Can you upgrade to the Citi Prestige? Should you? [Update: FAQ was mistake]

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The Citi Prestige card has not been available new for years now. And it hasn’t been possible to product change from another Citi card to the Prestige card. Until now. Maybe. The landing page for Citi’s Strata Premier card has an FAQ item that states: “To see if you are eligible to upgrade your Citi Strata Premier℠ Card to the Citi Prestige® Card, please call the number on the back of your Citi Strata Premier℠ card.” Fascinating! Does this suggest that Citi is bringing back the Prestige card? Or is this simply a mistake? And, if it is real, is it really worth upgrading?

Update: A Citi spokesperson has reached out to let us know that the the FAQ question is an error. Citi Prestige is not open for acquisitions and Citi cardmembers cannot be upgraded into it.

a black and blue card on a wood surface

Is an upgrade possible?

I pointed out this FAQ nugget (where Citi says that you might be able to upgrade a Premier to a Prestige card) in our Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook Group and asked people who tried upgrading to report back their findings. The first result wasn’t good. The first person who reported trying to upgrade was told that it was not possible because the Prestige is not marketed for new customers. The second result was more promising:

I called, and the agent I got started with “absolutely, we can upgrade you to the Citi Prestige”, and then said “weird, it’s actually not there still”. He said maybe try calling back in a week or so

The second result, above, suggests that perhaps the intent is to allow upgrades but they’re not ready for it yet. Of course, it’s also possible that that agent was simply misinformed.

Short answer: we don’t yet know if upgrades will be possible, but it seems that it’s not yet possible as of the time of this writing. As noted at the top of this post, A Citi spokesperson has reached out to let us know that the the FAQ question is an error. Citi Prestige is not open for acquisitions and Citi cardmembers cannot be upgraded into it.

Is an upgrade a good idea?

If it turns out that it is (or will be) possible to upgrade to the Prestige card, it’s worth considering whether or not it’s a good idea. After all, the Prestige card costs $400 more than the Strata Premier.

Let’s compare the two cards side by side:

Strata Premier Prestige
Annual Fee $95 $495
Annual Travel Credit $0 $250
CitiGold Relationship Credit $0 $145
Hotel Discount $100 off $500+ 4th Night Free
Travel Protections Yes No
Lounge Access None Priority Pass
Transfer Points to All Citi Partners Yes Yes
Earning Rates:
Supermarkets 3x 1x
Dining 3x 5x
Air Travel 3x 5x
Hotels 3x 3x
Travel Agencies 3x 5x
Cruise Lines 1x 3x
Gas Stations 3x 1x
EV Charging 3x 1x
Hotels & Cars booked through Citi Travel 10x 10x
(through 12/31/25)

Effective Annual Fee

The Prestige card starts off $400 more expensive than the Premier, but the annual $250 travel credit effectively knocks the difference down to $150. And if you are a CitiGold banking customer, the annual $145 CitiGold Relationship credit means that the effective annual fee of the two cards is nearly the same. After those two credits, the Prestige card costs net $100 ($495 – $250 – $145). Of course, that assumes that you’ll easily earn the travel credit each year (which is easy because it applies to any travel spend) and that you’re a CitiGold customer. If those things aren’t true then the Prestige card is significantly more expensive than the Strata Premier.

Hotel Discount

Both cards offer hotel discounts but only when booking hotels through Citi Travel. The Strata Premier $100 off $500+ discount can be used once per year, and the Prestige 4th Night Free can be used twice per year. Which one is better for you depends heavily on how you’ll use the benefits, if at all. The Prestige benefit obviously has a lot more potential upside, but it’s only relevant if you’ll be paying for 4 night or longer stays.

Travel Protections

At the time of this writing, the Prestige card doesn’t have any travel protections, but the Strata Premier card does. That’s a clear win for the Strata Premier.

Lounge Access

The Prestige card offers an excellent version of Priority Pass which includes access to airport lounges as well as participating restaurants and experiences. Additionally, immediate family and up to two guests traveling with you can also access airport lounges.

Earning Rates

The star of the show for the Prestige card is the ability to earn uncapped 5x for all dining worldwide. True, the Amex Gold card offers a similar benefit with 4x dining worldwide, but the Prestige Mastercard is, of course, much more widely accepted. So, if you eat out a lot, the Prestige is definitely worth considering.

On the other hand, the Strata Premier bests the Prestige card by offering 3x at grocery stores and gas stations (and EV charging). If you spend a lot in those categories, you may not want to give up 3x in those categories by moving to the Prestige card.

My Take

For those looking for a very rewarding card for dining and could use a good version of Priority Pass, upgrading to the Prestige card can make a lot of sense. Similarly, if you often pay for 4 night or longer stays, you may find that the Prestige card can save you a lot of money with its 4th Night Free hotel benefit.

On the other hand, for those who like the Premier card because it has great 3x categories and unlocks the ability to transfer points to all of Citi’s airline and hotel partners for a low annual fee, you should keep your Strata Premier. Similarly, if you like the peace of mind that built-in travel protections offer, the Strata Premier has the edge.

What about the Strata Elite card?

In 2022, Citi trademarked the names Citi Strata Premier and Citi Strata Elite. The Strata Premier is now real (and it is what you now have if you previously had the Citi Premier) so what about the Strata Elite? Will it become real too? Will it be something brand new or an evolution of the Prestige card? Unfortunately, we simply don’t know any of this yet. If it turns out that we really will be able to upgrade from the Strata Premier to the Prestige then that suggests to me that the Elite card, if it comes out at all, probably will be an updated version of the Prestige card just as the Strata Premier is an updated version of the Premier card. We’ll see!

