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.

Key features

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.

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.

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.

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¢
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngSCVI 3.5% 3.0 1.22¢
AscendCC.pngKF Ascend 2.5% 2.0 1.36¢
Card.jpgOCBC Voyage 3.0% 2.3 1.39¢
Card Trans.pngUOB PRVI Miles 3.25% 2.4 1.43¢
Card.pngMaybank Horizon Visa 2.75% 2.0 1.48¢
HSBCviNEW2HSBC VI 2.8% 2.0 1.50¢
CardOCBC 90°N
3.0% 2.1 1.52¢
Card2019Citi Prestige MC
3.25% 2.0 1.71¢
Altitude Card.jpgDBS Altitude 3.25% 2.0 1.71¢
CardX Card 3.5% 2.0 1.83¢
Card 2KrisFlyer UOB 3.25% 1.2 2.86¢

Cost per mile also accounts for an additional 0.3% ‘spread’ over money changer currency rates, though this doesn’t apply to all banks and all foreign currencies, so is a worst-case scenario.

Lounge access

The Citi Prestige card comes with a complimentary Prestige level Priority Pass membership (usually US$429 per year), which entitles you to unlimited lounge visits throughout the year, including one free accompanying guest (usually US$32 per guest).

Bar
Priority Pass boasts over 1,300 lounges worldwide, including the Turkish Airlines lounge in Bangkok. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This perk is a must for any frequent traveller who may not have airline status or doesn’t always fly in a premium cabin or with a full service airline. When travelling long haul, we always book or redeem Business or First Class, but on the shorter hops the expense often isn’t worth it.

The guest allowance is especially useful when travelling with a friend, colleague or client.

Free airport limo rides

For big spenders, Citi offers up to eight one-way complimentary airport limousine transfers per year.

When we say big spenders though, that’s what we mean. A minimum spend of $12,000 per quarter applies, unlocking two complimentary rides in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class during the same quarter. That is also the upper cap of complimentary rides in the same quarter (you can’t unlock single rides, only in pairs).

On the plus side, Citi PayAll transactions do count towards the $12,000 spend requirement, so paying large bills this way such as your monthly property rental can help you reach the threshold.

We have a full rundown of which credit cards provide this service, but it’s safe to say the Citi Prestige offer is the least generous of those including the perk.

Mercedes Dash.jpg
You can take up to eight complimentary limo rides to and from Changi Airport per year with the Citi Prestige card, provided you spend enough in each quarter

Each limo ride is for a maximum of four passengers, with no additional midnight or Sentosa surcharges like you see with some other providers.

Booking is through an online portal at least 48 hours before your pick up time. You’ll have to make payment for the service using your Citi Prestige Mastercard, and the bank will then reimburse you (provided you met the spend criteria in that same quarter as the limo ride).

Reimbursement is to your card account, in the following quarter. The ‘quarters’ referred to in this case are Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep and Oct-Dec each year.

Technically the Citi Prestige limo benefit ends on 31st December 2020, but the deal is likely to be renewed on similar terms next year.

Bear in mind it can take up to six months to be refunded for your limo ride under this system. For example a booking on 1st July might not be paid back to your card until the end of the following quarter, in late December.

Late cancellation and ‘no show’ penalties and fees apply for this service. Check the full terms and conditions here.

Fourth night free

The International Complimentary Night Hotels and Resorts Program offers you the fourth night free in any hotel in the world, with unlimited usage, when booked through the Citi Concierge.

This is a genuinely an excellent deal. You must stay for at least four nights and the concierge must be able to book the hotel for you.

However, we have really pushed the concierge over the last couple of years, getting them to book via our hotel loyalty programs, corporate discount portals and various other quite complicated and obscure routes. They have never disappointed so far.

Screenshot 2018-01-08 22.56.39

The concierge will even check for you to see if they can get the same hotel for a cheaper rate (they once found a villa in Bali I wanted to book, for $200 less!).

This perk saves us thousands per year in free hotel nights, since we are regular travellers. Obviously, we travel much more than average and the amount saved depends on how much the hotels per night cost is – but there are some great potential savings to be gained here.

Note: The International Complimentary Night Benefit has taken a bit of a beating over the years – they no longer pay taxes and it cannot be used in combination with Kaligo, but it’s still a great rebate. Just be careful to actually pay for the room charge with your Citi Prestige card otherwise you will not be refunded the money (they do check!).

World Elite Mastercard benefits

As a World Elite Mastercard, Citi Prestige members are also entitled to a range of additional benefits including:

  • 35% off Avis standard car hire rates
  • Unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi, including complimentary inflight connectivity with specific airlines and Wi-Fi systems
  • GHA Black elite hotel status (call Citi Prestige once you have your card to sign up). Includes double upgrade, guaranteed availability and late check out perks.

