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One of the best cards I have had is the Citi Prestige card from Citibank. Consider signing up for one this spring – here is why!
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What is the current best offer for the Citi Prestige card?
The Citi Prestige card currently comes with a 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points sign-up offer after a $3,000 spend. ThankYou points became more valuable in the last few years when Citibank introduced the ability to transfer points, as we noted in our Guide to Citi ThankYou Points – How to earn, redeem and transfer.
What are the Citi Prestige card benefits?
$250 Airline Credit Per Calendar Year
The Citi Prestige card comes with a $250 airline credit that, unlike with other cards, can be used for pretty much anything that shows as an airline merchant. Regular tickets, award tickets or airline fees will all trigger the credit right away.
The credit resets in January and you get $250 again – every year!
The Citi Prestige card earns 3 points per airfare/hotel spend and 2 points per dining/entertainment spend – better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which usually gets most of my travel spend.
Admirals Club (American Airlines) Lounge Access & Priority Pass
Card members can use the American Airlines Admirals Club and also Priority Pass lounges free of charge. What’s awesome is that this Priority Pass allows you to bring two guests! The Priority Pass that comes with the American Express will only get yourself free access.
Global Entry Fee Waiver
If you are planning to sign up for Global Entry – the government’s
spying priority security program – the $99 will be reimbursed by Citibank. In year two, you can sign up a family member and that fee will be reimbursed as well.
4th Night Free At ANY Hotel
This is a potentially lucrative benefit… Any fourth night in any paid hotel stay is free when you book through a Citi Prestige Travel Advisor. This usually works out best if you stay in an expensive hotel (i.e. it’s worth the effort to book through Citi) and plan 4 nights anyways. The hotel should ideally be a chain hotel as well, since the travel service price-matches major chains (Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood).
The bookings also earn night and stay credits as well as points!
The booking process goes through a dedicated concierge service and it’s a good idea to look up available hotels here beforehand.
The cost for the fourth night (incl. taxes) will be reimbursed after your stay is complete.
If you book just one 4-night stay and usually pay cash for hotel rooms >$200, you already have half of the annual fee earned back.
The annual fee is not waived in the first year and is $450. If you have a Citigold account (there is no reason not to) it is reduced to $350.
The airline travel credit gives you back $250 and the remaining $100 is easily worth the benefits even when not considering the sign-up bonus!
Best redemptions for the Citi Prestige card 50,000 ThankYou Sign-Up Bonus
Singapore Airlines Business and First Class
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou points. Singapore Airlines offers a fantastic business and first class product and the miles and fuel surcharges required are rather small (although it varies by route).
For 3 vacations last year, I redeemed just 35,000 miles for a trip that included Aruba, Hawaii and Mexico City.
Flights to Hawaii from anywhere within the United States are just 17,500 KrisFlyer on United one-way in economy (with no fuel surcharges).
KrisFlyer can also be used in the Russian Far East (using Asiana as a carrier) quite effectively.
Use for cheap Flying Blue Business/Economy awards
Flying Blue keeps publishing ‘Promo Awards‘ which have discounted mileage requirements – e.g. Boston to Europe currently trades at ~47,000 miles one-way in business class.
The Flying Blue award chart has some great value economy flights, such as Brazil to Madagascar for 50,000 miles and $141 in fuel surcharges:
Also anywhere within Southeast Asia, it’s just 10,000 miles one-way, which is especially helpful for airports where AirAsia is not (yet) present, but where other SkyTeam members like Vietnam Airlines are. The same goes for the Russian Far-East and Africa, where a mere 15,000 miles can replace $500 in tickets.
Buy American Airlines tickets
50,000 ThankYou points are worth $800 in American Airlines flights (or $650 for all other carriers) – that’s a lot of flying if you make use of the deals that American Airlines keeps publishing. For now, flying on American gives you at least 1 mile per mile flown in all fare classes.
$800 could have bought me 4 return tickets from San Francisco to Bogota last year (although I got four one-way tickets myself).
Etihad Guest redemptions
Etihad Guest is such an enormous pain to redeem on partners that I have given up on it. Redeeming on Etihad itself can be done online and works very well, but there are few good values left after the recent round(s) of devaluation. The quick Bahrain to Muscat will cost you 6,000 Etihad Guest miles and no fuel surcharges; tickets are often $300+.
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