In the meantime, you may be wondering if upgrading to the Prestige card would lock you out of being able to apply new for the Elite card if/when it comes out. My guess (and it’s just a guess!) is that the answer is no: most of Citi’s application rules have to do with when you last got a welcome bonus for a card (i.e. you can’t get a new welcome bonus if you received one in the last 48 months). Chances are good that having the Prestige card won’t be a deal breaker.

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Kafka

Note that the Prestige also earns 5x on OTAs. We’ll see if that survives, but in the past it was a viable option for people who used Hotels.com rewards (RIP) and weren’t loyal to chains.

Billy

It seems that the Strata Prestige is coming out next so upgrading would be a mistake if the signup bonus is available to new customers of the Strata Prestige or Elite (not sure what they will be calling the higher tier card) Also they probably will be product changing the current Prestige cards to the Strata version

Ryan del mundo

Don’t hold your breath trying to use the Citi 4th Night Free. Citi Travel powered by Booking.com has rates so much higher than Booking that it erases any value from the 4th night free. Genius! But hey you’ll get 10x points for paying extra.

Lee

A few months ago, I tried to product-change from the Premier to the Prestige and the answer was no.

TravelGeek

As I mentioned in a comment earlier for another Strata post, the very same “call to find if you can upgrade” answer could be found in the FAQ of the old Premier card page. Just have to go to the wayback machine archive. So really nothing changed, this is just a copy of the old FAQ with “Strata Premier” replacing “Premier”.

Grant

I feel like Citi rushed the release of the Citi Strata Premier after the details leaked so my guess is that the upgrade option is not finished and pushed to production yet.

With that said, I would love if Citi brought back the 1.25 CPP toward travel booked through the Citi TYP travel portal and the ability to get 1.6 CPP toward AA flights for the Citi Prestige / Strata Elite. Hey, why not bring back the golf benefit too while you’re at it 🙂

Paul

I mean details leaked is kind of a dramatic way to put it. The card is 95% the same lol

DSK

Thanks so much for this chart, Greg–it is extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. After studying it, as best I can tell based on my existing credit card portfolio, I can match or beat every Prestige category using existing cards except 5x Travel Agencies. On the other hand, I’d lose 3x gas, which is a big one for me when there isn’t a Chase or Discover bonus, since the only thing I’ve got close is 4% on Costco and I’ll take 3x TY points on gas over 4% cash back. I’d also regain Priority Pass restaurants, but who knows how long that would last. So, for anyone into “the Hobby” for awhile with a healthy credit card portfolio, upgrading even if available for people in my circumstances would be far from a slam dunk. But, very interesting analysis.

Darin

Where are matching or beating 5x on dining?

DSK

I got in on the Freedom Unlimited uncapped double points last fall that Greg described, which is good for 12 months. Since Freedom Unlimited normally has 3x for restaurants, it doubles to 6x. Not really using it that way this quarter since Freedom Flex is 7x on restaurants up to $1500. When my one year expires I will go to 4x on Amex Gold, which to me is equal to or better than 5x Thank You points (but others could differ).

Tom

Freedom Flex is 7x on restaurants? Isn’t it 5%?

Last edited 11 days ago by Tom
DSK

Not this quarter. 1x on all spending plus 2x additional for restaurants plus 4x additional for the quarterly bonus.

Pam

We have 6 Custom Cash cards in our family & use those for 5x travel; dining, etc up to the $500 limit/ea

DSK

Wow! How did you do that, since I’d love to pick up another Custom Cash or two. Product changes?

Pam

Yes…every account is a PC from (very) old cards! Might not be unltd spend but a whole lot cheaper than the Prestige AF, esp when combined with other bank spend promos that quarter (allowing for addtl spend bonuses).

Dugroz Reports

Intriguing!

FIREchurning

Here’s a landing page to upgrade to Premier. Requires an invitation code.

https://cardupgrade.citi.com/prestigecardupgrade/login.aspx

AA AA

Citigold is kind of going away with the move to Simplified Banking. Once an account is converted, they lose the ability to earn TYPs from banking. They don’t currently advertise annual fee reductions for their credit cards – and the fee waiver is no longer part of their disclosure documents – so it wouldn’t surprise me if it goes away once an account is converted. (My Citi Premier is currently free from having Citigold).

Darin

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. You can’t find references to reducing annual fees anywhere, as either a Citigold benefit or in the individual card benefits. I’ve always assumed that the days of this benefit were numbered, even though it’s carried on unadvertised for some time now. Now that everyone is being converted to a “new” account type, I bet this will quietly go away.

Joiseph

It’s been unadvertised since at least 2021, but it is still live.

C C

But can you actually enroll new cards into the benefit, or has it just continued with no new enrollments?

But yes as of now if you’ve been enrolled the discount is still applied. Whether that survives the conversion to simplified banking remains to be seen (unless someone has already converted and had an AF hit after with a no fee/reduced fee waiver?)

Rupert

Citigold isn’t going away, it’s more like a cleanup of their tiered structure and benefits…
And I expect the fee credits/waiver to remain. I have had two Citi CC for 30 years with fee waivers – despite all the changes and fee increases since, fee waivers are still honored, even though they are not documented for the cc. Citi is pretty good about grandfathering existing clients…
Hoping for the Strata Prestige/Elite to show up soon & with the same travel protections & auto product change…

Miles

I’m close to qualifying so I’d be sad if that benefit went ahead.

Nevertheless, I had it back when the threshold was much lower and they reissued my Exec card and then it was back to the full AF.

Big Jeff

How long does Citi make you wait to product switch? I was just approved for Strata Premier, but after I earn the SUB I’m tempted to upgrade to Prestige.

Grant

Usually you need to wait 12 months to product change a card.