Review: Citi Prestige – Get Free Hotel Nights, Unlimited Lounge Access… Even Golf Games
No matter how many times I say “we are coming out from a pandemic”, it probably still sounds like the most pleasant of things to many people. Travel has all but resumed for many countries, and travel-focused credit cards are becoming more relevant. Cashback cards had their time in the past two years, but it’s time for miles and travel cards to start coming back out from the backseat. And what a travel card this is.
The Citi Prestige has an unimpressive 1.3 mpd earn rate, but the features are what you get this card for: free hotel nights, unlimited complimentary lounge visits… and even free golf games.
We are coming out from a pandemic indeed.
|Earn Rate||– 1.3 mpd (local)|
– 2 mpd (foreign transactions)
– boosted by Relationship Bonus
|Conditions||– Non-waiverable S$535 annual fee for 25,000 miles|
– S$120,000 annual income requirement
New or existing Citi Cardholders
Apply here with code
C04233289T (if you get an error message signing up as an existing cardholder, try again as a new Citi cardholder)
Get 120,000 ThankYou points (48,000 miles) with payment of annual fee of S$540 and making minimum spend of S$800 within first 2 months.
Until 30th June 2023
⚠️ 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
Income requirements and annual fee
Unfortunately, there is a small issue that may put this card out of reach for some, and that is the not so small income requirement of S$120,000. Feels bad to be someone earning less than $1,000, I guess.
For those who do qualify, the next question would be whether it’s worth paying the rather pricey S$535 annual fee. I’ve looked at the features and I definitely think so… (whispers: we are coming out from a pandemic)
Miles for annual fee
For paying the annual fee each year, you get 62,500 ThankYou points which is more usefully known as 25,000 miles. This makes your cost per mile 2.14 cents; not the best purchase considering how miles are worth 1 to 1.5 cents by my approximations, and probably at most more than 2 cents if you are willing to pay for business class flights.
The value proposition tilts very much in your favour if you factor in things like sign-up gifts (see Sign-up section), and the ongoing features.
Complimentary 4th night free hotel stay
Likely the headlining feature of this card, Citi Prestige offers cardholders a 4th night free for a consecutive stay of at least 4 nights at any hotel or resort booked through Citi Concierge. There is no limit to this perk, which is kinda crazy if you think about it. Just using it once at a suitably pricey hotel property makes your annual fee well worth paying for.
Imagine using this perk once or twice more over the next, and why not? It’s been a while since we got to travel proper after all.
There are some terms and conditions associated with this benefit, and by many accounts the perk has been gradually less generous than before. Surcharges like taxes and hotel-imposed fees are no longer covered, for instance. Nevertheless, such a feature, as is, remains rather valuable as long as you make use of it at least once during your membership year.
Unlimited complimentary lounge access
Unlike entry-level cards like DBS Altitude or Citi PremierMiles which offer only 2 complimentary visits to Priority Pass lounges in a single membership year, Citi Prestige offers unlimited free visits. It even includes the ability to bring in a guest without charge.
Where a non-Prestige cardmember might have to ration their free lounge visits, a Citi Prestige holder counts instead the number of opportunities to head for a lounge on the flights there and back.
The card also provides limousine service to and fro Changi Airport, up to twice per quarter. This is complimentary only if the cardholder can clock at least S$12,000 of spend within the same quarter. The good news is that PayAll transactions count, and this can be used to great effect with PayAll promotions… like the one going on now as of writing from April to June 2022. I was going to use the promotion anyway which is pretty great value, and having free limousine trips thrown in is cherry on cake.
