The Citi Prestige® Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Full Disclosure: We may be compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions on this site are ours alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

Frequent travelers will find tremendous value in carrying at least 1 premium travel rewards card.

Having access to an airport lounge, earning rewards on travel purchases, and enjoying those extra travel perks make having a travel rewards card in your wallet a smart move.

There are certainly plenty of premium travel rewards cards to choose from, and most will serve you just fine. Two of the most popular are the Citi Prestige® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

If you’ve been looking specifically at either of these cards, this comparison will be an informative time saver. We’ve reviewed each benefit category with an emphasis on the perks that make these premium cards valuable for travelers, and we’ll share how we think each card measures up to deliver those benefits.

Our overview will break down what’s important to know about each card and make it easy for you to compare their features and benefits.

Welcome Bonuses

Each card we’re comparing has its own rewards program. The Platinum Card® earns Membership Rewards points, and the Citi Prestige® earns ThankYou points.

When you apply for either card and are approved, you’ll qualify for welcome bonus points worth hundreds of dollars after meeting a minimum spending requirement in the first 3 months after card approval.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Citi Prestige® Card

Complimentary airport lounge access adds comfort and convenience to your travels. Image courtesy of American Express.

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access

Paid airport lounge access can be expensive — a day pass for 1 person can be as much as $50, and an annual membership can cost $600 or more!

Thus, having complimentary airport lounge access can provide real value, and this is often a primary reason for selecting a premium travel rewards card. Let’s take a look at how these cards stack up when it comes to complimentary airport lounge access.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® delivers a broad selection of worldwide lounge networks through the American Express Global Lounge Collection. Most notably, you’ll have access to luxury lounges such as those in the Centurion lounge network, as well as over 1,200 lounges that make up the Priority Pass network.

Cardholders and authorized users receive unlimited lounge access and can bring 2 additional guests at no charge. Here’s a complete list of qualifying lounges networks:

Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige® comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership, meaning cardholders can enjoy access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide.

One major benefit of the Citi Prestige® Card over the Platinum Card® when it comes to Priority Pass lounge access is that Citi Prestige cardholders can bring their immediate family into the lounges without regard to the 2-guest limit — Citi Prestige members and authorized users are allowed to bring immediate family or 2 guests.

To learn more about complimentary airport lounge access, our article on the best ways to secure it includes everything you need to know.

Bottom Line: The Platinum Card® has broader lounge access options and includes the luxury-level Centurion Lounge network. Additionally, cardholders can bring 2 guests without charge. The Citi Prestige® offers complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership only, but cardholders can bring their immediate family without worrying about the 2-guest limit

Fisher Island Resort
Receive special amenities at Fine Hotel & Resorts properties. Image of Fisher Island Resort courtesy of Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Hotel and Rental Car Program Elite Benefits

Hotel Program Benefits

Hotel and rental car benefits are important to many travelers; here’s how our featured cards deliver on those benefits.

Premium Travel Rewards CardHotel Elite Status or Benefits
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Citi Prestige® Card
  • 4th night free on hotel bookings
  • World Luxury Hotels and Resorts benefits

The Platinum Card® comes with Gold elite hotel status in both Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. Elite members receive benefits such as upgraded rooms, free Wi-Fi, elevated earnings, and late checkout.

In addition, the Fine Hotels & Resorts benefit offers members free breakfast, upgraded rooms, and special amenities at these properties. Finally, any stay of 2 nights or longer with The Hotel Collection that’s prepaid on your Platinum Card® will earn a $100 credit for qualifying purchases made at the hotel.

With the Citi Prestige®, you can book any hotel for 4+ consecutive nights through the thankyou.com portal or the 1-800 ThankYou line. You will then receive a credit equal to the average cost per night of your stay (minus taxes and fees). You must pay for the stay with your Citi Prestige®, ThankYou points, or a combination of the 2.

You’ll receive this benefit in the form of a statement credit within 2 statement periods. Credits are unlimited for 4 night stays until 8/31/2019, at which point you’ll be limited to 2 credits per calendar year.

Cardholders can also receive onsite benefits such as free breakfast, room upgrades, hotel credits, and other amenities through the World Mastercard Luxury Hotels and Resorts program.

