44 Benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card [Lounge Access, Car Rental Insurance & More]

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Premium travel rewards cards come with luxury travel benefits that make travel more convenient and more comfortable — ideally with complimentary benefits the traveler would normally be paying for.

The Citi Prestige® Card stands out among travel rewards cards due to a few unique features that could elevate it on your list of travel rewards cards to consider.

You’ll find a broad range of bonus earning categories, special lounge access that favors large families, and an easy way to score free hotel nights.

But these benefits are not all that make the Citi Prestige® a potential match for the frequent traveler. We’ve dug deep into the fine print of the Citi Prestige® benefits guide and uncovered the most important aspects of this card.

We’ll illustrate how the Citi Prestige® combines up-front value with ongoing earning potential, making it a travel rewards card you’ll keep for the long term.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

Lots of Ways to Earn ThankYou Rewards Points

The Citi Prestige® shines when it comes to earning valuable ThankYou points. You’ll find that most of the travel purchases you make fall into a ThankYou points bonus earning category.

1. A Generous Welcome Bonus

When you’re approved for a Citi Prestige® Card, you’ll be offered a welcome bonus worth hundreds of dollars when redeemed for travel. The bonus is earned after completing a minimum spending requirement in the first 3 months after card approval.

2. Earn on Purchases Made With the Airlines

Earn 5 points per dollar spent directly with airlines.

3. Earn on Travel Agency Purchases

Purchases made through travel agencies earn 5 points per dollar spent.

4. Earn When Dining Out

Purchases made at restaurants, cafes, bars, and even fast food establishments earn 5 points per dollar spent.

5. Earn on Hotel Purchases

Earn 3 points per dollar spent on hotel purchases.

6. Earn on Cruise Line Purchases 

Purchases made with cruise lines earn 3 points per dollar spent.

7. Earn on Every Purchase 

Every purchase you make on your Citi Prestige® Card will earn at least 1 point per dollar spent.

8. No Limit on ThankYou Points

Many travel rewards credit cards have limits on earnings. But there is no limit on the number of ThankYou points you can earn with the Citi Prestige®, even in bonus categories.

Bottom Line: The Citi Prestige® offers frequent travelers a broad range of bonus earning categories that will make it easy to earn a lot of ThankYou points.

Priority Pass Lounge - The Club at San Jose, CA
Enjoy complimentary lounge access for you and your family or guests with a Priority Pass Select membership. Image Credit: Priority Pass

Access to Over 1,200 Airport Lounges Worldwide

9. Priority Pass Select Membership

The Citi Prestige card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership. Cardholders can enjoy access to the Priority Pass worldwide lounge network, which has over 1,200 lounges, affiliated restaurants, and Minute Suite locations.

Affiliated Priority Pass restaurants offer up to $30 per person in credits when dining at these locations. Minute Suites offer Priority Pass Select members a free hour of service and discounted rates after that.

Cardholders can bring their entire immediate family into lounge properties, or they can bring 2 guests.

Hot Tip: There are several credit cards that give you Priority Pass lounge access, the Citi Prestige is certainly not the only one. However, the Prestige is the only card that earns Citi ThankYou points which offers this perk. 

10. Share the Benefit With Others

Authorized users added to your Citi Prestige® Card also receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which includes the ability to bring immediate family or 2 guests.

The fee to add an authorized user is $75 annually.

Bottom Line: Complimentary worldwide lounge access for your entire immediate family is reason alone to get the Citi Prestige® if you travel frequently with more than 2 additional family members.

Hotel and Car Rental Benefits

11. 4th Hotel Night Free

Book any eligible hotel through thankyou.com or by calling 1-800THANKYOU, and you’ll receive a credit for the average of the nightly rate when booking 4 consecutive nights or more. For example, if you booked 4 hotel nights at an average room rate of $200 per night (excluding taxes/fees), you would receive a $200 credit at the time of booking.

You can use the 4th-night-free benefit twice per year. Before September 1, 2019, you can use the benefit an unlimited number of times, and it will not count toward the 2 per calendar year limit.

12. Luxury Hotel and Resorts Benefits

Receive free spa sessions, upgraded rooms, hotel credits, late checkout, complimentary breakfast, and more at over 2,000 luxury properties worldwide. This benefit is provided via World Elite Mastercard.

