Credit Cards

How does the Citi Prestige’s “relationship bonus” work?

The Citi Prestige gives cardholders up to 30% bonus miles, depending on their status and tenure with the bank. How exactly is this calculated?
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One unique feature of the Citi Prestige card (which I gave up earlier this year) is the so-called “relationship bonus”, which awards 5-30% more points depending on the cardholder’s tenure with Citibank and Citigold status.

Here’s how Citi describes the benefit:

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Many people get carried away and believe this makes Citi Prestige’s effective earn rate anywhere from 1.37 (1.3 mpd * 105%) to 1.69 mpd (1.3 mpd * 130%). That sounds intuitive, but unfortunately, that’s just now how it works.

How is the relationship bonus really calculated?

The relationship bonus percentage is applied to the dollar spend amount to derive the bonus points. For example, if you spend $10,000 in a year with a 5% bonus, you’d get 500 (5% * 10,000) bonus ThankYou points, or 200 miles. The “bump” in your mpd is therefore a meager 0.02. 

So here’s a better version of that table:

0-5 Years6-10 Years>10 Years
Citigold+0.06 mpd+0.08 mpd+0.12 mpd
Non-Citigold+0.02 mpd+0.04 mpd+0.06 mpd

Or to put it in mpd terms:

0-5 Years6-10 Years>10 Years
Citigold (Local/FCY)1.36/2.06 mpd1.38/2.08 mpd1.42/2.12 mpd
Non-Citigold (Local/FCY)1.32/2.02 mpd1.34/2.04 mpd1.36/2.06 mpd

Your “tenure with Citibank” is holistic in the sense that it includes both credit card and banking relationships. For example, if you only got a Citi credit card this year, but had a Citi savings account for the past six years, your tenure is taken to be six years.

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Holding a supplementary card (and no other Citi bank accounts) does not count towards tenure, so that’s something to take note of too.

What counts towards the relationship bonus?

The relationship bonus only applies to retail spending, which noticeably excludes:

  • payments to educational institutions
  • payments to government institutions and services
  • payments to insurance companies
  • payments to non-profit organizations
  • any top-ups or payment of funds to payment service providers, prepaid cards or any prepaid accounts
  • transit-related transactions

A full list of exclusions can be found here and here.

What these exclusions mean is that if you spent $10,000 in a year, but $2,000 was to an educational institution, your relationship bonus percentage would be applied to $8,000 of spending only.

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Citi’s customer service has told me (after checking with the product team) that Citi PayAll does count as a retail transaction, and will be included towards your relationship bonus.

Conclusion

Even if you max out the relationship bonus, the Citi Prestige’s earn rates are still lower than mass market cards like the UOB PRVI Miles and BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard. Therefore, if you’re looking for pure miles earning potential, you should look elsewhere.

That said, people hold the Citi Prestige for more than just its earning rates- cardholders get an unlimited Priority Pass with one guest, the fourth night free on hotel stays worldwide and complimentary airport transfers (albeit neutered). Compared to other cards within the $120K segment, the product still performs favorably.

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I wouldn’t consider the relationship bonus to be a decisive factor in deciding whether to get the card, but if nothing else, it’s a little upside for those who’ve taken the plunge.


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Chris
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Chris

Does PayAll count towards the minimum spending of airport transfer?

Littlepig
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Littlepig

Yes , just got my rebate from last quarter after hitting $20000 with payall

David
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David

“Therefore, if you’re looking for pure miles earning potential, you should look elsewhere.”

That should read “Krisflyer earning potential”.

For me – given my frequent trips to Europe (hello Turkish, hello Avios) – this is my general spending/rent payment card.

Uris
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Uris

Prestige with CitiGold is a better earn rate that PrivMiles, along with no expiry (not that important) and better partners (important!)

I will say Prestige is better than PrivMiles as a gen spend card unless your overseas gen spend is higher than local (which you should then try to achieve on UOB VS instead if possible)

boo
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boo

voyage is 1.6mpd

JC
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JC

I’ve used the hotel 4th night credit 3 times this year already for about $1.4k back. Love this card for that benefit!

TJ
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TJ

I am just wondering if we can take a class action lawsuit against the bank.
This is clearly a case of misrepresentation.

Tom
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Tom

I must say I agree this seems like clear false advertising.

In what universe would the man on the street consider 0.02 to be 5% of 1.3…….

CITI PTSD
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CITI PTSD

Take note for last column that says >10, it means 11 years onwards, and not from 10 years & 1 day on.
In other words, it’s really [0-5][6-10][11-XX].
So if you have been with citibank since March 2009 to March 2019, and you were to receive your bonus points today (in August month), you’re considered second column and not third column despite being with citibank for more than 10 years.
This was revealed to me by a CSO and Service Manager

Anon
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Anon

Is citi strict with the annual income? If say 60-90k bracket

cheesecake
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cheesecake

Note it is not explicitly mentioned that the relationship bonus applies to Citigold relationship IN SINGAPORE only. While one of the benefits of Citigold is “if you are Citigold in one country, you should be in other countries” they refused to give me the higher tier of relationship bonus on Prestige card, even though I had been Citigold for over 10 years in another country before moving to Singapore. This was despite some ill informed CSO having confirmed to me that I would get the higher tier when I signed up. Citibank – tries to behave like a “global” bank,… Read more »