Last week I applied and was approved for an Amex Platinum card after reading about the increased 100k Membership Rewards sign up bonus. Amex only gives you one sign up bonus per card per lifetime, so I knew I had to wait until the 100k offer came up. When it did, I snatched it. However, I already have a premium credit card, the fantastic Citi Prestige Master Card. Now that I have both cards, I wanted to do a comparison of the Citi Prestige vs Amex Platinum card. Here is the run down of these two premium cards.
Please note: I have no relationships with Citi or Amex besides having their credit cards. I do not receive any compensation from Citi or Amex for writing this post. There are no affiliate links to these cards on my website.
Quick Cheat Sheet
Both cards cost $450 a year. Let’s face it. That is a lot of money. The sign up bonus makes the fee worth it for the first year. Beyond that you must calculate the value you will get from the card.
Prestige is a Citi ThankYou Rewards card. The best use of TY points is to book flights on American Airlines. 1 TY point is equal to 1.6 cents when used to purchase a ticket on AA. For other airlines you get 1.33 cents per point. You can also transfer points (mostly at a 1:1 ratio) to certain airline loyalty programs. You can also purchase gift cards with your TY points at a cost of 1 TY point per 1 cent of gift card.
Points are earned at 3 TY points per dollar on travel (airfare and hotels), 2 TY points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment, and 1 TY point per dollar on all other purchases.
The sign up bonus is a standard 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend.
Amex Platinum is a Membership Rewards card. The best use of MR points is to transfer to an airline partner. Most airline partners are at a 1:1 transfer ratio. Travel Is Free has a great post about how to maximize the points. It definitely takes some homework to maximize your points. There are other options for redeeming your MR points, but most end up with valuing our points at less than 1 cent. I would not suggest using those redemption methods.
Points are earned at 1 MR point per dollar spent on all purchases.
The sign up bonus is a standard 40,000 MR points. On the rare occasion you can find a sign up bonus of 100,000 MR points after $3,000 spend. As Amex only allows one lifetime sign up bonus per card per member, it is worth waiting for the 100k offer.
Verdict of Citi Prestige vs Amex Platinum Rewards: Amex wins in sign up bonus but Prestige has better earning and redemption options.
Prestige offers annual membership in Priority Pass Select at no additional cost. The Prestige version allows the card holder to bring in 2 guests or their family members. Additionally, an additional authorized user ($50) is given Priority Pass Select membership.
Prestige card holders (but not authorized users) are also given American Airlines Admiral Club access when flying on AA.
Amex Platinum also offers Priority Pass membership however guests cost $27 to bring in with the main card holder. Up to three authorized users can be added for $175 (total, not per person). These users get the same lounge benefits (as well as Global Entry, below).
Card holders and authorized users also receive access to Delta Sky Club when flying Delta.
The best added benefit of Amex Platinum is access to Amex Centurion Lounge. These are high end airport lounges in a limited number of airports (DFW, LAS, LGA, MIA, SFO, SEA). Card holders (and authorized users) may bring in two guests or family. The Seattle location is a Studio (smaller version) and only one guest is allowed entry with card holder.
Verdict of Citi Prestige vs Amex Platinum Lounge Access: Amex edges out Prestige because of Centurion Lounges. However Prestige has better access for guests. Since this is SingleFlyer, the winner goes to Amex.
Both cards offer a $100 credit for Global Entry application fee.
Prestige offers an annual $250 credit towards any airline charges. This includes ticket purchases, in addition to incidentals like baggage fees or inflight purchases.
Amex Platinum offers an annual $200 credit but this is ONLY good for incidentals like baggage fees or inflight purchases.
Both credits are good per calendar year. So your first year (assuming you don’t apply in late December) you actually get double the credits.
Verdict of Citi Prestige vs Amex Platinum Travel Credit: Prestige is the huge winner here. Not only is the value higher, but it is also much easier to use.
Prestige offers the highly valuable Price Rewind for price protection. If you purchase a product and the price drops within the next 60 days, you are refunded the difference.
Prestige also offers the 4th Night Free benefit for eligible hotel stays. You book a hotel through their travel agent but pay as normal. The 4th night is then refunded; even if it is the most expensive of the nights. My understanding is you still get all nights counted towards annual nights for hotel loyalty programs like Hyatt Gold Passport.
Amex Platinum offers a similar program known as Fine Hotels and Resorts that offers free breakfast for two at select hotels, late check out, resort credits and for some hotels, free nights. Again, my understanding is that these nights count towards hotel loyalty programs.
Amex Platinum also has the added benefit of giving card holders Gold status with the Starwood SPG hotel loyalty program. I am not sure it has any real value, but the card also comes with a membership to Wifi provider Boingo.
Conclusion: Citi Prestige vs Amex Platinum
Both of these cards are great cards. However, in my experience the Amex Platinum card is valuable for its sign up bonus but the Citi Prestige is worth holding on to beyond the first year. Benefits are always changing so my opinion may shift on this. At this point I will be holding on to my Citi Prestige card as I believe the benefits are worth the annual fee, but I can’t justify holding on to both.
OVERALL WINNER: Citi Prestige
Note: Amex is technically a charge card (not credit card). However, for the average person there is no real difference.
Interested in learning more about rewards credit cards? Read this post about my experience with 8 different cards.