Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Credit Card Review: Citi Prestige Mastercard

With an above average earning rate and excellent traveller perks that could save you thousands of dollars, the Citi Prestige MasterCard is still in our wallets in 2019

Here’s our review of the Citi Prestige MasterCard credit card issued in Singapore. It forms part of our series of credit card reviews, which are all summarised on our dedicated Credit Cards page.

Dollar amounts refer to SGD, and ‘miles’ refer to KrisFlyer Miles, except where stated. This review was updated on 25th November 2019.

Fast Facts

Card2019

Annual fee: $535.00/yr
EIR: 26.9%
Sign-up bonus: 25,000 miles
Local earn rate: 1.32 miles per $1*
Overseas earn rate: 2.02 miles per $1*
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: $120,000/yr
* Relationship bonus for 0-5 years included

APPLY HERE

Annual fee

The annual fee on this card is high, over 2.5x that of its little brother, the Citi PremierMiles Visa card, at $535 a year.

The good news is that you’ll receive 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 miles) on payment of the annual fee, with no minimum spend requirement.

Also at each renewal, on payment of the annual fee, you will be credited another 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 miles).

These Citi ThankYou Points can be transferred into one of 11 frequent flyer schemes (including KrisFlyer) at a 2.5:1 ratio.

As we value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each, those 25,000 miles are worth at least $475 against future redemptions, so the card isn’t far off paying for itself.

It’s worth mentioning that the annual fee for this card is not waivable.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sign-up bonus

Back in 2017 the Citi Prestige card offered a sign-up bonus of 72,500 Citi ThankYou Points (29,000 miles), however since this ended the regular bonus on payment of the annual fee in the first year and for subsequent years is 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 miles).

However, because there is no promotion – there are also no minimum spending requirements and the points will be credited to your card account as soon as the annual fee is paid.

Earning rates

The Citi Prestige Mastercard earns:

  • 3.25 Citi Thank You Points (1.3 miles) for every $1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD)
  • 5 Citi ThankYou Points (2 miles) for every $1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency)

However, with the Citi Prestige card, there is also a Relationship Bonus.

Screenshot 2018-01-05 21.15.19The table here shows how it works. For the normal banking customer, it’s 5% in the first 5 years – more if you are a Citigold customer.

So surely, 5% means 1.365 miles per dollar spent locally, right? Wrong! That’s what I first assumed, and so was understandably surprised at the end of my first card year when far fewer ‘bonus’ miles showed up.

This is actually very differently applied and has been mistaken on other reviews and forums in the past.

Actually the percentages referred to in this table are applied to your total overall spend and then paid in Citi ThankYou Points, not in miles e.g. spend $10,000 (locally or overseas) and at the 5% rate you will be rewarded with 500 Citi ThankYou Points, which equates to 200 miles or a 2% bonus – not a great deal.

Here’s the proper explanation from a different section of the Citi website:

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 17.58.34

Frankly, it’s so confusing we have created a table to make it easier to understand what your actual miles earning rates will be, with the relevant bonuses applied.

Citi Prestige Relationship Bonus
Actual miles earn rates (mpd)
0 – 5 years 6 – 10 years > 10 years
Local Spend
Citigold / Private Client
1.36 1.38 1.42
Overseas Spend
Citigold / Private Client
2.06 2.08 2.12
Local Spend
Regular
1.32 1.34 1.36
Overseas Spend
Regular
2.02 2.04 2.06

So assuming you aren’t a Citigold customer, after 10 years the earn rate rises to a maximum of 1.36 miles per $1 spent locally and 2.06 miles per $1 spent overseas.

Eligible transactions

All retail transactions made using the Citi Prestige card are eligible to earn Citi ThankYou Points, with the exception of:

  • Annual fees, interest charges, late payment charges, GST, cash
    advances, instalment/easy/extended/equal payment plans, preferred
    payment plans, balance transfers, cash advances, quasi-cash
    transactions, all fees charged by Citibank or third party, miscellaneous
    charges imposed by Citibank (unless otherwise stated in writing by
    Citibank)
  • Funds transfers using the card as source of funds
  • Bill payments (including via Citibank Online or via any other channel or agent)
  • Payments to educational institutions
  • Payments to government institutions and services (including but not limited to court cases, fines, bail and bonds, tax payment, postal services, parking lots and garages, intra-government purchases)
  • Payments to insurance companies (sales, underwriting, and premiums)
  • Payments to financial institutions (including banks and brokerages)
  • Payments to non-profit organizations
  • Betting or gambling (including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, offtrack betting, and wagers at race tracks) through any channel
  • Top-ups or payment of funds to payment service providers, prepaid cards and any prepaid accounts
  • Transit-related transactions
  • Transactions performed at establishments/businesses/merchants that fall within an excluded Merchant Category or a merchant that has been excluded by the bank, as set out in www.citibank.com.sg/rwdexcl

This list may be updated from time to time, so check the Citi Prestige Cardmembers Agreement for the latest information.