Rental Car Program Benefits

You’ll receive rental car elite status and program benefits with both the Platinum Card® and Citi Prestige®.

Platinum Card® from American Express

Citi Prestige® Card

  • Complimentary World Elite Mastercard Car Rental membership
  • Elite status with National, Hertz, and Sixt rental car programs

Bottom Line: The Platinum Card® shines in providing hotel elite status with Hilton and Marriott, onsite hotel amenities in their luxury hotel programs, and rental car program benefits/elite status. The Citi Prestige® can save you hundreds of dollars with its 4th-night free hotel benefit and rental car elite status with 3 rental car programs. 

Restaurant Table Above
Earn 5x points on dining with the Citi Prestige® Card. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Earning Potential

Getting great value from your premium travel rewards card over the long term includes earning the most rewards for the type of purchases you make.

Up-front welcome bonuses are nice, but they’re short lived. Typically, these are earned after meeting minimum spending requirements in just the first few months.

After that initial surge, rewards earning will depend on the purchases you make. Here’s how these 2 cards compare when it comes to earning power.

Bonus Earning CategoryCiti Prestige® Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Flights purchased directly from airlines5 points per dollar5 points per dollar
Flights purchased through Amex TravelN/A5 points per dollar
Prepaid hotel purchases through Amex TravelN/A2 points per dollar
Purchases through travel agencies5 points per dollar1 point per dollar
Other airline purchases (incidentals, onboard food/beverage purchases, upgrades)5 points per dollar1 point per dollar
Restaurant purchases5 points per dollar1 point per dollar
Hotel and cruise line purchases3 points per dollar1 point per dollar
All other purchases1 point per dollar1 point per dollar

As you can see, if you spend a lot on flights and pre-paid hotels through Amex Travel, you’ll receive 5x earnings with the Platinum Card®.

But the Citi Prestige® has a broader earning spectrum, with 5x earnings on flights purchased from the airlines, purchases made through travel agencies, restaurant purchases, and airline incidentals. You’ll also be earning 3 points per dollar spent with hotels and cruise lines.

Bottom Line: Unless you spend a lot on flights purchased directly from airlines and Amex Travel, you’ll earn more rewards on a broader range of travel and related purchases with the Citi Prestige®.

Redeeming Points

Each of these cards has its own rewards-earning program: The Platinum Card® earns Membership Rewards points, and the Citi Prestige® earns ThankYou points.

When we look at an overview of redemption options for those points, however, both cards offer similar choices and values.

Redemption OptionThe Platinum Card®Citi Prestige®
Air travel
  • 1 cent per point in value when redeeming through Amex Travel
  • 1.25 cents per point in value when redeeming through the thankyou.com travel portal
  • 1 cent per point after August 31, 2019
Hotels, cruises, flight/hotel packages, and rental cars
  • Varies, but less than 1 cent per point
  • 1.25 cents per point
  • 1 cent per point after August 31, 2019
Transfer to travel partner loyalty programs
  • Yes: 17 airline partners and 3 hotel partners
  • Yes: 15 airline partners
Other redemption options (less than 1 cent per point)
  • Statement credits,  merchandise
  • Cash-back, statement credits, merchandise

For both cards, one of the best ways to maximize points is to transfer them to airline partner frequent flyer programs and purchase award tickets.

Both cards allow redeeming points for statement credits, but this doesn’t present a great value in either case. Gift cards can be a decent redemption option for either card when there are special sales and the value exceeds 1 cent per point redeemed.

For creative and high-value ideas on the best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points and ThankYou points, check out our guides.

Bottom Line: The best redemption value with either the Platinum Card® or Citi Prestige® can be realized by transferring rewards points to airline partners and purchasing airline award tickets. Be sure to check cash prices before you transfer points, however, as transfers cannot be reversed. 

Uber Eats
Use your Platinum Card® Uber statement credits for UberEats. Image courtesy of Uber Eats.

Statement and Shopping Credits

Statement credits that rebate purchases for specific shopping and travel expenses help offset the annual fee on your card. Let’s take a look at the statement credits offered on each of these cards.

