Citi Prestige Review (2018 Edition)

Update: Big changes were announced for the Citi Prestige heading into 2019

There's no doubt about it. The Citi Prestige is at once the most powerful and most boring card we carry. It has the most powerful single perk for Disney travelers, but besides that it is overshadowed by other premium cards. Here's our review of the Citi Prestige.

 How does the Citi Prestige stack up for Disney travelers?

How does the Citi Prestige stack up for Disney travelers?

The Basics

The Citi Prestige is a Mastercard that earns Citi ThankYou points for every dollar you spend. It earns 3x points on air travel and hotel expenses, 2x on dining and entertainment, and 1x on everything else. At Disney World, you can charge everything to your room and put it on the card, earning 3x points on your bill.

The card has a $450 annual fee that is offset by a $250 automatic credit for air travel expenses (including flights), making the annual fee effectively $200. Authorized users cost $50 each. The card currently (12/21/17) offers no signup bonus (we would avoid it until it does). Citi recently offered bonuses of 40,000 and 70,000 points for a few weeks each.

Citi Prestige 4th Night Free

4th Night Free is the single park that makes this card worth having. You can easily offset the effective annual fee of $200 with a single Disney stay. When we signed up for this card, we used this perk twice as part of saving over $2000 on a single Disney trip.

4th Night Free is straightforward. For every hotel stay you book through the Citi ThankYou portal, you'll receive a discount of 25% on your first four nights. This includes Disney hotels. We have a full post on using the 4th Night Free benefit at Disney World hotels. As a quick example, though, here's a quick look at the savings you can get from 4th Night Free:

 $710 at the Disney World website

$710 at the Disney World website

 $573 using 4th Night Free

$573 using 4th Night Free

This sample stay All-Star Sports costs $710 when booked through Disney directly but only $573 using 4th Night Free. That's $137 of savings. That's about 19%, less than 25% because of a combination of calculating taxes and fees and the fact that Citi might not have access to the best rates.

The Citi ThankYou Program

Citi ThankYou points are among the most powerful points to have, but they aren't quite as good as Chase Ultimate Reward points, making this card a poor alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve in this regard. You'll get 1.25 cents per points when using the points for air travel through this Citi ThankYou portal.

Beyond that, you'll be best off taking advantage of Citi's transfer partners and redeeming for long-haul, premium cabin (business or first class) travel. If you're not an international traveler, you can still get over $500 of value if Citi ever brings back a 40,000+ point signup bonus.

The Other Perks

Like other premium cards, the Citi Prestige has a whole host of perks we won't cover here. We will let you know about those most relevant to you, though!

Priority Pass Select

The Citi Prestige comes with Priority Pass Select, a lounge membership that gets you, immediate family, and up to two guests access to lounges at a wide array of airports, including (relevant for Disney travelers) at Orlando - MCO, the international terminal at Los Angeles - LAX, Paris - CDG, Shanghai - PVG, Hong Kong - HKG, and Tokyo - NRT.

 Priority Pass gets you access to lounges for free drinks, snacks, and sometimes even showers!

Priority Pass gets you access to lounges for free drinks, snacks, and sometimes even showers!

For families this perk can be huge because you escape the chaos of the airport and you and the family can refresh with snacks, drinks, and sometimes full meals and showers. This perk is worth about $300 per year, although the "Select" membership is not actually available for purchase.

Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Reimbursement

You're entitled to one $100 reimbursement for signing up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. We highly recommend Global Entry, it has saved us hours, and we're not exaggerating, on trips arriving in the U.S. Global Entry comes with TSA PreCheck, which you probably know is a good way to skip security lines. You can use this benefit once every five years (the memberships last five years).

Travel Protection & Insurance

The nitty gritty of this topic could fill more than one post on its own, but the Citi Prestige offers an excellent array of protections in case your flight is delayed or cancelled, your bags are lost, or something happens to you while traveling.

Get This Card If...

Only get this card now if you can use 4th Night Free to save at least $500, if not $1000 on hotel stays in the next few months. We're huge fans of this card, but not without a signup bonus. Hopefully Citi brings the bonus back.

Skip This Card If...

Again, if you don't have a huge amount of expensive travel coming up, at least wait for a signup bonus. Finally make sure you'll actually get $200 of annual value out of 4th Night Free. If your one vacation each year is four nights at All-Star Sports, you simply won't get enough value to make the card worth it. Besides 4th Night Free, the card is inferior to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Alternative Cards to Consider

Right now, we'd rank both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred over this card. Once the signup bonus comes back, we might change that recommendation.