Posted by Chuck on July 16, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on July 16th, 2017 | by Chuck

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Positive Changes Coming to Citi Prestige on July 23 (75,000 Point Signup Bonus, Online 4th-Night Booking, Cash Redemption, Metal Card) + Analysis

The rumored changes coming to the Citi Prestige card have been confirmed by TPG, including some new things we didn’t previously know.

The following positive changes will take place on July 23rd:

  • Signup bonus will go up to 75,000 Thank You points, though it will have a high spend requirement of $7,500 within three months
  • The Citi Prestige 4th-night-free benefit will be able to be booked entirely online, and the discount for the fourth night will come off at checkout
  • You’ll be able to pay for the hotel booking with Thank You points at a rate of 1 penny per point
  • The Prestige card will be metal
  • Prestige cardholders will be able to redeem points for cash at a rate of 1 penny per point

I asked Citi about the rumored Shoprunner benefit addition and they replied that they don’t have anything to announce on that; maybe we’ll still hear about that in the future. They also could not give a clear end-date for the increased 75,000 point bonus.

75,000 Signup Bonus

75,000 Thank You points is the best ever bonus on the Prestige card that comes to mind. While the card has a $450 annual fee, it also comes with a $250 airline credit which can be used twice during the first year, more than offsetting the annual fee.

75k is excellent, and anyone who is eligible to get a Thank You signup bonus should consider it for sure. If you can meet the spend, it’s worth getting this card instead of the 50,000 Premier signup bonus, then you can downgrade after the first year. Just make sure you are eligible for the bonus and aren’t bumping into the 24-month rule limitation (like me and many of us are).

While this signup bonus increase is maybe the biggest immediate news, bear in mind that it’s a temporary signup bonus increase, perhaps for a few months. As always, signup bonuses go up and down.

Online Booking

We all love doing things online instead of dealing with phone reps. This new method simplifies the process a lot, and it’s nice to be able to see the 4th night discount immediately while checking out at thankyou.com, as opposed to the old system where you get the money back as a statement credit.

While you can use the online booking option if you choose, the Citi Prestige Concierge phone booking option will remain exactly as before: the fourth night will be billed to your card and it’ll come back as a statement credit.

There are many reasons why using the online option can be a net negative:

  • You won’t get credit card points (3x travel) for the cost of the fourth night since it’s discounted at checkout
  • You won’t get hotel points since the booking was done via online travel agency (Citi); previously, the booking was like a cash booking for points purposes, done via Citi Concierge
  • You won’t be able to use special rates and corporate discounts since the booking is done through an online travel agency (Citi); previously, it was like a cash booking, and special discounts could be added
  • Those booking business travel will have a harder time getting reimbursed for the 4th night

Again, if you these factors matter to you, simply use the Citi Prestige Concierge booking method over the phone, and everything will run exactly as before.

Paying with Thank You points

Beginning July 23, you’ll be able to pay for all or part of your hotel stay with ThankYou points while booking the four night stay.

Paying for hotels and other travel with Citi’s online booking portal at a redemption rate of 1 cent per point isn’t new. (Airfare is even given a higher value of 1.25 cents for Prestige cardholders.) But since it wasn’t possible, in the past, to get the 4th-night benefit via online booking, it wasn’t either possible to use points in conjunction with that benefit.

Still, at the end of the day, you’re just getting 1 penny per point. I don’t see why anyone would use this option instead of redeeming out the points for cash (see below) and paying for the booking with a credit card. You still get the same 4th night free, so to say you are getting 1.33 cents value (due to the 4th night benefit) is misleading. Better book with a credit card and get points for the trip.

Metal Card

Another premium metal card. HOW MUCH WILL IT WEIGH???!!!  🙂

Citi tells us that existing Citi Prestige cards will be replaced with metal cards.

Cash Redemption

The addition of being able to cash out points at one penny per point is useless to some and invaluable to others. Citi doesn’t have an easy way of redeeming points for cash at full 1-penny value (though you can get a check for your mortgage at that rate), and now it’ll be easy to get the 1 penny without any tricks. Moreover, it will probably be possible to cash out Thank You points from other Citi cards at 1-penny per point, if you have the Prestige card, by transferring it over.

Citi has clarified with Doctorofcredit that Prestige cardholders will receive the 1 cent value even on their other ThankYou cards like Preferred and Premier.