Statement or Shopping CreditCiti Prestige®The Platinum Card®
Airline fee credits
  • N/A
  • $200
Travel credits
  • $250
  • N/A
Saks Fifth Avenue
  • N/A
  • $100
Uber
  • N/A
  • $200
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement
  • Up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry, or up to $85 every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck
  • Up to $100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA PreCheck
  • Limit of 1 credit every 5 years

While the Platinum Card® offers a total of $500 in shopping credits and the Citi Prestige® only $250, you must use Uber and shop at Saks Fifth Avenue to maximize the Platinum Card® benefits.

In addition, the $200 airline credit with the Platinum Card® is just for airline incidental fees, while the Citi Prestige® $250 travel credit covers a broad range of travel purchases, making it easier to utilize.

Bottom Line: It’s easier to use the Citi Prestige® Card’s travel statement credit of $250 since it applies to general travel purchases. However, the Platinum Card® comes with additional Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue credits that provide more value if you’ll use them. 

Annual Fees & Adding Additional Users

Premium travel rewards cards charge higher annual fees that correspond with the level of benefits you receive.

You can find the latest annual fee and pricing information for these cards here:

Adding authorized users to your card allows trusted family and friends to receive many of the same benefits as the primary cardholder.

Premium Travel Rewards CardAdditional Authorized User Fees
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Add up to 3 additional authorized users for a total of $175, in addition to the annual fee
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Citi Prestige® Card
  • Each authorized user costs $75 in addition to the annual fee

Whether you add 1 authorized user or 3, you will have to pay $175 with the Platinum Card® — but you’ll pay just $75 to add 1 authorized user to your Citi Prestige®.

Authorized users on the Platinum Card® receive worldwide lounge access (plus 2 guests), hotel elite status, and benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Citi Prestige® authorized users receive Priority Pass Select membership, which allows the authorized user to bring their entire immediate family or up to 2 guests into these airport lounges.

Hot Tip: One advantage of adding authorized users to either of these cards is the complimentary lounge access. Platinum Card® authorized users have access with 2 guests to lounges in the entire American Express Global Lounge Collection (including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass locations). Citi Prestige® authorized users are limited to Priority Pass lounges, but can bring their entire immediate family or 2 guests.  

Hertz Car Rental
The car rental loss and damage insurance that comes with premium travel cards can save you plenty. Image courtesy of Hertz.

Travel Protection and Insurance

Here’s how the Platinum Card® and Citi Prestige® compare on some key travel protections and insurance.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Both cards offer car rental loss and damage insurance, which can offer significant savings when renting a vehicle. To ensure you are covered, you must:

  • Reserve and pay for your rental car entirely with your card
  • Decline the rental car agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage

The Platinum Card®’s coverage is secondary, which means you must first file a claim with your current auto insurance company before its coverage applies. You can purchase optional primary coverage from American Express for $12.95-$24.95 for the entire rental period (up to 42 days).

The Citi Prestige® offers secondary car rental coverage in the U.S. and primary coverage for international rentals. (Primary coverage kicks in without needing to file a claim with your insurance company first).

Both cards provide coverage for theft and damage to the rental car. However, the Citi Prestige® does not cover loss of use, while the Platinum Card® includes this coverage. Both cards have a coverage limit of $75,000.

Bottom Line: While the Platinum Card® offers only secondary rental car coverage, you have the option to purchase primary coverage that is valid for the entire rental period for a nominal charge. The Citi Prestige® rental car coverage is primary for international rentals but secondary in the U.S., with no option to purchase primary protection. The Citi Prestige® also does not include coverage for loss of use of the rental car, while the Platinum Card® does. 

Trip Cancellation, Trip Delay, & Trip Interruption

  • The Platinum Card® does not provide coverage for trip cancellation, trip delay, or trip interruption.
  • The Citi Prestige® provides trip cancellation and interruption coverage up to $5,000 per trip for qualifying reasons. Trip delay coverage for delays of 6 hours or more is provided up to $500 per person, per trip.

