Citi Prestige 50,000 ThankYou Points, $250 Airfare Credit, Worldwide Lounge Access

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This offer is expired. See the new offer and analysis here

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The Citi Prestige® Card now comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

The is a huge increase on the previous sign up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, which I signed up for in April, 2015!

The card also comes $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, free access to Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and guests, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, the fourth night free on paid hotel stays, three free rounds of golf per year, and a $450 annual fee.

I’m sure that $450 annual fee catches your eye, but everyone reading this blog should be able to get $500 to $600 in statement credits in the next 12 months as I explain in detail in this post, so the annual fee should be more than made up for. Plus now with 40,000 bonus points and huge category bonuses, this card’s rewards can book some amazing award travel.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
  • Air Travel Credit:  $250 statement credit per calendar year ($500 during first year of cardmembership)
  • Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
  • Lounge access: Priority Pass lounges worldwide for you and two guests
  • Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it for most people

Sign Up Bonus

The headline sign up bonus is 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the card.

I have explained the two main ways to use ThankYou points:

  1. Like cash toward the purchase of any flight on any airline. ThankYou Points are worth 1.33 cents each toward airfare. The cool things about using points like this: ease (points work like cash to pay all or part of any fare), availability (any flight on any airline), and you earn miles and status from these flights because the airline sees a paid ticket not an award.
  2. By transferring the points to one 12 airlines or Hilton. Once you transfer, the points are Singapore miles or Flying Blue miles or wherever you transferred and now must be redeemed in accordance with those rules and that award chart. The cool thing about transferring points to miles: miles are the only economical way to book luxury First Class products.

I transfer my ThankYou Points to airline miles.

I recently transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines miles to fly from Atlanta to Honolulu in a flat bed for 30,000 miles. I’ve also used Singapore miles to fly from Colombia to Argentina in Business Class for half the price it would have been with United miles. Singapore miles are also the only way to fly Singapore Suites, cheaper than United miles to book United flights to Europe, and offer two stopovers in addition to your destination on roundtrip awards.

I also love Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner because of its cheap awards to Europe, Israel, Hawaii and South America.

Because of all the valuable uses of ThankYou Points, I value them at 1.9 cents each. That puts this new 40,000 point sign up bonuses among the most valuable out there. When you factor in the category bonuses and other benefits of the card, this could be the best current offer on any credit card.

Category Bonuses

  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment

This card is very clearly designed for frequent travelers, since a number of its benefits like free hotel nights and lounge access will be most used by travelers. The category bonuses are no exception. If you buy a lot of airline tickets and hotel stays, and if you dine out while traveling, you will rack up a ton of extra points from these category bonuses.

Note that the 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels is worth at least 3.99% back toward airfare. That’s an incredible return on spending.

Air Travel Credit

Every calendar year, you get a $250 air travel credit to offset airline fees. Airline fees include airfare itself:

“Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.” (Emphasis mine.)

That means that you can buy airline tickets with this card, and the first $250 will be reimbursed each calendar year (plus you’ll earn 3x on the purchases, win-win!) Or you can use the airline fee credit to pay the taxes on award tickets.

This is a calendar year benefit, that means in the first 12 months you have the card, you can get this $250 credit twice: once in 2016 and once in 2017. That $500 in statement credits pays for your annual fee plus $50 extra.

Even without considering the sign up bonus and other benefits, the card would already be a great deal.

Here are my experiences getting my $250 Air Travel Credit in 2015 and in 2016.

Lounge Access

Citi Prestige® Card holders get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Prestige Card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to hundreds of lounges worldwide (everything on the list except United Clubs).

I downloaded the Priority Pass app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

You can bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free. You can access Priority Pass lounges no matter which airline you’re flying.

Lounge access usually costs $50 per visit. Heavy users of this benefit–especially the free family or guest access–will get hundreds of dollars of value from this benefit.

Here’s my experience using the Prestige’s lounge access benefits on a typical trip.

Fourth Night Free on Hotel Stays

From the terms and conditions of the benefits of the Prestige Card:

You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). 

Interestingly, you don’t get 25% off a four night stay. You get the fourth night free. If you book a stay where the fourth night is the most expensive–like December 28 to January 1 at a New Year’s Eve destination–you can save a lot more than 25% on your stay.

Full article on Fourth Night Free Benefit.

Global Entry Fee Credit

Prestige card holders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their Prestige cards.

Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Patrol program designed to let trusted travelers skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes. Global Entry membership is valid for 5 years, and having Global Entry also lets you skip immigration queues in Australia and New Zealand.

Global Entry also lets you use TSA Precheck lines in the US, even on domestic itineraries.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat for Global Entry even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer. How and Why I Got Global Entry.

Global Entry is good for five years, so I will use this benefit of my Prestige in two years when I need to renew my Global Entry.

If you already have Global Entry, you can use the credit to pay someone else’s $100 fee.

Chip and No Foreign Transaction Fees

It shouldn’t surprise that a card very clearly designed for travelers comes with chip technology for global acceptance and zero foreign transaction fees. The only surprising thing is that not all cards have these basic features.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is $450 and not waived. That should be a dealbreaker if you don’t use the benefits of the card, but it’s a fair price to pay if you are maximizing the card’s perks.

