The Prestige

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Ok, so, despite my skepticism, it turns out the Citi Prestige is kind of a kick-ass card for travelers, though it will be less so after July 23, 2017.

I’m generally of the opinion that certain descriptions can’t be claimed for oneself. They can be claimed by others, or demonstrated. Like, “irreverent.” You can’t claim yourself to be irreverent. If you do, you’re trying too hard, making you a douchenozzle.

And so I figured the case might be with the Citi Prestige. If they have to come out there and say it, obviously in competition with American Express, who once sold (and thinks they still sell) prestige, then Citi doesn’t have it. It’s a wannabe. But people seem to love this fucking card, despite its $450 annual cost, so I decided to see what the deal was.

The reason people love this fucker is because it actually gets you much of the same shit an Amex Platinum does, while saving you enough actual cash money to potentially negate its cost several times over: $250 towards airline travel, and every fourth night in a hotel free (based on an average of the four nights, and not including taxes). That ain’t chump change; depending on your hotel, even using that once per year makes the card free, if not profitable. The dumb FuckYou ThankYou points the card earns are not that useful due to the paucity of worthwhile transfer partners, but they’re at least usable as travel cash,  and the card holds its own on its merits, even without the points.

Furthermore, if you apply in person at Citibank, or have a Citigold checking account, you can get the card for less, at $350/year. I did this today, as part of my Kafkaesque transformation into a full-fledged credit card whore.

Here’s what the Citi Prestige gets you, for that $350 or $450 per year, independently of the points:

  • $250 annual credit, from the start of the calendar year, towards any air travel expense. So buy one plane ticket (or partial plane ticket) with this card, and the cost is now down to $100 or $200 per year.
  • Fourth night in a hotel free, if you book the hotel by calling its concierge line at 561-922-0158. This is how this card can pay for itself many times over. Some people seem to find the process easier than others, especially for non-chain hotels. (h/t One Mile At a Time via The Points Guy. Read the whole link to learn everything you wanted to know about this card but were afraid to ask.)
  • Access, plus two guests, to the Priority Pass Select network of (primarily international) airport lounges, which I had never heard of until today and Max says are useless. But some people on the internet like them. These include Alaska Airlines lounges, if that means anything to you.
  • Through July 23, 2017, access to American Airlines Admirals Club airport lounges, plus two guests, if you are flying AA that day.
  • Through July 23, 2017, Ability to buy any American Airlines ticket at only 62.5 FuckYou ThankYou points per cash price dollar, and other airlines at 75.2 points per cash price dollar. After July 23, 2017, all airlines will be 80 points per dollar, like Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 40,000 FuckYou ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Through July 23, 2017, that’s $640 on American, or $532 on anyone else, which is better than being boiled in oil, every time. After July 23, 2017, it’s worth $500 towards any airline.
  • $100 credit towards Global Entry (and possibly TSA PreCheck, but it’s not clear) every five years.
  • Various and sundry travel protection benefits, such as meal and hotel reimbursement if your flight is delayed more than three hours, and medical evacuation up to $100,000.
  • Through July 23, 2017, free golf. I don’t play golf, because golf. But three free rounds of golf per year for tee times you can reserve at golfswitch.com. I don’t give a flying fuck about golf.

So, yeah, I decided this card would be a good deal as long as we stay in a hotel for at least four nights a once a year, so I snapped one up while the getting was good. We’ve already got a trip to Finland coming that was booked on American, so we’ll get to use the hotel benefit and the lounges. I’m not gonna use it as a points earning card, though. I’ll reconsider whether it’s worth keeping when it’s up for renewal at around the same time its benefits atrophy.

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