If all local credit cards were joined to become an aircraft, then the Citi Prestige card would be the First Class cabin. The P12,000 price tag makes this card exclusive, but luckily anyone can apply for it as long as you can provide sufficient proof of income.
I never pay for credit card annual fees, no matter how small. If the bank insists that it cannot be waived, I just cash out my rewards points and cancel the card. However, the Citi Prestige card makes me reconsider and I would be more than glad to pay for it if I know I can maximize its benefits.
This card was first featured in my earlier blog post 10 Best Travel Credit Cards in the Philippines 2017 and after getting one myself, now has more details in this post. As a new Citi Prestige card member, I have never felt more valued as a customer. The concierge agents on their designated email support and 24/7 local hotline address you and attend to your needs in a distinguishingly more courteous manner. The Citi Prestige card is the premier exclusive card by Citi in several countries and in the Philippines, you will inevitably be instantly billed the non-waivable P12,000 annual fee upfront on your first monthly statement – but there is away to avoid paying for it.
Citi holds an introductory offer of free 120,000 points (equivalent to the P12,000 annual fee) upon spending an accumulated P25,000 within 2 months after getting your card (I used mine in paying for my yearly life insurance payments.) Or you can go on a (controlled) shopping spree or volunteer to keep paying for the bill when having dinner with friends, as long as they pay you in cash right away of course. As you can see, achieving this is quite manageable. Then you may use the points you’ve earned to pay for the subsequent years’ respective annual fees.
Even if you don’t manage to spend P25,000 and are billed the P12,000 annual fee, I believe it’s still worth it as long as you have this much to spare and you know you can maximize its main benefit of: UNLIMITED FREE access to the 1000+ Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide. I hope Citi doesn’t regret letting me be eligible to avail of this benefit. Technically it’s not abusing the system if they clearly said it was unlimited, right? Because I have plans to travel a lot in the next few months. And by a lot, I mean even more often than usual. The Citi Prestige Card that lets you access all Priority Pass lounges worldwide, coupled with the Citi Premiermiles Card that lets you access all Plaza Premium lounges worldwide, makes you the ultimate airport lounge conqueror.
If you travel 12x a year, the P12,000 annual fee is equivalent to paying P500 (USD10) each time you use any of its 1000+ airport lounges if you take a round trip flight 12x a year, or P1000 (USD20) if you do so 6x a year. Note that airport lounge access usually costs an average of at least USD20 per entry, and that paying for lounge entry instead gives you a much better deal than spending that much on overpriced and inedible airport food. That being said, the P12,000 annual fee is a bargain if you can make the most of it in terms of accessing airport lounges.
On top of the unlimited Priority Pass lounge access, there are even more perks of the Citi Prestige Card:
- 4 Priority Pass guest passes per year for your travel companion
- Complimentary Airport Meet and Assist Services at select airports for primary card members, twice (2x) per calendar year (at certain airports in the Asia Pacific region – table below)
- Complimentary one-way Luxury Airport Transfers at select airports for primary card members, twice (2x) per calendar year for a total of 4 guests and 2 big suitcases (at certain airports in the Asia Pacific region – table below; must be requested at least 3 days in advance)
- Three (3) complimentary rounds of golf for primary card members at participating courses per calendar year
- Unlimited 4th night free at any Hotels.com hotel booked through the (Citi) concierge
- At a ratio of P18 to 1 mile this card is the second best card for overseas, dining and shopping spends
- An annual Relationship Bonus Points of 0.5% based on your spend in the last 12 months or 1.0% for Citi Prestige Card member and Citigold Clients
- Access to a dedicated hotline and Global Concierge Service with in-country experts ready to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (telephone number 02-995-9111)
Terms and Conditions of the above services can be found here.