Citibank launched its premium lifestyle credit card, Citi Prestige 5 years ago in India. While Ajay applied for the card immediately and wrote about it, I was on the fence until I was convinced about the benefits. Having said that, in 2015, I finally took the card and have consistently used this card for 4 years now.
The annual fee for the card, INR 20,000 + taxes is not small by Indian standards. So, this year before renewing the card, I decided to pen down all the benefits I reaped in 2018. I thought it would make for an interesting read.
Renewal Bonus: Prestige comes with a pretty good bonus on sign-up and renewal. I got 2,500 points do not expire ever and I can convert them to 10,000 airmiles across 14 airlines. Additionally, I also got INR 10,000 worth of gift vouchers from Taj Hotels. I used the voucher to partly offset our stay at the Taj Falaknuma Palace last year.
Complimentary Meet & Greet and Airport Transfer Service: Every calendar year I get 2 complimentary airports meet & greet services and luxury car transfers (one-way) to and from the airport. While I didn’t get much value from my meet and greet service in Tokyo Narita, I used both my car transfers on international work trips last year. One of these two transfers was from Narita airport to my hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was my first trip to Japan and where I landed late evening in Narita. Had I hailed an Uber I would have spent a minimum of JPY 27,000/ ~INR 17,000.
I used the second airport transfer service in Hong Kong on another work trip. I had arrived on Jet Airways’ morning flight to Hong Kong, and had to rush to a meeting straight from the airport. Not only did I get a comfortable ride to the city in a Mercedes but also I saved up another HKD 1000/ INR 9,500 had I hired the same car using Blacklane. All in all, just using the 2 airport transfer benefits offset the annual fee I paid for the card.
4th Night Free on Hotels: In 4 years of holding this card, I’ve hardly used the 4th-night free benefit where booking 4 consecutive nights gets the cardholder one night free. However, I used it last year during my trip to Tokyo. The self-serve booking portal works seamlessly and all I had to do was plug in the coupon code and then punch in my card number. It immediately discounted the stay bill by INR 12,000, i.e. 25%.
Unlimited Priority Pass Lounge Access: This by far is my favourite benefit on the Citi Prestige Credit Card. Last year was fairly busy, with international work travel and there were days when the only meals I ate were at the lounge. I used my Priority Pass more times than I can remember. In Hong Kong alone, I visited the Plaza Premium First and the regular Plaza Premium Lounge 5 times. Some other lounges that made my travels comfortable were The Haven Arrivals lounge at Changi and the massive SkyTeam lounge at London Heathrow.
Amongst the domestic lounges, ever since Jet Airways stopped lounge access to Jet Privilege Platinum members, my Priority Pass has come in handy, to access both the GVK Lounge and the Travel Club Lounge at Mumbai Airport. Without the Priority Pass, access to these lounges comes at a price. For all the times that I have waited comfortably in the lounges last year, I gained a value of a minimum of INR 38,000.
Overseas Medical Insurance: This is a benefit that is often overlooked. Each year, Citi issues a complimentary overseas medical insurance policy worth USD 50,000. This is applicable on all international travel for trips up to 30 days. A valid insurance cover is also mandatory to submit while applying for visas to many countries. And while it’s not expensive to purchase insurance online, having insurance already taken care of, just makes life hassle-free.
If I just add up the value I have reaped from these 5 benefits, I’ve gained value of over INR 100,000 last year. That’s 5 times the value of the fee I paid for this card. Needless to say, that point earning ratio on domestic and international spends is great and Prestige points do not expire. Additionally, unlike many other cards that don’t give points for utilities, insurance, fuel, etc., this is one card that I can use without thinking anywhere and everywhere for all spends big and small.
What has been your favourite hack of the Citi Prestige Credit Card?