This Change To The Citi Prestige Would Have Cost Me $150 On A Single Hotel Booking

I received an email today from Citi detailing the changes coming to the Citi Prestige card. These changes weren’t a secret as it was less than three weeks ago when I wrote about the five reasons I was happy I kept my Citi Prestige Card when I first heard about the changes. If the changes I knew about were going to be the only ones, I was OK with that. However, thanks to some sleuthing from One Mile At A Time, there was one more change to the Fourth Night Free benefit that wasn’t announced, and it makes a huge difference.

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History of the Fourth Night Free

Originally with the Prestige card, to make a fourth night booking you needed to contact the Citi Concierge. They would take your information, look up the hotel and book the room. You were able to take advantage of all your benefits, like earning hotel loyalty points, complimentary upgrades and all the amenities that status with a hotel provides. You were also able to book AAA rates and special rates (as long as you didn’t have to log into an account to see them, so no member-only rates allowed). While hotels don’t allow you to get any perks when staying on a rate booked through a third party site, the Citi Concierge wasn’t considered a third party site but more like a corporate booking agent.

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Beware the Amazon Trap Designed To Drain Membership Rewards And Citi ThankYou Points Accounts

Amazon.com has “enhanced” their website making it easier for you to pay for your Amazon purchases with the flexible points from your credit cards. If you’re not careful, the points you were saving for a trip to Hawaii might end up paying for that 18 foot inflatable Frosty the Snowman you’ve been wanting to buy. I mean, it’s awesome but not a great use of your Membership Rewards points.

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Flexible Points

Flexible Point currencies like American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points are useful because of the various ways you can redeem your points. Some redemptions are great values, like when you’re able to transfer points to travel partners and make once in a lifetime trips. Other redemptions are average, such as using the points to book travel through the designated booking portal where you’re typically get 1 to 1.5 cents of value per point. These bookings are good when you need a reservation where transferring points is undesirable or unavailable, Still other redemptions are terrible, like redeeming for merchandise, magazines or even TSA Precheck memberships. You’ll often get less than 1 cent of value per point (and the merchandise is also overpriced to begin with).

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A Year Of Retention Offers

When I’m charged the annual fee for a credit card, I take time to think if I want to keep, downgrade or cancel the card. For me to keep the card and pay the fee, without having any guilt, the benefits I receive have to be worth more than I’m paying for the card. Those benefits may come in the ability to earn points that allow Sharon and I to go on amazing trips around the world. A card might also provide certain savings on travel like getting a free checked bag with an airline or free WiFi when staying at a hotel. There also also cards that make our travel more comfortable by giving us access to airport lounges or room and car upgrades, like the SUV we received when we rented a base sedan from Sixt.

I’m not a computer programmer, but the equation is a simple one

  • If card benefits > cost, then keep card
  • If card benefits < cost, then cancel card

But what happens if when I go to cancel a card, the bank does something to alter the calculations? That’s how retention offers work.

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Five Reasons I’m Glad I Kept The Citi Prestige Card

On October 22, information about major changes coming to the Citi ThankYou  Prestige card started to show up around the internet. Over the next two days, several different variations of new card benefits and changes  were put out there. While most of them were accurate, others were not so much. I generally don’t like to write about a topic until the dust settles and details are confirmed but we’re at a point now where I can look at what’s reportedly going to happen to the Prestige card and how it will affect me. At first review, I’m really happy about the changes. The Prestige was on my list of cards on the chopping block at this year’s renewal but now it’s a keeper. These changes also make me feel better about my choice to cancel my AMEX Platinum earlier this year.

Here are five reasons I’m glad I kept the Citi Prestige card:

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