Note that education, insurance and tax payments are specifically excluded from points earning.

How much is a Citi ThankYou Point worth?

Anything from 0.25 cents (if you use them as a cash rebate against your statement balance, or to pay for a specific transaction) to 0.8 cents (if you convert them to airline miles, like KrisFlyer miles).

Clearly, the 0.3 cents option is terrible and represents a poorer return than you would expect to achieve from many cashback cards, so we don’t recommend that. Conversion into airline miles is the best deal.

What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?

It’s the same for all 11 frequent flyer schemes which are part of the programme, $25 each time you transfer Citi ThankYou Points to airline miles (like KrisFlyer miles).

Note: Citi is increasing its transfer cost into airline partner programmes and hotel loyalty schemes to $26.75 with effect from 17th May 2020, to take account of GST.

ADVERTISEMENT

Is there a minimum transfer amount?

Yes, since March 2017 the minimum amount of Citi ThankYou Points you can transfer into airline miles is 25,000, and they must then be in blocks of 25,000. Previously, much more flexible 1,250-point block transfers were possible.

Screenshot 2018-01-10 16.12.33

So if you have 99,999 Citi ThankYou Points, and you don’t have time to tick it over by making a small purchase (miles from purchases tend to reflect in your account within a few days), you’ll only be able to transfer 75,000 Citi ThankYou Points across to KrisFlyer (and will be left with 24,999 in your Citi ThankYou Points account).

On the plus side, Citi ThankYou Points never expire and so unless you have an urgent or specific redemption need, there should be no harm in letting them accumulate.

Do Citi ThankYou Points expire?

Here’s a plus – Citi ThankYou points accumulated on the Prestige card never expire, so unless you have an urgent or specific redemption need, there should be no harm in letting them accumulate.

How long do miles take to credit to KrisFlyer?

The official line is “up to 5 working days”. In reality the last few times I converted, it took 24-48 hours on each occasion. That’s not a bad turnaround, especially if you are looking to jump on a flight redemption that’s currently available.

Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?

One of the best things about Citi ThankYou Points in Singapore is the wide range of transfer partners compared with other bank loyalty points.

You can transfer your miles into 11 different frequent flyer programmes (FFPs), plus into IHG points on the hotel loyalty side.

Citi ThankYou Points credit to the following loyalty schemes:
KFtrans

Asia

BA

QRtrans

EYtrans.png

TGtrans

AFKLtrans.png

EVtrans.png

MHtrans.png

QFF.png

TKtrans.png

IHG

Citi ThankYou Points transfer at the same 2.5:1 ratio into all these programmes, giving you a wide range of flight redemption options including oneworld and SkyTeam carriers.

Since Citi ThankYou Points accrued on the Prestige card never expire and also transfer to most FFPs relatively quickly, there’s no rush to commit to a specific programme and transfer regularly. Simply transfer when you need to travel, into the scheme that works best for your preferred redemption.

ADVERTISEMENT

Points rounding

Every eligible transaction you make using the Citi Prestige card is rounded down to the nearest Singapore dollar (after conversion from foreign currency if applicable), before Citi ThankYou Points are then assessed.

Example:

  • $21.49 rounds down to $21
  • $21.99 rounds down to $21

The appropriate multiplier of Citi ThankYou Points is then applied to the transaction, depending on its nature, then rounded to the nearest whole mile.

Example (regular earn rate):

  • $21 x 3.25 (local) = 68.25 Points (rounds to 68 Points, which converts to 27 miles)
  • $21 x 5.0 (overseas) = 105 Points, which converts to 42 miles

Minimum spend to earn points

Since every amount you spend is rounded down to the nearest dollar before Citi ThankYou Points are accounted for, $1.00 is the minimum transaction amount in order to earn points.

Forex fee / cpm overseas

The Citi Prestige card has a 3.25% foreign currency transaction fee, which is among the highest on the market in Singapore.

With a relatively standard regular overseas earn rate of 2 miles per dollar, that means it’s certainly not the best card to use as it is equivalent to paying 1.71 cents per mile when spending in foreign currency.

There are better cards than that for overseas spend, and you should be looking at the BOC Elite Miles or Standard Chartered Visa Infinite for much better rates, not just in cost per mile terms but miles per dollar too.

Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions by card
(Best to worst, March 2020)

Card Fee Miles per $ Cost per mile
Card.pngBOC EM 3.0% 3.0 1.06¢