13. Car Rental Program Benefits

Citi Prestige® cardholders enjoy elite-level benefits with 3 major car rental programs, as well as complimentary World Elite Mastercard Car Rental membership.

  • Elite status with Hertz, Sixt, and National car rental programs
  • Complimentary World Elite Mastercard Car Rental membership
Westin Princeville Kauai
Transfer your ThankYou rewards points to your Singapore KrisFlyer account and book flights on United to Hawaii. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Redeeming Your ThankYou Point Rewards

14. Transfer Points to Airline Loyalty Programs

Receive the highest potential value for your ThankYou rewards points by transferring them to any of their airline partner frequent flyer programs. Points transfer at a ratio of 1 ThankYou point to 1 airline mile.

Hot Tip: For ideas on how to maximize your ThankYou points when transferring to airline partners, check out our list of creative redemption options.

15. Redeem for Travel Via the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal

ThankYou points can be redeemed for a variety of travel options via the ThankYou travel portal. You can book flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars, sightseeing excursions, and even experiences.

You’ll receive 1.25 cents per point in value on airfare (1 cent per point beginning September 2019) when redeeming via the portal for travel.

16. Transfer Points to Sears Shop Your Way

Another option for using your ThankYou points is to transfer them to Sears Shop Your Way points. You’ll receive 12 Shop Your Way points for each ThankYou point — that translates into 1.2 cents per point to use at Sears and the Sears Marketplace (where you can find just about anything).

17. Make a Charitable Donation

Your ThankYou points can be used to make a charitable donation to the Red Cross or Smile Train. Points transfer at a rate of 1:1, so you’ll receive 1 cent in value for each point.

18. Pay Your Student Loans or Your Mortgage

Receive 1 cent in value for each ThankYou point when making your monthly mortgage payment or your student loan payment.

19. Redeem for Gift Cards

Redeeming ThankYou points for gift cards can occasionally result in a value of more than 1 cent per point when there are special deals.

20. Redeem for Cash Back or Shopping

While you’ll receive less value for your points when redeeming for cash back or shopping, you have the option if you’re in a pinch. Expect to receive as little as a half-cent per point when using this redemption option.

You can also link your card to your Amazon or Best Buy account and use points for purchases — but once again, you will only be getting a half-cent per point in value (which we don’t advise).

Bottom Line: The best value for your ThankYou points is to transfer them to airline travel partners and purchase award tickets. In some cases you can receive a value of 5-6 cents per point! Be sure to check the cost of a ticket before you transfer points, as transfers are not reversible. 

Amtrak Train Lounge
Use your $250 travel statement credit for any type of travel. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Travel and Shopping Statement Credits

21. $250 Travel Credit

Use your Citi Prestige® to purchase travel and receive a statement credit up to $250 each calendar year. Travel purchases include transactions with airlines, hotels, cruises, and much more.

22. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

Receive up to $100 when paying for your Global Entry application or renewal with your Citi Prestige®, or $85 when purchasing or renewing TSA PreCheck. The credit is valid once every 5 years.

Recreation and Entertainment Benefits

23. Citi Prestige Concierge

Receive 24/7 assistance with all your travel planning needs, including dinner reservations, finding the perfect lodging, and planning destination activities.

24. Citi Dining Benefits

Enjoy special access to dining events, discounts, and complimentary drinks/appetizers through Citi Dining. Contact your Citi Concierge for a list of participating restaurants and access event offerings by logging into your account.

25. Missed Event Ticket Protection

Things don’t always go as planned — maybe you’re excited about attending that special event, but your tickets accidentally get left in your pants pocket (and don’t survive the rinse cycle).

No worries if you paid for your event tickets with your Citi Prestige® or ThankYou points! You’ll be covered up to $500 per ticket and $5,000 per calendar year.

Covered losses include an accident or illness that prevents you from attending an event, jury duty, the death of a family member, and more.

Citi Tickets
Enjoy access to preferred seating and presale privileges with your Citi Prestige®. Image Credit: Citi

26. Citi Entertainment

Citi Prestige® cardholders can enjoy special access to sporting events, concerts, theater performances, and dining events. Receive advance ticket access, VIP seating, special amenities, and more.

