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Despite the mid-year announcement of adverse changes to the Citi Prestige® Card, the card still has serious appeal. With standout features like the 4th-night free when booking a hotel through Citi Concierge, an annual $250 airline travel credit, 3X points on airfare & hotels, and 2X points on dining & entertainment, the Prestige Card consistently ranks as one of the best premium travel rewards credit cards on the market.
One of the first things we look for when assessing the value of a premium travel card like the Prestige Card is how to reduce the out-of-pocket expense of the card’s $450 annual fee.
As one of the only travel credits to cover airfare in addition to airline incidentals, the $250 Air Travel Credit provides the fastest way for cardholders to offset the annual fee, and if maximized, can be used twice in the first year of card membership, completely offsetting the annual fee.
- 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening
- $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 stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4–consecutive night booking through the Citi Prestige® Concierge
- $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
What Will the Prestige Card Credit as a Travel Purchase?
The Prestige Card has one of the best airline credits of any premium travel rewards card. Unlike the travel credit on The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card or those found on American Express cards, the airline travel credit on the Prestige Card will cover airfare, making it a lot easier to extract maximum value from the benefit. The Amex benefit also requires the cardholder to nominate a single airline for which credits are valid, while the Citi airline credit will apply across any carrier.
Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including airfares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.
Citi determines if transactions are valid via the merchant code provided at the time of purchase, so technically any purchase from an airline should credit, although Citi does hedge its bet’s here in the T&C’s.
We do not determine whether merchants appropriately identify all transactions you make on your Card Account, but we do reserve the right to determine which purchases are eligible for the statement credit.
With the added flexibility of credits on airfare, cardholders should have no issue maximizing the airline travel credit on the Prestige Card. And with the ability to claim it twice inside the first year of card membership (we’ll cover this below), the credit should offset the first year’s annual fee completely, and reduce the out-of-pocket expense by $250 every year after that.
Tip: Purchases made by an Authorized User on your account also count towards creditable spend.
Do Travel Purchases on the Prestige Card Credit Automatically?
Yes, the Air Travel Credit on the Prestige Card posts automatically to your account. The T&C’s on Citi’s website state that credits will post within 1-2 billing cycles, but our experience is that the credits typically post much faster, in some cases just days after the purchase posting to the account and at most a few weeks.
Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying air travel expense is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the account
Something worth taking into consideration also is that the airline credit may not count towards the minimum spend for new cardholders trying to achieve the signup bonus. We’ve received conflicting reports on this one so it pays to call and clarify for yourself. To be on the safe side, it pays to put an additional $250 of charges onto your min spend if you plan on claiming the travel credit in the first few billing cycles.
Claim the Prestige Card Annual Travel Credit Twice in the First Year
Depending on when you apply for the Prestige Card, you will get to claim the Air Travel Credit twice in your first year as a cardmember. The travel credit is based on the calendar year, and your annual fee based on cardmember year.
This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year's Air Travel Credit.
For example, if you applied for the card in July 2017 you can claim the $250 travel credit for 2017, and again when the benefit ticks over in Dec/Jan, as long as it’s before June 2018. Receiving $500 of airline credits for the $450 annual fee which is based on cardmember year.
While not quite as generous as the $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, the $250 Air Travel Credit on the Citi Prestige® Card is a versatile credit that adds tangible value to the card, and if maximized, effectively drops the card’s annual fee to $200 per year. And that doesn’t take into account the annual Priority Pass membership or 4th-night free benefits.
Have you had experience claiming the $250 Air Travel Credit on the Prestige Card? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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