Roadside Assistance

  • Both the Platinum Card® and Citi Prestige® come with premium roadside assistance, which includes fuel delivery, towing, winching, jump starts, tire changing, and more.
  • The Platinum Card® limits no-cost service calls to 4 per year.
Medical Evacuation
Knowing you have medical evacuation coverage can give you peace of mind while traveling. Image courtesy of Squaremouth.com.

Medical Evacuation

One benefit that delivers peace of mind while traveling is emergency evacuation coverage. If you’re injured and need to be evacuated if an accident occurs in a remote area, this could be extremely expensive if you pay out of pocket.

Fortunately, both the Platinum Card® and Citi Prestige® have emergency evacuation coverage.

  • The Platinum Card® provides coverage for emergency medical evacuation for the cardholder, spouse, domestic partner, and covered family members through the Premium Global Assist Hotline that comes with the card.
  • The Citi Prestige® provides emergency medical evacuation for the cardholder, spouse, domestic partner, and covered family members up to $100,000.

Lost or Delayed Baggage Protection

  • The Platinum Card® provides baggage insurance protection up to $3,000 for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage if the trip was purchased with your card.
  • The Citi Prestige® provides $500 of coverage per traveler, per trip, for bags delayed 6 hours or more. Lost, stolen, or damaged baggage has coverage of up to $3,000 per bag. At least a portion of the trip must have been purchased with the card for coverage to qualify.

Emergency Assistance & Travel Accident Insurance

Both cards offer a hotline for assistance if things go wrong during your travels. Available help includes medical and legal referrals, translation services, and help getting emergency transportation.

In addition, travel accident insurance is provided on both cards should a serious injury or death occur while traveling on a common carrier.

Shopping Protections

Purchase Protection

Both the Platinum Card® and the Citi Prestige® provide coverage for damage, loss, or theft of qualifying purchases.

  • The Citi Prestige® provides 90 days of coverage from the date of purchase, and the Platinum Card® covers purchases for 120 days (90 days for New York residents).
  • Both the Citi Prestige® and Platinum Card® offer the same limits on coverage: up to $10,000 per item for a maximum of $50,000 per calendar year. 

(If this form of insurance is important to you, see our article on the best credit cards for purchase protection.)

Cell Phone Protection

  • Charge your monthly wireless cell phone service to your Citi Prestige® card and receive coverage for a damaged or stolen phone. Coverage is limited to $1,000 per claim and $1,500 within a 12-month period with a $50 deductible.
  • Cell phone protection on the Platinum Card® is limited to that provided under the purchase protection coverage mentioned above.

Purchase Price Protection

  • Citi Price Rewind searches your purchases; if a lower price is found, you could receive up to $200 (maximum $1,000 per year).
  • The Platinum Card® does not offer price protection.

Extended Warranty

  • The Platinum Card® extends a manufacturer’s warranty on an eligible item for up to 2 additional years on items with warranties of 5 years or less.
  • The Citi Prestige® will add 24 months to a manufacturer’s warranty, not to exceed 7 years for all warranties combined.

Return Protection

  • If a merchant will not accept a return of a qualifying item within 90 days of your purchase, the Platinum Card® offers coverage up to $300 per item (maximum $1,000 per year).
  • The Citi Prestige® has the same coverage with limits of $500 per item and a yearly maximum of $1,500.

Additional Benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Platinum Concierge: 24/7 assistance with travel, tickets to an event, dinner reservations, shopping, and more
  • Amex Offers: Savings and bonus Membership Rewards points for purchasing at select merchants
  • Entertainment and Dining Access: Enjoy priority restaurant reservations, preferred access to events, and ticket presale offers
  • The Travel Collection: Book through TTC and receive discounts, amenities, and even cruise stateroom credits. Membership normally costs $295 per year, but it comes complimentary with the card.
  • Shoprunner: Members enjoy free 2-day shipping and returns
  • Delta Private Jets: Receive a 20% discount off regular fares
  • Amex Auto Purchasing Program: Save thousands on the purchase of your vehicle and get the ability to charge a portion of the cost on your card
  • International Airline Program: Receive special discounts when purchasing premium airline tickets

