Why I’m on the Fence about Dropping my Citi Prestige

Recently, Citi has updated the Prestige. As I’ve mentioned before in my post about how I offset my annual credit card fees, the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit was a major part of that strategy. With the new changes, the $250 air travel credit is now a $250 general travel credit, beginning in September the 4th night free will be capped at 2 times annually, the bonus categories have been changed and the annual fee increases to $495. Previously, the bonus categories were:

  • 3x ThankYou points on air travel and hotels
  • 2x ThankYou points on dining and entertainments
  • 1x ThankYou points on everything else.

As of January 3, the categories are:

  • 5x ThankYou Points on dining and air travel
  • 3x ThankYou Points on cruise and hotel purchases
  • 2x ThankYou Points on entertainment (only through 8/31/19)
  • 1x ThankYou points on everything else.

My Citi Prestige was mainly used for booking hotels with the 4th night free benefit. Since I’m no longer a consultant, I won’t be able to take advantage of benefit like I did last year. What puts me on the fence are the changes to the bonus categories, particularly the 5x on dining. 5x on dining definitely beats the 4x on dining from the American Express Gold and the 3x on dining from the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Dining is definitely where most of my credit spend is. If I used the Citi Prestige, exclusively for dining and entertainment, it would help in diversifying the points currencies I’m collecting.

Breaking-Even

The break-even on the card becomes the tricky part. When I calculate break-even, I factor in the value from the benefits as well as the best cash value from the points. I won’t factor in the value from transfer partners. If I take the annual fee and subtract the travel credit, I’m left with $245. Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents when redeeming points though the Citi Travel Portal. In order for me to break-even I would have to spend $3920 per year.

The Downgrade Path

If I downgraded my Prestige to the Citi Premier (which has an annual fee of $95) my breakeven would be $3800. I would still collect ThankYou points but at lower break-even cost. Most of the other benefit of the Prestige, I won’t use or will have access to on one of my other cards. So that isn’t a big concern for me. My annual fee isn’t due until July and so I do have some time to decide.

What do you think? Should I keep my Citi Prestige or downgrade the card?