Other benefits

This is where this card really shows its value and the following perks are why I keep it in my wallet:

  • 25 Citi ThankYou Points (10 miles) per $1 spent on hotel stays with Kaligo (this can work very well – see our article here.
  • Complimentary JetQuay access for you and a guest (restrictions apply).
  • Citi World Privileges, available to all Citi cardholders. These include restaurant, shopping and lifestyle benefits plus up to 10% cashback at Booking.com and 10% off hotels at Expedia.com (limited list,  but can be useful).
  • Esso and Shell fuel savings.
  • Many more benefits, listed in full on the Citi Prestige microsite.

Citi PayAll

The Citi Prestige card participates in the bank’s ‘PayAll’ programme, a facility allowing you to pay a fee to use your card and still earn miles on a range of payment types that would otherwise be excluded from miles earning or not usually possible with a credit card.

PayAll Logo

At the time of writing, PayAll supports:

  • Tax payments to IRAS
  • Rent payments to your landlord in Singapore
  • Education payments to a school or tuition centre in Singapore
  • Condo Management Fees
  • Electricity payments in Singapore

Citi charges a 2% service fee for PayAll transactions, so you are ‘buying’ miles for 1.54 cents each when using your Prestige card at the local earn rate for these payments.

Example, for a $4,000 rental payment:

  • Total Spend: S$4,000
  • PayAll Fee (2%): S$80
  • Total Spent: S$4,080
  • Points Earned: 13,000 (4,000 x 3.25)
  • Points to Miles: 5,200 (13,000 / 2.5)
  • Cost per Mile: 1.54 cents ($80 / 5,200)

Promotions for existing customers

Citi doesn’t tend to run many miles promotions for this card, unlike the PremierMiles Visa. First and foremost this is not a traditional “miles earning” card and so the bank’s offers tend to lean towards lifestyle options such as advance and discounted theatre tickets, discounted car hire, hotel offers etc.

In 2019 however there was a rare miles earning deal, with Citi offering 61,000 bonus miles (152,500 ThankYou Points) for a $700 fee, if you had $30,000 to spend over an approximate 10-week period. That was the equivalent of ‘buying’ miles for 1.15 cents each.

A smaller deal for 30,500 bonus miles (76,250 ThankYou Points) was offered for those with $15,000 spending over the same period, for a $350 fee, which also worked out at 1.15 cents per mile.

Our summary

The earning rate on this card is not the best, but there are no minimum spend requirements to achieve the ongoing sign-up bonus and annual recurring bonus of 25,000 miles, so you can channel the majority of your spending to other cards if you wish.

The ability to transfer miles into several frequent flyer schemes other than KrisFlyer is also a great feature, indeed we often use this card to top up our British Airways Avios balance, which we tend to use for Cathay Pacific First and Business Class redemptions.

The real value of this card comes from the perks – fourth night free, unlimited Boingo, Prestige Priority Pass including a guest, etc… If you use them, and use them correctly, they can end up saving you thousands of dollars over the year.

Given that we already explained the annual miles bonus is already worth close to $500 in our opinion, you are getting a lot of perks for the remaining element of the fee ($35!). each year.

If you meet the earning criteria, this card has the potential to transform your travel experience.

Card2019

APPLY HERE

Our recommendations for credit cards and other similar products on this site do not constitute financial advice.

23 comments

  1. Thanks a lot for this!

    So if you have this card and use the concierge to book a hotel that benefits from the free fourth night, will you still get any applicable loyalty points from that Hotel?

    1. Hi Joe, it should be a standard rate booking and therefore the benefits are applied. We have always received the full points amount for the stay when we have used it in the past.

      Citi Concierge will tell you where they are securing the rate from – in some cases when applying some very discounted rates (certain OTAs) you may not get points but you can always direct the concierge to book directly with the hotel.

  2. Thanks for this, Eddie.. with so many different perks from different card issuers, it’s hard to keep track of everything and reading your article brought to my attention the free Boingo Wi-Fi benefit from Mastercard and I’ve signed up/activated my free account.. I don’t know how good or bad it is, and will find out on my next trip on 1 May, but given its free-of-charge, with the added hope that it will work in addition to SQ’s free 100MB onboard, everything will be a no-cost bonus! Thanks!

  3. Hey there,
    Great review. I suppose the relationship bonus applies if you have a savings or current account with Citi? Is that the criteria?
    thanks

    1. Hi Mike. Glad you found the review helpful. The relationship bonus is based on your continuous tenure with Citi – but any relationship will do including a credit card account, you don’t need to hold any other accounts with them to qualify.