Wrap Up

The increased signup bonus is excellent, and well worth considering if you are eligible and can meet the spend. The online booking sounds nice, as does the new cash redemption option.

Remember, it’s not all roses: we’ve known for a while that Citi will be making many negative changes on July 23. The positive changes mentioned above are meant to mitigate those somewhat.

  • The free golf benefit will be removed
  • No more American Airline redemptions at 1.6 cents-per-point
  • The airfare redemption rate of 1.33 cents-per-point will be lowered to 1.25 cents-per-point
  • The fourth-night-free benefit for hotels will be based on average nightly rate instead of the 4th night’s rate
  • The fourth-night-free benefit will no longer include taxes
  • No more Admirals Club access

Did Citi redeem themselves (pun intended) with these positive changes? I don’t see it. The signup bonus is irrelevant for existing cardholders, and the online booking + cash redemption are mostly just enhancements, not additional value. Still, they’ve made aspects of the card more palatable, which was likely their goal. And they’ll keep signups strong with the increased bonus.

[Post updated.]



100 Responses to Positive Changes Coming to Citi Prestige on July 23 (75,000 Point Signup Bonus, Online 4th-Night Booking, Cash Redemption, Metal Card) + Analysis

  1. Frank says:

    I think you mean $200 credit not $20 credit

  2. ElJefe says:

    Tail end: “I don’t think see it”. Any idea of the existing cards are going to be converted to metal? I don’t have any metal in my wallet since I missed the CSR due to 5/24.

  3. YRK says:

    Should I apply for Prestige or wait till get 4/24 for CSR in OCT? Am currently 6/24.
    Dont have any Citi cards though have CSP and Freedom.

  4. Chicagoan33 says:

    Anyone thinking of applying for a 2nd Prestige card? Not sure if Citi will like duplicate cards. I have a $350 AF card & would cancel the 2nd Prestige card eventually.

  5. Mike says:

    Regarding using TYP points for 1 cent each on hotel bookings, isn’t that a downgrade? At least with Premier, TYP are worth 1.25 cents each towards all travel booked with Citi, including hotels. Or will TYP still be worth 1.25 cents each, except when used for 4th night free reservations at 1 cent each?

    • > Regarding using TYP points for 1 cent each on hotel bookings, isn’t that a downgrade?

      no because that was always the case with PRESTIGE. Premier is a different story.

      • Mike says:

        Thank you, I don’t have the Prestige, and didn’t realize that the 1.33 (soon to be 1.25) cent per point on “travel” only applies to airfare with Prestige. So if someone has both Prestige and Premier, do you get 1.33/1.25 cpp on hotels booked thru Citi? I thought Citi gives the best rate for a redemption based on all cards held.

  6. Dd says:

    Can you still triple dip the airline credit if you apply in nov/dec?

  7. Michael Utterback says:

    I don’t like any of the changes, even the ability to book online I see as a negative. Right now, the 4th night is an after the fact credit, so we get points on the full amount paid, right? Moving this to online booking and giving the 4th night as an upfront discount means we are actually earning less points. Am I wrong here? All of these changes are terrible.

    • Chuck says:

      Yeah, added this point.

      The regular card earning points are a small play. Bigger question is how it’ll affect hotel status and the like.

    • Jon S says:

      For me, not needing to spend 20 minutes on the phone for each booking is well worth missing out on those extra points.

  8. DoC, Prestige only gave 1.33 cpp for air tickets. Other travel redemptions were 1.0 cpp.

    “The *travel* redemption rate of 1.33 cents-per-point will be lowered to 1.25 cents-per-point”

  9. AJ says:

    Will you still be able to get the $350 annual fee if you apply in-branch?

    • Chuck says:

      I’m not sure if that’s still working. Usually, that benefit was only for Citigold clients, though there may have been times when it worked for everyone.

  10. Red says:

    What does “Checkout” mean in regards to 4th night free? Sounds like prepaid online bookings only? I don’t see how they could implement this when actually checking out of a hotel room, unless they add themselves as a third party biller for the 4th night.

  11. Phil says:

    Will it still be possible to book through concierge and have a statement credit, or is that option entirely ruled now? There is value to having a statement credit to those claiming corporate expenses.

