 50,000 ThankYou® Points can be used for a $800 flight this way.

Finally, one lastCiti Prestige® Card benefit worth noting is credit towards TSA Pre ✔® or Global Entry, worth up to $100. If you apply and pay for a TSA Pre/Global Entry application using your Citi Prestige® Card, you will be awarded statement credit covering the cost. Individuals who frequently find themselves at airports, and don’t want to deal with long security lines, will surely find great value in a benefit like this.

Hotels: Whenever you stay for 4 or more consecutive nights at any hotel, and pay using your Citi Prestige® Card, your 4th night will be complimentary. To qualify for this benefit, however, you must make your hotel reservation through the Citi Prestige® Concierge. There are no caps on this benefit, which means you can use it as many times throughout the year as you wish. If you travel a lot, and need to stay at a hotel for at least 4 nights, twice a year, we believe this benefit should make the card’s annual fee worth it.

How Does The Citi Prestige® Card Compare to other Credit Cards?

Before committing to paying for a $495 credit card, it’s best to understand all the options available to you – the Citi Prestige® Card is no small investment. Below we profile how the card fares against some of its competitors. You can also use our tool below to see which cards will provide you with the highest rewards based on your personal habits.

Citi Prestige® Card vs The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is slightly more expensive with a $550 annual fee. There are two major differences between it and the Citi Prestige® Card. Firstly, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, which means you are obligated to pay any all balances on it in full at the end of each month. Charge cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, come with no preset spending limit – this means individuals have a little bit more freedom to make large purchases, without having to worry much about a credit limit. The Citi Prestige® Card, however, earns you superior rewards on your spending, and works better as an everyday credit card, due to the 3x and 2x point accrual categories.

Citi Prestige® Card vs Mastercard® Black Card™

The Mastercard® Black Card™ is another high-annual fee, luxury travel credit card. It is much more expensive than the Citi Prestige® Card, costing $495 per year – that’s $45 more each year than the Citi card. Most consumers will be better off with the Citi Prestige® Card over the Mastercard® Black Card™ for a number of reasons. The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers no way of transferring its rewards points to other loyalty programs, limiting their value.

The point-earning potential on the Mastercard® Black Card™ is also significantly worse than the Citi Prestige® Card. Mastercard® Black Card™ cardholders earn just 1 point on every $1 spent using the card. The final nail in the coffin for the Visa Black card is its lounge access benefit. Members get access to Lounge Club – a program that is not nearly as good or extensive as that of the Citi Prestige® Card's Priority Pass.

Citi Prestige® Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards available. Unlike the Citi Prestige® Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t offer any luxury travel perks, such as lounge access. The Chase credit card earns users Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which we believe to be of greater value than ThankYou® Points for travelers. The Sapphire Preferred Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, and charges $95 each year after that. If you don’t plan on using the Citi Prestige® Card’s lounge access or hotel night benefits, we recommend going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Comparison Tool

You can input your typical spending patterns into the tool below. It will then display for you rewards you can get out of these credit cards along with other metrics.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.99% - 24.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi Prestige® Card
$450 0.47%
$532
Earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $3000
$162
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $530
Bonuses
0 x $0.013 = $0
40,000 x $0.013 = $532
Less Annual Fees -$900
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 162

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $450
APR 15.24%

Card Details

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Complimentary 4th night at luxury hotels when booked through Carlson Wagonlit Travel
  • Unlimited access to 400+ airport lounges
  • $100 global entry fee credit
  • Chip technology
  • 24/7 concierge
  • Lost baggage coverage
Mastercard® Black Card™
$495 -1.38%
$0
$-475
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.015 = $515
Less Annual Fees -$990
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -475

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $495
APR 16.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Stainless Steel - Patented Card Design
  • 2% Value for Airfare Redemptions
  • 1.5% Value for Cash Back Redemptions
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge™
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel Benefits
  • $100 Annual Airline Credit Toward Qualifying Purchases
  • $100 Global Entry Application Fee Credit
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User)
The Platinum Card® from American Express
$550 -2.21%
$0
Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months
$-757
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Less Annual Fees -$1,100
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -757

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $550
APR N/A
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.