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:
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 Years||6-10 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 Years||6-10 Years||>10 Years|
|Citigold (Local/FCY)||1.36/2.06 mpd||1.38/2.08 mpd||1.42/2.12 mpd|
|Non-Citigold (Local/FCY)||1.32/2.02 mpd||1.34/2.04 mpd||1.36/2.06 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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