Promising cardholders 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 and frequent jetsetters: but to say up front, without a high income, you unfortunately won't qualify for this card.
However, we daresay you're not missing much, at least when it comes to earning frequent flyer points. Some transactions on this card provide as few as 0.33 airline frequent flyer points per dollar spent: and that's when you're not spending at a government body like Australia Post, at which no points are earned at all.
Australian Business Traveller puts Citibank's top-of-the-line credit card under the microscope, highlighting where it excels, and where it doesn't.
Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card: fast facts, points
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: Visa Infinite
- Loyalty program: Citi Qantas Rewards (Citi Qantas Prestige card) or Citi Rewards (Citi Prestige card)
- Points capping: Uncapped
Choose the Citi Qantas Prestige card, and here's what you'll earn per A$1 spent on...
- Transactions made overseas and with major restaurants, hotels and airlines in Australia: 1.5
- Major Aussie petrol stations, supermarkets and national retailers: 1
- Government and government-related transactions: No points at all
- Everything else: 0.5
Or, opt for Citi Rewards points via the standard Citi Prestige card, and earn the following per A$1 spent:
- Transactions made overseas and with major restaurants, hotels and airlines in Australia: 3
- Major Aussie petrol stations, supermarkets and national retailers: 2
- Government and government-related transactions: No points at all
- Everything else: 1
From your Citibank Rewards account, points can be converted to a range of airline and hotel partners, but don't be mistaken into thinking that 'three points per dollar' at restaurants is actually three frequent flyer points.
For travellers, here's how many airline frequent flyer points and hotel loyalty points those Citi Rewards points are really worth per dollar spent, taking into account the program's many frequent flyer conversion rates for Prestige members, which are also shown below.
|Loyalty program||Conversion rate from Citi Rewards
||True earn on everyday transactions
||On 2/$1 categories
|On 3/$1 categories
Virgin Australia Velocity
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
IHG Rewards Club
Jet Airways Jet Privilege
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
|Air France Flying Blue
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
For example, a cardholder earning Citi Rewards points on their purchases with a goal of converting those Citi points into Virgin Australia Velocity points at a 2:1 rate is effectively earning 1.5 Velocity points per $1 spent on dining, one Velocity point per $1 spent on things like fuel, and 0.5 Velocity points everywhere else, except for government charges.
Minimum transfer amounts apply for some programs, but whether you choose the Qantas direct-earn version of this card or opt for Citi Rewards points, all the other card features remain the same.
Fees, charges and interest: 2.5/5
- Annual fee: $700
- Extra yearly fee if choosing Citi Qantas Rewards: $49
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (up to 4)
- 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
- Maximum credit limit: $100,000
Earning points for free flights: 2.5/5
Apply for the Qantas version of this card and you'll pocket 70,000 bonus Qantas Points after making your first purchase within 90 days of card approval – more than ample for a one-way business class ticket from Australia's east coast to the likes of Singapore or Hong Kong with Qantas or its web of partners.
Or, choose the Citi Rewards-earning card and 150,000 bonus rewards points can be yours when applying by June 30 2018 and spending $3,000 within 90 days of card approval.
Using the conversion rates we've included above, you can see that those 150,000 Citi points are really equal to 75,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points (due to the 2:1 conversion), or 60,000 KrisFlyer miles following a 2.5:1 conversion, for example – so it's not a bonus 150,000 airline frequent flyer points.
Bonus points aside, we like that this card offers a reasonable earning rate equal to 1.5 Qantas or Velocity points per dollar spent overseas, uncapped, but are less impressed by the card's earn rates within Australia.
On most domestic purchases, you'll earn only 0.33-0.5 airline frequent flyer points per dollar spent as indicated in the table above, and while you can collect extra points in places like Aussie supermarkets and petrol stations, these are realistically places where American Express is widely accepted (which you could use instead to earn even more points on the right card), so the appeal of paying by Visa in these places is lower.
For instance, you could be taking home 1.5 actual airline frequent flyer points per $1 spent on most purchases using cards like the AMEX Qantas Ultimate, AMEX Velocity Platinum and AMEX Explorer credit cards, or up to three frequent flyer points per dollar spent at the supermarket using the AMEX Platinum Edge: all of which have lower fees than Citi Prestige.
Airport lounge access, hotel and golf privileges: 4.5/5
When you're paying $700+ for a credit card each year, you expect a reasonable number of perks: and in that respect, the Citi Prestige card is more pleasing.
Among them, a complimentary and unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge membership (which you can use with one additional guest each visit at no charge), Hilton Honors Gold status after two stays or four nights with Hilton, and a free hotel night each year at selected hotels.
When you spend four nights or more on paid hotel stays booked through Citibank, you can also receive the fourth night free – plus, two complimentary airport limousine transfers are included too each year, which you can use regardless of which airline you're flying with.
Avid golfers can tee off three times a year at selected courses without paying green fees, and on Australian soil, Citi's much-promoted perk of a 'free bottle of wine' is available when dining at a range of restaurants, although we've observed that the complimentary bottle tends to be from the lower-priced end of the wine list, so have low expectations and you won't be disappointed.
It should be said that if you're in a position to apply for this card, consider also the American Express Platinum Charge Card, which includes similar perks like Priority Pass membership (both for the primary cardholder and one supplementary cardholder, such as a spouse), along with elite status in multiple hotel chains; unlimited Virgin Australia, Delta, Plaza Premium and Centurion lounge access, and more.
Travel insurance, other insurance cover: 4.5/5
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.
International travel insurance may also be available after charging your return flight to the Citi Prestige card or booking via the Citibank Travel program. Itineraries booked using frequent flyer points may also be covered if you've earned at least 15,000 frequent flyer points in that program via your Citi Prestige card in the past 12 months, but check the PDS to make sure you qualify.
As 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 provided too.
Citi Prestige Visa Infinite credit card: our verdict
With a minimum credit limit of $30,000, a minimum annual income requirement of $150,000 and 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, its focus is on higher-earners who travel frequently and are in position to make use of the card's travel benefits like airport lounge access, complimentary hotel nights and upgraded hotel stays: the combination of which could surpass the annual charge for high flyers.
However, the card is far less rewarding from a points perspective, and with comparably low earning rates for everyday spend versus most other cards in the market, frequent travellers who are already flying in business class or who've built up status with their favourite hotel chain may find little advantage in the airport lounge and Hilton Gold fast-track benefits this card provides.
'Non-AMEX' cards like the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa (for Qantas Points) or the ANZ Rewards Black Visa (for Velocity points, KrisFlyer Miles and Asia Miles) could instead prove a better-fit for these travellers, with an everyday earning rate of up to one frequent flyer point per dollar spent and no annual fee in the first year: pairing the perks you have with the points you need.
American Express cards like the Qantas Ultimate Card, Velocity Platinum Card and the AMEX Explorer card also deliver 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent on most purchases, uncapped, against the mere 0.33-0.5 frequent flyer points earned via Citibank on typical purchases.