Posted by William Charles on July 17, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on July 17th, 2017 | by William Charles

69

Keep, Downgrade, Cancel: Citi Prestige

Now that we know what benefits the Citi Prestige will have on July 23th after they have finished adding and removing benefits I thought it would be useful to do another post in our series: Keep, Downgrade Cancel. The aim of this post is to help current cardholders decide if it’s worth keeping the Citi Prestige card and if it isn’t if they should downgrade it to another eligible Citi card or just cancel it outright.

Card Benefits & Annual Fee

I think it’s a good line to outline what the benefits will actually look like after July 23th as I’ve seen a lot of confusion regarding this. This also gives us a base to work with:

Keep

Deciding whether to keep the card should be a simple matter of deciding whether the benefits outweigh the $450/$350 annual fee or not. The most valuable benefits are:

  • $250 air travel credit. Keep in mind this is based on a calendar year, but in your first card member year you should have used it twice. This means card member year two onwards you will only be able to use it once. This always confuses readers so let me give an example. You signed up for the card in May of 2016, you immediately spent $250 on airfares and were reimburse. On January 1st 2017 the credit reset and you used it again. When the annual fee became due in May of 2017 you could pay it and use your credit again in 2018 before the annual fee was due again. In your first year you used it twice and second year onwards you’ll only be able to use it once for every annual fee you pay. I don’t think air travel credit is equal to cash, because it’s not as flexible and you could purchase discounted airline giftcards instead. It’s up to you to decide how much this benefit is worth.
  • Priority Pass Select Membership. This gives you + two guests + immediate family access to priority pass lounges for free. Lots of other premium cards also come with lounge access so for some people this is worth a lot and for others it’s worth nothing.
  • Fourth night free benefit. This is another one that can be worth a lot, especially if you have a job that reimburses you for hotels and then you get to pocket the fourth night rebate. Can also just be used for people with paid hotel stays of four nights or more.

The other benefits I either consider fringe or they come with other Citi ThankYou point earning cards. If you value the air travel credit at $250 (I like to value it at 90% of face value or $225 but work out your own number) then you need to value the other benefits at $100-$225 depending on the annual fee you pay as well.

Downgrade/Cancel

Before looking at downgrading or canceling it’s important to keep in mind the Citi 24 month family rule. This states you’re not eligible for another Citi ThankYou point bonus if:

Bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards opened or closed in the past 24 months.

This means that cancelling your card will reset this 24 month clock. We still don’t know for 100% certain how downgrades are treated, but believe they also reset the 24 month clock. This means it might be worth keeping the Prestige open if you’re close to it being 24 months since you opened the card.

Downgrade

The rules for downgrading Citi cards can be found here. Some reps will say that you must downgrade it to another ThankYou point earning card, but that isn’t true. Just hang up and call again. In terms of the best downgrade options I personally think it’s between three cards:

  • Citi Dividend. No annual fee and earns 5% cash back in rotating categories. There is an annual cap of $6,000 in spend (that means you can spend the full $6,000 in a quarter unlike the Chase Freedom & Discover it). Good if you can manufacture spend in any of the categories they offer.
  • Citi Thank You Preferred: No annual fee and earns 2x points on dining and entertainment.
  • Citi ThankYou Premier: $95 annual fee, 3x on travel & 2x on dining (travel category is more broad than the Prestige card).

Cancel

In my opinion this should always be your last option, I don’t really see any point in cancelling if you can pick up a Citi Dividend for free.

Our Verdict

It’s really hard to give definitive advice on this card, it becomes even more complicated when you start taking into account whether it’s worth keeping the card open so you don’t reset your 24 month clock. I think a lot of people will find it is worth keeping the card open just because of that, for example let’s say you’ve had the card opened for 12 months if you keep it open for another 12 months you’ll pay another $350/$450 annual fee but then you’ll be most likely able to get another 50,000 point bonus (or even higher) on the Prestige or Premier plus you’ll get the $250 air travel credit. Whereas if you cancel/downgrade now you’d need to wait an additional year before that is possible.

The other thing that’s important to remember is that you should be calling retention to see what they will offer you for keeping the card (even if you plan to keep it, call anyway). I suspect Citi will be eager to keep their retention rates high (as American Express was when they announced their changes) so the possibility for outsized value is quite high. You can read our guide to retention offers here. What are your thoughts on the Citi Prestige, will you keep, cancel or downgrade it?

 



69 Responses to Keep, Downgrade, Cancel: Citi Prestige

  1. Johnny says:

    Canceled my card before the new “benefits” were announced but took advantage of using the $250 travel credit twice.. Way I see it is it’s a weaker version of the CSR with the 4th night free benefit. If and only if you take advantage of the 4th night free does this card become worthwhile. My dad travels a lot for work and has received thousands of dollars back because of it. personally, I never stay at a hotel more than 4 nights so this doesn’t have much use for me.

