Citi Prestige benefits changing w.e.f. April 2016

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Citi Prestige is in the midst of their annual review of member benefits right now, and to this effect, they have sent out a mailer to existing members about a few hours ago. To summarize, till March 31, 2016, the following benefits are available to members in India:

  1. 10,000 airmiles per membership year
  2. INR 10,000 worth of hotel vouchers for Taj/ITC Hotels per membership year
  3. Upto 15% savings on F & J tickets with 7 participating airlines
  4. 4th night free at participating hotels
  5. Complimentary yQ meet & assist service, and one-way limo transfers twice a year
  6. Unlimited Priority Pass
  7. Complimentary Golf
  8. Up to 20% off at select hotels in India & select spa
  9. Complimentary Taj Inner Circle Gold & Epicure Plus Plan
  10. Complimentary Etihad Guest Gold Membership & 5000 bonus miles, along with 6000 miles bonus on 20,000 miles conversion
  11. Complimentary Upgrade on BAEC Club Membership & 5000 bonus miles
  12. Complimentary Discover Sailing with Aquasail
  13. Complimentary Overseas Medical Insurance of USD 50000
  14. Relationship bonus for CitiGold & Citi Private Client
  15. Double Points on International Spend

Benefits changing in April 2016

The following benefits are going away as of April 1, 2016:

  1. Upto 15% savings on F&J tickets with 7 participating airlines
  2. Up to 20% off at Select Hotels in India
  3. Complimentary Etihad Guest Gold Membership & 5000 Bonus Miles, along with 6,000 miles bonus on 20,000 miles conversion.
  4. Complimentary Discover Sailing with Aquasail

Another benefit with no mention is Hilton HHonors Gold, which seems to have been quietly removed over the months.

My Views on the changes

In my experience, some of these changes could be going south with the inability of the new concierge partner to support them, such as the 15% savings on premium cabin tickets. Also, the rules for obtaining these tickets were pretty complicated at times, since the discounts were not valid on current available fares, but rather on specific fare buckets, where were usually the highest fare buckets. Also, it required Citi to contract a third vendor apart from their concierge provider to extend the benefit for card holders. The sailing session used to be a hit and miss, and hence I don’t regret it going away.

I am saddened however, at the loss of the Etihad Guest Gold Membership for signing up for Citi Prestige. I felt it was a great benefit, and with all the bonus miles, I felt it was good to get some free tickets on Etihad. The Etihad Guest program had some great value, in case you chose to burn your miles on domestic tickets in India, and I used them frequently to earn and burn points

Also, the 20% off at select hotels in India used to work very well off and on, and I am sad to see it go away.

How can you still make it work?

Since the benefits are changing as of April 1, 2016, you could still get in on the old benefits such as Etihad Guest Gold by applying for the card within the month of March 2016. Processing is usually speedy, and you could sure get your benefits aligned for you.

However, I am happy to see that most benefits don’t come with an expiry date now, which kind of makes it better for us, that we don’t need to keep track on a day to day basis.

What do you think of the changes? Personally, I am not affected much on these counts.

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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. Can anyone comment on the 4th night free and on what rates do they give that. I feel that if a cardholder uses this even twice in a year then the fees are worth it. Hope someone sheds some light on this feature. Would like to hear a personal experience about it.

      • I did use that in the first year. Also there was a 5k bonus for 20k points transfer ending on Dec 31. I did mine in 2 trenches. While the bonus pts for first lot posted mid Dec showed up, the second which I requested Dec 30th lot only shows transferred on Jan 2 as per Etihad website. Do you think I have a case to request a bonus.

  2. It is a good card. You are pampered with meet and greet, free limousine, priority pass, etc. which otherwise one may not use by paying for it separately.

  3. @Rajat: With all due respect, like Ajay I’m also a fan of Citi Prestige and have been using the same for a couple of years now. The Rs. 20k fee gets covered with 10k miles (2500 points) and a Rs. 10k worth Taj/ ITC vouchers. And these are annual benefits.

    More so the unlimited access Priority Pass is worth Rs. 20k each if you were to access airport lounges. And this card provides 1+5 such cards.

    Frankly only with the above I enjoy benefits with Rs. 1.70 lakhs (Rs. 20k worth welcome benefits & Rs. 1.50 lakhs worth priority passes for self + 5 family members). And there’s a lot more in terms of benefits and privileges that Citi Prestige offers.

    Hence the card is totally worth every penny paid.

    Regards,

    Amit

    PS: With all due respect to Ajay (considering the fact that this blog is his baby ), these are my personal views and I’m not endorsing Citi Prestige in any manner. Cheers!

  4. For a card that is offered at such high fee, Citi should replace benefits but not take them away.

    While I know Ajay you have been a fan of this card, I never opted for it since I don’t see the fee justifying the value offered.

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