A comparison between the Citi Prestige credit card and the American Express Platinum

Posted on January 30, 2015 by in American Express Membership Rewards

You can apply for the American Express Platinum card here. Find out more about this card here.

You can apply for the Citi Prestige card here. Compare this excellent card with other rewards credit cards.

Sign-Up offers

The American Express Platinum card comes with 40,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after $3,000 spend vs. the Citi Prestige with 30,000 ThankYou points after $2,000 in spend.

Winner – American Express Platinum

Lounge Access

American Express provides access to the excellent Centurion lounges. Unfortunately there are very few of them (San Francisco, Dallas and Las Vegas – with more to open in 2015).

The complimentary Priority Pass membership through Amex allows free entry to unlimited lounges (although a same-day boarding pass is usually required) for ONE MEMBER only. Some lounges (like the United Club in SFO) opts out members who got their Priority Pass membership through Amex – no access there.

Citi Prestige offers access to all the AA Admiral Clubs (though there is usually no food in these clubs) and when using the Priority Pass you can bring up to TWO members plus yourself for free!

Slight edge to the Citi Prestige

Airline credit

The Citi Prestige card comes with $250 credit which you can use on anything – even for my charges from low-cost airlines like Pegasus and AirAsia, which were reimbursed without issues.

The $200 American Express fee credit has gotten harder. I switched to American Airlines recently and received credits for $50 gift card purchases, but it’s gotten harder to get reimbursement for United gift card purchases lately.

Clear winner Citi Prestige

You can apply for the American Express Platinum card here. Find out more about this card here.

You can apply for the Citi Prestige card here. Compare this excellent card with other rewards credit cards.

Foreign transaction fees

Both cards have no foreign transaction fees.

This one is a tie.

Global Entry

Both cards reimburse for one Global Entry application fee.

Another tie.

Global Acceptance

American Express acceptance (especially outside of the US) is much smaller than Visa & MasterCard acceptance.

Clear winner Citi Prestige

Bonus categories

Citi Prestige earns 3x on airfare and hotels, as wells as 2x on entertainment and dining. The American Express Platinum card has NO bonus categories.

Clear winner Citi Prestige

Travel Booking & Transfer partners

American Express has a number of great transfer partners left, incl. Aeroplan (some rewards have no fuel surcharges) and British Airways Avios.

The Citibank ThankYou points transfer partners usually have less interesting award charts and higher fuel surcharges. It is much harder to find good deals.

Both programs allow the redemption for revenue tickets. The Citi Prestige offers a nominally better rate at 1.3-1.6 (depending on your Citi relationship). AmexTravel gives you a more static 1 point to one cent. Thanks ffflllyyyeeerrr from FlyerTalk for that input.

However, do NOT expect the ticket prices to always be equal with what you see here or on ITA Matrix / Kayak. I found prices to be often 20-30% than the best fares offered by these search engines. These may not be hidden fees – just that the GDS access both sites use may not offer some of the more restricted fares.

This is a tie, given the better transfer partners (and promotions) that Amex has and the slightly better redemption rate for revenue tickets found at Citi.

Hotel Bookings

Both cards give access to dedicated hotel booking websites.

I found the American Express FINE HOTELS & RESORTS of very limited help, since the hotel selection is small and frankly I’m not ready to pay a $300 room rate per night. However, it is all online and a booking through FHR often gets you treated like an elite in the hotel (e.g. breakfast and some spa vouchers are included).

The Citi Prestige offers the 4th night free on ANY hotel booking when booked through the Citi Concierge service. Again, as ‘ffflllyyyeeerrr’ points out, this can be great since they will match any chain website rate. The reps did budge when I requested a match against Expedia for a non-chain hotel, but Hilton.com/Hyatt.com/Marriott.com are being matched.

The only hassle is that you have to call in for a request and then wait 24 hours for the email with the booking options. In general almost all chain hotels (and many more) are available, though.

This is indeed a great benefit even if it takes a bit more action to get it to work.

Winner Citi Prestige

Annual Fee

Both cards have a high $450 fee.

No points here.

Conclusion

To my surprise, the Citi Prestige wins this comparison 4:2! I currently have both cards and I’m happy with them, but for everyday use, the Citi Prestige is most likely the better card now.

You can apply for the American Express Platinum card here. Find out more about this card here.

You can apply for the Citi Prestige card here.  Compare this excellent card with other rewards credit cards.

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4 / 5 stars     


About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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