Thanks, Citi. Dumping the Prestige is even easier now.


Last fall, Greg wrote these words:

I’m a bit sad to end my five year relationship with the Prestige card. Is it weird that I get emotionally attached to credit cards? Wait, don’t answer that. I know. Yes, it’s weird.

He was of course writing about dumping his Citi Prestige card. In the months since, I’ve been searching for ways to justify keeping mine. Part of me has held out (totally irrational) hope that I’d get charged the old grandfathered annual fee next month when my fee posts (like Greg, my annual fee is scheduled to increase from $350 to $495); another part of me hoped there would be a good enough retention offer that would enable me to keep it. Yesterday, sadly, Citi ensured that I wouldn’t get the chance to find out. Ok, it’s not really sad except in the same weird way that it was for Greg. I’ve got to break up with my Prestige card and it’s ending sooner than I expected.

a credit card in a trash can

Recap of changes to the Citi Premier card

Stephen Pepper wrote an excellent post yesterday outlining the changes that were announced to the Citi Premier card. Citi is adding and removing some benefits from the Prestige card’s little brother, the Citi Premier. In short, starting in August the Citi Premier card will earn:

  • 3x at grocery stores (new), dining (new, was 2x), and on flights, hotels, and at gas stations (which were previously 3x as well)

On the flip side, it will lose the more broadly-defined “3x travel”, which has included cruises, trains, toll passes, parking, rideshares, and more. It will also lose 2x entertainment. Finally, points will no longer be able to be used at a value of 1.25c each through the Citi ThankYou portal to book paid travel.

Again, Stephen gives a full roundup of the changes and his post is worth reading. The key part of the timing is this: those benefit changes begin on August 23rd, 2020 — but if you apply for the Premier before April 10, 2020 (in other words, if you get the Premier today), you’ll be grandfathered in and both keep the existing benefits until April 10, 2021 (including 3x travel, 2x entertainment, and the ability to use points at a value of 1.25c each) and get the new 3x groceries and dining that are coming in August.

These changes assure that the Premier will replace my Prestige card. Greg and I recently said on Frequent Miler on the Air that the time may be now to pick up the Premier and I think that this situation solidifies that point. I’m definitely not going to pay $495 for the Prestige next month.

Here’s why the Prestige has got to go

a close up of a credit card

Citi’s new changes make it even harder than it already was to justify keeping the Prestige.

As I mentioned above, I’ve long been grandfathered into a $350 annual fee on the Prestige card thanks to a Citigold account that I had many years ago when it didn’t require $200K in the bank. Citi announced more than a year ago that people like me would see an increase to the full $495 fee at next anniversary after September 1, 2019. Greg’s fee finally increased in November and I fully expect mine will when it posts a month from now.

The Prestige carries a $250 annual travel credit. If we value that at 90% of face, that’s about $225 of value. Subtracted from the new full annual fee, my net cost to keep the card would be $270. The Premier card carries a $95 fee – a difference of $175.

Our Reasonable Redemption Values peg Citi ThankYou points at 1.45c each. Assuming that I don’t value the Prestige card’s other benefits (I personally don’t since I have other cards that duplicate most of them), I would need to earn at least 12,070 points more per year with the Prestige than I would with the Premier in order to justify keeping the Prestige (12,070 points at a value of 1.45c per point is actually $175.02).

I don’t (and won’t) book paid flights on Citi cards because of the fact that Citi eliminated all of its travel protections last year. I book paid flights using my Chase Ritz card or my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card in order to have the various coverages afforded by ultra-premium credit card travel insurance. Therefore neither the Prestige card’s 5x on paid flights nor the Premier’s 3x on paid flights matter much to me.

What has mattered to me has been dining. The thin thread upon which my Citi Prestige card has been hanging for the past year has been its 5x dining. I like to eat and have often done it out at restaurants. I’ve been particularly fond of picking up the check for group dinners and letting everyone else Venmo me. I’ve also occasionally booked flights for family members who have no cards with travel protections in order to pick up 5x.

So in order to justify keeping the Prestige, I’d need to earn a lot more with it on dining (and maybe those occasional paid flights). As noted above, I’d need to earn precisely 12,070 points more on the Prestige than on the Premier to keep it. In other words, if I make more than $6,035 in purchases per year in 5x categories, I’ll earn more with the Prestige than I would with the Premier in those same categories by at least the $175 difference in annual fee.

Let’s say I did all of that spend on dining. Here would be my earnings:

  • Citi Prestige: $6,035 on dining at 5x = 30,175 ThankYou points
  • Citi Premier: $6,035 on dining at 3x (begins in August) = 18,105 ThankYou points
  • Difference = 12,070 points (worth ~$175)

If I would spend less than $6,035 on the 5x categories of the Prestige card, I’d be better off opening and instead keeping the Premier (or downgrading my Prestige).

