Credit Card Review: Citibank Prestige India (2014)

A couple of months back, I’d put out some of the feelers I was hearing about Citibank Prestige being launched in India. I’m glad to report the rumours are mostly true! You see, Citibank went downhill with the Ultima, then decided to reinvent the product as the Citibank Prestige in India. Ultima will now be an invite-only card again going head to head with the American Express Centurion in India.

The Citibank Prestige has been on offer since about a month now, and is looked at as a lifestyle card, however, I look at it as a great travel credit card. Lets have a look at all the features of this product.

prestige

Citibank Prestige is offered as a Visa Infinite card in India, taking it up a notch from the other Citibank offerings in India which have been at best at the Signature level.

Sign-up Bonuses/Annual Renewal Bonuses: Citibank Prestige has a pretty large bonus, and it comes with 2500 points on sign-up which will get converted to 10000 airmiles of your choice into AI Flying Returns, SQ KrisFlyer, BA Avios, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Eva Air, Cathay Pacific, Delta airmiles or Hilton HHonors, Taj Inner Circle and IHG reward points. You get 5000 miles with Etihad Gold and 5000 BA Avios as well. You also get INR 10,000 worth of gift vouchers from the Taj or ITC Hotels depending upon your preference. Both these bonuses are valid for each membership year you sign up for, and are sort of paying you back your fees of INR 20,000.

Fees: The Card comes at a fee of INR 20,000 plus taxes per annum.

Eligibility: A reader posted that the gross income per annum for this card is about INR 40 Lakhs, though this is not validated by the Bank. So you may be able to get this for less as well.

Features: The card comes with quite some power packed features.

  • Etihad Guest Gold: Primary Cardholders get Gold membership and 5000 bonus miles in the first year of membership. In the current scenario of their tie-up with Jet Airways, this can be a very good way to get lounge access while flying Jet Airways. Also, if you transfer 20000 miles into Etihad Guest in the first 6 months of your membership, you get another 6000 miles as bonus.
  • BA Executive Club Upgrade: On taking a flight with BA, you get upgraded one-tier up from your current BA Executive Club Tier. You also get 5000 Avios bonus one-time.
  • Hotels: Citi has tied up into the Visa Luxury Hotels program and are offering a free night for every continuous 4 night stay (discounting the 4th night). You also get 20% discount on BAR rates at Six Senses Spa properties around the world. At various chains in India such as the Taj, ITC Hotels, Leela and The Lalit, you get upto 20% off BAR rates as well.
  • HHonors Gold: Visa Infinite card holders are eligible to get HHonors Gold complimentary this year. Hence, Prestige Card holders will get this benefit as well. Like you know, it gets you a shot at upgrades, and also free breakfast at Hilton properties. Status will be valid till March 2015. Primary as well as supplementary cardmembers get this benefit.
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade Tier: Jade is the mid-tier for Shangri-La hotels. It gets you free breakfast and double occupancy for the price of single occupancy. Primary as well as supplementary cardmembers get this benefit.
  • Taj Epicure Plus & Inner Circle Gold Tier: Taj InnerCircle is the loyalty program of Taj Hotels. You get upgraded to their Gold Tier. You also get membership to the Taj Epicure Plus Dining program where you get 25% of your meal cost back as points.
  • Complimentary Meet & Greet and Limo Service: Members will get twice a year, complimentary meet & greet services and limousine transfers (1-way) which can be used between the primary and add-on card members.
  • Priority Pass: All cardholders and their add-on card holders will get an unlimited use Priority Pass each (valid till December 31, 2014).
  • Golf: Complimentary greens access at 18 golf courses across the Asia Pacific.
  • Complimentary Sailing: If you happen to be in Mumbai, you get a 1.5 hour sailing session complimentary.

Earning points: You earn 1 point for every 100 INR spent in India, and 2 points for every 100 INR spent in foreign currency. Also, if you are a CitiGold or Citi Private Client, you get a bonus on your points depending on your spends on the card in a year:

  • INR 5-10 Lakhs get 10% bonus
  • INR 10-15 Lakhs get 20% bonus
  • INR 15 Lakhs+ get 30% bonus

Redeeming points: Like I mentioned above, each point can be converted to 4 miles from the following programs: AI Flying Returns, SQ KrisFlyer, BA Avios, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Eva Air, Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles, Delta SkyMiles. You can also transfer to HHonors, Taj IC and IHG Rewards Club.

Bottomline: I find this a very very attractive proposition for those of you who are frequent flyers. There are other features I haven’t wrote about here, such as USD 50000 travel insurance, but look at the whole package and you’ll see how it makes sense for a sum of 20,000 INR.

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. Is there any credit card in india which offers complementary purovel membership which provides access to the swissotel properties (and their gym and swimming pool full access unlimited worth Rs. 45000/year.)

  2. Hi
    Can anyone tell me if there is any other card available in India which can do Jet or any one world alliance airlines status upgrade. Etihad Gold is good option to go for via this card, however, if one world alliance airlines upgrade us possible with some other card, it would be even better.

  3. @Ajay
    Hi Ajay,
    Is it possible for you to give me the features and details of the Citi Ultima Infinite.
    If yes please let me know so that I can give you my email since I know that the features of such cards can not be disclosed publicly.

  4. I have this credit card.
    The priority pass remains unlimited for lifetime unless the bank changes its plans.
    This card is not the one what competes with the centurion.
    Its the Ultima Infinite which they launched together with this card at an overall fee of Rs.2,80,000+taxes.
    I would suggest you to go with this card than the Indusind because you have the Etihad Gold Status which means that you are a valuable member of the father of Jet Airways.
    Also the yq thing is only worth it if you travel in economy class because you will get these privileges if you fly by business class and hence….

  5. How is this better that Indusind (Amex) jet airways card where they get you upto 8 miles on domestic spends done during weekend. And upto 16 miles if spent on jetairways.com.

    But they have a cap of 75000 miles that can be earned annually.
    Most of the cards are cutting corners.

    I was a active citi-jet card which in my opinion was the best card

  6. Hi Ajay, Is the Etihad gold benefit applicable on 9W only if you bank your miles with Etihad or one can bank the miles on 9W and get Etihad gold benefits as well such as Lounge access/Extra baggage.

  7. I have checked with Citi team. Rs. 40 Lakh Gross Annual Salary is a necessary condition. Did not ask for any concession so not sure about it.

  8. Do the benefits like Etihad Gold membership, unlimited Priority Pass for all card holders, Taj Epicure Plus, etc get renewed every year with each renewal?

    • @Mihir Taj for sure. Priority Pass is not an unlimited benefit for lifetime but 1 yr for sure. Etihad only first year.

    • @Agarwal they have engaged a company called Yq which will meet you on the jetbridge on arrival and take care of you and your bags post arrival. On departure, these services will help you pass through quickly and give you access to their lounges usually.

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