Citi Prestige Benefits Breakdown: Is It Worth The $450 Annual Fee?

September 11, 2016

There’s one card that is always in my wallet when I’m on the road today. And that’s the Citi Prestige, a sexy looking card with one hell of an annual fee. $450. People are naturally curious about whether this card is still a good investment. So let’s break down the Citi Prestige benefits and see if it’s a worthwhile invest for your travel needs.

First off, let me just say this: YES, it is worth the annual fee. I’ve yet to see someone who has the Citi Prestige not say the same thing. And now that my opinion is out of the way, let’s get started.

Remember, the annual fee is $450–so keep that in mind as you look through the Citi Prestige benefits. How many of these will you use? How often?

Citi Prestige Benefits Breakdown

Points Earning

It’s important first to look beyond the signup bonus of 50,000 points. Ask yourself which categories you often spend in, and how much? Here is the points spending categories of the Prestige:

Earn 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on air travel and hotel
Earn 2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on entertainment
Earn 2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on dining out
Earn 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases

As you can see, the highest category at 3x is for air travel and hotel. That might be great for some of you, especially those who are often on business trips. However, I personally rarely stay in hotels.

I’m all about that AirBNB life. Click here for a $35 AirBNB credit.

On top of that, I rarely actually spend money on air travel because…well, I use miles and points.

However, when I do spend money on those categories, it’s nice to know I’m maximizing my spending habits. The real gem of the Citi Prestige though is the 2x on dining. With many credit cards these days taking away high-spending dining categories (it’s a hint that we eat out too much, perhaps), 2x is one of the best.

Using Points With American Airlines

citi-prestige-benefits

Taken from the Citi website:

Fly More with Fewer ThankYou® Points

Your points are worth more when redeemed for American Airlines or US Airways® flights than when redeemed for non-air travel booked through the Citi ThankYou® Travel Center.

For example, 50,000 ThankYou Points can be redeemed for a $500 hotel stay, an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways® (60% more value), or a $665 flight on any other airline (33% more value).

Simply put, your points are significantly more valuable if you fly on American. And really, it’s not as bad as it used to be!

$250 Air Travel Credit

Do you fly at least $250 worth every year?

If so, you can basically consider the Citi Prestige fee to be $200, not $400. Every calendar year, you get $250 of flight credit. You book and pay for a flight, and a credit for that transaction will be applied on your next statement of up to $250.

And yes, smaller flights work too. Meaning if you booked an $80 flight in March, and a $170 flight in August–both would be completely paid for by your Prestige card.

Pro Tip: If you sign up for the Citi Prestige near the end of the calendar year, you’ll basically get $500 in credit. For example, say you signed up for the card on December 1st, and booked a flight for $250 on December 10th. Then come January 1st you could do the same thing–and you wouldn’t be charged your annual fee until next December 1st!

Lounges

Simply put, lounges have made my travel experiences so much better. It’s amazing to be able to check into a quiet lounge, and either get some work done or get hammered drunk. All for “free”.

Or you know, you could take a shower or a nap.

One of the Citi Prestige benefits is access to American Airlines Admiral Clubs with your card. In addition, you’ll get a Priority Pass Card which gets you into one lounge or another at nearly every major airport. I fly to a lot of bizarre airports, but the only one I’ve found that doesn’t have a lounge I can use with my Priority Pass is the airport in Odessa, Ukraine.

If you’re interested in more information about Ukraine, check out this site.

The Other Bells & Whistles

You know the usual stuff you get with fancy credit cards.

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Global Entry reimbursement
  • Rental car insurance
  • Exclusive offers
  • Top notch customer service
  • Booking agents

There’s so many of them associated with the Citi Prestige, I’m not going to bother to type them all out. You can read them all for yourself (and apply for the card) at the Citi website.

With that being said, the Citi Prestige benefits make it a no-brainer. This card should be in every traveler’s wallet. What’s in yours?