Promising cardholders complimentary and unlimited global airport lounge access, chauffeur-driven airport transfers, a free hotel night and a fast-track to Hilton Honors Gold status, the Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card is a magnet for high earners, frequent jetsetters, and of course, heavy spenders.
Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card: fast facts, points
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: Visa Infinite
- Loyalty program: Citi Qantas Rewards or Citi Rewards
- Points capping: Uncapped
Customers opting for Citi Qantas Rewards will automatically earn one Qantas Point per dollar spent on all purchases, while Citi Rewards users instead earn two Citi Rewards points per dollar spent in Australia and five Citi Rewards points per Aussie dollar spent abroad.
Importantly, you can't exchange Citi Rewards points for Qantas Points: Qantas Points can only be earned after choosing the Citi Qantas Rewards option, which comes with an additional $49/year charge.
Citi Rewards points can instead be manually converted into frequent flyer points or miles with 12 other airlines and three hotel loyalty schemes (various minimum transfer limits apply), or can be spent to purchase various products from the Citi Rewards catalogue.
Assuming frequent flyer or frequent guest points are your goal, here's how many of those points you'd effectively be earning per dollar spent (split for domestic / international charges), after crunching the card's earning and conversion rates:
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Club Carlson: 2 / 5 Gold Points
- Delta SkyMiles: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Emirates Skywards: 0.8 / 2 miles
- Etihad Guest: 1 / 2.5 miles
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands: 0.66 / 1.66 miles
- GarudaMiles: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Hilton Honors: 2 / 5 points
- IHG Rewards Club: 1.33 / 3.33 points
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club: 1 / 2.5 Qmiles
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus: 1 / 2.5 miles
- Virgin Australia Velocity: 1 / 2.5 points
Payments to the Australian Taxation Office earn no points on this card under either rewards option.
Fees, charges and interest: 4/5
- Annual fee: $700
- Yearly opt-in fee if choosing Citibank Qantas Rewards: $49
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 44
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.74% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.4%
- Minimum income requirement: $150,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $30,000
Earning points for free flights: 4.5/5
Apply and be approved for Citi Prestige by April 30 2017 and spend at least once on the card in the first three months to pick up an easy 70,000 Qantas Points via Citi Qantas Rewards, or 70,000 Citi Rewards points, which can become 35,000 frequent flyer points with most other airline partners including Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines.
With Qantas, that's more than enough for a one-way business class flight from Sydney to the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong (plus taxes and fees), or a one-way upgrade to first class on a paid flexible business class ticket between Sydney and London.
In converting your points to Virgin Australia, the bonus could instead get you a one-way upgrade from most premium economy fares to business class between Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and Los Angeles, or a business class flight from Sydney to Perth (plus taxes and surcharges) if you're in a position to transfer a further 500 Velocity points.
Thereafter, every $8,000 spent via Citi Qantas Rewards nets enough points for a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight in economy (plus taxes and fees), while spending $7,800 on home soil or $3,120 abroad earns enough Citi Rewards points to achieve the same through Velocity (again, plus taxes and fees).
If choosing the latter, just note that you'll need at least 20,000 Citibank Rewards points in your account before they can be shipped across to Velocity – earned after spending $10,000 in Australia or just $4,000 overseas – but if you've retained your welcome bonus, you'll already be above that threshold.
Airport lounge access, hotel privileges: 4.5/5
Whichever rewards option is chosen, cardholders receive a free Priority Pass Prestige membership worth US$409 (A$534), granting unlimited access to over 1,000 airport lounges across the globe. Citibank also covers the cost of one guest with every visit: normally billed at US$27 (A$35).
Absent is free airport lounge access for domestic travellers with Qantas or Virgin Australia, but you'll be well-covered after your flight with a fast-track to Hilton Honors Gold status with perks like free daily breakfast and room upgrades at check-in, after just two stays or four nights at Hilton group hotels.
Added to that: a free hotel night each year, a further opportunity to stay three nights and receive a fourth night free at many more hotels worldwide, plus two free airport limousine transfers within the Asia Pacific region (including Australia) and upgrades, breakfast and late check-out with Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental hotels.
Golf and shopping perks: 5/5
Avid golfers can tee off three times a year at selected courses without paying green fees and can net a Harrods Rewards Black Tier card which provides with free gift boxes when shopping at the London icon, complimentary tea and coffee in Harrods' cafes and restaurants, two hours of free car parking with every visit and a 'priority personal shopping service'.
On home soil, Citi's much-promoted perk of a 'free bottle of award-winning wine' has you covered at a range of restaurants, with dining discounts found at others.
Free travel insurance, other insurance cover: 5/5
Use your Citi Prestige card to pay for an interstate trip of 14 days or less and you may be covered against delayed flights, lost or stolen personal items, travel cancellation due to unexpected circumstances and more.
When heading overseas on trips of six months or less, you may also be covered for a wider range of issues including medical expenses, loss of income and legal liability when charging your return flight to your Citi Prestige card or booking via the Citibank Travel Program.
As an added bonus, you're also covered on international trips booked using airline frequent flyer points if you converted at least 15,000 Citibank Rewards points across to that same program in the 12 months before the flights were booked, or after earning more than 15,000 Qantas Points on the card in the past 12 months when booking via Qantas Frequent Flyer.
In line with most other premium cards, extended warranty cover of up to 12 months, 90-day purchase protection, transit accident insurance and 'guaranteed pricing scheme' cover is too provided.
Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card: our verdict
With a minimum credit limit of $30,000, a minimum annual income requirement of $150,000 plus a $700 annual fee (or $749 when earning points with Qantas), the Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card clearly isn't for everybody, but then again, it's not really intended to be.
Instead, it's tailored towards high-earners who travel frequently and are in position to make use of the card's many benefits including unlimited airport lounge access, travel insurance, complimentary or upgraded hotel stays and more, the combination of which would easily surpass the annual charge.
We're also pleased to see no points capping or tiering of any kind and a broad selection of airline and hotel transfer partners, allowing you to earn up to 2.5 airline frequent flyer points per dollar spent, without limit.
Overall, the Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card sits well in tandem with the high-end American Express Platinum Charge Card, and being welcome wherever Visa is accepted, you could pair the two to maximise the points you earn and the perks you can enjoy.