Posted by William Charles on January 4, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on January 4th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Citi Prestige Changes: $495 Annual Fee, 4th Night Free Two Use Restriction, 5x On Dining & Air

Update 1/4/19: A lot of these changes go live today. We are still waiting to see what sign up bonus (if any) will be available when the card officially relaunches to new applications (I’m assuming some time later today).

[Update 11/9/18: Citi sent out an email blast and has a public page about this now. Added some details below. Temporarily bolded the new details to make it clear.]

Citi has announced major changes to the Citi Prestige card. These changes will go live on January 4, 2019. Changes are as follows:

Direct Link

  • Card will earn 5x points on dining (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants) and air travel (airlines and travel agencies)
  • Card will earn 3x points on cruise lines and hotels
  • $250 credit for air travel will become a $250 travel credit
  • In May 2019 Citi will add cell phone insurance beginning May 1, 2019
  • (Through August 2019, card will retain it’s 2x earn on entertainment)

In September 2019 a number of benefits will be devalued:

  • 4th night free benefit can be used twice per calendar year
  • Annual fee will be increased to $495 (from $450) and $75 per authorized user, including cardmembers with a Citi Priority account. You will receive official notice of this change at a later date. This change will be effective at your account anniversary after September 1, 2019. If you maintain a Citigold or Citi Private Bank account, these annual fee and authorized user fee increases will not apply to your account. (Most of us who are grandfathered at $350 will be increased to $495.)
  • When redeeming points for air travel you’ll no longer receive a 25% bonus (meaning points are only worth 1¢ instead of 1.25¢ when redeeming through Citi’s travel portal)
  • Card will no longer earn 2x points on entertainment beginning September 1, 2019
  • Relationship bonus will be removed. You will receive your final relationship bonus on your account anniversary. For example, if your anniversary is October 1, 2019, you will receive your final bonus during that statement cycle.

Other benefits will be remaining the same.

Our Verdict

One of the main reasons people have kept the Prestige is to take advantage of the 4th night free benefit. It being restricted to two uses per calendar year is a major restriction and in my opinion the new benefits don’t make up for this change. If you don’t use that benefit then I don’t see how keeping the card long term makes sense (both currently and in the future). The 5x on dining and air travel is nice but dining is already a category where it’s possible to get 4% cash back with no annual fee. If you do use the 4th night free benefit then I guess even though it’s restricted to two uses per calendar year you’ll still probably come ahead when you take into account the $250 travel credit as well. Overall these changes are underwhelming and a net negative for most people. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

It’s also worth remembering that the Citi Prestige is currently not accepting new applications and it looks like it won’t be until January, 2019. I wonder what the sign up bonus will be at relaunch?



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Dima
Dima

I wonder if Premier card will have its air travel redemption bonus removed too…:/

Lawrence
Lawrence

This would make Citi cards almost worthless IMO. The whole reason I got the Premier in the first place was for the 1.25% back on travel. With the card only worth 3% back on travel and dining, I don’t think it’s worth much.

W
W

Doesn’t impact the transfers

jiasus
jiasus

I assume you can still transfer miles to partners. With the 5X, 250 credit, and 350 annual fee is not so bad. def not the 495 thats a rip off

Joe
Joe

Alas, what we all feared, 4th night free restriction, has indeed come true. I will probably still consider it a keeper at the $350 AF

Jeff
Jeff

The $350 fee will go away…it’s now $495 for everyone including citi priority account holders and those that got the $350 for in-branch signups a while ago.

DD
DD

Any new word on a sign up bonus/ grandfathering in annual fees? I just downgraded mine a few weeks ago and have to wait until August of 2019 to be eligible for a bonus again. Not sure what to do lol

Dario
Dario

I’m glad I kept my card in July with $100 statement credit offer and grandfathered $350 annual fee. For me the changes are really welcome as i rarely use the 4th night free since I usually use points rather than pay for hotels.

jiasus
jiasus

me too i only used the 4th night once this year cuz the cash price at Banff was way cheaper than using points

usernamechuck
usernamechuck

+1 I’ve been calling each year and badgering them into giving me 5K in points (alas, no retention bonus last couple years), i don’t think 5K points are worth $100 but I think the card benefits are worth $30-40 even with some other cards in my wallet.

But I miss being able to book AA at 1.6, and not being able to book anything directly will definitely hurt the value.

Lrdx
Lrdx

The point devaluation hurts people with existing balance, but it’s a nice earnings bump even without transfers: 5x@1c > 3x@1.25c

Brian
Brian

Have an existing balance, this is a big loss. I thought they’d increase it to compete more but apparently not.

EWayfarer
EWayfarer

Although, having a long runway (next September) to use existing balance is nice.