World Elite Mastercard Benefits

Some of the benefits we’re mentioning in this article are actually World Elite Mastercard Benefits that apply to several different affiliated cards. The list of World Elite Mastercard benefits is lengthy, but here is a sampling of additional benefits offered to cardholders.

27. World Elite Air Program

Enjoy discounts on premium fares, such as 15% off Lufthansa and 10% off Air New Zealand.

28. World Elite Tours and Vacations

Receive discounts on Monogram vacations, Swiss Luxury Apartments, and more.

29. Priceless Mastercard Golf Experiences

Enjoy amenities and members-only privileges at over 1,000 golf courses worldwide. Receive discounts, use of private club facilities, and access to priority tee times.

Bottom Line: World Elite Mastercard benefits tend to lean more toward luxury-level perks, but taking time to explore these added benefits can yield special deals and unique experiences.

Alamo Rental Car
Car rental coverage is just one of the benefits of the Citi Prestige®. Image Credit: Alamo

Travel Protections and Benefits

30. Car Rental Insurance

Pay for your car rental in its entirety with your Citi Prestige® Card, ThankYou points, or a combination of the 2 to activate coverage. You must also decline the rental car company’s collision damage waiver coverage (CDW).

Coverage for damage or theft to the rental car is primary when outside of the United States and secondary within the United States. (Secondary coverage requires that you must first file a claim with your auto insurance company first.)

Since CDW coverage can cost as much as $30 per day, not having to purchase this coverage can save a lot of money each car rental period. The rental period must be no longer than 31 days, and any loss of use charges incurred due to a covered event are excluded.

Hot Tip: Do you rent cars often for business and/or leisure? If so, see our article on the best credit cards for car rental insurance coverage for more options.

31. Emergency Medical Evacuation

Medical evacuation due to unexpected injuries while traveling can be extremely expensive, and having complimentary coverage can result in huge value if this service is needed.

Coverage of up to $100,000 is provided on the Citi Prestige® for the cardholder, spouse, domestic partner, and dependents traveling with you.

At least a portion of the trip must be paid with ThankYou points and/or your Citi Prestige® Card.

32. Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Sickness, injury, weather, or something else…if your trip is canceled or interrupted for any of the many covered reasons, you could receive up to $5,000 per trip.

33. Trip Delay Protection

If your trip is delayed at least 6 hours, you could receive up to $500 per covered person, per trip.

34. Baggage Delay Protection

Baggage that does not reach your destination within 6 hours of your arrival may be covered up to $500 per person, per trip. You must pay for a portion of your trip with ThankYou points or your Citi Prestige® Card to qualify.

35. Lost Baggage Insurance

Receive up to $3,000 per bag ($2,000 for New York residents) if your bag is lost, damaged, or stolen on a common carrier during your trip. There is a maximum limit of $10,000 per year.

36. Roadside Assistance

When things go wrong on the road, help is on its way at no cost to you with roadside dispatch assistance.  Services include towing/winching, fuel delivery, jumpstart service, lockout service, and flat tire service.

37. Travel and Emergency Assistance

No matter where you are, you’re just a phone call away from help with 24/7 emergency travel assistance. Whether it’s a referral for an English speaking doctor, a legal referral, or assistance getting emergency medical transportation, the hotline can help.

Note that cardholders are responsible for the actual cost of services.

38. Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance

If serious injury or death should occur while traveling on a trip paid for in full or in part with your Citi Prestige®, travel accident insurance can pay up to $1,000,000.

The cardholder, spouse, domestic partner, and dependents are covered.

39. No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Citi Prestige® Card is designed for travelers, so you’ll never incur any foreign transaction fees on your purchases.

Bottom Line: The Citi Prestige® is loaded with travel protections and benefits like trip interruption, trip delay, lost/stolen/delayed baggage, and complimentary roadside assistance.

Cell Phone Protection
The Citi Prestige is one of the few travel rewards cards that comes with cell phone protection. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

40. Cell Phone Protection

Charge your monthly wireless bill to your Citi Prestige® Card and receive coverage for damage or theft of your cell phone.

