"As a valued cardmember, we want to inform you of changes to your Citi Prestige card. As of July 23, 2017 , some of your existing benefits will no longer be offered or will be changed.
Access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges will no longer be offered with your Citi Prestige® Card.
You will continue to have complimentary access to Priority Pass TM Select Lounges and Citi® Proprietary Lounges. You, your authorized users, immediate family or up to two guests will continue to enjoy access to over 850 airport lounges worldwide.
Redeeming ThankYou® Points for Flights
You will only receive 25% greater value versus gift cards on all airfare redemptions with your ThankYou® points. For example, 50,000 ThankYou points will now be redeemable for $625 in airfare on all airlines available at thankyou.com.
Complimentary International Golf
The three complimentary rounds of golf will no longer be offered with your card for reservations made on or after July 23, 2017. You'll continue to have access to over 2,000 celebrated and legendary golf properties around the world with access to select TPC properties provided by MasterCard.
Complimentary 4th Night *
The Complimentary 4th Night benefit will be calculated based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay for reservations made on or after July 23, 2017. Please see the reverse side of this letter for examples of how the benefit will be calculated. Taxes will no longer be included within the statement credit. You will still be able to enjoy your benefit at any hotel with no restrictions on the number of times you can use this benefit. All other terms of the Complimentary 4th Night benefit will remain unchanged. "
This is definitely huge devaluation for our #1 best credit card! However, since the changes are a year away, the scores that Prestige has for Points, Perks, and Protection won't change until next July. It may receive a lower score for Promotion as the official offer is now 40K instead of the previous 50K. As the 50K offer's landing page is still alive, we will wait and see when it will be pulled. We expect Prestige will still be our #1 card for quite a while. We will adjust the scores next July.
Now let's look at these changes in details. (1) Loss of Admirals Club access is bad. However, it is not surprising as Citi and American Airlines just signed a new agreement on their co-branded credit cards. It makes sense to make Citi AA Executive WEMC, which carries the same $450 annual fee as Prestige, to be the sole credit card that offers Admirals Club access. We have always thought AA Executive is under-performing, especially compared to Prestige. (2) Taking away flight redemption at 1.6 cents/point on AA flights and 1.33 cents/point on other airlines essentially makes Prestige's redemption option exactly the same as ThankYou Premier's. If no other major change occurs between now and next July, we will need to adjust our value of ThankYou points earned on Prestige from 1.6 to 1.4 cents/point - our current valuation for ThankYou points earned on ThankYou Premier. This value is based on transferring ThankYou points to miles of partner airlines such as Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Air France/KLM, and Etihad, rather than the fixed 1.25 cents/point for flight redemption. We are actually very curious to see if American Airlines will be added as a transfer partner as part of the new deal between Citi and AA, and if that is indeed the case, we will again adjust the valuation of ThankYou points. (3) Loss of the golf benefit is bad. No questions about it. While we feel that not many cardmembers are taking advantage of this benefit, for those who are it really hurts. (4) Currently, 4th Night Free is based on the actual rate of the 4th night and some travelers may take advantage of this to score some good saving. However, you may also argue that taking the average rate of your complete stay is a fairer approach.
Even though we hate these negative changes in general, we will suggest not canceling your Prestige that fast - at least wait until the next time you renew or next July. We all know that Citi likes making changes much more often than other card issuers - this is already the fifth major change Citi announced on this card in the last three years! It won't be surprising if Citi brings out some new benefits in the future (e.g. by adding American Airlines as a ThankYou transfer partner). We certainly hope that is the case, especially we are sure that Citi, just like us, is eager to see what Chase will do in introducing a premium Sapphire card to compete with Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige in August.
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