New benefits for Citibank Prestige MasterCard – 5x on Air & Dining, higher fee

The Citibank Prestige card has been my primary credit card since it launched due to the great travel benefits. Rumors have been swirling since the card was closed for new applicants and now it’s official: Citibank is re-launching the Citi Prestige card with news benefits, including an increase earning rate for air travel and dining, limits to the 4th-night-free hotel benefit and a higher annual fee of $495/year! Find out what else is new below!

The credit card industry continues to fight for the highest-spending credit card customers, launching new cards or introducing improved benefits on a regular basis. Now, it’s Citibank’s turn with changes to the Citi Prestige card. The new card will be available in January 2019 for new applicants and the revised benefits will be phased in during the year.

What’s getting better:

  • Air Travel and Dining earn 5 points / USD spent
    That’s a great improvement from the current 3x earn rate and reflects a reward rate of 7.5%, one of the best in the industry. Only the AmEx Platinum card offers a comparable earn rate of 5x currently.
  • Cruise Travel earns 3 points / USD spent
    This is an interesting addition and something I haven’t seen on other cards.
  • Mobile Phone insurance
    The Citi Prestige card will offer mobile phone insurance starting next year, but the details are not clear yet. I have that currently through the uber Visa card (no fee), but will move it to the Citi card, if the terms are comparable. On other cards, this benefit can be up to $1,200/year!
  • $250 travel credit
    Currently, the card offers a $250 credit for air travel. That will change next year to a broader travel credit. While I never had a problem collecting this credit, it will make it easier for others.

What’s getting worse:

  • 4th Night Free Benefit capped at 2x per year
    Currently, the card offers a 4th night free on hotels booked via Citibank an unlimited time. This benefit will be capped at twice a year. According to Citibank, the average across all users is once per year, but a lot of frequent travelers and bloggers have used this extensively, at a great cost to Citibank. So, I’m not surprised that it is being limited. Personally, my stays are usually 1-3 nights only, so I never used it more than 2-3 times a year anyway. Even at 2x a year, you should be able to get a significant benefit from this feature.
    This cap will be effective September 2019, so you have a whole year to make bookings under the old plan!
  • 2x earn rate on entertainment purchases eliminated
  • 25% bonus when booking through Citibank travel portal eliminated
    This is a significant devaluation from 1.25ct/pt to 1ct/pt, but the impact for most savy travelers should be limited. The best use of ThankYou points is to transfer them to airline partners for international premium cabin award flights and a value of 1.5ct/pt or more!
  • Annual fee increases from $450 to $495, stays at $350 for Citigold/Private Wealth customers

All other benefits, like the Priority Pass lounge membership, $100 Global Entry credit and extensive insurance packages stay the same.

Bottomline: I consider these changes a net positive for most travelers: You get a higher earn rate for air travel, a more flexible travel credit and additional phone insurance. Even with a cap on the 4th night free benefit, you should easily get your annual fee back and enjoy the other benefits of the card, like the awesome Priority Pass lounge membership or insurance for free. The lengthy announcement of the changes of a year is fair and transparent. 
Once this card becomes available in January, I will update my review of the card with the new (hopefully exciting) sign-up bonus and features!

HT: Doctor Of Credit

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