Additional Benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card 

  • Citi Prestige Concierge: 24/7 expert assistance with travel, entertainment, dining, shopping, and everyday needs
  • Missed Ticketed Event Protection: If something unexpected causes you to miss an event, you may receive a reimbursement up to $500 (maximum of $5,000 per year). You must have purchased the ticket with your card.
  • World Elite Mastercard Benefits: The list of World Elite Mastercard benefits is lengthy, but it includes the following:
    • Luxury Hotels and Resorts perks
    • Worldwide golf experiences and discounts
    • Up to 25% off premium flights
    • Vacation package, cruise, hotel, and car rental discounts/benefits
    • ID theft protection
    • Shoprunner membership
    • Special event access

Final Thoughts

Our comparison of the key features of The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Citi Prestige® Card focuses on those benefits that deliver the highest value.

Before selecting a premium travel rewards card, you’ll want to look into the details of all the benefits provided as well as the card’s pricing. We suggest reviewing the overview of Citi Prestige® benefits and more details on Platinum Card® benefits. You’ll find pricing information in our review links at the beginning of this article as well.

So what’s the bottom line? The Platinum Card® is loaded with luxury travel benefits, travel and shopping credits, and elevated earnings on flights and prepaid hotels. You also receive access to the highly desirable Centurion Lounge Network, which is a privilege you can’t buy elsewhere.

While the Citi Prestige® lacks the long list of luxury travel benefits, it does provide Priority Pass Select membership that allows cardholders (and authorized users) to bring their immediate family, or 2 guests, into over 1,200 lounges worldwide.

The Citi Prestige® also offers a broader range of bonus earning categories. If these categories match up with your spending patterns, you may be able to earn greater rewards on this card.

In the end, the card that is best for you will have an annual fee you’re comfortable paying, benefits that make sense for your lifestyle, and earnings that match up with your spending patterns.


Featured Image Credit: Upgraded Points

For fees and rates, please click here. 

FAQ

Is the Platinum Card® worth the annual fee?

Yes, if you can use all the benefits that come with the card.

Worldwide lounge access alone compensates for the annual fee, and that is just one premium benefit of having the card.

Statement credits for spending at specific merchants can also add significant value.

If you spend a lot on airline flights and on prepaid hotels via Amex travel, you’re going to earn a significant level of rewards.

Is the Citi Prestige® worth the annual fee?

Once again, the answer is yes if you are able to utilize all the benefits the card offers.

The Priority Pass Select membership is significant, especially if you travel with family. Cardholders are allowed to bring their entire immediate family into Priority Pass lounges without regard for the 2-guest limit. This can be a significant savings over purchasing lounge passes or an annual family lounge membership.

Additionally, if you’re able to use the 4th-night free hotel benefit, you could save hundreds of dollars a year.

Which card has the best car rental insurance?

Of the two premium travel rewards cards we compared, the Platinum Card® from American Express has the better car rental coverage.

Although it provides only secondary coverage (meaning you must submit a claim to your own insurance company first), you can purchase primary coverage for a nominal fee of $12.95-$24.95 per rental period.

Also, the Platinum Card® does not exclude loss of use coverage, which could be an expensive charge if your rental car was in an accident and you had to pay the company for the car being out of service.

The Citi Prestige®, under its terms and conditions effective April 2019, excludes rental car loss of use charges.

Does the Platinum Card® cover cell phones?

The Platinum Card® comes with purchase protection coverage. If you purchase your phone with your Platinum Card®, you will have coverage for theft and damage for 120 days from the date of purchase (90 days for New York residents).

How does the Citi Prestige® cell phone coverage work?

Pay for your ongoing monthly wireless service with your Citi Prestige® to activate coverage.

Coverage is limited to $1,000 per claim and $1,500 per year with a $50 deductible.

You can have up to 5 cell phones included for coverage, as long as the monthly service fee is being paid with the Citi Prestige® Card.

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.

These travel secrets can be life-changing...

What if you & your family could explore more of the world than you ever thought possible - without blowing your savings?

Discover the real-life strategies that anyone can use to enjoy limitless travel (even on a limited budget!)

Just sign up below and we'll send you the Limitless Travel Playbook instantly:

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. For more information on our advertisers, see here.