Prestigious Benefits of “Citigold”

A while back, I signed up for a Citigold checking account that gave me 30,000 American Airlines (AA) miles. It was a great deal and they even let me fund my account with a credit card, helping me earn even more points.

However, my Citigold account was not long-lived. Soon after I received my 30,000 (AA) miles, I contacted Citi to have my account downgraded to a basic checking account. In order to avoid fees on a Citigold account, you need to keep a balance of $50,000 versus $1,500 for their basic checking account. I do not have $50,000 I can park in a checking account, so my decision was easy.

The funny thing is that ever since that point, every time I have called Citi, they still thank me for being a “Citigold” customer, which I am certainly not. This made me wonder what the annual fee for my Citi Prestige credit card would be this year. The annual fee if you are a Citigold customer is $350; otherwise, the annual fee is $450. Last year the annual fee was $350 for me because I actually was a Citigold customer at the time. Turns out I am still somehow a “Citigold” customer in Citi’s eyes as my annual fee was once again $350! Another plus is they also give you a 15% relationship bonus on the points you earned with the Prestige card during your card-member year if you are a Citigold client. I got these bonus points too!

Bonus Points!
Bonus Points!

I want to do some math with a basic benefit of the Citi Prestige card. Every calendar year they will pay $250 towards airline purchases. This can even be an airline ticket. Almost everyone spends at least $250 on airfare every year, so I am going to take it as given that you will always receive $250 every single calendar year.

2015: $250 credit and $350 annual fee

2016: $250 credit and $350 annual fee

2017: $250 credit and cancel

If I choose not to renew my Citi Prestige Credit card next year, I will have received $750 in airline credits while only paying $700 in annual fee’s. That alone more than pays for this credit card.

This is Citi’s top-of-the-line card and it offers many additional benefits as well. For example, if you book a hotel through Citi, they will pay for the 4th night. This is a benefit I plan on taking advantage of very soon. It also gives you a nice Priority Pass Select membership as well as Admirals club access when flying American (unfortunately, the Admirals Club access is going away July 2017). It also has some nice earning categories. Plus, it’s a Citi card so you can pay off your balance with a debit card.

Back to the math.

Lets see what it would look like if I decided to pay another annual fee next year.

2015: $250 credit and $350 annual fee

2016: $250 credit and $350 annual fee

2017: $250 credit and $350 annual fee (hopefully)

2018: $250 credit and cancel

This will get me $1000 in airline credits for $1050 in annual fees, meaning I would only pay $50 for 3 years worth of the Citi Prestige’s other amazing benefits. Something I am 100% willing to do. Looks like I’ll just have to keep $1,500 parked in my basic Citi checking account to try and keep the $350 annual fee.

This is an amazing deal for an amazing credit card. If I had to pay a $450 annual fee, I probably still would have kept the card open for 2 years, but with paying a $350 annual fee, I may keep it open for 3 or 4 years. If you are a Citigold customer, this card is a no-brainer. If you are not a Citigold customer, it may be a good idea to see if you can find any Citigold account bonus offers and sign up before you apply for a Prestige card. I cannot guarantee that once you downgrade your account will be magically stuck as a Citigold account. Even if it doesn’t, you will still save $100 on the first year’s annual fee.

The card currently gives a 50,000 point bonus after spending $3000 in your first 3 months of card membership. The sign up bonus will be changing any day now. It is rumored that everything will remain the same except that you will need to spend $5000 to get the bonus points. More may change with the bonus, but only time will tell. If you think the card is 100% for you, I recommend applying before the sign up bonus changes. If not, I do not think there is a big rush if the only thing that is changing is the minimum spend requirements.

Let me know if you have any questions about the card! I would also love to hear opinions about whether or not the annual fee justifies the cost of the card.


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