The truth is that between my usual dining activity and those times when we go out to a large group meal with family or friends and they let me pick up the check and get paid back, I probably would spend that much or more on dining in an ordinary year. This year is of course anything but ordinary. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven’t been to a restaurant in a month. While I know that many folks are still ordering takeout and delivery, I’m not. I don’t know when the situation will return to “normal”, and when it does I’m not sure that I’ll dine out with the same frequency for at least a while.

However, even if I knew I would spend $6,035 at restaurants this year, that still wouldn’t be enough to justify keeping the Prestige thanks to what I’d lose in grocery store spend by not getting the Premier. Even if I knew I’d miss out on those 12,070 points on dining, I could easily make up for that loss by adding just $4,024 in supermarket spend to the Premier. I easily spend more than that each year at the grocery store on actual groceries. Picking up some gift card “groceries” throughout the year would make my potential Premier earnings far outperform the Prestige. Heck, two $500 Visa Gift Cards per month would net 36K points per year at a cost of less than $160 in activation & liquidation assuming you don’t ever catch a promotion that mitigates the activation fee or earn any fuel points. Stacked with the right promos, that could be quite a bit better. For those who like the ability to use the points at a value of 1.25c each through the ThankYou portal (I’d rather transfer to partners), that’s $450 worth of travel at a nice discount.

As much as I like the ability to earn 5x on dining, the ability to earn an uncapped 3x at the grocery store will far outshine dining in my case.

But what about the Amex Gold card?

Many of us who spend a lot on groceries likely have the Amex Gold card because it earns 4x at US Supermarkets on the first $25K in purchases per year (then 1x). It also earns 4x at restaurants. Some have been put off by the $250 annual fee. Personally, I’ll still pay for it since just three $500 gift cards per month and my normal groceries will bring me to the cap on the Gold card. The Citi Premier will increase bandwidth.

The Gold card of course has an annual airline incidental credit and a $10 monthly statement credit toward certain restaurants / delivery services). I don’t get anywhere near face value out of those things, but I personally get enough benefit there to keep the card for now. Others have been unhappy with what has been a changing environment for using Amex airline incidental credits. The $95 fee for the Citi Premier and lack of hoops through which to jump may be easier to stomach. I doubt I’ll use the Premier’s new $100 credit toward a hotel booking of $500 or more (at least not every year) since it requires booking through (especially because Greg has previously shown that hotel prices at are often bad), but some readers may.

For those who like to diversify point earnings, there probably isn’t an either/or argument on the Premier vs Gold. That’s because you need either a Citi Premier or Prestige card in order to transfer to Citi Thank You airline partners, so the $95 fee on the Premier is the minimum price of admission if you want access to stuff like the Turkish Miles & Smiles sweet spot to Hawaii (you could alternatively transfer your points to someone else with a Premier or Prestige, but that’s capped at 100K points per year).

The fact that you’re spending $95 for the privilege of transferring means that your best alternative to the Gold is the Premier’s 3x dining and grocery stores, so that might make you re-evaluate the Gold card if you’re not going to be spending a lot on “groceries”. That’s fair; you don’t need the Gold card in order to be able to transfer points to Amex’s airline partners, so it may not be a keeper if you’re also going to have the Premier.

It’s further hard to consider the Premier card in a vacuum. Most readers will not only have the Premier (nor only have the Gold card). With the addition of uncapped 3x grocery store spend, Citi has positioned themselves for the credit card 1-2 punch: with the Premier’s 3x earning at supermarkets and on dining, flights, and hotels and the Double Cash‘s ability to earn 2x uncapped everywhere else, Citi now offers the best deal in cheap rewards. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better earning two-card combination for less money. Add the also-fee-free Rewards+ and you also get 10% of your redeemed points back (up to 10K points back per year).

a wallet with credit cards in it
Even without the Rewards+ you’ve got yourself a cheap wallet packed with earning power.

Obviously, whether or not Citi ThankYou points matter to you depends on how much you value Citi’s transfer partners. I’m clearly a big fan of Turkish Miles & Smiles, both for the Hawaii sweet spot and for 45K business class awards to Europe on Star Alliance. With the Middle East being 47K and parts of Africa 49K one way, Turkish has a lot of decent options for Star Alliance awards — and Avianca LifeMiles fills in the gaps with no fuel surcharges. In terms of Oneworld, Greg has written about the sweet spots in Cathay Pacific Asia Miles quite a few times and Etihad offers great pricing on AA flights. SkyTeam is covered with Air France / KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic for Delta flights. There is no Hyatt-like partner as there is with Chase (though neither does Chase offer a good supermarket card) and there’s no sweet around-the-world chart like there is with Amex partner ANA. Still, I find Citi pretty competitive thanks to those aforementioned partners.

