Citi Prestige Changes Pros and Cons

Citi Prestige Changes Pros and Cons

 

The Citi Prestige Will Change Its Benefits and Cost in January, when it relaunches. Currently the card isn't open for new applications, so those who want the card will only be able to get it with its changed cost and benefits when it relaunches in January. Earlier this year, the Citi Prestige Reduced Its Travel Insurance Benefits. Per Dan, here are the upcoming changes:

  • $495 annual fee (vs. current $450 annual fee; existing Citigold clients can retain their current $350 annual fee)
  • The $250 airfare credit will be broadened to be a more general $250 travel credit
  • 4th night free hotel benefit will be limited to 2 uses per year, effective September 2019 (note that the 4th night free does NOT combine with Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partner or other preferred partner programs)
  • Spend on airfare and travel agencies will earn 5X, up from the current 3X per dollar
  • Spend on dining will earn 5x, up from the current 2X per dollar
  • Spend on cruises will earn 3X, up from the current 1X per dollar
  • Cell phone damage and theft protection will be added
  • Spending on entertainment will earn 1X, down from the current 2X per dollar
  • Points redeemed for paid airfare will only be worth 1 cent per point, down from the current 1.25 cents per point, effective September 2019.

Spend on hotels will continue to earn 3X per dollar, same as currently, Priority Pass lounge access will admit up to 2 guests complimentary, and there will still be reimbursement every 4 years for the Global Entry/PreCheck application fee.

Pros of the Citi Prestige Changes

On the upside, the Citi Prestige will earn 5X ThankYou points on all airfare, travel agency spend and dining, a clear bid to try to steal some users from the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3X on all travel and dining. It's also great that the $250 airline reimbursement is becoming a more general travel reimbursement.

 

Cons of the Citi Prestige Changes

The relaunched Citi Prestige will be $495 per year, which is $45 more than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and yet the travel reimbursement is only $250 per calendar year, vs. the $300 travel credit that the Chase Sapphire Reserve provides. For those who aren't Citigold clients, that means the effective cost of the Citi Prestige is $245, compared to $150 for the Sapphire Reserve.

Those who have been a big fan of the 4th night free will find themselves limited to two uses a year. That could still be worthwhile keeping the card for, but it will help Citi stem the red ink from the power users who were using the card exclusively for 4th night free hotel bookings and nothing else.

 

The Upshot

Depending on the signup bonus, it might be worth signing up for the Citi Prestige card again, but even with the higher earning on airfare and dining, the card won't be one my husband or I would keep long term. I prefer the lower effective annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the fact that Ultimate Rewards points also transfer to United, British Airways, Iberia and Hyatt (none of which are Citi ThankYou transfer partners) and the fact that the Sapphire Reserve earns 3X on other forms of travel besides airlines and travel agencies, such as public transit, taxis, trains, etc.

What's your take on the upcoming changes to the Citi Prestige card?

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