How to maximize your Citi Prestige® Card benefits

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In a Nutshell

The more you learn about the Citi Prestige® Card benefits, the less daunting the card’s $495 annual fee will look. If you know your card’s benefits and begin to plan your trips accordingly, you can get more value out of the card.

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Before we zero in on the individual Citi Prestige® Card benefits, let’s discuss how to make sure you’re getting enough value out of the card.

The Citi Prestige® Card has some solid benefits, but it’s not always easy to know if they’re enough to cover the card’s high annual fee of $495.

Some of the card’s benefits, like its $250 air travel credit and $100 Global Entry application fee credit, are easily quantifiable. Others, like airport lounge access, may not be.

Evaluate your travel habits to determine the value of each of the card’s benefits to you. Keep track of how often you use them throughout the year to see how the value adds up over time. If you consistently get more value than what you’re paying with the annual fee, you’ll have the peace of mind that the expense is worth it.

Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of the Citi Prestige® Card’s rewards and perks.


4 ways to maximize your Citi Prestige® Card benefits

1. Get your fourth night free with any hotel

Hotel stays are often the most expensive part of a vacation, so use your Citi Prestige® Card on longer trips to get your fourth night free. If you book your hotel stay on your card (minimum of four consecutive nights) through thankyou.com or by phone at 1-800-THANKYOU, you’ll get a single night’s savings at the time of booking.

There is a limit on this perk though: You’re capped at only two fourth-night-free stays per calendar year, per account.

2. Get to the airport early

No, it’s not because you need to prepare for long security lines. For that, the card offers a $100 credit toward a Global Entry application fee.

The real reason you’ll want to get to the airport a few hours before your flight is so you can enjoy your airline lounge access. The Citi Prestige® Card gives you a Priority Pass Select membership, which includes more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

You’ll be able to enjoy complimentary food and drinks, Wi-Fi and even preflight spa treatments with some lounges.

3. Pay for travel expenses with your $250 travel credit

Not all Citi Prestige® Card benefits are as straightforward as its $250 annual travel credit. This credit applies to most travel-related purchases, including airfare, taxis, hotels, car rentals, parking and others. After you make an eligible purchase, it might take up to two billing cycles for the credit to show up on your statement.

What’s more, the benefit is based on the calendar year. So if you receive the card in August, you can use the credit to refund eligible purchases before the end of the year, and then once more in the beginning of the next year.

In this case, you would get the travel credit twice before your annual fee is due on your account anniversary. That’s a total of $500 the first card membership year. Just keep in mind that the credit doesn’t roll over from year to year.

4. Transfer your points for more value

For everyday use, the Citi Prestige® Card gives you a solid five points per $1 spent on air travel and on dining at restaurants, three points on hotels and cruise lines, and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

You can redeem those points for almost anything, but your best option may be to transfer them to a participating airline or hotel program. Depending on how you redeem with those loyalty programs, you could get impressive rewards rates.


Bottom line

If you travel a few times a year, the Citi Prestige® Card benefits can add a lot of value to your trips. There are plenty of ways to maximize your rewards and perks with the card, so be sure to take advantage of them every trip to make up for the card’s annual fee.

If you become complacent, or you don’t travel often enough, you may not get enough value to make up for the card’s cost. As with any credit card, evaluate your usage every year or two to make sure you’re getting enough value out of the card.


About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Cr… Read more.