Product change or apply new?

I’m convinced: I want the Premier and I’m ready to dump the Prestige for it. The question now becomes whether to apply new or product change. The obvious answer is to apply new and scoop up the 60K welcome bonus (after $4K in purchases in the first 3 months). Today is the day to do that if you want to be able to get both the old benefits and the new (and to be clear, we do not have an affiliate link for this card at the time of writing).

On the flip side, for those ineligible for the bonus on the Premier (due to having opened or closed a Premier or Prestige in the past couple of years) or for those who aren’t ready to give up a 5/24 slot, a product change today may be the right move. To be clear, I don’t know for sure that a product change will lock in the old benefits. I imagine it would as existing cardholders are keeping the current benefits for a year from tomorrow, so I assume a product change would also lock that in. On the other hand, Citi product changes aren’t finalized immediately, so it’s possible that it wouldn’t get changed over in time to keep the old benefits.

I’m weighing both options but will definitely make a move today to at least try to lock in the 1.25c in value. I’m not very likely to use that benefit but would like to have it available as I may find pairing that with 3x earning at grocery stores to be worthwhile. I’ll be happy to lock in the current 3x and 2x categories for a year either way.

For those considering a product change, a second wrinkle might be getting an agent on the phone. I don’t know how well-staffed Citi’s call-centers are given the current pandemic and stay-at-home orders in many states. Banking is surely considered an essential service, but I don’t know how easy it will be to get an agent on the phone today.

Bottom line

Over the past few years, Citi has been an absolute slaughterhouse in terms of card benefits. Apart from the ability to transfer Citi Double Cash rewards to ThankYou points, it’s essentially been one disappointment after another: from the Prestige card losing Admirals Club access and golf benefits to the eventual loss of all travel insurance protections, missed event ticket protection, Price Rewind, and the effective assassination of the Citi Prestige 4th night free, it’s just been a bloodbath.

However, yesterday’s announcement that they are adding 3x at grocery stores that appears to be uncapped is a game-changer for me. Since today (April 9th) is the last day to lock in the old benefits and also enjoy the new benefits, I’ll either apply for or product change to the Premier today. Heck, I wish I had that 3x on groceries this week when I stocked up on enough food to (try) not to leave home for the next month — but I know my family will keep eating, whether at home or eventually at restaurants again, and 3x on more or less all of our food combined with easy grocery store MS might just make the Premier my new favorite card. Indeed, a Premier/Double Cash combination might be tough to beat.

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Alex R

I’m debating what to do with my Prestige. My annual fee ($495) was paid last October, I haven’t used it for 4th night hotel nights or airline travel credits since paying the fee. I was able to use the $100 for Global entry refund, I tried calling them and asked them what type of incentives they could offer me to not cancel the card, given that we can’t book any travel due to corona virus. They offered nothing.
I’m leaning towards cancelling (or downgrading) prior to expiration next Oct ’20, but at least I’d like to use whatever residual value this card still has. I’m wondering if I should book an air travel for the value of the airline credit, and then if it works out, then I’d travel, otherwise I’d try to cancel or postpone the flight. My goal is to use up at least $250 from the airline credits, reimbursement is usually pretty quick.
Any thoughts? Any other ideas?
Thank you in advance.

[…] us playing this game have been guilty of the same once or twice. Heck, I just wrote last week about how hard it was to break up with the Citi Prestige even though I knew its time had come. So I held no judgment for Jim. He knew it was time to ask for […]


The Prestige started off great for me in 2017– was able to get a 75K bonus, used the true 4th night benefit with concierge several times, and the PP with unlimited guests was great for my family of 5. But the demise of this card is well documented on this site. Since last fall I had this on the chopping block, but agree the choice is easy now having the Premier. Was able to get the travel credit for 2020, used 4th night free once at an independent hotel, so I have all the value out of my last AF, some of which will come back prorated. Was able to get the Premier with a great bonus last fall, after the appropriate interval from the Prestige bonus.