    • Andy says:

      Why exactly do you believe the CSR is a superior product to the Citi Prestige? Not arguing against either or but I don’t particularly understand people’s reasoning behind this. The main benefits on the CSR is a $300 travel credit and higher spending bonus for restaurants and travel (3x). Their transfer partners are also superior to the Citi Prestige. I can agree with all that.

      With that being said, I don’t particularly believe the CSR is that much more superior than the Prestige in any way. If anything I personally think that the Citi Prestige even with a somewhat diluted 4th night free benefit stands out more than the CSR. The transfer partners for Citi aren’t as great as Chase but I think you can still manage to find some usage for them via Singapore or something. I think the Prestige also has a superior travel insurance for trip delays/cancellation. If you’re able to take advantage of the 4th night free benefit (something I admit I have a little difficult doing with my personal travel habits) you can easily recuperate the difference in your annual fee.

      Additionally, from my standpoint if I am paying for a premium $450 annual fee, I want to make sure that I at least break even or gain more value out of the card. With the Citi Prestige, if I am able to take advantage of the 4th night free benefit that can easily be done but as I mentioned that might not always be possible. With the CSR, after the $300 statement credit, I still need to look at recovering $150 from the annual fee and asides from spending, I don’t really understand where people would be able to recover this for the CSR. With the AMEX Platinum card, even with $250 that I have to recover (after $200 statement credit) I am generally able to at least break even in my mind by taking advantage of AMEX offers and utilizing additional benefits such as AMEX centurion lounge and status at Hilton and SPG to name a few.

      Again, not arguing against the CSR or for the Citi Prestige and this is just my opinion but I don’t particularly understand people’s reasoning when they say the CSR is a superior product.

      • Shawn says:

        I’d say the biggest advantages are:
        1) redeeming at 1.5x, which is huge for cheap airfare (which there has been for Europe) or hotels
        2) Ease of getting the $300 credit (refundable SW flight makes it essentially cash)
        3) Hyatt transfer partner to get amazing deals (neither of the other hotel transfer partners for Chase Citi or Amex comes close to the value of Hyatt

      • scott says:

        I think CSR is a better product. I have little use of the 4th night free benefit as I rarely stay in one place that long, and if I do I usually have points to cover it. CSR gives you a $300 travel credit for any travel related charge. With Citi the credit can only be used for airfare. I like having the option of using it for hotels and other stuff. I also value Chase UR points at a much higher rate than Citi TY points. Those points are incredibly flexible. I can get a decent Hyatt for as low as 5,000 points or a flight from Hong Kong to Seoul for only 7500.

        The Prestige’s travel insurance requires that you pay for the entire flight using the card or with TY Points. The CSR’s insurance only requires that you pay a portion of the charge with the card, which can just be the taxes. Since I book all my flights with points this works out to a much better deal.

        I found almost no value in the Prestige card once I used the bonus points and I canceled when the fee hit.

      • NinjaX says:

        people say the CSR is a superior product because they are n00b. go ask pros what they think short term vs long term and why. the CSR will be nuked soon. everyone should brace themselves.

      • johnny says:

        I said in my original comment the Citi Prestige is a weaker version of the CSR, but with the 4th night benefit. If you can take advantage of this beenfit, then it is superior as I mentioned with my dad getting ridiculous amounts of benefit from teh card. Personally, I never stay at a hotel for more than 4 nights so this benefit is wasted on me. Hence why CSR is superior, for ME.

  2. Yao says:

    I think we also need to take Citi Thank You points expiration policy into consideration. If we cancel or product change to, eg. Citi Dividend card, the Thank You points you earned from this card will expire shortly even if you’re holding some other Citi cards that belongs to Thank You family.

    • Simon says:

      you can combine your multiple Thank You Points accounts on the citi website. As long as you have one points earning account (even a checking), the points will be safe.

      • Yao says:

        If I remember correctly, the points still expires even if you combine them into a TYP earning card.

        • Michael says:

          Correct, I just PC my Prestige today, and csr said even if I combined, that pts would like expire 60 days after conversion.

          • Salman Danish says:

            That is not correct. I combined my Premiere and Prestige last year, and points didn’t expire. The CSR didn’t know what they were talking about.

      • mk712 says:

        This is FALSE. Point pooling with Citi works very differently than with Chase or Amex: Citi assigns a different expiration date to each ThankYou point even if they are pooled and appear together as a total.

