Citi Prestige Updates: Earn 5X on Dining and Airfare, Annual Fee Increase, Capped 4th Night Free (2019)

 The Citi Prestige is getting revamped in 2019. The Points Guy officially announced the upcoming changes yesterday that will take place September 2019. The card was recently taken off the market for new applicants in August 2018, and it’s unclear when in January 2019 it’ll be reintroduced.

There are a handful of changes, but the biggest one is that the 4th-night free benefit will be restricted to twice per year.

I’m disappointed that the 4th-night free benefit will be capped at twice per year because that was the card’s “superpower.”

Annual Fee Increase

In Sept 2019, the Citi Prestige annual fee will increase from $450 to $495.

If you have a Citi Gold or Citi Private Bank account, you’ll be grandfathered into the $350 annual fee.

Spending Multipliers, Travel Credits, and Cell Phone Protection

Along with the annual fee increase, there will be improved benefits to the spending multipliers and travel credits.

  • 5X on dining

  • 5X on airfare

  • 3X on cruise lines

The $250 travel credit will now be a universal travel credit that can be easily applied towards any travel purchase, similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit.

The Citi Prestige will be my new dining card because the Amex Gold card is currently experiencing issues with domestic restaurants that use Square readers (not coding correctly as US Restaurants). Furthermore, the Citi Prestige is a Mastercard so it’s more widely accepted worldwide than American Express.

In May 2019, the Citi Prestige will also introduce cell phone protection, but the details (coverage amount) have not been released yet.

Starting Sept 2019, entertainment categories will no longer earn 2X points.

Points Redemption

When you redeem your points for airfare, instead of getting 1.25x per point, you’ll only receive 1x per point.

I typically transfer my Citi ThankYou Points out to transfer partners at a 1:1 rate, so I’m not that concerned about this change.

Summary of Changes Starting Sept 2019

  • 4th-night free limited to twice per calendar year

    • Primary cardholder and authorized users share the cap:

      • Primary = 2 “free nights”

      • Primary + 2 authorized users = 2 “free nights”

  • Annual fee increase from $450 to $495

  • Citi Prestige stops earning 2X points on entertainment; 1X moving forward

  • When redeeming Citi ThankYou Points toward flights, 1.25X -> 1X

    • Example (now): 50,000 points * 1.25 CPP = $625 in flights

    • Example (Sept 2019): 50,000 points * 1 CPP = $500 in flights

My Thoughts

In my opinion, the overall changes are negative because the Citi Prestige is losing it’s “superpower” of the unlimited 4th-night free. I recently used the benefit twice for my upcoming trip to Hong Kong. The savings came out to ~$400, which covers more than the annual fee.

Since the 4th-night free benefit is capped at twice per year, I’ll have to be more strategic about using the perk.

I’ll still keep the card because I’m grandfathered into the lower annual fee, and the increased spending multipliers will help offset the negative changes.  

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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