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The Citi Prestige and Citi Thankyou Premier are both two of the best travel credit cards with flexibility in point use. The major difference between the two cards is that the Prestige is more benefit oriented while the Premier is more about earning Thankyou Points with bonus category spend. Still, while the Prestige is more about the benefits, it also offers exceptional point earning opportunities that you don’t find in many other benefit-based credit cards like the American Express Platinum. This article will compare the two cards and see how they stack up to each other.
Both cards obviously earn Citi Thankyou Points. Just as a refresher, here are the different Thankyou travel partners.
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- EVA Air
- Eithad Guest
- Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Virgin America Elevate (Get 500 Elevate points for 1,000 pts)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hilton HHonors (Get 1,500 HHonors Bonus Points for 1,000 pts)
Citi Thankyou Premier
- 40K to 50K (currently 40K) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
- 50K to 100K (currently 50K) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Personally, I’m holding out on the Prestige until the 100K offer rolls around again but that’s only because I already have the American Express Platinum card, which offers me similar benefits. If I didn’t currently have a card offering me things like Priority Pass, I’d still go for this card even with the 50K offer. The Citi Premier just switched back to 40K from 50K, so I’m not sure when the 50K bonus will be back.
Bonus category earning potential
Citi Thankyou Premier
- 3X on Travel (this also covers an extremely broad range of expenses like the CSP but is even a little bit broader!).
- 3X on Gas
- 2X on Entertainment (This includes movie theaters, some sport events, museums, tourist attractions, amusement parks, and more)
- 2X on Dining
- 3X on Air fare and hotels (this is more limited than the “travel” category for the Premier)
- 2X on Entertainment
- 2X on Dining
I think it’s pretty rare for a benefits-focused card to offer such great bonus earning potential like the Prestige does (the Amex Platinum offers none). The only categories missing from the Prestige are the 3X on gas and broader travel category. This makes the Prestige a pretty decent primary card to use for daily spending.
However, you’d likely want to compliment this card with one or two others that offer rewards in things like groceries, gas, and the broader travel category. Two cards that could fill this role are the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2X on Travel) and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card (2X on groceries and gas).
- $250 airline credit (which can be used for broader expenses, such as airline tickets)
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access for you and up to two guests for free (the Platinum requires that you pay $27 per guest for this benefit)
- Complimentary access with two guests to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges (when you fly with them)
- Complimentary night at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive-night booking (Probably the most valuable benefit)
- $100 Global Entry credit
- 3 free rounds of golf through GolfSwitch
- Rental car benefits like express check-in, free upgrades, and discounts with status.
- Add authorized users for $50 each.
- Concierge service
If you have the Citi Prestige card you can transfer your Premier points to the Prestige and redeem those points toward American Airlines miles at a rate of 1.6 cents and 1.33 cents for any other airline.
I think that these benefits are among the best that are offered by any credit card and I’ll illustrate why.
I’ll use my last year’s travels as an example.
- There were three times that I could’ve potentially taken advantage of a fourth night free. With an average cost of $200 per night, that’s $600 worth of value I could’ve got from that benefit alone.
- When you add in the airline statement credit that’s another $200
- Throw in the Priority Pass lounge access and that’s easily $1,200 worth of value. And if I used my free guest pass for my partner each time, it would have been like getting another $400 in value.
So that’s roughly $1,600 of value and that’s not even counting the value from the sign-up bonus, which could easily add on at least another $500.
As you can see with the statement credit, lounge access, global entry, and the potential for free hotel nights, these benefits can easily total a return value in the thousands — if you play your cards right. You can check out how the Citi Prestige compares versus the American Express Platinum here.
Citi Thankyou Premier
- $95, waived the first year
- $450, not waived
If you’re a Citigold client and/or a you apply for the Prestige in-branch you can often get the annual fee knocked down to $350.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Both cards boast no foreign transaction fees.
Overall, both cards are solid choices for earning Citi Thankyou Points. However, if I had to choose one it would likely be the Prestige. The Prestige has the potential to earn you thousands if you travel frequently and play your cards right. On top of that, it still has a decent earning potential with its bonus categories. Since I could get so much out of the Prestige, I value it more.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.