Citi Prestige Credit Card Review

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Get rewarded with the Citi Prestige Credit Card

If you’re an avid traveler — and you prefer a little luxury — the Citi Prestige Credit Card could be the right travel rewards pick for you. It offers soaring rewards in many travel categories and a fantastic introductory bonus. Plus, this card isn’t tied to a specific airline, so you have more options than some other cards offer. 

However, these benefits don’t come cheap. The annual fee is high enough to give pause to some who may be looking for more practical options. On the other hand, many cardholders will find the rewards well worth the fee, especially if you are a frequent traveler. Let’s breakdown the Citi Prestige Credit Card.

What to expect from the Citi Prestige Credit Card

Here are the basics of this credit card that can help you decide whether or not to apply.

  • APR: 18.49%-25.49% variable
  • Annual Fee: $495
  • Rewards Rates: Earn five times the points on airfare and restaurant expenses and three times the points on hotel and cruise purchases. Receive one point per dollar spent on everything else.
  • Intro Offer: Receive an extra 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening an account.

Even better

Here we detail the unique advantages and benefits of choosing this Citi card over others.

  • Free fourth hotel night. Twice per year, get one free hotel night after booking a stay of at least four consecutive nights. To receive this benefit, you must make the reservation through Citi’s rewards website,
  • Receive up to $250 credit annually. By spending on travel purchases, like car rentals, hotel stays and airfare, you can get up to $250 each year in a statement credit that you can use toward personal travel. 
  • Airport lounge access. For each flight you take, you get free entry to Priority Pass lounges for you and up to two guests. Additional guest passes cost only $27.
  • Reimbursement for airport security entry. Every five years, receive up to $100 in statement credit for a Global Entry or a TSA PreCheck application fee. Get through security quickly — without paying the fee.

But keep your eyes open for pitfalls

The biggest negative of this card is obvious — the high annual fee. You may not be in a position to pay such a high charge every year. If you don’t travel often, you likely won’t benefit enough from the card to make it worth your time. One the other hand, the sky-high rewards rates may make up for the annual fee. Do the math before applying to see whether this card would be worth pursuing.

Keep in mind, as well, that this isn’t the only travel rewards credit card on the market. If you’re looking for a travel rewards card without such a high annual fee, check out the Discover it® Miles credit card. Discover charges no annual fee for 14 months but still offers 1.5 miles for every dollar you spend. After that period, the APR increases to between 13.49% and 24.49%, which is lower than the Citi card. Additionally, you can earn an unlimited number of miles, and after one year of holding an account, Discover will give you a match of each mile you earned that year. Therefore, your mileage rewards will double the first year.

How to maximize your Citi Prestige Credit Card rewards

To maximize your rewards with this card, you would need to travel frequently and enjoy taking advantage of free airport lounge access. Also, you would need to spend enough on travel to earn the $250 extra back, as well as stay up to four nights in one location twice per year so you could take advantage of the free nights.

Also, you would want to be a Citigold member, which is Citi’s financial planning service. That way, you’ll receive the $145 statement credit. Additionally, it would be helpful to add one or more authorized users to your account because then you will get $25 back per user. If there is another member you could share your card with, it might be worth considering adding them to your account.

Furthermore, you would want to pay your cell phone bill with this card to qualify for the built-in protection plan. This protection plan doesn’t cost anything, but you could get money back for a stolen or damaged phone. The plan covers up to $1,500 per year for five or fewer phones included on the same bill. That way, you’ll get peace of mind merely by paying your monthly bill.

Bottom line

Overall, this card comes with a high annual fee but offers fabulous rewards. If you can afford the almost $500 bill each year, and you travel a lot, you would likely receive more in perks than you’re spending. This card targets flyers who like a little luxury, like airport lounge access and faster airport security access. 

Also, if you spend enough on travel, the annual $250 credit gets you half of the annual fee back by itself. Whether or not this card is worth it truly depends on how many trips you take per year. Do you stay in a hotel for four or more consecutive nights at least twice per year? Do you fly enough to make Global Entry worth signing up for? Overall, the Citi Prestige Credit Card could be the right fit for someone looking to travel in style or make frequent business trips a little more comfortable.