    • Chuck says:

      Yeah, the online booking might be more a drawback than a benefit.

      Citi has confirmed for us that the phone concierge option will remain, but I’m not sure that means it’ll remain in the same form. They might be simply clicking the same buttons on their end as you can do yourself. I don’t know.

  12. Jason Lee says:

    I have had the Prestige for two years. What can I do to get the new 75000 sign up bonus?
    Downgrade? Thanks.

  13. Chris says:

    Doc, it would really help if you write about all the ways one can get the $250 airline credit, whithout buying actually a ticket. Any way to get airline gift cards, or like as it is possible with the Saphire Preferred to buy SW refundable tickets?
    Thanks

  14. Al says:

    I don’t see anything here of interest. It’s all window dressing. Trying to decide what to do with my TYPs.

    What is everyone else planning to do?

  15. avi says:

    Am I the only one not a fan of metal cards? They’re a pain for airport metal detectors…

    Also, I’m not loving the headline “positive changes coming, when in the end it’s still a huge devaluation…

    • Chuck says:

      We all knew about the devaluation. This post is about the news which is positive.

    • tinytavosa says:

      Hopefully they do not change your card # when reissuing metal cards, and you never lost/wear it out for a long time…. metal card temporarily solved :/

  16. The Man says:

    Trash. As an existing card member paying 450, I don’t see why keep the card. If your are one of those folks who are still paying 350, then perhaps it MAY make sense. 250 travel credit back means your paying 100 for the card. I’m sure with just one reservation using the 4th night free benefit will make up for the 100.

    • pcj says:

      You can do the travel credit twice for one annual fee. Putting you $50 up before the promo offer and TSA credit.

  17. Tom says:

    Does anyone have experience with the citi 24 month rule? I signed up for the Citi Thank You Premier on 8/23/2015. If I signup for the Prestige on 8/24/2017 I should be eligible, correct?

    Can I just cancel the Premier card a few days after I signup, or does the 24 month rule ‘check’ occur upon receipt of the points?

  18. Paulie says:

    So I have a question. I have a premier card, so According to the “rules” can’t get a bonus in this card and category of cards, I.e. TY points. Am I correct? If so the changes are a mute point for me. Is there anything is you apply to upgrade to the card?

  19. Paulie says:

    Ok so if I received the Premier on July 14, 2015, I can apply for Prestige and I am eligible for the points, right?

    • Chuck says:

      Assuming you didn’t open or close that card any other Thank You card since that date, you should be fine. Maybe give it a couple extra weeks to be safe (I’m assuming when you say “received” you mean ‘approved’).

  20. NinjaX says:

    oh crap… another CSR event. just great. citi knew what they were doing. AKA AUGUST MASS CSR EXODUS to Citi Prestige 75k bonus just in time for the CSR AF to post. I see what you did there Citi.

    for the past year every damn person on the street busted out their CSR. now for the next year its the prestige. it was great knowing you South Dakota girls. guess im gonna get transferred to some BS spillover team overseas. sigh…

    RIP TYP.

  21. P says:

    Hopefully that 75k bonus is still around in October when it’s 91 days since my last Citi app. I’ve never had a TYP card.

    • NinjaX says:

      bro. i think you are confused man. citi has 8/65 and 1/60 and 6/6 and etc etc. nothing related to 90 days unless its for business. even then you should wait 95+ days. not 91. so whats your situation?

      • P says:

        I’ve always been automatically denied unless it’s 90+ days.

        • NinjaX says:

          sorry to hear that but that doesnt even make sense. most likely its because of your credit profile. they want to see 3+ months of your activity after the prior app. its not a CC app policy. i rarely hear DPs about something like that consistently applied. im sure you HUCA so i dont get it, but def YMMV.

  22. Nick says:

    Why does Premier have a better three times travel category than the more limited and narrow Prestige hotel and airfare? Why isn’t this being matched? That seemed like a given.

  23. Dan says:

    not eligible for another 8 months… bummer… if that hotel night is actually usable, I might even keep this card once I get it.

  24. Abey says:

    Basically they enhanced the card to get new applicants but not enough to keep them after a year and you dont have to downgrade, You can product change to the double cash card.