  4. One other nice thing to note.. their max 4x a Q or 8x per year Airport Limo Service.. can be used for both outgoing AND incoming.. unlike most others.. I believe DBS Treasures is another (not sure, was told) that also offer limo service for incoming.. so if you travel 8x a year, use Citi Prestige for incoming and another card (UOB PRVImilea Amex, HSBC Visa Infinite etc) for outgoing.. if you travel more than 8x a year, get spouse to apply for card too.. unlike HSBC Visa Infinite, where only Principal Cardholders can use the Limo service, for Citi Prestige, both Principal and Supp Cardholders can use the service..

  5. You mention that “The International Complimentary Night benefit is genuinely an excellent deal. This perk is not unique to this card and is actually a MasterCard World or World Elite benefit.”

    Does that mean I can get the complimentary night benefit with my DBS Woman’s World Card? How do I go about making use of that benefit?

    1. The 4th Night Free benefit isn’t unique?

      For any hotel anywhere in the world?

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but from what I’ve seen so far, this benefit, some ‘even better’, but 4th Night Free isn’t for any hotel, anywhere in the world.. Could you please provide reference?

      1. Hi Ken,

        The 4th Night Free benefit isn’t unique… to the Citi Prestige MC. It’s actually a perk derived from the fact the card is a World Elite MC, implying that other World Elite credit cards could also carry the same perk (although reference to the 4th night perk seems to have been wiped from MasterCard’s own website and now solely exists on Citi’s pages around the world implying that perhaps Citi cards are the only ones to receive this great perk).

        From the T&Cs: “Primary cardholder will enjoy one complimentary night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel through Citi Prestige Concierge.

        We’ve tested this “any” statement quite extensively with some weird and wonderful hotels and offers throughout the world and the concierge has never failed. Even down to booking using special rate codes directly with the hotel via email… the concierge was able to pick up the chain and confirm the booking.

        https://www.citibank.com.sg/prestige/terms-benefits.html

      2. As always, you’re the best, Eddie.. and if you were Andrew, I’d say the exact same thing! Hee..

        But.. really.. thanks for that explanation.. I myself I’m very new to the 4th Night Free benefit, even having the card for years, never new about it or never bothered to look into it, but to be fair, most times I’m lucky that I get pretty good corp rates that wind up being even better than this perk.. except when it comes to ‘vacation’ especially ‘luxe vacation’ spots, which corp rates usually don’t/won’t cover.. so my first time making use of this will be next Feb.. still.. that one free night, pays more than the card’s AF.. so no complaints! ☺️

      3. You are always welcome Ken.

        We’ve saved many thousands of dollars over the years on hotels using this benefit. In fact we have just hit $2.5k USD in the last 2 months!

        Try phoning the concierge and asking to combine your corporate rate code with the 4th night free benefit. We’ve always had success in the past but, after all the bookings – we’re on first name terms with the whole concierge team!

    2. Hi,

      I don’t have a DBS Woman’s World MC to check the BIN of the card but from what I can see, it doesn’t count as a World Elite MC.

      Since writing the card, all information regarding this benefit has been wiped from MasterCard’s websites and now only appears to reside on Citi’s websites worldwide, which would imply that either the perk has been moved in-house to Citi or that only Citi World Elite MasterCards are eligible.

      I will update the article accordingly. Thanks

  6. Hi Eddie,

    You mentioned that you’re able to use the 4th Night Free benefit even with corporate rates? Their TNC states that this benefit can’t be used in conjunction with corporate rates and a whole slew of other promotions / discounts. Link – https://www.citibank.com.sg/prestige/terms-benefits.html

    Just phone the concierge up and they’ll sort you out anyway with no issues? Curious because this could be a huge game changer for business travel, but I have to use corporate rates in most situations in order to get my expenses reimbursed.

    Thanks
    Other Ken

    1. Hi Other Ken 😂,
      It certainly isn’t official but one of the main advantages of the concierge’s personal touch, is that there has typically been some flexibility. I don’t know if it will still apply but it doesn’t hurt to ask – we’ve had success in the past for many bookings that don’t comply completely with the rules.
      Depending on who you speak to, they may have to refer the judgement to a manager.
      Give it a go – see what happens! And make sure to report back.

      Thanks, Eddie.

    2. Hi Other Ken..

      In this case, the T’s & C’s don’t favor either Citi or The Conceirge Service Provider.. The 4th Night free is at cost to Citi (or Service Provider), not the hotel, so it’s in the interest of the bank to get the lowest possible rate.. so I’d give it a try.. I’ve successfully done so.. I just don’t get to use it often as I seldom stay that long in one place these days..

  7. I just got the card and had a phone chat with the service rep – the Boingo account is no longer part of the offering for this card.

    1. Ahhhh… Good to know.. I did wonder why I had difficulty getting Wi-Fi onboard the last few times.. or maybe it was just coincidence.. regardless, another reason for not renewing the card..

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