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.
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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