    • Abey says:

      This is at least $800 profit
      75K points redeemed for cash is $750
      Plus $500 for 2x airline credit
      Minus $450 annual fee
      Equals $800 profit. Not bad 😉

  25. Moe says:

    So I figure we cant use 3rd night free or 5th night free options by going through the online booking method?

  26. Daniel says:

    i’m failing to see how the fourth night credit can be granted “at checkout” unless it’s now moving to prepaid bookings only in which case that would be a major devaluation. Also, when you book a prepaid rate now, you get the fourth night free statement credit a couple weeks later so it’s even not that great of a benefit there.

    Color me skeptical. I really hope the phone bookings remain the same.

  27. JC says:

    Well, I downgraded to the Thank You Preferred a month ago, and was waiting for news on the new benefits to decide if I should reverse (had 50 something days to change my mind)…Nope, none of the benefits are worth it for me…I was paying only the $350 annual fee, and even with that I don’t see any reason to pay the annual fee again (I don’t really use the 4th night benefit). Those new benefits are nothing compared to what we are losing.

    • Abey says:

      Same here, $350 AF and just PC to Double cash.
      I only see the use for the priority plus card, but i will pass.

  28. James says:

    Hope BofA coming with new premium card soon.

  29. P says:

    WTF online booking is pretty useless aside from the convenience of online booking.

  30. TG says:

    Prestige is a keeper card for me over the CSR. $100 net fee vs CSR and the Prestige comes with much better travel delay protection.

  31. captainsave says:

    Hope this offer still around June 2019. 🙁

  32. MarcoPolo says:

    I haven’t applied for a Citi Card in last 6 years but still not convinced that I should apply for this card.
    $250 airline credit is no use to me since I don’t fly much. Wish it was travel credit instead.
    After AF net gain is only $300 for me.
    I really liked CSR as it has travel credit.

    • Ryan says:

      One flight a year (unless it’s a really low fare and you’re only flight in a year) should likely max it out since it counts towards the actual airfare…

  33. CM says:

    Which cities have a Citi branch?

    I heard the 450 fee is 350 in branch, where can I find a branch?

  34. JJ says:

    So I got transferred to Citi from Amex for my Costco membership/card early this year.. Is it a trigger for 24 months rule for applying this card? I don’t have any Citi card nor applied any Citi card. I just got an automatic transfer to City from Amex cuz of Costco..

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t see why it would matter. The 24 month rule only applies within a family of cards. Costco is not part of ThankYou family, nor AA family.

  35. captainsave says:

    Do the airline credit working on expedia booking, like CRS?

  36. Airgypsy says:

    Hi DoC. Am thinking of cancelling my Prestige. I have TYPs earned from a Citi checking account also. Before I cancel the Prestige, what would be the best way to redeem the TYPs earned from the checking account? Thank you.

  37. HooDad says:

    I’ve used the 4th night free benefit twice this year, saving almost $600. I also snuck in three rounds of golf (two of which would have cost me $267 each at TPC Potomac) before that benefit ends this month. That’s the benefit I’m going to miss the most, though hanging in the Admirals Club made travel more bearable. Does any other card offer free golf?

  38. Ravi C. says:

    Can I product change my prestige to a double cash with no pull?

  39. Subexistence says:

    Why is it you don’t recommend downgrading to citiDC?

  40. Dave says:

    So I opened my Premier card back in May 2013 and Prestige card in March 2015. Both cards are still open. Can I open an 2nd Prestige card to take advantage of the higher 75k sign up bonus? Or Citi won’t allow 2 card accounts of same type?

  41. Miles Hustler says:

    Do we know for sure whether a downgrade/product change (say from a Prestige to a Preferred) will count as a closure for purposes of the opened or “closed” within 24 months rule?

  42. Lisa says:

    Chuck,
    I look for cash redemption value. I was unaware that TYPs could be redeemed for mortgage check. Good news! However, after googling, I see comments elsewhere that the redemption value has been reduced. Can you confirm that the redemption value for mortgage check is still one cent per point? Or is the redemption rate lower than that. Thanks.

    • Chuck says:

      I haven’t ever looked into the mortgage option well, bust last I know it’s still at 1 cent per point. If you have a Prestige card, that’s another way or getting 1 cent per point.

  43. Subexistence says:

    To meet my spending requirements, I may need to add family members. Would I be successful if I called to waive the adding AU $ 0 fee?

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