If you apply for the card and use the airline fee credit twice before the next annual fee, you can get all of this for the cost of the first annual fee:

  • 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points
  • $500 worth of airfare or fee credits ($250 per calendar year)
  • $100 credit for applying for Global Entry
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Priority Club lounges
  • Fourth night free on hotel stays with no blackouts

Those benefits clearly dwarf the $450 annual fee. After testing out the card and seeing how much you actually use the benefits, you’ll have a better idea going forward whether to keep the card for $450 per year in return for:

  • $250 worth of airfare or fee credits
  • Lounge access for you and family or two guests at Priority Club lounges
  • Fourth night free on hotel stays with no blackouts
  • 3x ThankYou Points on airfare and hotels; 2x on dining and entertainment

I got this card ten months ago! I was attracted by the sign up bonus, the $250 annual airfare credit, and lounge access.

I’ve since redeemed the points for amazing First Class awards to Hawaii, decided to definitely renew the card, and I can’t wait to start playing my free golf rounds and finally take advantage of the fourth night free hotel benefit.

If you have a Citi Prestige, share your experiences in the comments.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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151 COMMENTS

  1. Just did it…. No brain’r for me… Thank you for telling me to hold off… Says will get a response within a week, is that normal?

    • I called 866-606-2961 to get a quicker answer. They told me to call back in a few days when I called in immediately after applying. When I called back in a few days, I was approved.

  2. I got the 30k points for $2000 spend in early March, do you think I can call them up and switch to this offer?

    • I just got my card this week and I called and they switched me. Not sure how “new” you have to be, but you should try.

      • Thanks, just called and they switched it for me too. I had the 30,000 with 30,000 extra after $15,000 spend, but preferred to get 50,000 upfront and save the spend for newer cards. Was going to put my tax payments on the CC, but now no worries. I signed up a month ago and already hit the 3k. No problems on the phone, she knew actually what to do and super easy for anyone else thinking about it.

    • They will match if you got your account opened in the last 90 days according to the rep to whom I spoke. I got matched!

  3. Hi Scott, is there a way to view the amount of TYP that each purchase earned? I am only able to see the total earned in each category when logged into the TYP site under “Points Summary” .

  4. This card has been on my radar recently due to the amount of travel I do for work. This convinced me to finally pull the trigger. Instant approval, 1 week until the plastic is in hand. Thanks for the helpful push to jump!

  5. I also called and they switched me to the offer. This is what they said. First I have to meet $2K and automatically I’ll get 30K points. After that I will have to spend another $1K and then the REP told me she will watch my account and add the additional 20K points after the total $3K spending has been met. So, anyone who has gotten this card recently should definitely call.

  6. Hi Scott,

    I will be traveling by seaplane from Male to Conrad Rangali in the Maldives. I heard they charge $500 per passenger for this roundtrip flight. Can I use the Citi Prestige’s $250 airline fee reimbursement to help offset this cost?

    • You should be able to. Make the purchase. Then if you don’t automatically get the credit, call in and explain that the purchase was airfare.

    • Authorized user does NOT get AA lounge access.
      Authorized user DOES get Priority Pass Select lounge access (plus 2 free guests).

  7. Any idea how long this offer might last? I know it’s a “limited time” thing, but any guesses? (It would be ideal for me to apply in about a month.)

    • I’ve actually removed the “limited time” language because Citi isn’t calling it that. Bad assumption on my part. I do not know how long it will last. I certainly think it will be around next month, but no guarantee.

  8. Thanks for the phone number! I was initially declined, so I waited a day and called and in 10 minutes they were able to move around some credit from my other cards and approve me.

  9. I got them to come up with a better offer. I had to bully a little bit but it worked.

    Message
    From: me***********************om
    Subject: Rewards Offer
    Date: April 10, 2015 8:27 EST

    Our record show that your account has been enrolled in the offer to earn 50,000 bonus Thank You points if you spend $3,000 by 7/1/15.

    If there is any way we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

    From: ha*********66
    Subject: Rewards Offer
    Date: April 10, 2015 8:23 EST

    What do you mean Solicited. I wasnt solicited it was right there online for everyone to get. I sent you the offer right here. There is no solicitation besides the 60,000 to go to the branch for $15,000 spend. This was just an online offer that I copy and pasted on my original letter. Besides that Im a great Citi Card Member. I showed you the offer so why would you even hesitate to update my acct. This in no way hinders you. This is customer service. The offer is right there in writing on the above email it is not solicited it is online for everyone. Can you please just offer me great customer service and update this please.

    From: me***********************om
    Subject: Re: Rewards Offer
    Date: April 9, 2015 9:41 EST

    Our records do not indicate you were solicited for the offer you mentioned.

    Please send a copy of the front and back of the offer you received. Once we receive this information, we will review your account and contact you. For your convenience, the document may be faxed to 1-866-533-8823 or mailed to ThankYou Service Center, PO Box 6278, Sioux Falls, SD 57117.

    Regrettably, we are unable to accept an e-mail attachment through this format.