        * points earned through a checking account expire 3 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were earned

        * points earned through a Citi Forward expire five years from the end of the month in which they were earned

        * points from a closed Citi card expire 60 days after the account is closed

        This is ALWAYS the case and there is NO WAY to prevent points with an expiration date from expiring. Again, having them pooled under the same ThankYou account as other points that do not expire does NOT change their expiration date.

        • MontyFC says:

          If points are pooled and then partially redeemed, does Citi know to automatically pick the ones that are expiring closest to today’s date or do you have to call and tell them this.

          • mary w says:

            they will automatically select the points which are expiring soonest. Or if nothing is set to expire because both cards are still open, they use the oldest points.

          • mk712 says:

            Points that are expiring first will always be used first, once you’ve pooled them together you can’t choose which ones to use.

            In some very rare cases that’s actually not a good thing (e.g. if you want to use points from a CC you will close soon rather than the bank points you’ll be keeping for a while), but in my opinion the pros of pooling all points together still outweigh the cons (most notably the card redemption bonuses apply to all pooled points, e.g. until July 23rd you can redeem bank points for AA flights at 1.6cpp if pooled with a Prestige).

  3. CongestionCharge says:

    Assuming things stay the same, I’m going to keep mine for a second year in hopes of getting a Premier signup bonus. Then cancel Prestige.

  4. Chris Williams says:

    Does the card prorate cancellation. If I pay $450 now and cancel 6 months from now when I become eligible for Citi Thank You Preferred will they prorate the fee back to $250? I assume not.

  5. Jay says:

    The extra benefits on this cards that are barely mentioned make it a ‘keeper’… 3 hour trip delay/3 hour delayed baggage/event protection/2 year warranty extensions/auto price rewind/very good travel insurance for family illnesses. For the $350 minus $250 travel, keeping this card is a no brainer for me. I have used most of the benefits mentioned a couple of times and I always have a minus net annual cost. The 4th night free is great. You don’t always the last night as the most expensive, so only loss I see here is the sales tax. The 4 night average may help you here. If you really read the benefits it’s well worth the annual fee.

  6. Simon says:

    I plan to keep mine – one of the main reasons is the travel delay protection! it kicks in after 3hrs delay and from the datapoints I’ve seen, you can buy a lot of stuff and get reimbursed from Citi.

  7. Beth says:

    I got a five different offers when I called retention and recommend everybody do that before cancelling. In my case I chose the offer that gave me $50 credit for each of the next 7 months that I spend $1500 on the card. But there were multiple to choose from. I listed them all in a prior post and also there’s the flyertalk thread of retention offers
    I will keep it another year and then apply for the Premier before getting rid of the Prestige

    • Fathiss says:

      I also took this for my retention. Not great but not bad. Usually prefer offers with points but they did not offer.

    • Carl says:

      I accepted this one without even asking for others. The way I see it, they’re paying me to keep the card open. Fine by me.

    • scott says:

      I was offered a $200 credit if I spent $4K a month for 3 months. It was their only offer and I closed the card.

    • WR says:

      Called today hoping for retention offer, got nothing but downgrade options. They didn’t mention Dividend though. Card anniversary is today. I told them I’ll think about it, hopefully I’ll get a better offer tomorrow. I only put maybe $8-10k on the card the past year, the vast majority being signup bonus spend and 4th night free bookings.

  8. Kyle says:

    I got 7 points per dollar on travel as my offer. It’s the only one I got, but I took it and ran!

  9. TG says:

    You should list the travel delay protections as a reason to keep the card. It’s by far the best available in any card.

  10. AKBryan says:

    “I don’t really see any point in cancelling if you can pick up a Citi Dividend for free.”

    I agree with picking up a dividend but, its also a good strategy to not have your credit line maxed so you can get an auto approval on any new deals that may come along.

  11. Jay says:

    Question: I opened the prestige 5/2015, if I convert that to double cash back now would I be able to reapply soon after and get the new bonus on the prestige?

  12. Bub says:

    Frequent foreign travelers know that: its a Mastercard so it has a superior foreign exchange rate, the fraud alerts for foreign purchases are infrequent, unlike Bofa you can call this card with Skype, unlike Amex you can redeem thank you points easily for flights which originate outside the USA, unlike Chase the mobile app works anywhere, plus one other valuable expat benefit few realize that I don’t want to mention.

  13. savemesf says:

    The roadside assistance coverage is probably the best of any credit card and does cover rental cars.

  14. Mark says:

    Has anyone successfully PC to the Dividend lately? The CSR told me it wasn’t available anymore

    • artgriego says:

      I did a couple months ago. Definitely HUCA. They will not talk about product change until it’s been one year after you opened whatever you’re changing from (or in my case, I had to wait until the end of the promotional APR, so 15 months I think).

    • Michael says:

      I did so today. No hassle or fuss.

      I’d HUCA if in your shoes.

