Citibank Shuffles Credit Cards, Removes Benefits

Citibank Shuffles Credit Cards, Removes Citi Prestige BenefitsJust months after withdrawing it to new applicants, Citibank has re-launched its Citi Prestige credit card with fewer benefits than before. But the $700 annual fee has not been reduced.

The new-but-not-improved Citi Prestige card was put back on the market at the beginning of this month. Meanwhile, Citibank has rebranded several of its other Australian credit cards. As of 19 January 2020, Citi Signature credit cards are now branded as “Citi Premier”, and the former Citi Platinum Rewards card is now “Citi Rewards”. Citibank informed cardholders that the name changes were designed to “align with Citi credit cards globally”.

Luckily, the changes to the Citi Signature (Premier) and Platinum (Rewards) cards are in the name only.

Same annual fee, fewer benefits for Citi Prestige card

Costing $700 per year – plus an extra $49 annually to opt-in to earning Qantas points – Citi Prestige is Citibank’s most premium credit card in the Australian market (if you don’t count the Qantas Premier Titanium card which also happens to be issued by Citibank). The annual fee for the Citi Prestige card has not changed, despite several reductions to benefits offered to cardholders.

Citi Prestige benefits that have been removed include:

  • A free hotel night every year at selected luxury hotels
  • Airport Meet & Assist service
  • Golf privileges – three complimentary rounds each year at selected golf courses

In addition, the number of complimentary one-way airport transfers offered each year has been reduced from 2 to 1. Finally, the “free fourth hotel night” benefit, which was previously unlimited, is now capped at 4 times per year.

A Citi spokesperson told Australian Frequent Flyer that the airport transfer benefit was changed so that customers could access a single $100 voucher each year, rather than two $50 vouchers. Citi tells us this change was based on customer feedback.

The withdrawn benefits are no longer being offered to new cardholders, and were removed for existing cardholders too on 1 January 2020. Citibank had informed existing customers of the changes in mid-November 2019.

Citi Prestige cardholders are still entitled to unlimited Priority Pass lounge visits for themselves and a guest (including – unlike with the Amex Platinum card – at airport restaurants), and a free bottle of wine when dining out via the Citibank Dining Program. There are also no changes at this stage to the earning and redeeming of Citi Rewards points.

The Citi Prestige card is also being converted from a Visa Infinite card to a Mastercard product. This could result in the loss of certain benefits that are available to Visa Infinite cardholders, such as the popular Hilton Honors status fast-track.

Citibank tells us that the Citi Prestige card will soon become the first Mastercard World Elite product in Australia. “Citi customers will be the first in Australia to get access to this program, which includes benefits like unique travel experiences, insider opportunities, VIP events and special promotions,” the Citi spokesperson said.

Unhappy customers

Many AFF members are unhappy about these changes to the Citi Prestige card in Australia. Some have already cancelled their cards.

Others say they were offered 50% off the annual fee and/or bonus points when they called up to complain about the reduction in benefits. (If you wish to ask for a free reduction but aren’t quite ready to cancel your credit card, be careful not to use the word “cancel” when calling the bank.)

Here’s what just a few members had to say on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum…

It’s hard to justify $700 annual fee now.

Disappointing to see that Australia’s first “VISA Infinite” branded card has effectively been turned into a “VISA Restricted Benefits” card. Come on Citibank, you used to be the market leader with your Card portfolio! The cancel and complaints line will be running hot….

The ACCC loyalty investigation specifically mentioned bank credit cards that change the rewards proposition “mid contract” (ie changing benefits midway during your paid memebrahip year). Citi clearly didn’t get the memo that this was being investigated. Citi really should be reducing the annual fee to half of the current price.

When I called Citbank (not the third party concierge – but Citibank directly) the gentleman I spoke to actually agreed with me that Prestige cardholders where getting massively screwed over. The way that he spoke about this matter, it came across as If Citibank are purposefully screwing us over as some kind of test to see if cardholders are actually going to complain and do something about the multiple benefit downgrades/eliminations.

Just called up and cancelled. Very disappointed with Citibank -I’ve been a customer of theirs for 13 years. Did nothing to keep my business.

Got my email today and I’m not impressed. Even the car service has been cut down to Australia only. What the? The customer service manager was telling me that they removed the benefits because no one was using them. Hogwash. Concierge told me the exact opposite. The call centre just tells you anything. It’s extremely disappointing and the card is now worthlessness. Highest commission rates for fx only 44 days interest free…. Everyone should ring and complain.

Gosh, Citibank – that’s a tough crowd…

You can join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Several Prestige Credit Card Benefits to be Eliminated Jan 2020 (And I’m Not Happy!)

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]