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Is Citi Prestige worth $450 annually?

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Is Citi Prestige worth $450 annually?

My annual fee is coming due pretty soon and I’m going back and forth as to whether it’s worth paying the $450. It may actually be $350 with a Citi Priority banking account, but I’m having some issues with that. Anyways. Citi Prestige offers a ton of benefits – annual $250 travel credit, buy 3 get 4th night free on hotels, a great priority pass membership, and a bevy of other bennies so I’m weighing the pros and cons and if I should keep my Citi Prestige. So is Citi Prestige worth $450 annually?

First things first. Dollars out. Value In.

  • Annual fee first year: $350
  • Travel Credits: $500

My first year I paid a $350 annual fee because I had CitiGold checking. I closed that account and somehow retained CitiGold for a few months after. Then…it got downgraded to Citi Priority sometime last year – which was great.  HOWEVER, I had an issue with logging into my account while traveling abroad and a new account was formed and I just noticed I didn’t have CitiPriority anymore. Fair enough, but I’m wondering if I can’t somehow relink my logins and get it back. We shall see. So for arguments sake – let’s say I have to pay the $450 this year.

Going into this year’s annual fee I’m up $150 from just the travel credits.

 

Buy 3 nights get 1 night free. $225

I stayed at the Caledonian last year in Edinburgh Scotland and utilized the 4th night free benefit. That alone was roughly $225. Add that in to the running total and I’m up $375 going into this annual fee.

a large building with many windows

I’ve utilized the lounge benefits A LOT. Prestige will lose Admirals Club access come June 20th, but it’ll still have a great Priority Pass membership.

Lounge access provides a lot of added value, but the Admirals benefit will be lost soon. Sure, I could use the $250 travel credit to offset buying a membership, but that’s a terrible use IMO.

A few Admirals Clubs I’ve visited

a stuffed animal on a couch in a lobby

Priority Pass Membership has been amazing

a stuffed animal on a wall

The biggest debate I have with using the Priority Pass for creating a defined added value is my Amex Business Platinum gives me a priority pass membership as well. Thanks to reader DF who brought to my attention that the Amex Biz Plat also allows 2 guests…this is a redundant benefit if I do in fact keep the Biz Plat for another year ( which I’m not sure I will.)

Another factor is I’m under 5/24. I did just apply and was approved for the Business Preferred and there is conflicting evidence as to whether Chase biz cards fall under 5/24, but even if it does count, I’m back under 5/24 by August and could get the Reserve with another incredible Priority Pass membership.

Citi’s 24 month rule.

If you’re unfamiliar with their 24 month rule, check this out.

This means that even if I don’t want to keep the Prestige I need to downgrade the card to keep the 24 month tally I already have alive.

Another $250 Travel credit will hit January 2018.

So even the fees on award tickets like flying EVA with Singapore Air miles will get refunded.

a stuffed animal on a seat

Citi, unlike Chase and US Bank ( and their Altitude card), still gives the credit based on an annual basis, not cardmember year basis. This means I’ll get another $250. That brings this year’s running total up to $150 + $225 + $250. By the time my 3rd annual fee would hit I’d be ahead at least $625 – $450(2nd year fee( = $175

At this point I could look to downgrade my Prestige to a preferred card and reapply and start the process all over again as I would have 24 continuos months without opening or closing a citi card within the product family. Sheesh – so much work these days.

The other benefits I use: 3x travel, 2x dining and entertainment

I do tend to put spend through the Prestige, but as I pick up other cards, I’ll mainly use the Prestige for it’s provided benefits: $250 travel credit, priority pass, and buy 3 get 4 – not the spend given benefits.

I’m leaning towards keeping it open. The value seems to be there and that’s without taking into consideration using any buy 3 get the 4th night free benefits again.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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22 Comments

  • […] the 4th night free + $250 travel credit combination outweighing the annual fee when it was $450. You can read that here. My account is coded as CitiPriority and the annual fee for me will stay at $350. That’s a no […]

  • […] you’re redeeming. This is often the case when utilizing a 4th night free benefit on the Citi Prestige, or the fact that you can earn 10x points when booking via Hotels.com and using a Capital One […]

  • […] Citi Prestige […]

  • […] signed up I was CitiGold ( through a fantastic 50k AA offer) and the fee was reduced to just $350. I weighed the costs and benefits of keeping the card a 2nd year in early June – if you’r…. With the new benefits just being announced, I didn’t know whether Citi would still offer […]

  • Eric Gilbert June 29, 2017

    It is no longer worth the fee. The American Express Platinum card is $550 and provides you $200 in Uber credits and $200 in travel credits. They also provide the priority club membership like the Citi Prestige card plus access to the Delta lounges. The Centurion lounges are the best and included in the fee.
    When Citi took away the American Airlines lounges and how they compute the 4th free night, I down graded to the thank you card with no annual fee and I kept my Citi thank you points. The thank you card still provides me double points on dining with no annual fee. Citi took away two major benefits and did not lower their annual fee.