Altitude Reserve also has 3x on groceries, and travel, excluding travel agencies, and no transfer partners, but right now, I think cashback is better, and effective AF is lower than Premier. I also successfully used this card at gas stations and restaurants with Samsung Pay. Also includes primary car rental insurance in the US, and 4 visits to PP lounges. You can’t MS with it, though.
They recently added 5x on hotels and car rentals, when booking on USB portal.
I think this is the best card on the market right now.
I recently applied for 2 Premier cards as well, so now I have 3 Premiers.
According to your valuations, you will get $145 (10k points back) back from Rewards+, so this combination becomes net AF positive.
You should also mention Sears card. This card earns me the most TYPs right now, even ahead of AT&T Access More.
I will keep Prestige though, since I’m still CitiGold, and get $350 AF, not sure if I keep Premier though, after they remove 1.25cpp redemptions. Combined with Rewards+ and Prestige it was giving the value of 1.85cpp, when booking 4 night hotels. After 1.25cpp removal it becomes 1.48cpp, and Premier is not needed anymore, however this adds another 20% discount for hotels per year when booking $500 hotel stay with TYP, thus giving 1.39cpp in value.
I think I will create two pools of TYP accounts right now. Now I have one account which combines Prestige, Premier, Sears, AT&T AM, 2 Rewards+, 2 Preferred.
And I have 4 uncombined accounts of 2 Premier, Double Cash and Rewards+.
I will create another combined account which contains Premier, Rewards+ and maybe Double Cash to get additional 10k per year from Rewards+.
On the grocery and gas side, after Amex started clawing back airline incidentals, I’m thinking about ditching Amex Gold and return back to Amex EDP. This will give 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas.


Great article which made me *consider* giving up Prestige and PC to Preferred but what REALLY did it for me was Nick’s reply to Ricardo. It really should be a part of the article! Is there a definite DP that PC does NOT reset the 24-month clock on SUB?


I gave up on the prestige and Citi in general. I called to get a retention offer on prestige within 55 days of the anual fee being billed since there is no way I will pay $495 when I was paying $350 before. Automatic System didn’t even transfer me a human and cancelled my card. I called back to customer service to clarify, and they said nothing they can do, no Pro-rated refund or anything. Any ideas on how to deal with CITI?

Thinking about going to small claim court once they re-open unless you guys know how to deal with them. It’s a pity CITI gave up on premium credit cards. Chase Saphire or AMEX Plat are the real deal.


Next time cancel by a person and go over everything BEFORE u do . I canceled my Hawaiian card and the renewal fee credit showed up 2 months later .Then I just called to get a check mailed . I think u get lucky and the pro rated refund will show up 30 to 90 days later ..Be nice to these people they get Dumped on a 1000x a day .


Just booked a non-stop SW MDW>BNA>MDW $100 in July .


I prefer Prestige over CSR and Platinum. Alredy cancelled 2 Platinums, and will downgrade CSR for Freedom, and upgrade Ink Cash to Ink Plus (or preferred), since I have 3 Ink Cashes.


Sorry to resurrect this, but nobody ever answer Lukas’s question. Does a product change count as opening/closing an account and thereby disqualify you from a SUB for the next 24 months? I’m coming up on my Prestige AF and I also happen to to be below 5/24 for Chase, so I’m choosing my path carefully.

Greg The Frequent Miler

A product change only counts as opening/closing if you get assigned a new card number. While on the call (or online chat), ask the rep if it will get a new number. If not, you’re safe to product change.


Nick, this is a tangent (and likely moot now), but is always putting your travel on your Chase card for the insurance benefits really rational?

Looking at the Prestige (5x) vs the Chase Reserve (3x) and assuming both points are worth 1.5c for simplicity, you are giving up points worth 3% of your purchase to have the insurance benefits. I’d be surprised if you would be willing to pay that 3% for travel insurance as a separate product. Certainly there are times where it’s worth it to use the Chase card (taxes and fees on award tickets, complicated itineraries), but there would also be others when the Prestige could make more sense (one way direct flights from your home airport with no baggage).

Full disclosure: I do the same thing you do and justify it by the increased simplicity. If something goes wrong, I can just immediately make new plans knowing the Chase benefits instead of having to check which card I used and then determine what my best move is.


Transfer all ur points to Singapore airlines (3 booked) and dump the card . Once there their good for 3 years and the Prestige is pro rated so u can get money back (Called) ..In 2 or 4 years get another card so cancel ASAP .


In a 2p situation, it I have a Citi Rewards+ and my spouse applies for a Citi Premiere, I can transfer my balance of thankyou points to their account?


ahh, great point thanks for explaining. So it would only be good if you were transferring for an immediate redemption.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Everyone: If you have points on your Prestige card, do not cancel it!
Product change instead to the no-fee Rewards+ or Preferred.
Please read this post for details:


Is the annual fee of $95 waived the first year?