Coverage is limited to $1,000 per claim and $1,500 per 12-month period. There is a $50 deductible per claim.

41. Purchase Protection

Pay for an eligible item with ThankYou points and/or your Citi Prestige® Card to receive coverage for damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

The maximum coverage is $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year.

42. Citi Price Rewind

If you pay for an eligible item with your Citi Prestige® Card, Citi Price Rewind will search for a lower price on that product. If a lower price is found, you may receive the difference in price.

Coverage is valid for 60 days from the date of purchase and limited to $200 per eligible item and $1,000 per calendar year.

Note that Citi has announced that this benefit will be eliminated September 22, 2019.

43. Extended Warranty

On eligible items purchased with the Cit Prestige®, Citi will extend the manufacturer’s warranty by 24 months. This coverage is valid on items with warranties of 5 years or less.

44. Return Protection

Have you ever purchased an item and tried to return it with no success? Citi makes sure this doesn’t happen to you with its return protection.

Purchase an eligible item with your card, and if the merchant will not take the item back within 90 days of your purchase date, you could receive up to $500 per item (up to $1,500 per calendar year).

Bottom Line: There are plenty of shopping benefits and protections on the Citi Prestige®, but the cell phone insurance may be one of the most valuable if you’re currently paying monthly for this coverage.

Final Thoughts

If you travel with more than 2 family members, the value of complimentary worldwide lounge access for your entire immediate family when traveling is reason alone to secure the Citi Prestige® Card.

The card’s broad range of bonus earning categories also makes it easy to collect points quickly from travel and dining purchases. Additionally, the $250 travel statement credit will be exceptionally easy for the traveler to use quickly, as the definition of a “travel” purchase is quite broad.

If you are an active traveler and enjoy hiking, white water rafting, and other outdoor adventure activities, having $100,000 worth of emergency evacuation coverage with the card is a real plus.

Finally, flexible redemption options, cell phone protection, and travel benefits like trip delay and interruption coverage, round out the more important benefits of this card.

The exclusion of loss-of-use coverage on the car rental insurance and the higher annual fee could certainly be downsides to having this card. But if you’ll use the majority of benefits on the card and are aware of this one shortcoming on the car rental coverage, the Citi Prestige® Card still provides stellar overall value for frequent travelers.

Featured Image Credit: plaza-network.com


Is the Citi Prestige® Card worth it?

The Citi Prestige® has a few unique features that make it worth the annual fee.

Worldwide lounge access is one of the most valuable benefits. A family of 4 or more can incur costs of up to $1,000 (or more) for an annual family airport lounge membership.

Or they could spend several hundred dollars a year for an extra daily guest pass each time they travel together.

Since the card allows the entire immediate family to enter Priority Pass lounges, this benefit can be valuable to a family who travels together even just a few times per year.

The $250 travel credit is easy to use as it is valid for a broad range of travel purchases.

The 4th-night-free hotel credit can also generate hundreds of dollars a year in savings.

Do ThankYou points expire?

As long as you have your card open and active, the ThankYou points earned on your Citi Prestige® will not expire.

Should you close your account, ThankYou points do expire after 30 days.

How does the 4th hotel night free work?

Just book your hotel for 4 consecutive nights or more via the Citi ThankYou travel portal or calling the 1-800ThankYou booking line.

You will automatically receive a credit in the amount of the average room rate (minus taxes and fees).

For example, if you book 4 nights with an average room rate of $250, you will receive a credit at the time of booking for that amount. There is no set limit on the amount of the credit.

You can also use the benefit an unlimited amount of times prior to September 1, 2019. After that, you will be limited to using the benefit just 2 times per year.

The 4th-night-free benefit still offers the potential to save hundreds of dollars each year, even with just 2 uses.

One downside of the 4th-night-free benefit is that you are booking through a third party (thankyou.com), so you may be forfeiting any hotel loyalty program elite benefits.

How does the $250 travel credit work?

The $250 travel statement credit is easy to use. Just make a travel purchase, and your statement will automatically be credited with the amount of the purchase, up to $250 per calendar year.

“Travel” includes purchases with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, transportation, cruise lines, bus tickets, parking, and more.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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