Is it Worth Paying S$540 to Renew Citi Prestige?

It’s been a year since I got my Citi Prestige card (time flies) and the inevitable question for those who have cards with mandatory annual fees like this would be whether to pay up for a subsequent year.

If you are new to Citi Prestige, getting the card for the sign-up promo is a no-brainer affair in my books. I got my Citi Prestige when the sign-up offer was 40,000 miles, and it is now upsized to 48,000 miles until the end of 30th June 2023. At a very conservative 1 to 1.25 cents per mile valuation, that’s at least S$480 to S$600 of miles right there even without considering the other perks the card gives. This easily defrays the S$540 annual fee (was S$535 in 2022 owing to the lower GST) and gives you a bunch of other perks to enjoy.

48,000 miles is almost enough for a one-way business class flight to Korea/Japan on Singapore Air, and because Citi points can also be transferred to many other airlines, these miles can almost get a return ticket to places like Seoul and Tokyo in business class on EVA Air!

Citi Prestige

If code is required C04233289T

🔥 👍🏼

New or existing Citi Cardholders

Apply here (if you get an error message signing up as an existing cardholder, try again as a new Citi cardholder)

Get bonus 125,000 ThankYou points worth 50,000 miles (even existing cardholders of other Citi cards are eligible!):

Welcome Gift (payment of annual fee)62,500 bonus points
(25,000 miles)
S$2,000 spend in local or foreign currency within qualifying period62,500 bonus points
(25,000 miles)
Total125,000 bonus points
(50,000 miles)

For quick reference only. See terms and conditions for full details.

  1. Fee-paying Citi PayAll transactions also count towards the local spend requirement.
  2. Qualifying period is 2 months after end of card approval month (e.g. card approved on 15th March 2024 → qualifying period until 31st May 2024).
  3. Existing cardholders of other Citi cards can also enjoy this promo.

Until 30th September 2024

⚠️ For new to Citi customers: I encourage you to apply for one of the other Citi Cards first before getting Citi Prestige. This way you enjoy both promos.

Complimentary hotel nights, unlimited lounge access, and limousine service. Annual requirement of S$120,000 (fairly flexible and up to the bank’s discretion). Read the review here and an analysis if the promo is worth it

Renewing requires a bit of calculation

Renewal is not as straightforward, however, since cardholders do not get sign-up perks. The short answer to whether it’s worth it is yes if you are planning to travel at least once over the next year, and a definite of course if you plan to do so more than once.

Here is my valuation of the various benefits after a year with the card:

Renewal miles – S$250 to S$312.50 value, perhaps more

Though it isn’t as good as the sign-up promo, cardholders get 25,000 miles upon renewal. With our usual 1 to 1.25 cents per mile valuation, we are looking at S$250 to S$312.50 of value from this card, which covers only about half the S$540 annual fee of the card.

There are of course individuals who are already paying sticker price for business class flights, and they would be able to get a lot more value from these 25,000 miles. Business class flights are really nice, but for most of us mere mortals with purse strings to watch, miles are probably closer to 1 to 1.25 cents each even if we do take business class every now and then. 25,000 miles is hence worth around S$250 to S$312.50 on a more conservative valuation.

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Airport transfers – S$60 to S$120 value

The card comes with other perks, and Citi Prestige has the ability to offer complimentary rides to and fro the airport, complete with a swanky Mercedes and uniformed driver. They cost S$84 per trip and a pricier S$104 for late-night rides, but you get the charges rebated when you hit S$12,000 of spending within a calendar quarter (e.g. April, May, June).

S$12,000 may seem like a lot of spend, but it can be achieved using Citi PayAll. With Citi PayAll, you can make all kinds of bill payments like insurance, income tax, or practically anyone with a bank account, and S$12,000 isn’t really difficult to reach. There are frequent PayAll promos (such as the current one running until August 2023) that are attractive on their own, so getting free rides from it is icing on cake.

(I recently placed some money into GREAT SP which you can use Citi PayAll to make payment for, so it’s an example of an easy way to reach at least S$12,000 of “spend”.)

While each ride costs a lot more than your standard Grab ride and it definitely feels important to have someone hold an iPad with your name, I would still value each of them at what I would reasonably pay for a taxi ride which is around S$30 to S$40 each trip. One can easily use two rides per holiday, so this perk adds up if you have multiple trips planned for a year.

Hotel benefit – around S$200 value

Citi Prestige offers you the 4th night free when you book a hotel stay of at least 4 nights via Citi Concierge, and this is one benefit I analysed in greater detail here. The long story short is that it does present me with savings even though I’m not someone who splurges a lot on luxurious hotels.

Those who are more willing to spend on high-end hotels would likely find that this benefit offsets most or even all of their annual fee, and those who stay in hotels frequently would no doubt find this benefit reason enough to keep renewing the Citi Prestige card.

Priority Pass membership – S$60 to S$120

When I first got this card, I didn’t really ascribe any value to this perk. After all, lounge access can be gotten for free from other cards like Citi PremierMiles and DBS Altitude, I thought. That’s 4 visits a year for myself, and it’s easy enough for my travel companions to have their own lounge visits.

Reality is a bit more different since there are still quite a few people who don’t have their own lounge membership. Whatever the reason, Citi Prestige’s unlimited lounge membership that also allows for one guest has been a great perk to use for the travels I’ve made in the past year.

When you consider the fact that you can visit the lounge before flying off, on the way home, and even after you touch down in Singapore at the end of your trip, the lounge visits can add up quickly just on a single overseas journey. Unlimited access also means you can lounge-hop which is something that sounds entirely frivolous at first, but is actually quite enjoyable and even useful. You can have access to a wider variety of food and refreshments, or simply duck out to another lounge if it gets too crowded in one.

Priority Pass prices this membership tier at a staggering US$469 – almost S$700! – but I would never pay so much for its benefits. S$60, however, seems a fair price to pay for two people to visit multiple lounges over the course of a vacation, and becomes downright cheap when you travel more than once within the year. Those who have multiple overseas trips a year would find this an even more valuable perk to have.

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Other perks

There are also other perks like golfing and occasional privileges like discounted entertainment tickets (Citi Prestige cardholders recently got to book Kumar and Frozen performances at half price). I’m not a golfer so I can’t put a price to the golfing perks, and the promotions that happen from time to time are probably best left out of the equation since they are unpredictable in value.

Nonetheless, these are some nice things to have on the off-chance I use them. I wouldn’t mind buying tickets for the Kumar show actually.

Conclusion

The card gets better when you have more trips, but even a single trip with a conservative valuation gets me back my annual fee and then some. The more trips one takes within a year, the more value he/she can derive from the card:

 1 Trip2 Trips3 Trips
25,000 MilesS$250 to S$312.50
Airport TransfersS$60S$120S$180
Hotel BenefitS$200S$400S$600
Priority Pass MembershipS$60S$90S$120
 Total Value~S$570~S$860~S$1,150

Unless you are certain you wouldn’t be travelling over the next year, I think paying S$540 to renew the Citi Prestige is a good deal, and only gets better when you find the chance to use them more.

And if renewing the card without a sign-up promo makes sense, getting the card with a sign-up promo is simply a no-brainer if you meet the income requirements. Get your Citi Prestige card before the current promo expires at the end of the month.

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1 thought on “Is it Worth Paying S$540 to Renew Citi Prestige?

  1. There are other perks like 3 locals (Sembawang GC and Sentosa (easily $400 for weekday game but require 1 paying guest) and 3 overseas Golf. I was told that during renewal, they will issue some benefits for those long-term Citibank customer, not sure real or not.

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