Mitch Cumstein

My annual fee posted on October 15, 2019 and it was still $350. I would wait for it to post and then cancel, you might be surprised.


Is the 3x on grocery using the Premier only for US-based stores, or does it also apply at grocery stores internationally? Also, it would be great to understand the difference between “supermarkets” and “grocery stores” since the Citi website makes reference to the former.


Nick, I got the Premier a couple of months ago. I’ve had the Prestige since the 75k bonus thing a couple of years back. It’s not going to be renewed at annual fee time barring…and this is important….a significant retention offer. Which I doubt they’ll offer, but…. My question is: If I downgrade to the CIti double cash, can i then pool my points there and then subsequently transfer those points to my premier account? I don’t think so. I feel with citi I’m constantly reviewing transfer/downgrade rules. Citi….what a pain..


Just read Greg’s post from last year about double cash. This seems like a no brainer. Prestige to double cash it is. I just hope they don’t steal one of my 5/24 spots in the process.


No he said NOT to do that since the DC doesn’t directly earn TYP. If you don’t want the premier at least do rewards plus


Actually if you read Greg’s post, you can transfer points one to one from DC to Premier or Prestige. Here’s the link:

Buzz W

Thanks for the clarification. I’ll downgrade my Prestige to Rewards Plus paired with my Premier. I’d like to spend all my earned Prestige points prior to that but it’s a little difficult these days.

Buzz W

This was my strategy starting last year. I’ve had the Prestige since the good old days but decided to dump it once they gutted it. I had a large stash of points I didn’t want to lose so I applied for the Premier and got the 60k bonus and made that my primary card on the Thank you website. My Prestige annual fee comes due in August 2020. I’ll product change to Double Cash. I’ve gotten value from the 4th night free benefit but it’s better at off brand hotels these days. Last year I used it in two different places in Italy.

I ‘d really like to burn up all my Thank you points by April 2021 and just dump it all. Chase points are more valuable to me than Thank you points.


Above Nick recommended against pc’ing to a Double Cash as it isn’t technically a TYP-earning card.

Ed H

I want to preserve the points I’ve banked in my Prestige account. if I do a product change to Premier they’ll certainly transfer without any impact. However (and here I might be wrong) if I open a Premier account and transfer the points they’d be subject to a 90 day cancellation.

Joel Parker

Hey Nick, I currently have both the prestige and the premier card. You are saying by pooling the points now before I let go of my Prestige cards this July, I won’t loose them? Do you guys have a step by step process to ensure this is the cases?
Also trying to decide what to do with the prestige card, do I downgrade or cancel?
I have really loved the prestige card, so sad they took away all the great benefits. Just thinking back on all the amazing things this card had, from free golf, AA Admirals club, great 4th night benefits that could be stacked, 5X on Dining, $350 annual fee for citi gold, Price Rewind( I must have saved like $1500 on mine and my wife’s snowboard purchases) and I got global entry from it. Also considering I was locked out of getting the Sapphire Reserve Card by 5/24, it was my way of getting priority pass for cheap.
Thanks for all you guys do. By far my favorite blog. I tell everybody about you guys.


“Credit card points: how to keep points alive
With most credit card points (except with some older credit cards which are no longer available), points remain alive until you cancel the card from which they were earned. Once you cancel the card, points expire after 60 days.

Combining accounts does not solve the problem. When you combine multiple ThankYou accounts, it’s natural to assume that as long as you keep any ThankYou Rewards credit card open, your points will be safe. That’s simply not the case. Citi keeps track of where each ThankYou point came from. If you cancel a card, the points earned on that card expire after 60 days. Period.

The best way to preserve your ThankYou points is to keep your credit card account alive. If you don’t want an annual fee, then call to downgrade to a no-fee ThankYou card. There is a side benefit to this approach too: Your no fee card may be eligible for occasional lucrative retention offers.”

Above is the related information from the guide “Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide.”
Basically if you want to keep the points earned from Prestige, downgrade to Rewards+ or Preferred.

Joel Parker

Thanks Alex, I will look at the rewards+ as a possible option.


Joel, I have successfully kept my old Premier points alive by product changing, here is what I would do:

1 Apply for the Premier card if you are eligible for the sign up bonus
2. Pool your points from the Prestige and Premier cards together
3. Downgrade the Prestige card to a no-fee Thank You card (Preferred or Rewards+, I would personally choose the Rewards Plus, since that can come in handy for small purchases) As long as you have your points pooled and keep the Premier active, your Prestige points will remain active.

Joel Parker

Cool. Since I have the premier already and my points are combined(not sure which card is the primary one), I think I will downgrade to the Rewards+. Thanks for your help Brands!