  • […] Is Citi Prestige Worth $450 Annually? – Now that they are eliminating the golf benefit and access to the American Airlines’ Admirals Club, I find it hard to justify the fee unless you are doing a lot of 4-night hotel stays. […]

  • Lee @ BaldThoughts June 8, 2017

    Now that they are eliminating the golf benefit and access to the American Airlines’ Admirals Club, I find it hard to justify the fee unless you are doing a lot of 4-night hotel stays.

  • Gene June 8, 2017

    Saves me about $3,000 per year on hotel reservations. Love this card.

  • tina June 7, 2017

    Unless you have status-which sadly, I don’t-I’ve found the overall perks/cost using Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts were better than 4th night free (certainly now with the new changes where it averages the cost of the nights). With AMEX FHR I get the free breakfast, 3rd or 4th night free, late check out, early check in and often a special perk (~$100 spa or meal credit). Is there something I’m missing as to why the citi perks would be better?

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      Tina – I think what you’re saying can make a lot of sense if the hotel you’re looking at is a part of Amex FHR or Virtuoso. The nice thing about Citi’s 4th night free perk is that it isn’t limited and can be combined with other public offers on pretty much any hotel. You’re pretty much getting 25% off every 4 night stay you make regardless of where it is.

  • Jeremy June 7, 2017

    @MonkeyMiles I’m paying $350/year and book 1-2 4/night stays per year. Do you think it’s worth it? I am upgrading my PRG to Platinum because of an upgrade offer. I think I’ll have a hard time justifying that fee go forward though. $100 net fee seems​reasonable for PP and 4th night free.

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      Hey Jeremy – I think you’re making out well if you’re taking advantage of 1 or 2, 4 night stays…you’re basically buying nights at $50.

  • Hari June 7, 2017

    Delay coverage + 4th night free has paid for itself many times over, for me!

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      Interesting – haven’t done any delay coverage claims. what’s your experience been like?

  • I love the Citi Prestige, though I was pretty disappointed by the loss of Admirals lounge, and ended up cancelling the card. While I could rationalize the $450 ($350 for Gold), I found that I was able to rationalize the fee of 3 other premium cards (CSR, Amex Biz and Ritz) to a higher degree, so ultimately I stuck with those and dropped the Prestige! I guess I draw the line in premium cards annual fees at about $1,300!

    DW

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      AcCountingYourPoints – great blog! $1300…but how much return do you get on that 😉 I’m facing the same dilemma, but Miles has gotten so damn used to lounges, lie-flat and 5 star luxury that he rationalizes anything!

  • Michael June 7, 2017

    Had my parents (age 60’s) apply for the Prestige as a “keep for the long-haul” card in 2014. It’s their only card other than an ancient Amex Green account. It was absolutely perfect for them, a game-changer. They travel infrequently, but tend to make 4/5/6 night stays in one hotel when they do, so they used the 4th night rebate a couple times per year. Living in Philadelphia, they would use one of the PHL Admiral’s clubs on departure and sometimes on the way home too. They’ve used the club agents to deal with IRROPs numerous times. I would never be able to convince them to hold 2 “big fee” cards at once, so now I have a dilemma. Keep the Prestige, and lose AA club access, but they’d still get (less) value out of the “new and improved” 4th night rebate. Drop Prestige in favor of the new Citi Executive card, and they’re paying a LOT for infrequent lounge access and some marginal AA perks. Arg. What should I do? Would any other card I’m not thinking of be a solution? (The new Centurion lounge in PHL is in terminal A (international) which they never fly out of and won’t want to trek to)

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      Michael – I’m not sure if you’ve considered downgrading the card to a no fee card and reapplying for the Prestige ( assuming it’s been 24 months since account opening)…then you’d earn the bonus points, a new $250 travel credit, and the added value would help make the decision more palatable? I know a lot of people are making a big deal out of the 4th night free pro-rating devaluation, but unless you were always having the 4th night be substantially more than nights 1-3 I don’t know that it’ll be that grossly impactful.

      • Michael June 7, 2017

        thanks for the reply! much appreciated. the 4th night averaging thing isn’t a big downer to them, but I’ve also read that taxes will no longer be covered by the benefit. still, i think the card pays for itself easily, even without the Admirals Club benefit, and i think i can convince them of that. the answer for PHL club access may be for ME to get the AA Exec and make them authorized users on the card; I’ll be paying the fee but I can sleep at night knowing that it’s granting my immediate family + parents access. Any idea whether one can get the new UBS card, without otherwise having a relationship with UBS? has an interesting set of lounge perks.

  • Df June 7, 2017

    Per my AMEX Buisneess platinum benefits page:

    Priority Pass Select:
    You may bring 2 guests for no charge. Most lounges allow you to bring additional guests for a fee, which will be charged to your Business Platinum Card®. Due to processing, charges may not appear on your account statement for up to 60 days.

    Has this changed?

    • Miles June 7, 2017

      DF – You’re right and thank you bringing to my attention. I brought up my benefits page as well and sure enough two guests are allowed. I’ll amend the post to reflect this – I had used an application page and benefits description which is obviously wrong

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