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It’s now confirmed that changes are coming to the Citi Prestige® Card this year. The new changes or “updates” will be announced at a Citi Prestige cardholder event on August 10th at Ellis Island with celebrity chef, Josh Capon. Based on recent rumors about these changes, I’m not getting too excited/optimistic about the changes.
An awkward time for updates
This is a bit of an awkward time to announce updates for Citi. That’s because they recently took away some of the core benefits of the Citi Prestige. Although some applicants had more time to enjoy these benefits, the new changes are set to go into effect July 23, 2017 and will officially remove:
- American Admirals Clubs when flying American on that day
- The 1.6 cents per point redemption rate for redeeming Citi ThankYou Points for American
- The travel redemption rate of 1.33 cents per point is being lowered to 1.25 cents-per point.
- The three free rounds of golf benefit
- Also, the 4th night free benefit will no longer include taxes and will be calculated based on the average cost of each of the four nights
These were dramatic changes for the Prestige and as a result of these many chose to cancel their cards. It’s worth noting that the 4th night free benefit of the Prestige still has the potential to be very valuable and so I think even with the above changes, the Prestige still makes sense for a lot of people.
The rumored changes
The rumored changes, via DOC, are supposedly the following:
- Metal card
- ShopRunner membership
- Citi ThankYou Points worth 1 cent per point towards cash/gift card redemption
- Citi ThankYou Points can be used towards the 4th night free benefit
If these end up being the changes, this is will be quite the overwhelming update.
Metal cards are cool but hardly a novelty now and present no true value to a card. ShopRunner is easy to get with various American Express cards. Being able to redeem points at 1 cent per point for cash or gift cards is nothing special and could be worse than that other Citi cards offer in terms of cash back, even with bonus categories of the Prestige factored in.
Using ThankYou Points toward the 4th night free benefit is the only potential benefit that catches my eye. This would mean ThankYou Points could operate like Hilton Honors points or SPG but only require you to stay 4 nights to take advantage of a free night. The catch is that the redemption rate will still likely be capped at 1.25 cents per point which will limit the value for that perk.
What improvement would I like to see?
The Prestige already comes with a pretty broad $250 travel credit that can even be used on airfare and comes with Priority Pass (with guest access for two people), so I doubt we’d see an overhaul there. I really can’t see Citi bringing back Admiral Club access after just axing it officially a mere two weeks before this event.
What I’d like to see is the return of a substantial sign-up bonus. The Prestige has offered a 100K sign-up bonus in the past so it would be tremendous to see that offer return or even a 75K offer which would better compete with The Platinum Card® from American Express.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. 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.