The Citi Premier and Citi Prestige are Citi’s top two travel cards. Both are similar in nature and name. However, they are meant for different types of travelers. As with everything in point and miles, your mileage may vary. Someone might find the Prestige better for her while their best friend mind like the Premier better.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between Citi’s top two travel cards.
Argument for the Prestige
Both cards earn bonus Thank You (TY) points. But they have completely different earning structures.
The Prestige earns 5x points on Dining and Airfare. It also earns 3x points on Hotels and Cruises. All non-bonus spend (including Entertainment purchases) earns one point per dollar.
The Premier earns 3x points on General Travel, including Gas Stations. It also earns 2x points on Dining and Entertainment. Like the Prestige, all non-bonus spend earns one point per dollar. General Travel purchases include airfare, hotel stays, a car rental, and toll road fees. Dining purchases include restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
The Prestige wins for most people who have conventional travel expenses including Dining, Airfare, and Cruises. However, the Premier wins for Gas, Entertainment, and more general travel. Both cards tie for Hotels.
Access to the Fourth Night Free and a $250 Annual Travel Credit
Citi dropped several benefits from both cards in September 2019. As a result, the Prestige has more card-specific perks than the Premier does that can still make it worthwhile.
The Prestige’s signature perk is its Fourth Night Free. If you use your card to book a hotel stay of at least four nights, you will receive a statement credit for your fourth night. The catch is that Citi limits use of this perk to only twice per year.
The Prestige also comes with a $250 general travel credit, a Pre-TSA / Global Entry fee credit, and access to Priority Pass airport lounges. If used in full, the travel credit effectively cuts the Prestige’s annual fee in half. But receiving positive expected value should not be an issue with the Prestige if you use most of the perks.
You Don’t Use Citi’s Travel Portal
The Prestige might be the better card if Citi’s travel portal is not useful for you. Paying an extra $155 (assuming you fully use the travel credit) doesn’t make sense for a redemption method that you won’t use.
Both cards also have the same travel partners. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which one you use to transfer points. You will get the same value either way.
Argument for the Premier
You Already Have Another Premium Card
The Premier might be the better card if you already have another premium card. This is because the Prestige’s benefits are redundant to those from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Most premium cards come with Priority Pass airport lounge access and a Pre-TSA / Global Entry credit. Even if you fully use the $250 travel credit, paying more for redundant benefits might not be worth it.
You Use Citi’s Travel Portal
Both Citi cards have the same redemption methods including travel partners. But one slight difference lies in Citi’s travel portal. Citi lets you redeem points through its portal at a flat rate. The Premier’s rate is 1.25 CPP and the Prestige’s rate is a lower 1 CPP.
The Premier has a $95 annual fee and the Prestige has a $495 annual fee. Neither fee is waived the first year. However, some people argue that the “net” annual fee for the Prestige is $245. This argument assumes that you will use the $250 travel credit in full each year.
The Prestige has a bonus worth 50,000 TY points that can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. However, the Premier has a bonus worth 60,000 TY points for the same minimum spend. The Premier is the winner here because of the 10,000 more points.
The Citi Premier and Citi Prestige are decent options for travelers, especially those who want to leave the United States. The Premier is the better card for many travelers because of its $95 annual fee and its nice earning structure. It’s also the winner if you want to use Citi’s travel portal and/or don’t have conventional travel expenses.
However, its benefits and earning structure pale in comparison to those of the Prestige. The Prestige has some specific perks that the Premier does not have. It also has a $495 annual fee and a better earning structure to boot.
Consider your travel plans and where you spend your money before selecting one of Citi’s top two travel cards. And remember that your mileage may vary before picking any card.