    If there is any way we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

    From: ha*********66
    Subject: Rewards Offer
    Date: April 9, 2015 9:38 EST

    The card that opens up a world more traveled. Only with Citi Prestige. $250 Air Travel Credit each year** Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay* $450 Annual Fee, 15.24% variable APR* Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. That’s enough points to redeem an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.¹ My Letter says 30,000 miles. I signed up for the above offer. Can you please up my offer to the 50,000 point offer? Thanks Carla Theriot

  10. so if I get the card this year and cancel next year before the annual fee is due but haven’t used the TY points will I lose them? AND how soon does the travel credit show up on your statement after you book a flight with the card? Do you have to ask them to credit it or does it happen automatically?

    • Like cash for AA flights: through ThankYou.com as explained in this post and the linked post about how to use TY Points.

      As AA miles: impossible. TY Points transfer to 11 airlines, but AA is not one.

  11. […] Yesterday I reviewed the imrpoved offer on the Citi Prestige® Card, which comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open, $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee. […]

  12. After 4/19, both the Prestige and Premier will have the same 3x for travel, but will the purchases that count for travel be the same between the two (ie, gas/tolls/subway/taxi will count as travel on the Premier, same for Prestige? ) ?

  13. I called and asked about the 4th nite FREE . You have to CALL(how do you check out the prices on 20 different hotels ?) and book from a person no online . You have to have the card so they can REFUND the 4th nite to your card the NEXT billing cycle AFTER your stay . So I can’t book a year out and get refunded because I don’t want to renew that card ever because of cost.

    LOOK before you apply .

  14. I’m considering the Citi Prestige card, but would like more information on hotels available through CWT. The carlsonwagonlit.com website appears to require an account number to login. Is there no way to get more information online before being approved for the Citi card? Are the hotels mostly on the high-end side? Are there modest ones like Ibis or Holiday Inn Express on their international list? Once one has the card, can one preview hotels in a specific area, or must everything be done in a person-to-person call?

    • TPG had a link I used BUT their website isn’t good ..May sure they have the right hotels first then apply maybe call and ask IF the hotel you want and they don’t show it on their website . I may apply in Nov .that would give me 2 billing cycles after I get back home to get the rebate..

  15. I applied for this card on Thursday, and my application was denied (probably due to having too many cards open right now, including some Citi cards). The screen said they would notify me of the denial reason via mail. I was bummed to miss out. Today, I opened a letter from Citi, saying that my application was approved. I didn’t even have a chance to call the reconsideration line. The letter lists the 50k points offer and other benefits.

    • My credit limit is $5k on each card only and I pay them off 3 days before post . I got denied 4 X and 3 of them gave me a card in 6 months when I reapplied Nuts correct . Enjoy the points I just gave away a Flt.

  16. This may seem like a stupid question, but how do you use the lounge & admirals club access? Do you just flash the credit card and they let you in?

    Most of the literature seems to be about the points with little info about the lounges.

    Thanks.

    • For AA lounge access, just give them the card and your boarding pass.

      For Priority Pass lounges, you will get a Priority Pass card in the mail in a week or two after you get your Prestige card. Give the lounge agent the Priority Pass card.

  17. Scott, last week I added a comment about getting a surprise approval letter in the mail, after being told I was denied. Today I received another letter informing me my annual fee was reduced to $350 as well. I was planning on canceling the card after a year, but now I’ll have to rethink that. I’m not sure I’ll use the 4th night free, but I’ll definitely use the lounge membership, and it may be worth the $100/yr to me.

    • AA
      When in doubt CALL an ask for an UPGADE it can’t hurt . I called on an $80 Zoo pass and they gave me 4 more passes for a new exhibit . BEee Nice (Fr.) works for me.

  18. Does anyone know if the 4th night free applies to nights where you used points+cash? (e.g., with Hyatt)? I’m headed to Hawaii in November, and would be interested to see if I could extend my stay on Kauai if that fourth night is free…

    • That will not work. Citi’s travel agent has to book the stay, and they can’t book Hyatt cash & points stays.

  19. In your Top 10 list, you mention you get 3 free rounds of golf per year. I don’t see that mentioned anywhere in your write up. What’s the deal with that?

    Thanks!

  20. I just did it yesterday.

    I got approved and then canceled my Citi Advantage Platinum all in one phone call.

    I travel a lot for business so I will easily earn my way past the annual fee.

  21. I’ll be making frequent flights from CLE to PHL starting Jan 2016. Would this be the best card for domestic flights? Would prefer non-stops, and AA offers that. But can do one stop if prices are outrageous.

  22. […] The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment. The Citi Prestige® Card also offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfa… […]

  23. Hi – Quick question. I have a credit card that had given me a priority pass membership, but it was far worse than this one. Only allowed 4 entries total and had to pay for each guest.

    I am one step from clicking to apply for this, but was wondering if that may be an issue? Thanks for your help.

  24. […] The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open, $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, the fourth night free on paid hotel stays, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee. See my review. […]

  25. Hi Scott, just about to apply. One last question… is the AU also entitled to 50,000 TYP (wishful thinking?) or just access to Priority Pass Select? Thank you!

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