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Consult any top ten list of the best travel credit cards and you will most likely see the Citi Prestige® Card somewhere in the upper half of the list. In addition to having a generous signup bonus with an easily achievable minimum spend, the card has some fantastic bonus categories that make it particularly lucrative for travelers.
One of the most valuable benefits of the card is the complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges. Just present your Citi Prestige® Card along with your boarding pass, and you have somewhere quiet and comfortable to pass the time for your flight.
This week has seen a lot of discussion about expected changes to the Citi Prestige® Card, with numerous posts speculating on the loss of bonus categories, possible changes to the signup bonus and spending requirements and the potential loss of complimentary lounge access.
Well, Citi has now confirmed changes to the Travel Benefits section of the website. And while the bonus categories, signup bonus, and spend requirement have so far gone untouched, Citi has updated the ‘Airport Lounge Access' section of its website, and Prestige cardholders will be losing complimentary access to Admirals Lounge from July 23, 2017. The bolded segment is the new section.
Your key to airport lounges around the globe. Simply present the Citi Prestige Card and your boarding pass to gain access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges worldwide. aa.com/admiralsclub. You will have access to the American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges until July 23, 2017. After that, you'll no longer have complimentary access with your Prestige card.
Why The Change?
The change most likely stems from the new co-branded credit card agreements AA announced last week. Citi will no longer be the exclusive provider of American Airlines co-branded credit cards, with American recently revealing it had entered into an agreement with Barclaycard to offer co-branded cards.
Cardholders of the Citi Prestige® Card will still have ‘complimentary and unlimited access' to Priority Pass™ Select Lounges and, according to Gary Leff of View from the Wing, Citi® Proprietary Lounges in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Jakarta. What the Citi Proprietary lounges offer is a bit of a mystery at this stage but hopefully, with the loss of Admirals Club access, Citi will focus some attention on a product similar to American Express Centurion lounges.
How will it affect cardholders?
In the short term, nothing changes. Citi has done the right thing here by giving at least a years notice of the impending changes, and that also gives them 12 months to investigate alternative options, whether that is an expansion of the Citi-branded product or something else entirely. As of this posting, The Prestige Card still comes with an extensive list of benefits:
- No current signup bonus
- $250 Air Travel Credit will automatically be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more
- Complimentary 4th night at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4–consecutive night booking online through ThankYou.com or via the Citi Prestige® Concierge (based on your average night stay, exclusive of taxes and fees).
- $100 Global Entry application fee credit
- Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
- 3X points on Air Travel and Hotels, 2X points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment, and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
- 0% foreign transaction fee
- $450 annual fee
With a $450 annual fee for the Citi Prestige® Card, it is worth an examination of how you use the card and how much Admirals Lounge access is worth to you. If it is a deal breaker, then it is worth looking into the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® which goes one better than Admirals Club access and comes with a full Admirals Club® membership.
It is always a shame to see the loss of a fantastic benefit like Admirals Club access, but it is worth bearing in mind that with the changes not taking effect until July 23, 2017, there is plenty of time for Citi to explore other options and benefits for the card.
At this stage, it looks like there are no other changes to the Prestige Card‘s benefits but with the 23rd of July 2017 the key date to watch, we will no doubt find out soon enough if there are any more changes on the horizon.
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