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. 2 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.
Hot Tip: At this time, the Citi Prestige card is no longer available for new applicants.
Each card we’re comparing has its own rewards program. The Amex Platinum card earns Membership Rewards points, and the Citi Prestige card earns ThankYou Points.
When you apply for either card and are approved, you’ll qualify for welcome bonus points normally worth at least hundreds of dollars after meeting a minimum spending requirement in the first 3 months after card approval.
Amex Platinum Card
Citi Prestige Card
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.
Amex Platinum Card
The Amex 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 1,300 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 card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership, meaning cardholders can enjoy access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide.
One major benefit of the Citi Prestige card over the Amex 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 cardmembers 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 Amex 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 card offers complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership only, but cardholders can bring their immediate family without worrying about the 2-guest limit.
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.
The Amex 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 Amex Platinum card will earn a $100 credit for qualifying purchases made at the hotel.
With the Citi Prestige card, you can book any hotel for 4+ consecutive nights through the thankyou.com portal or the 800-THANKYOU (800-842-6596) 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 card, ThankYou Points, or a combination of the 2.
You will be able to use this perk twice per calendar year per card account. The benefit will appear in the form of a statement credit within 2 statement periods.
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 Amex Platinum card and Citi Prestige card.
Amex Platinum Card
Citi Prestige Card
- Complimentary World Elite Mastercard Car Rental membership
- Elite status with National, Hertz, and SIXT rental car programs
Bottom Line: The Amex 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 card can save you hundreds of dollars with its fourth-night free hotel benefit and rental car elite status with 3 rental car programs.
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.
Upfront 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 Category||Citi Prestige Card|
|Amex Platinum Card|
|Flights purchased directly from airlines||5 points per dollar||5 points per dollar|
|Flights purchased through Amex Travel||N/A||5 points per dollar|
|Prepaid hotel purchases through Amex Travel||N/A||2 points per dollar|
|Purchases through travel agencies||5 points per dollar||1 point per dollar|
|Other airline purchases (incidentals, onboard food/beverage purchases, upgrades)||5 points per dollar||1 point per dollar|
|Restaurant purchases||5 points per dollar||1 point per dollar|
|Hotel and cruise line purchases||3 points per dollar||1 point per dollar|
|All other purchases||1 point per dollar||1 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 Amex Platinum card.
But the Citi Prestige card 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 card.
Each of these cards has its own rewards-earning program: the Amex Platinum card earns Membership Rewards points, and the Citi Prestige card earns ThankYou Points.
When we look at an overview of redemption options for those points, however, both cards offer similar choices and values.
|Redemption Option||Citi Prestige Card||Amex Platinum Card|
- 1 cent per point in value when redeeming through the thankyou.com travel portal
- 1 cent per point in value when redeeming through Amex Travel
|Hotels, cruises, flight/hotel packages, and rental cars|
- Varies, but less than 1 cent per point
|Transfer to travel partner loyalty programs|
- Yes: 18 airline partners and 3 hotel partners
|Other redemption options (less than 1 cent per point)|
- Cash-back, statement credits, merchandise
- 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 Amex Platinum card or Citi Prestige card 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.
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 Credit||Citi Prestige Card||Amex Platinum Card|
|Airline fee credits|
|Saks Fifth Avenue|
|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 or up to $85 for TSA PreCheck
- Limit of 1 credit every 5 years
- Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your card.
While the Amex Platinum card offers a total of $500 in shopping credits and the Citi Prestige card only $250, you must use Uber and shop at Saks Fifth Avenue to maximize the Amex Platinum card benefits.
Through 2022, you can use your Citi Prestige card travel credits towards groceries and dining purchases.
In addition, the $200 airline credit with the Amex Platinum card is just for airline incidental fees, while the Citi Prestige card $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 Amex Platinum card comes with additional Uber, Walmart, and Saks Fifth Avenue credits that provide more value if you’ll use them.
Annual Fees and Adding Additional Users
Premium travel rewards cards charge higher annual fees that correspond with the level of benefits you receive.
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 Card||Additional Authorized User Fees|
- Add up to 3 additional authorized users for a total of $175, in addition to the annual fee
- See Rates & Fees
- 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 Amex Platinum card — but you’ll pay just $75 to add 1 authorized user to your Citi Prestige card.
Authorized users on the Amex Platinum card receive worldwide lounge access (plus 2 guests), hotel elite status, and benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts.
Citi Prestige card authorized users receive Priority Pass Select membership that 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. Amex 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 card authorized users are limited to Priority Pass lounges but can bring their entire immediate family or 2 guests.
Travel Protections and Insurance
Here’s how the Amex Platinum card and Citi Prestige card compare on some key travel protections and insurance.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
The Amex Platinum card’s car rental 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 to $24.95 for the entire rental period (up to 42 days).
To ensure cover:
- Reserve and pay for your rental car entirely with your card
- Decline the rental car agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage
The Citi Prestige card does not offer rental car insurance coverage.
Bottom Line: While the Amex 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. Citi does not offer rental car coverage.
Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and Trip Delay
Amex Platinum Card
The Amex Platinum card offers trip cancellation, trip interruption coverage, and trip delay coverage.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption — Receive coverage for unexpected and unforeseen events that cause you to cancel your trip or interrupt your trip in progress. Coverage limits are $10,000 per trip, up to $20,000 per card account each 12-month period.
- Trip Delay — When your trip is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive reimbursement for necessary incidentals, meals, lodging, and more, up to $500 per trip, maximum of 2 trips per 12-month period.
Citi Prestige Card
The Citi Prestige card does not provide trip cancellation, trip interruption, or trip delay coverage.
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.
- The Amex Platinum card provides coverage for an emergency medical evacuation for the cardholder, spouse, domestic partner, or covered family members through the Premium Global Assist Hotline that comes with the card.
- The Citi Prestige card does not provide medical evacuation coverage.
Lost or Delayed Baggage Protection
- The Amex 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 card does not provide lost or delayed baggage protection
Both the Amex Platinum card and the Citi Prestige card provide coverage for damage, loss, or theft of qualifying purchases.
- The Citi Prestige card provides 90 days of coverage from the date of purchase, and the Amex Platinum card covers purchases for 120 days (90 days for New York residents).
- Both the Citi Prestige card and Amex 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 Amex Platinum card is limited to $800 per claim and 2 claims in a 12-month period with a$50 deductible.
Purchase Price Protection
- Neither card offers price protection.
- The Amex 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 card will add 24 months to a manufacturer’s warranty, not to exceed 7 years for all warranties combined.
- If a merchant will not accept a return of a qualifying item within 90 days of your purchase, the Amex Platinum card offers coverage up to $300 per item (maximum $1,000 per year).
- The Citi Prestige card has the same coverage with limits of $500 per item and a yearly maximum of $1,500.
Additional Benefits of the Amex Platinum Card
- 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 purchases 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
- 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
Our comparison of the key features of the Amex Platinum card 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 card benefits and more details on Amex 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 Amex 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 card 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 1,300 lounges worldwide.
The Citi Prestige card 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.
The information regarding the Citi Prestige® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.