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My Citi Prestige card’s $450 annual fee recently posted. I will happily keep it for another year (if only to have Admirals Club access through the end of July 2017).
I’ve dutifully tracked the value I’ve gotten on the Citi Prestige by the Numbers page. But I want to dig into the numbers a little more.
I also got an retention offer to earn 7X Citi ThankYou points on $8,750 in spending on airfare, hotels, and travel agencies – which is fine because I book ALL my airfare on this card to take advantage of its industry-leading trip delay and cancelation insurance that kicks in after only THREE hours (better than Chase Sapphire Reserve and any personal Amex card).
In This Post
Year One by the numbers
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Here’s a breakdown of the savings I got last year with Citi Prestige (November 2015 to November 2016):
- November 15 – $250 airline credit for flights on Norwegian to Martinique
- November 18 – $244 saved with 4th night free benefit on a hotel in Martinique
- December 10 – $116 saved with 4th night free benefit at the Alexandra DoubleTree in Barcy
- December 16 – $450 annual fee charged (amount subtracted from total)
- December 17 – $250 airline credit for flights to Dallas
- December 18 – $800 from 50,000 Citi ThankYou points (worth 1.6 cents each on American Airlines) for meeting minimum spending requirement and earning sign-up bonus
- January 18 – $100 on admission for 2 to Sala VIP Miro lounge @ BCN
- January 20- $160 from 10,000 Citi ThankYou points for finding an error on ThankYou.com
- February 6 – $70 on admission for 2 to Air France Lounge @ JFK (day passes are $35)
- March 6 – $100 on admission to Admirals Club 2X at LGA and DFW (day passes are $50)
- May 2 – $490 saved with 4th night free benefit at the Hilton Tokyo
- August 7 – $50 on admission to Admirals Club at DCA (day passes are $50)
- August 10 – $396 saved with 4th night free benefit at the New York Hilton Midtown
- October 12 – $156 saved with 4th night free benefit at Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin-Arboretum/NW
- November 9 – $269 saved with 4th night free benefit at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu
- November 9 – $288 saved with 4th night free benefit at Hilton Capital, Washington, DC
I subtracted the annual fee.
I’m conservative in my estimates.
IMO, all the lounge access shouldn’t be added if I “only” popped in to have a drink. To account for that give and take, I did NOT include every time I accessed a lounge with the card. I included every 3rd or 4th visit, say.
I did stop in to Admirals Club locations during connections, right after landing to grab a drink, or grab a coffee. I figure they all add up.
I used some of the 50,000 point sign-up bonus to book award tickets (like my brother’s trip to Hawaii with Flying Blue and Singapore miles and a Business Class award ticket on Brussels Airlines). I used the base of 1.6 cents per point but definitely got waaay more than that.
And I got $500 in free airfare last year. Between that, the lounge access, and the sign-up bonus, I came out ahead of the $450 annual fee.
But the biggest value by far was the 4th night free benefit. Wow.
I used it 7 times last year (which also seems conservative). If you only use this perk once or twice a year, the card more than pays for itself, even with the upcoming changes (more on that in a sec).
In fact, I’m about to get another $250 travel credit, which drops my next annual fee to $200.
Note: If you’ve opened or closed another ThankYou card in the past 24 months, you can’t earn a sign-up bonus for this card.
My retention offer
Getting over $3,000 in value (and actually much more) in a year made keeping Citi Prestige for a second year a no-brainer.
But, I called to check on retention offers. You can find the entire list of data points here.
- 4 additional ThankYou points for travel (hotel, air, car rental, travel agency) up to a max of 35,000 over the next 6 months
35,000/4 = 7X Citi ThankYou points on $8,750 in those categories (as they are already 3X categories).
I have a spate of airfare purchases coming up in 2017, so getting 7X and the card’s fantastic trip insurance seemed like a good deal – not that I was going to cancel it, anyway.
I consider this gravy.
Is Citi Prestige worth keeping another year?
Hell yeah. As mentioned, paying $200 for this card ($450 less the $250 travel credit) is an excellent deal. You can easily recoup that with one pointed use of the 4th night free benefit.
Here’s what’s changing on July 23, 2017:
- 4th night free will turn into a 25% discount (without taxes or fees)
- No more free rounds of golf
- Points will be worth 1.25 cents each toward travel
- NO MORE American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access (this is already gone for new cardmembers)
I’m still going to put on my airfare on this card, and will surely have a 4+-night hotel stay to get more money back. And I’ll use it for Admirals Club access through July.
All of those things are worth $200 to me. At least for another year.
And as for a third year? We’ll have to see how the second goes. But assuming no other major changes or cuts, I don’t see any reason why this card wouldn’t remain a keeper.
Keep in mind the planned changes won’t kick in until July 23, 2017. So if you pick up the card now, you can get a solid 7 months of the current perks (just not Admirals Club access).
You also get the $250 travel credit twice in the first year (the cycle resets after the close of your December statement). So the first year, you actually profit from the get-go. Not including the 40,000 point sign-up bonus and all the other bennies.
At the moment, I don’t have any paid hotel stays planned (because I am drowning in hotel points and need to burn them). But if/when I do, the charges will go onto this card. And of course, all my upcoming airfare thanks to my retention offer.
Others have gotten even more value from this card their first year. If you have this card, do you think it’s worth keeping despite the upcoming changes? What’s a ballpark range for your savings?
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