  15. Shalabh says:

    I have both the Premier and Prestige coming up for 3rd year renewal in Sep and Nov this year. Any way I can re-apply for any one of them after Nov since I will have both open for 24 months then. Any idea of Citi Policy on two Prestige / Premier cards on same account ?

    • Electric Wayfarer says:

      I’m not sure if they would let you get a second one that way. However, here’s another option that I know will work: Downgrade either card to the $0 AF Preferred and then reapply for the same in Sept/Nov with the signup bonus.

      Here’s what I’m doing:

      I have all 3 TY cards (Preferred, Premier and Prestige) and when I called yesterday to check on retention offers for the Prestige, they didn’t have anything better than the one I got a month ago (1 extra TY point per $ for up to 50K points). So then the CSR suggested that I downgrade my Prestige to Preferred (said, I could have a second Preferred) which would not reset the 24-month clock and then when I reach the 24-month mark, (next April), I could reapply for a Prestige and get a signup bonus offer.

      Since I have travel coming up that will get me the 4th night benefit, I decided to keep my prestige card however, I did downgrade my Premier to Preferred with the intent that next April, I will re-apply for a Premier to get the signup bonus.

      William – This post and the other one (https://www.doctorofcredit.com/citi-24-month-churning-rule-explained-detail/#Downgrades_downgrades) talks about how it’s not really clear if the downgrade approach would not reset the 24-month clock. However, the downgrade I executed based on the Retention Department’s CSR gives me some confidence that it might work. However, I won’t know for sure until next April.

      Hope that helps.

  16. Chucks says:

    I’d throw on the Citi Doublecash as a downgrade option. The signup bonus is always mediocre anyways. Maybe the Premier is a keeper for you, but wouldn’t most people prefer just to grab the 50k+ signup bonus instead of downgrading?

  17. Dave says:

    I applied for the card in Aug or Sep 2015 and paid $350 for 2016 renewal. I was Citigold for a few months in late 2015-early 2016 to take advantage of a banking offer and still got the $350 AF. If others are in the same situation, did you get charged $350 or $450 for AF this year?

  18. surguy says:

    If you PC your Prestige to a TY Preferred card, and have a Premier card, your points are safe.

    http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/07/01/cancelling-your-prestige-or-premier-card-heres-how-to-keep-your-thankyou-points-alive/

  19. Frank says:

    Can you get another Prestige card if you have applied over 24 months ago?

  20. WR says:

    Well this sucks. I called again today to try to get retention offer, since anniversary was yesterday. I had $350 AF, so had no intention to cancel. I get transferred over to account specialist, and then call gets dropped. I immediately call back, but CSR says my account has already been cancelled, as is their policy when call gets dropped, and to reopen would require a hard pull. Ridiculous. So be careful, there is some risk when playing the retention offer game.

  21. Jeremy says:

    What do you think of the AT&T Access More card as a conversion option?

  22. Kurt S says:

    Annual fee due in September, looking at $350. Offered $200 for spending $4k per mo for 3 month. Refused that and was offered $50/mo for seven months with $1,500 spend per month. Seems like a no brainer to me…

    • Electric Wayfarer says:

      That’s awesome and if my calculation is correct, that’s at the very least a 4.33% return on the $1500 monthly spend (more if you charge the $1500 to any of the 2x or 3x categories and end up redeeming them at the 1.25 cents for airfare purchases)

  23. Matt K says:

    This was I think 2 years ago around the world-> world elite churnability days…I had a Citi AA plat for over 24 mos at the time with an AF posting in which prior years was given a statement credit for the AF. But before calling to see what retention I was going to get I opened a new one first to stay within 24 Mo rules. Then after that, I called and asked for retention but nothing. So downgraded to Citi Div (by the way, having 6 Divs between my wife and I q2 this year sure was nice!). Month or so later my AA plat “upgrade” to World Elite came in mail on that new AA plat. I was nervous if that downgrade would jeopardize the churnability so I called and cancelled the downgrade to keep it as an open AA Plat hoping the open/close event wouldn’t be an issue. Signed up for new Citi AA plat but never got the bonus. so still not sure if either the original downgrade request or the fact I cancelled a downgrade reset my 24 clock. Just mentioning in case a helpful data point.

  24. Jeff says:

    Trying to get the word out so others don’t get burned like I did. Converting a thankyou card to a double cash DOES COUNT as an account closure! I just learned this the hard way and was denied my 50,000 points.

  25. Some Guy says:

    I applied for the Prestige June 2017. Approved.

    I closed my Premier last week as a result.

    Will my bonus be at jeopardy? I have a Citi chat saying that I am eligible, but would rather know now if I am going to be rejected so I dont put marginal spend on the card.

    Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