Citi Prestige: Weird but valuable benefits

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In light of the news that Citi has reduced many of the Prestige card’s travel & purchase protections, I expect that readers are wondering whether to dump their Prestige card when the next annual fee is due.  I’m wondering the same.  First, though, it makes sense to review the Prestige card’s benefits.  Specifically, lets look at the benefits that are not readily available with other ultra-premium cards.  I bet that you’ll be surprised by a few of these…

4th Night Free: This is the big obvious benefit that keeps most of us loyal.  Just one or two uses of this benefit per year could justify keeping the card.  This could be especially beneficial for those hoping to earn hotel elite status: as long as you book through the Citi Concierge, rather than online, the stay will earn hotel points and elite credits.  For full details about this benefit, see: Complete Guide to Citi Prestige 4th Night Free.

Missed Event Protection: I was barely aware of this benefit until I started researching this post, but now I’m intrigued.  The Prestige benefits guide (found here) lists these valid reasons for getting reimbursed for missing an event purchased with your Prestige card:

  • The venue or producer cancels the event (or delays the event more than 12 hours) and does not reimburse or replace the ticket or provide a rain check.
  • The Ticketholder can’t find the ticket, or it’s stolen or destroyed.
  • The Ticketholder has an accident on the way to the event that causes the event to be missed.
  • The Ticketholder or anyone living with them has an injury or illness that requires medical care.
  • The Ticketholder or their family member dies.
  • The Ticketholder is called to jury duty or receives a subpoena from the court, neither of which can be postponed.
  • The Ticketholder is called to emergency duty as a member of the National Guard, Active Reserve or the United States Armed Forces.
  • Severe weather or natural disaster prevents the Ticketholder from attending the event.
  • A catastrophe causes a government authority to cut off access to the immediate area near the event site, preventing the Ticketholder from getting to it.

I love that “can’t find the ticket” is included as a covered reason!  I’m not sure that I’d use this benefit enough to justify keeping the card, but as long as I have the card I’m going to try to remember to pay for all event tickets with my Prestige card!

Golf Benefit: Last year Citi took away free rounds of golf, but the Prestige card still offers access to many golf courses that otherwise require an expensive membership.  I’m not a golfer, but I expect that this benefit is extremely valuable for some.

Priority Pass immediate family: There’s nothing special about an ultra-premium card providing Priority Pass access. It would be unusual not too.  But with Chase Sapphire Reserve reducing Priority Pass access to two guests, those with families of 4 or more may value the Prestige version that allows unlimited numbers of immediate family members.  On the other hand, the Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card and the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite cards still allow unlimited guests regardless of whether or not they are family.

Citi Dining: When you book certain restaurants through the Citi Concierge, you’ll get some freebies at the restaurant such as free drinks or appetizers, or an overall discount.  Unfortunately, the current selection of restaurants is extremely limited.  A landing page for this program can be found here: www.citiprivatepass.com/dining.html (scroll down).  Unfortunately, the page has never been updated with an actual list of restaurants.  If you want to eat out in New York, Los Angeles, or Miami, I recommend emailing the Citi Concierge (concierge@yourconciergecenter.com) to ask about participating restaurants.  When I recently contacted the concierge for restaurants in New York, I was sent a PDF listing available restaurants and the perk that each offered.  Here are a couple of examples from the PDF:

Bottom Line

The Prestige card offers several unusual benefits that can be quite valuable for some.  Personally, the 4th Night Free benefit is the only one that I’d consider paying up front for (which is essentially what I’m doing each year when I renew).  The rest, for me, are nice to haves.  Your situation, though, is likely to be different and you may value these perks differently than I do.

So, what am I going to do?  I’ll keep the card another year.  I tend to use the 4th Night Free benefit at least once or twice each year.  That more than pays for the incremental annual fee after getting $250 back by using the card to pay for airfare (plus, I seem to have been grandfathered into a $350 annual fee).  And from now on I’m going to try harder to remember the other benefits that have gone unused…

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