Confirmed: Citi Prestige Will Earn 5x on Air, Dining But Change 4th Night Free on Hotels

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Update: It’s confirmed that this card will earn 5 points per dollar on dining and air travel, and that 4th night free on hotels will be limited to twice per year. The card will become available to new applicants some time in January.


Via US Credit Card Guide there’s a report that the Citi Prestige card is being relaunched — some changes perhaps as soon as November 9 and others coming January 4 — with a new earning structure.

Perhaps effective November 9 the card would offer 5 points per dollar on airline and dining spend, 3 points per dollar on other travel, and 2 points per dollar on entertainment.

According to US Credit Card Guide, the card would keep its most valuable current benefit — 4th night free on hotel bookings — along with its $250 annual airfare credit. However MilesTalk reports that a memo to call center representatives today says 4th night free will become limited to twice per year.

According to MilesTalk there will be a new cell phone benefit, it will keep Priority Pass and Global Entry credits, and the card’s annual fee will be increasing from $450 to $495 effective January 4. (Citigold and Citi Priority customers though would keep their $350 annual fee.)

Citi’s points transfer to:

  • Star Alliance: Avianca LifeMiles, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • SkyTeam: Air France KLM Flying Blue. Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • Non-alliance: JetBlue TrueBlue, Etihad Guest, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

What makes me skeptical is that this card’s earning would seemingly be too good. It combines the best of all possible worlds, the Platinum Card by American Express earns 5 points per dollar on airfare paid to airlines, the new American Express® Gold Card earns 4 points per dollar at US restaurants. And it would still offer 3 points per dollar at hotels, ground transportation and other travel plus two points per dollar in entertainment category which can be surprisingly broad.

At the same time a year ago Citi said they were walking away from rich rewards because the space was too competitive. This would really ratchet up the arms raise, rather than signaling détente.

The rumor originated with a Citi retention specialist who claimed the changes would come November 9. While I’m always skeptical of claims made by customer service agents, MilesTalk says there’s a memo and U.S. Credit Card Guide reports corroborating the information and learning the January date.

If nothing else this would make me regret giving up my Citi Prestige card. Those who still have the card likely kept it for fourth night free, if that benefit is limited to twice a year they’ll be disappointed. Those of us who valued the card for spending though may see this as a game changer. Stay tuned.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Stay tuned, indeed. If this is true, I could see holding on to my Citi Prestige card that I was going to cancel, and instead canceling my Amex Platinum and not getting the new Amex Gold.

  2. Limiting the 4th night free to twice a year, I wonder if they would cap the $ amount? So that could be $100 twice, or even hundreds twice a year…

  3. I dont understand why someone would giveup the card for Citi potentially limiting the 4th night free to twice a year. If youre using it ~10x, youd still be able to do it 2x and with any skill you would select two of your pricier hotel stays.

    Between a slimmed down 4th night free and the travel credits, who can’t get enough value out of this to justify the annual fee (before even accounting for impressive earning rates)?

  4. Also, according to TPG the 4th night free doesn’t get limited until next September…. basically a year of notice is very generous.

  5. Not only am I keeping this card, I may get one for my wife. If the $350 Citi Priority AF remains, this is a net $100 card that earns 5x on airfare, with great travel insurance, and can easily save me $500/yr on 4th night free. I purchase non-JetBlue airfare on this card anyway because of the insurance.

  6. This is a decent refresh for me, TPG says the dining 5% will include international dining as well. Glad I hung onto the card. I also rarely stay 4 nights anywhere, but I think I can manage twice a year. I have Amex Plat and CSR also, CSR seems a distant third now, Gary, Chase has to answer right?

  7. I only use the hotel benefit once or twice/year anyway, and each time it’s around $500, since it is usually a Westin resort in an expensive city. I would actually gain on the other items, with no loss on the hotel benefit. Why it was unlimited in the beginning was crazy anyway.

  8. Good luck using the points. Citi transfers are the slowest compared to Amex and Chase. I’ve given up on the program. Maybe easy to earn but not burn. I rarely spend 4 nights in 1 hotel. Maybe 2x in the last 10 years when on a vacation in the Islands. Usually we are hopping around cities or countrysides and 3 nights in a hotel (so 4 days) in a location is plenty.

  9. Best benefit is the extra two years of warranty coverage. Citi has fixed my iPhone twice and computer once. Well worth the annual fee.

  10. i think restricting it to 4 x a year would have been a really happy compromise
    I’m on the fence at the moment and undecided what I wish to do cancel or go forward
    Citi Prestige has weaker partners then Chase IMHO unless you are a big International Traveler
    Also no card that I can think of has ever cut benefits as quick as Citibank since the card has opened
    Admirals Club 4th night free etc and now an annual fee raise
    Trust with this card continues to erode if true
    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and what remains fact

  11. Agree that 4 times/year would have been a nice compromise on the fourth night free. That’s the main reason I have the card. Will be cancelling when my annual fee comes due again.

  12. I’m with the “likely cancelling” group. I think I used the 4th night free option 4 times this past year, and it was the primary reason I kept the card. 5X on air travel is nice, but I get the same perk with my AMEX Platinum (+ Uber credits + Centurion lounge access + $100 Saks credit).
    If it doesn’t take effect until next September, it gives me time to figure it out, but leaning towards closing it now, especially with annual fee going up.
    Lots of transfer partners, but the only ones I am likely to use are JetBlue, Singapore and Virgin Atlantic (and Singapore and Virgin Atlantic are both AMEX MR partners)

  13. It’s the fourth night free that helped me justify the cost of the card and once that is gone I will be too. I’m already extremely unhappy they took away Admirals club yet kept the same annual fee. My broker provides me a free AE platinum card so I’ll switch more of my spending there.

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