Review: Citi Prestige Card (World Elite MasterCard)

The Citi Prestige Card is the heavy hitter in the Citi ThankYou Points card lineup. It was specifically designed to benefit frequent travelers that PAY for frequent medium length hotel stays. And you’ll see exactly how lucrative this card can be.

Citi Prestige Card (World Elite MasterCard)

Citi Prestige Card (World Elite MasterCard). Image Credit: courtesy of Citi.

Benefits:

  • 50,000 point bonus after spend of $5,000 in 3 months
  • Earn 3x Citi ThankYou points (per dollar spent) on air travel and hotels
  • Earn 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • $250 air travel credit per calendar year (including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more)
  • Up to $100 Global Entry application fee charged to your card, every 5 years
  • Complimentary 4th night stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4–consecutive night booking through the Citi Prestige Concierge; for reservations made on or after July 23, 2017, the benefit will be calculated as the average nightly rate of your total stay, not including taxes
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership for 900+ airport lounges worldwide (with two free guests)
  • 1.6x point value if redeemed for American Airlines tickets via ThankYou points booking portal
  • Points and cash redemptions available via ThankYou points booking portal
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Citi Price Rewind Program to ensure you pay the lowest price on merchandise
  • World Elite MasterCard benefits

Damage:

  • $450 annual fee (plus $50 for authorized users); $350 annual fee if applied for in-branch
  • 15.74% APR variable, based upon creditworthiness

Analysis:

This card provides fairly decent earning potential and one heck of a fringe benefit in the complimentary 4th night stay at any hotel (if booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge). As long as you’re willing to pay for your hotel stays, you can really rack up some savings. Yes, the $450 annual fee is expensive, but the $250 air travel credit really chops that down.

The major issue of this card is that its travel transfer partners (where you transfer ThankYou points directly to hotel/airline loyalty programs) are not as well-established as the SPG, Chase, and Amex programs. We’re talking Virgin Atlantic, jetBlue, Asia Miles, Etihad, Eva Air, KLM Air France, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia, Qantas, Qatar, Sears Shop Your Way, Singapore, Thai, and Hilton. Now, each airline is part of alliances which include your major U.S. domestic airlines, but you’d have to be more familiar with transfer and booking rules to really take advantage of this benefit. There’s still booking with points via the Concierge, but that option (especially for business and first class) can be much more expensive.

Anyway, you can make this card work long term if you try hard enough. And if not, let’s say you kept this card for just one year, you can expect to get the travel credit twice (first for the remainder of this year; second for the first part of next year), which is $500. Plus the 50,000 bonus points and the 5,000+ points for your minimum spend (valued at $880). Plus the $100 Global Entry credit. You’d be up $1,030 before your second annual fee was due. And that’s before any paid hotel stays with the complimentary 4th night.

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?