HoKo
HoKo

Bummer, although there were a fair number of times where it was as cheap (or close to it) to book hotels on Hotels.com and use portal/stacking instead of using 4NF.

Still a keeper at the $350 AF price point for me

Esbie
Esbie

Never had any Citi cards. I think this will be my first one. Since I’m traveling abroad and will be back next summer, my only question is, will the annual fee still $350 with Citi gold if the $495 version is applied (or only current 350 holders get grandfathered)? If it is, I’m in. Any ideas?

Matthew Weyer

I only used the fourth night free benefit a couple times a year anyway. I’m still at $350 so definitely a keeper for me. I really disagree with the 5x dining not being a good perk. 4% cashback isn’t equal to 5x TY at all, but I appreciate you pointing it out. Even if someone used the fourth night free twice a year, they will still come out way ahead in my opinion. It just matters which premium card they want to keep long term.

Wany
Wany

4th night free limited to only twice a year is a bit sad. Once per month may be much more adaptable.

WR
WR

Even 4x per year would be reasonable, but at 2x why even bother to keep the benefit at all? It’s not a behavior changing benefit anymore.

Jags
Jags

I assume because they don’t want the people who were using it 5, 10, 15 times a year. Most people don’t go away for 4x nights in a row multiple times a year. They can still keep the benefit for the majority of people (who probably don’t use it) and shoot the people who were costing them a fortune.

Zaos
Zaos

Perhaps the consultants who likely booked endless 4 nighters every week?

nateplate
nateplate

I booked 4 night stays week after week with their travel agents (first Carlson Wagonlit, then Concierge) for a couple years, it was glorious. I don’t like Citi but I did enjoy this card

Marty
Marty

I didn’t see anything about the annual fee being “grandfathered”. Did I miss something? I used the 4th night free benefit like crazy. As it kicks in September 2019, I’ll keep it until then. Then bounce as it’s not worth it for me, otherwise.

Disappointing for sure.. I don’t see how a $495 annual fee will be worth it. I guess if you stayed twice and recouped $150-200 per stay or more, you’d make out ahead, and wouldn’t be “out” any money, and maybe make a few hundred bucks (or more for the heavy hitters that stay at luxury) but other than that, don’t see why I’d keep it — what real benefits are left? Cell phone insurance really isn’t a major one in my opinion.

Are there any cards that can be product changed to, to keep the ThankYou points?

Jeff
Jeff

I downgraded my Prestige to TY Preferred a week ago after $450 AF hit. That preserves your TYP’s.

Zalmy

5x points is nothing to sneeze at, and travel credit is becoming more comprehensive so in effect it’s actually a $245 annual fee.
Still worth it IMO

Mark

Dead for me. Getting rid of all my Citi cards now.

W
W

Why exactly? What are you using instead? If you valued the 4th night and citis partners those are still there. Its a different form and not as good but this is the same product when you can use it.

SteelD
SteelD

Not surprised at the 4th night free being limited. Twice is good enough for me.
Is 5X Dining international?

David
David

Meh… more tiny changes made to appear that they’re “in the running” for top of wallet when in reality they just confuse consumers. Pay more, earn a little more, benefits chopped. Meh.

Elias
Elias

5x on dining is nice, and travel is good but since I already have and use the amex platinum I guess the only additional benefit is that I will get some travel insurance.

2x 4th night free is terrible for me. I use this perk about 7 times a year. Each time I get around $100 in value. Now limited to 2 times is like getting another $200 travel credit. Oh well, at least it is not completely gone and I still pay $100 a year after credits for it.

Still a very sad lost. I just wish they added something meaningful like admirals club again.

Is it going to be metal like all new trendy cards?

SteelD
SteelD

It’s metal now man

Elias
Elias

Its hard plastic afaik

N0n0n
N0n0n

Correct

Ben
Ben

Yup it’s metal now

Kai
Kai

Does anyone know whether Citi Priority Package will still get the $350 AF or only Citi Gold?
The investment account with Citi Gold is not good enough to keep $200,000 there.

thomas
thomas

I am wondering the same thing

Adam
Adam

I would like to know that as well.. Citi Priority still manageable, would be good if it had the 350 AF as well

anthony
anthony

I’m still grandfathered into the Citigold $350 AF even though I downgraded the account 2-3 years ago. My AF just posted.

Jake
Jake

+1 to this as well

Bobby D
Bobby D

Got the email today. No discount for citi priority. Only Citigold and Citi private will keep the discounted annual fee.

Jeremy
Jeremy

What about those who downgraded like Anthony?

Bobby D
Bobby D

Higher fee applies to annual fees posting after Sept 2019

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