Regretting My Decision to Renew the Citi Prestige Card

by joeheg

I remember a time when the Citi Prestige was one of the best travel cards on the market. It had some amazing benefits, like getting the 4th night free on almost all hotel reservations, free rounds of golf, a travel credit you could use for almost anything, and great bonus categories like 5X on restaurants and air travel. Now some of those benefits have been eliminated, and the ones that remain, like the 4th night free, are watered down and limited to two reservations per year.

That’s why the Citi Prestige has been on my card chopping block since 2022. I wrote last year about how I planned to use up the credit and cancel the card. However, I didn’t do that and accidentally missed the window for canceling it.

Now that I have the card for another year and paid the $495 annual fee, I need to try to take advantage of the card benefits. Here’s what I’ll do in 2024 to try to minimize my blunder of not canceling the card:

Use the $250 travel credit

The first thing I have to do is to use that $250 travel credit. This one should be easy and I’m already working on meeting that goal. I charged some train tickets to the card, and can replenish my toll transponder with the Prestige card to use up the rest.

That brings my extra expense down to $245.

Try to use the 4th night free

This one will be more difficult. Citi has made it so that you need to book through the Citi travel portal to use the fourth-night free benefit of the Citi Prestige card. This means you won’t receive any hotel loyalty points or benefits during your stay. It also means you’ll miss out on any other promotions. The last time I used the benefit, I only saved $10 from the AAA price available when booking directly from the hotel.

You also have to prepay for the room, which is something I dislike doing.

We also rarely stay at a hotel for 4 nights. When we do, I try to use hotel points. It’s going to be difficult to use this benefit, but I’m committed to looking for any opportunities that arise.

Maximize the 5X restaurant category

The Citi Prestige’s 5X bonus category for restaurants is one of the best. We rarely use it because the card doesn’t have a regular place in our wallets. I’m going to change that and use the Prestige for our dining expenses whenever possible. From reloading my Starbucks account to a fancy dinner for a special occasion, they’re all going on the Prestige.

Other benefits I won’t use

The Citi Prestige also has a TSA Precheck/Global Entry reimbursement credit. However, we’ve both recently renewed our Global Entry, so there’s no current value in that for us.

The Citi Prestige also provides a Priority Pass Select membership. It’s better than the one provided by American Express or Capital One because it includes non-lounge experiences, like airport restaurants. However, we also have a Priority Pass Select from the Ritz Carlton Card, which provides identical benefits and “unlimited” guesting privileges.

Final thoughts

I made a mistake by keeping the Citi Prestige card for another year. I missed the annual fee charge and should have canceled or downgraded the account within 37 days of the charge hitting my statement. However, as I was still waiting for part of the $250 travel credit to be posted to the account, I didn’t want to risk losing that amount.

Now that I have the card for another year, I’m going to try to maximize the value I can get from it. This means using the entire $250 travel credit, taking advantage of the 5X dining category and trying to find a decent use of the 4th hotel night free benefit.

The last thing I’m going to do is set a reminder so I don’t forget to cancel or downgrade the card when the fee is due later this year.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Dan @ Points With a Crew February 29, 2024 - 1:26 pm

Yeah I ditched the Prestige a few years ago for many of the same reasons you mentioned

swag February 29, 2024 - 2:49 pm

You forgot a biggie on the list of dropped benefits. When first introduced, the Prestige included Admirals Club access.

As far as the Global Entry benefit, that isn’t tied to cardmember or AU. You can use the card to pay the fee for a family member or friend, and they’ll still reimburse.


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