Doctor of Credit reported last night that the Citi Prestige card was not showing on the Citi website and that the landing page leads to a generic error. We have now confirmed with a reliable source that Citi is no longer taking applications for the Prestige card. They will continue to service existing cardholders with no expected changes to those accounts, but they are no longer accepting new applicants. Additionally, we believe that it is no longer possible to product change to the Prestige card from other Citi cards. While the Prestige card had had a highly questionable value proposition ever since benefits were reduced and the fee was increased, it is nonetheless disappointing to see the card disappear unexpectedly.
The Prestige card has held an awkward position ever since Citi slashed benefits on the card and increased the fee in 2018. Those changes nerfed the value of the 4th night free benefit by limiting its use to twice per year and forcing cardholders to book via thankyou.com (though in fairness the card was way too generous to last forever in the form in which it was launched). They continued to chip away at the value proposition when they eliminated price protection in summer 2019, but the real nail in the coffin on this card was the announcement in June 2019 that they would eliminate car rental insurance, trip delay / cancellation / interruption protections, baggage delay protection, lost baggage protection, and basically all of the other benefits you would want on your $500 travel rewards card. That made it nearly nonsensical to book flights on a card that tries to incentivize airline spend with a 5x bonus category. I certainly couldn’t justify keeping it long-term, particularly when Citi enhanced benefits on the Premier.
Again, we are told that Citi will ” remain committed to servicing existing Citi Prestige customers”, but it looks like they have no plans to bring the Prestige card back for new applicants.
The timing on this change is interesting in that Citi appears to be ducking out when other issuers are leaning in to do everything they can to acquire cardholders with offers to earn up to 500K points with a single card or 150K airline miles or 5x on groceries for a year. We can all hope that this change is being made so that they can retool an ultra-premium card and launch something competitive, but given that Citi is the only major issuer not to have made any noise with offers since the pandemic began, I’m less optimistic than I’d like to be.
The real bummer here is that this further reduces the path to building up a meaningful balance of Citi Thank You points. While Citi seemed poised to break things open when they made the Double Cash card’s rewards worth 2 Thank You points per dollar spent, they seem to have refocused almost entirely on the low end of the credit card market with the Rewards+ and Custom Cash offerings. Not only do most people consider Citi’s transfer partners inferior to Amex, Chase, and Capital One, they are making it more difficult to get invested in that ecosystem even for those of us who see value in it. That’s too bad. The Citi Prestige card was my favorite of the many cards in my wallet when I was first approved and I was oddly sad to drop it when the time came. I am equally sad to see the card ride off into the sunset now, but hopefully Citi sends in something to take its place.