Personal Finance

Why I Love My Citi Prestige Card

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The Citi Prestige® Card has been in my wallet for almost two years, despite the recent removal of valuable travel and purchase protections. Here are eight reasons why I love my Citi Prestige® Card.

» Learn more: Citi Prestige: Premium perks at a plump price

Super generous category bonuses

The Citi Prestige® Card offers some of the best category bonuses out there. Cardholders earn 5 Citi ThankYou points per $1 on travel and restaurants, 3 points per $1 on hotels and cruises, and all other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent. As someone who travels and dines out frequently, those bonus rewards really add up.

While the removal of travel protections is a huge negative, most of my travel expenses are covered with points and miles anyway. I don’t mind charging airline award taxes and fees under $300 to my Citi Prestige® Card, since $300 is what I can have reimbursed by the annual travel credit. If I’m staying at a hotel on points and accruing the occasional room service charge or resort fees, the lack of travel protection isn’t really relevant anyway.

Restaurant spending accounts for a bigger portion of my monthly budget, and the Citi Prestige® Card’s 5x bonus in that category is a pretty big incentive.

No foreign transaction fees

The Citi Prestige® Card has no foreign transaction fees, which is why I always pack it in my wallet when I travel abroad. I won’t use it for every purchase because of the aforementioned lack of travel protections, but I’ll gladly use it to cover non-prepaid hotel expenses like room service or additional taxes and fees that some hotels charge on award stays.

1:1 transfers to valuable airline partners

Hands down, my favorite thing about the Citi Prestige® Card is the 1:1 transfer ratio to 15 airline transfer partners. They consist of mostly foreign carriers’ frequent flyer programs, many of which offer some incredible sweet spot redemptions. We’ve covered some Turkish Airlines sweet spots like 90,000-mile round-trip business class awards to Europe. And Etihad Guest has one of the cheapest rates for award flights to Morocco: just 44,000 miles each way.

Air France/KLM’s joint Flying Blue program offers terrific value through its monthly Promo Awards. For example, if you book by the end of November 2019 for travel through February 2020, you can save 25% off economy class and premium economy travel between Europe and Houston, 50% off economy class travel between Europe and Minneapolis, and 50% off business class travel between Europe and Chicago-O’Hare.

» Learn more: The 4 best Citi transfer partners (and 7 to avoid)

JetBlue is my go-to program for comfortable seats and cheap domestic awards. While 1,000 ThankYou points normally transfer to 800 TrueBlue points, that ratio is increased to 1:1 for Citi Prestige® Card, Citi Premier Card, and American Express Chairman cardholders.

Lastly, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has one of the cheapest transatlantic economy class awards you’ll find anywhere: 15,000 miles one-way between the West Coast and London or 10,000 miles departing from the East Coast. These valuable partnerships combined with the generous category bonuses are a big part of why I keep this card.

» Learn more: Citi Premier review: Potentially lucrative for travelers

Fourth night free

Twice a year, you can book a four-night hotel stay with your Citi Prestige® Card and get the fourth night free, exclusive of taxes and fees. That’s essentially a 25% discount on hotel bookings. If you take advantage of this twice a year at an average rate of $250 per night, you’ll save enough to offset the card’s $495 annual fee.

Priority Pass Select membership

Priority Pass lounges may not have the same wow factor as AmEx Centurion Lounges, but for most of us it’s still a huge upgrade from spending layovers at crowded gates. The Citi Prestige® Card comes with free Priority Pass Select membership. Just register for the program, download the app and scan it for complimentary access at one of over 1,300 lounges worldwide. You can bring up to two additional guests free of charge.

What’s great about the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership offered through this card is that authorized users also get access to the benefit. And unlike American Express, Citi still offers its cardholders airport restaurant credits as part of their lounge benefit. This can come in handy at airports where lounges get particularly packed and a restaurant provides a quieter atmosphere.

$250 annual travel credit

Cardholders also receive an annual $250 travel credit, with no airline restrictions or registration requirements. Simply charge your purchases to the Citi Prestige® Card — if it gets coded as travel, Citi will automatically credit your account up to $250 per year.

This $250 credit goes a long way toward alleviating the $495 annual fee as well. Cardholders can use it to cover airfare, airline award ticket fees, car rentals, cruises, hotels, parking and even bridge tolls. Regardless of whether I’ve been a frequent flyer or a daily commuter, I’ve managed to make use of this credit every year.

Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with a $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck application fee credit. Since I already cover my Global Entry application credit with my American Express Hilton Aspire Card, I recently utilized this credit toward my brother’s Global Entry application fee. It will make his travels easier and costs me nothing. The credit gets replenished every five years.

Welcome bonus

One of the best things about getting the Citi Prestige® Card was receiving bonus points after meeting the initial spending requirement: the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Citi ThankYou points: How to earn and use them
Best Citi ThankYou point redemptions

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet