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Reviewing the Citi ThankYou Prestige Benefits

Traveling used to be reserved only for those with ample money and a taste for luxury. Thanks to a healthy dose of competition among airlines and an increased desire to travel among the less than wealthy crowd, booking a flight for business or pleasure is far less expensive and less elite than it used to be. Still, we’ve all experienced first-class envy when running through the airport – a desire to take it easy in the members-only lounge, longing to be at the front of the boarding herd, or sitting in preferred seats with a decent amount of legroom once on board. Without paying the hefty price for airport and in-flight amenities, most travelers are forced to be content with the coach experience. However, for some frequent flyers, the ability to achieve first-class status in some aspects of traveling is made easier simply by being a Citi ThankYou Prestige credit cardholder.


Citi Prestige


The Citi ThankYou Prestige credit card is not just a travel rewards card; it is a true experience. With unmatched benefits, this first-class card is worth taking a closer look.

The Basics

First and foremost, the Citi Prestige credit card offers a robust rewards program, as do the other ThankYou rewards cards offered through CitiBank. Cardholders earn three rewards points for each dollar spent on airfare and hotels, and two rewards points for each dollar spent on entertainment and dining out. All other purchases receive the standard one point per dollar spent. Cardholders are not limited to the number of rewards points they can receive while maintaining the card, nor are rewards set to expire after a certain time frame. As a promotional bonus, any cardholders who qualify for and receive a new Citi Prestige credit card are eligible for a 50,000 rewards bonus when $3,000 in purchases are made within the first three months after account opening. The rewards accumulation system and potential bonus make the travel card attractive to those who fly often, but there’s more!

Cardholders are not limited to how rewards can be redeemed, as may be the case with comparable travel credit cards. The Citi Prestige credit card offers the most bang for the proverbial buck when rewards are used to purchase airfare with American Airlines, followed by other airfare purchased through Citi’s partner airlines. For example, 50,000 rewards points can be redeemed for a $800 American Airlines flight, or a $665 flight with any partner airline. Not too shabby, right? Rewards may also be used for non-travel redemption, such as hotels stays or rental cars. That same 50,000 rewards balance is the equivalent of a $500 hotel stay, for instance.

Rewards may also be transferred to other direct airline or hotel points programs, but a minimum of 1,000 points must be used when taking advantage of this option. There is no fee to transfer points from Citi to another loyalty program, and there is no restriction on the number of times that can be done. Cardholders also have the option of redeeming rewards for merchandise, gift cards, tickets through or travel getaways. Citi has partnered with to offer an impressive spread of items that can be purchased in exchange for earned points from the Citi Prestige credit card.

Unique Perks

While the travel rewards available through the Citi Prestige card are attractive, the first-class travel experience is just around the corner for cardholders. One of unique perks that sets Citi Prestige apart from other travel cards is the once-per-year $250 air travel credit applied to any flight-related expenses charge to the card, such as airfare, baggage fees or seat upgrades. Additionally, cardholders have the opportunity to extend a qualifying hotel stay for a fourth night at no cost when the Citi Prestige credit card is used. More benefits come by way of the following:

  • 24/7 access to the Citi Prestige Global Concierge
  • Access to Citi ThankYou Events and Citi Private Pass Beyond events
  • Access to elite travel perks, such as private jets and car services
  • Unlimited access to airport lounges

Finally, Citi Prestige cardholders who also fall under the category of Citigold or Global banking members through CitiBank have the opportunity to ramp up rewards even faster. An annual 15% bonus is applied to the rewards points earned throughout the year for Citigold or Global banking members, while private bank clients receive a 25% rewards bump.

The Fine Print

Although the Citi Prestige card has a great deal of allure for frequent flyers who don’t mind a little luxury now and again, the credit card comes with a big price tag. The annual fee is $450 and is not waived for the first anniversary, making the benefits not necessarily worth the expense for travelers who aren’t out and about often. If you happen to have an authorized user associated with the Citi Prestige card, you can tack on an additional $50 per year, per user to the standard annual fee.

In addition to a hefty cost compared to other travel rewards credit card, the Citi Prestige card comes with a few challenges from the start. According to Citi, an applicant must have an exemplary credit history and score to qualify for the Prestige credit card, meaning a high level of current income, no past due accounts, and low balances on all other revolving credit accounts. If you’re lucky enough to get approved for the Prestige card, be prepared for an annual percentage rate ranging between 15.49% and 25.49% that fluctuates in line with the broad interest rate market. No low introductory rate is offered at this time, nor are there any promotions for balance transfers.

The Verdict

If you prefer to feel like an A-lister when you travel, the Citi Prestige credit card may be the best fit for your needs. The perks included with the card seem endless, ranging from access to private jets and special events to airport lounges and ’round the clock concierge access, and the potential for rewards on travel and non-travel purchases is relatively high compared to other credit cards for travel. However, the Citi ThankYou Prestige card is not a great choice for individuals who aren’t a fan of a high annual fee, or those who simply don’t travel enough to justify that fee. Also, the travel rewards card isn’t meant for individuals with less than perfect credit, no matter how much they long for a stepped up travel experience.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review

With more than 90 flight destinations spanning the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico, Southwest has taken on a large market share of budget-conscious travelers. The company has a strong reputation among its most frequent flyers due in part to its relatively low fares, no baggage fees and a solid rewards program. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offers a way to boost frequent flyer rewards over time, making it a sound choice for loyal Southwest travelers.

Southwest RR Premier

Underwritten by Chase, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is one of three rewards cards offered by the airline that provides frequent flyers the opportunity to earn points toward redeemable miles, gift cards, and other cardholder perks. Let’s take a look at the basics.

The Basics

For each dollar spent on Southwest airlines flights or hotel and car rental partners, cardholders earn two rapid rewards points; all other purchases made on the Rapid Rewards Premier credit card earn accountholders a single point. Rapid rewards points can be redeemed for Southwest Airlines flights to any of the airline’s destinations or for international flights offered through more than 50 global carriers partnered with Southwest. Cardholders may also redeem rapid rewards for more than 70 partner merchants for as little as 3,000 points. Points earned on the Rapid Rewards Premier credit card may also be used to redeem hotel rooms or rental cars throughout the United States, or merchandise listed through the Southwest website.

In addition to a robust rewards redemption program, cardholders don’t have to be concerned with rewards expiring after a certain amount of time. As long as the card remains open and in good standing, your rapid rewards remain useable. Credit card holders are also unlimited in the amount of rewards that can be earned over time.

Cardholders don’t have to fret over seat restrictions or blackout dates when rewards are redeemed, and no change fees are assessed if flights have to be changed. Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card definitely stands out among similar travel rewards cards in offering these added perks.

Unique Perks

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card has an added rewards bonus equal to 50,000 points for new cardholders who spend a minimum of $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. On top of that boost in rewards, cardholders receive an added 6,000 points at each account anniversary, making it even easier to accumulate rewards.

For frequent Southwest flyers, the Rapid Rewards Premier card is incredibly attractive in that it also offers an additional 1,500 tier-qualifying points for every $10,000 in purchases, capped at 15,000 tier-qualifying points each calendar year. Travelers who earn at least 35,000 tier-qualifying rewards each year qualify for A-List Status, which provides the following added perks:

  • Priority boarding
  • Priority security lane access
  • Priority check-in
  • 25% more Rapid Rewards points earned each flight
  • Priority standby status
  • A-List member dedicated phone line

As if these benefits weren’t enough for the loyal Southwest fan, a companion pass is available for rewards members who earn at least 110,000 points. The Southwest companion pass allows flyers to choose one person to fly with them to any destination, at any time, for a whole year.

The Fine Print

As with any credit card, applicants should be aware of the nitty gritty details. For the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, there is no promotional introductory interest rate, even for the most qualified applicants. The annual percentage rate starts at 16.24% and can go up as high as 23.24% for purchases; the cash advance rate is 25.24%. All interest rates assessed on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card are variable, meaning they will fluctuate with broad market interest rate movements.

For cardholders interested in balance transfers, no promotional interest rate is available at this time. The annual percentage rate applied to balance transfers is the same as the interest rate offered at the time the card is established. However, well-qualified applicants have the opportunity to earn up to 15,000 rewards points on balance transfers successfully completed within the first 90 days of account opening. Cardholders should be aware that a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5 is assessed on the entire amount transferred, whichever is more.

Travel credit cards rarely offer such a variety of perks without a cost, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is no exception to this rule. An annual fee of $99 is charged on an annual basis at the cardholder’s anniversary. Fortunately, no fees are assessed when redeeming rewards.

According to Chase, applicants must have outstanding credit in order to qualify for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. This means that a low debt-to-income ratio must be in place for borrowers and co-borrowers, along with no outstanding delinquent credit accounts. Past bankruptcies, accounts in collections, or high revolving debt balance relative to credit limits may disqualify an applicant, or may increase the initial interest rate applied to purchases or balance transfers put on the card.

The Verdict

Southwest Airlines is not every traveler’s cup of tea, but for loyal fans of the cost-conscious airline, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is an exceptional choice for a travel card. Rapid rewards are earned not only on Southwest fares purchased through the card, but also on everyday purchases like gas or groceries and partner purchases such as hotel stays and rental cards. Cardholders have the opportunity to boost total rewards earnings by taking advantage of special balance transfer offers and a 50,000 utilization rewards bonus applicable within the first three months after account opening. Southwest credits another 6,000 rewards each anniversary of account opening simply for being a customer in good standing.

The rewards are a great feature of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card, but frequent flyers also have the benefit of no blackout dates when redeeming rewards for airfare, and no seat restrictions. Rewards never expire, and there is no cap on earnings. Cardholders do need to be aware of the annual fee of $99, as well as the annual percentage rate charged on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. For travelers with excellent credit and a penchant for the Southwest experience, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is a strong contender in travel credit cards.

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Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Credit Card Review

The Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage travel rewards credit card has great discounts on miles for frequent flyers.

This one comes in two flavors: the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard, and Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature Card. As our readers know, both Visa Signature and World MasterCards come with a nice collection of benefits, such as travel and rental car insurance, fraud protection, purchase protections, exclusive offers, and more. So that’s all well and good, but we’re here to talk travel. And boy, does this card have the goodies for any miles-hoarder worth their salt.

To start, if you hit the spending requirement of $3000 in the first three months, you get 40,000 bonus miles, which is enough to take you to Hawaii and back in the off-peak. Thereafter, you get a mile for every dollar you put on the card, and double miles on American Airlines purchases. If you spend $30,000 or more in a year, you receive a $100 flight discount, essentially paying for annual fee. But wait, the rewards don’t stop. Every time you redeem your AAdvantage miles, you get 10% of the miles redeemed back right away. In addition, all Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage cardholders get access to MileSAAver rates for select destinations that change every quarter — these are 7,500 miles less than the regular award flight rates. Nice!

Once you’re traveling, you will still enjoy the special perks of this card. Get your first checked bag for free, saving $25 each way. This is valid for you and up to four people on your reservation — all together the group could save up to $250 per roundtrip! Plus, enjoy free priority boarding, so that you can grab a good spot for your carry-on and settle in that much sooner. Once the plane takes off, just use your Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage card and get 25% off in-flight purchases. Of course, all of these perks assume you are flying with American Airlines or one of their partners.

American Airlines boasts a solid frequent flyer rewards program. Their miles retain a good value, and AA doesn’t charge extra for stopovers, open jaws, and one-ways on award flights. Plus, they allow a free one-way out of major American hubs, including Dallas, Miami, Chicago, New York JFK, and Los Angeles LAX.

Check out our guide to the details below.

Money Math

  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived for the first year)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • APR: var 15.24%
  • APR for Balance Transfers: same as above
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • APR for Cash Advance: var 25.24%
  • Cash Advance Fee: 5%
  • Late Fee/Returned Payment Fee: $35
  • Over Credit Limit Fee: None, just pay the difference each month
  • Penalty APR: var 29.99%, may apply with late/returned payment


  • Bonus: 40,000 miles after spending $3000 in first 3 months
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on every American Airlines purchase
  • 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Miles Worth: 1 mile = 1-2 cents, or up to 12 cents when redeeming for business/first class or long international
  • Rewards Limit: None
  • Rewards Expiration: None
  • Redeem Rewards For: flights, upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays, and more
  • Get first checked bag free for yourself and up to 4 people on your reservation
  • Get Group 1 priority boarding
  • 25% off in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights
  • Receive $100 American Airlines flight discount every year you spend $30,000 or more
  • Get back 10% of redeemed AAdvantage miles (up to $10,000 back per year)
  • Redeem with 7,500 less miles through AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards


  • Get discounts from Hertz
  • $0 Fraud Liability Protection
  • Purchase Protection: Yes
  • Travel Insurance: Yes
  • Auto Rental Insurance: Yes
  • Extended Warranty: Yes
  • Customer Service: 24/7 concierge-like service


My thoughts

I’m a big fan of the Citi AAdvantage cards. The sign-up bonus is sweet, and I especially love the 10% rebate on all reward redemptions, and free checked bags. I do wish that the Citi American Airline cards have category bonuses, or offered 2x on all purchases like the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.

Don’t forget to check out our list of the best travel credit cards and best rewards credit cards.