Big news today in the credit card world. The Citi Prestige card will soon have a 75,000-point sign-up bonus, which is a huge increase from the existing 40,000-point offer. This is according to insider info over at TPG.
Additionally, Citi is making a slew of changes to align the card with other heavyweights, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum.
In short, Citi has fallen behind after being a leader and innovator in the credit card space, so it seems they’re playing catch up here.
Citi Prestige 75k Sign-Up Bonus!
First things first, the Citi Prestige sign-up bonus nearly doubles to 75k ThankYou Points (TYP), which makes the card a lot more worthwhile for those rationing their applications thanks to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
However, it’s not that simple. You have to spend $7,500 in the first three months instead of $4,000, so Citi will certainly make you work for it.
That minimum spend is likely high enough to discourage all but the very rich and the savvy churners, which is probably the point.
As it stands now, you only need to spend $4,000 to get 40,000 TYP, which is probably a lot more doable for the average consumer.
But wait, there’s more! To sweeten the value of the 75,000 points you’ll soon earn, assuming you can muster that enormous spend, they’ll be worth more when cashed in for a statement credit.
Instead of earning a paltry half a penny per point, it’ll be a 1:1 ratio. That aligns it with Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, which are also worth a penny apiece.
So you could just cash out your 82,500 TYP for an $825 statement credit, which isn’t a terrible redemption value if you don’t want to transfer them to an airline or hotel.
Citi Prestige Will Be Metal
Another change coming to Citi Prestige is the material it’s made out of. Going forward, it’ll be a metallic credit card because metal just oozes luxury, apparently.
I could care less myself – if anything, it’s just heavier in my wallet. I don’t feel particularly cool handing it over to merchants.
Along with that change, Citi Prestige will allow cardholders to take advantage of the 4th night free hotel benefit on their website, as opposed to over the phone or via e-mail. And the savings will be instant during the booking, instead of credited weeks later.
This should make it easier for people to actually get value out of the fourth night benefit if they aren’t tech savvy or willing to go to all that effort to save some money.
However, the terms of the offer will make it harder to get a ton of value out of it. Instead of simply giving you the fourth night free, regardless of price, they’ll be reimbursing the average nightly cost across all four nights, not including taxes.
Currently and in the past, Citi cardholders could book three weekday nights and one final weekend night (that was much more expensive) and get it completely reimbursed, including taxes and fees.
That will no longer be the case, so it won’t be nearly as lucrative depending on the situation.
Citi is also doing away with the 1.6 cents per point AA redemptions and lowering the airfare redemption rate to 1.25 cents per point from 1.33. And the new version of Citi Prestige won’t come with AA Admirals Club access.
Oh, they’re ditching the free golf too…
Ultimately, this means Citi Prestige will be good to sign-up for, enjoy for a year, then probably cancel after getting the higher sign-up bonus.
If you have a big purchase in mind, aligning it with this $7,500 spending requirement could make the new Citi Prestige a winner. Otherwise, it sounds like a mixed bag of changes.