Free golf games
What better way to put the prestige into Citi Prestige than offering golfing privileges?
|Local Golf Clubs||Sentosa Golf Club^ |
(Valid on weekdays only),
Sembawang Country Club,
Marina Bay Golf Course
|Three (3) complimentary weekday or weekend green fee roundsMinimum one accompanying paying guest per cardholder is required for Sentosa Golf ClubNo accompanying paying guest per cardholder required for Marina Bay Golf Course and Sembawang Country ClubMinimum golfers per flight may be required by the golf clubs|
|Regional Golf Clubs||Mission Hills Golf Club,|
Dongguan Hillview Golf Club,
Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club,
Tropicana Golf & Country Resort,
Glenmarie Golf & Country Club,
Ria Bintan Golf Club,
Klub Golf Sukajadi
|Three (3) complimentary weekday or weekend green fee roundsNo accompanying paying guest per cardholder requiredMission Hills Golf Club requires a minimum one-night stay for every tee time bookingMinimum golfers per flight may be required by the golf clubs|
I’m not a golfer, so I can’t speak to how valuable 3 complimentary rounds are. In fact, I wouldn’t mind getting 3 free games of bowling in exchange… and I think that’s a sign that this card is too high SES for the likes of me.
Citi offers bonus points for the number of years Citi Prestige has maintained a banking relationship with the bank:
|Tenure with Citibank Singapore Limited||0-5 years||6-10 years||>10 years|
|With Citigold/Citigold Private Client relationship||15%||20%||30%|
|Without Citigold/Citigold Private Client relationship||5%||10%||15%|
It looks generous, but the 15% that a Citi customer of more than ten years gets does not boost the 1.3 mpd earn rate of the Citi Prestige card to 1.495.
Instead, here is an example to illustrate what happens: the earn rate of the card is 1.3 mpd, or more accurately 3.25 ThankYou Points per dollar. At the 15% tier, what happens is that each dollar earns bonus 0.15 ThankYou Points. That makes 3.40 (3.25+0.15) ThankYou Points per dollar, or 1.36 mpd.
|Tenure with Citibank Singapore Limited||0-5 years||6-10 years||>10 years|
|With Citigold/Citigold Private Client relationship||+0.06 mpd||+0.08 mpd||+0.12 mpd|
|Without Citigold/Citigold Private Client relationship||+0.02 mpd||+0.04 mpd||+0.06 mpd|
All that Math to say you should still not rely on this card for your collection of miles, but instead continue to put spend on 4 mpd cards like a prudent person would.
As far as points go, Citi has one of the most versatile points, offering a wide range of use cases. Where some cards only allow transfers to one or two airlines, Citi includes a variety of airline programmes to choose from:
It’s useful for those who want more choice outside of Singapore Air, and seasoned miles players often scour other airlines for the best deal for their routes. The fact that airlines have been offering point conversion promos also make Citi points’ versatility much better; you can choose which airline to transfer your points miles depending on which airline is offering bonus miles.
Non-pooling of points
Unfortunately, Citi continues its annoying practice of keeping points separate for each and every Citi points card you have. Have Citi Rewards, Citi PremierMiles, and Citi Prestige? Each of them has its own pocket of points, which means multiple conversion fees to pay when you transfer your miles. It also means that you’d likely have leftover miles getting stuck in each pocket since redemptions are done in blocks of 10,000 miles.
It’s just something that lessens the incentive for Citi customers to add on more cards with the bank. Even if I like and use my Citi Rewards or Citi Prestige often, why should I get the 1.2 mpd Citi PremierMiles when I can get the UOB PRVIMiles which gives 1.4 mpd? Either way, I still have to maintain separate mile accounts, so there’s really little incentive for Citi cardholders to earn all their miles through the same bank.
I think Citi and its customers would both be better off if Citi would just allow points to be pooled across cards, but this is more criticism of the mechanic than the Citi Prestige Card itself.
This card was practically unusable during the pandemic, and even a liability of sorts given its relatively high annual fee which isn’t worth it when you can’t use the card’s features. The value proposition, however, has changed dramatically with travel back on the table again.
Citi has an ongoing promotion that sweetens the deal further, and it is something you should definitely check out if you are interested in this card.
- Free 4th night for hotel stays
- Unlimited complimentary lounge visits
- Free golf games
- S$535 annual fee for 25,000 miles isn’t the best (current promo upsizes to 40,000 miles)
- Relatively high annual income of S$120,000 required
- I don’t play golf!
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