Is the Citi Prestige Worth A $450 Annual Fee? Breakdown & Analysis

On July 23, 2017, the Citi Prestige will have an increased signup bonus of 75,000 Thank You points, and new features will be in full effect. We created a calculator to help you determine if the updated Citi Prestige is worth it for you.

Analyzing your benefit

The purpose of the spreadsheet is to help you quantify the decision-making process so you can how much value you can get from having the Citi Prestige. 

For your analysis, use our calculator tool to see if the Citi Prestige makes sense for you

Instructions:

  1. Go to "File" (top left) and either "Make a copy" or "Download as"
  2. Please do not request editing access to the master sheet
  3. With your copy, only edit the yellow cells (other cells are formulas)
http://bit.ly/AskSebbyCitiPrestigeCalculator

http://bit.ly/AskSebbyCitiPrestigeCalculator

Signup Bonus

Earn 75,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $7,500 within the first three months. This comes out to about ~$2,500 in spend per month. Depending on your circumstances, there are a handful of things you can pay with your credit cards like rent, student loans, and mortgages. These three items might be some of your biggest expenses, and there may be fees associated with paying with a credit card. 

Can you meet minimum spend?

Can you meet minimum spend?

If you can't meet the $7,500 minimum spend requirement, it most likely doesn't make sense to get the Citi Prestige. Citi is flexible with signup bonuses compared to other companies — if you open or close a card within a card category, you won't be eligible for another bonus for 24 months. 

Spending Multipliers

Enter your expected spend in air travel and hotel, dining and entertainment, and all other expenses for the next 12 months.

spend multiplier

spend multiplier

In our example, we entered $5,000 for each category. This means the total points earned, including the signup bonus, is 105,000 points. 

Points Redemption (Cents Per Point)

Instructions: take the Total Points from the section above and distribute them towards how you would redeem the points. 

points redemption

points redemption

To me, there are only three good ways to use the points:

  1. Transfer Partners (2 CPP): You can get up to 2 CPP based on the transfer partner — do the research to see which partners give you the best value. 
  2. Airfare (1.25 CPP): With 100,000 points, you can redeem points for $1,250 in airfare value. Note: The redemption value dropped from 1.5 CPP to 1.25 CPP.  
  3. Cash (1 CPP): Redeeming for cash or a statement credit is more optimal than using PayPal. 

If you redeem using PayPal, you're only getting 0.8 cents per point. 

In our example, the 105,000 points would be worth $1,300 based on the redemptions. 

Annual Fee

The annual fee of $450 will appear on your first statement. If you want to add an authorized user, it's $50 per user, per card member year. 

annual fee

annual fee

In our example, we did not have any authorized users. If you have one, enter the respective number. 

$250 Air Travel Credit

The air travel credit is based on the calendar year. If you sign up on 7/31/2017, you'll pay an annual fee immediately, but get a $250 credit for 2017 and access to the entire 2018 credit on 1/1/2018.

$250 air travel credit

$250 air travel credit

In Year 1, you're effectively paying one annual fee and getting two travel credits. In Year 2, you'll only receive one credit. 

The credit is automatically applied to any airfare and works for the ticket itself. Unlike other cards, the credit is not immediately applied. The travel credit will be applied at the end of your statement. 

Priority Pass

Authorized users will receive a Priority Pass card. If you have other premium credit cards that offer Priority Pass access, then you may not value this benefit at all. 

Priority pass

Priority pass

I typically value Priority Pass at $5-$25 per visit depending on the type of food and drink available. In the example, I put $0 because I have other cards that offer the perk.  

Another thing to consider is how often you travel and use the benefit. 

Global Entry/TSA Precheck Credit

The $100 credit to use towards Global Entry/TSA Precheck is also included. A handful of other premium credit cards also offers this perk.

Global entry/tsa credit

Global entry/tsa credit

I value this perk at $0 because I have other cards. 

4th Night Free

For stays of at least four consecutive nights at the same hotel, you get a discount or credit equal to 1 night (based on average price of the stay).

If you book a stay for at least four nights, you'll receive the 4th night free. When you book online using the travel portal, the discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

If you book the hotel stays on the phone with the Citi Concierge, you'll receive a statement credit at the end of the month and more points based on the entire cost of the stay.

In this section, enter the average cost of each night for stays of at least four nights, and the frequency of the 4-night stays. 

4th night free

4th night free

This benefit is compelling if you travel to expensive locations for at least four nights. For example, if you pay out of pocket for a hotel in Bora Bora and each night is $1,000, then you can save $1,000 on the 4th night. 

Bottom Line

Be sure you're getting positive expected value and compare it to other premium cards to see which one makes sense for you. 

To run the same calculation in Year 2, delete any calculations you will not receive (the signup bonus and Global Entry credit). 

If you can hit the minimum spend requirement, I think the Citi Prestige can provide a lot of value, especially in the first year.