For many years, I have been fascinated with what we get with the use of credit cards.
Scorned by some who despised the use of credit or future money, I hold the view that these plastic cards are simply tools that we can put to good use.
Like redeeming US$100 SQ business class flights, for example. Getting something for nothing sure feels awesome.
Thinking back, I can’t remember how I first came to know about Citi Prestige. I think it must have been via travel bloggers or gurus who introduced me to the world of reward points.
I never imagined that I would be able to get it one day, considering that it is belongs to a somewhat exclusive tier.
Not really a review this time but more of a casual sharing.
The $120,000 Club
First things first, the basic eligibility for Citi Prestige is an annual income of S$120,000.
Before you think that this is practically impossible to hit, that’s referring to gross income before CPF, and can include both ordinary wages (OW) like monthly salary and additional wages (AW) such as allowances, performance bonus, variable bonus, mid-year bonus and year-end bonus. Well, you get the idea of when is the best time to apply.
Also, you might want to include side-hustle income (no, I don’t mean crypto yield-farming haha) that you are able to provide documentation proof for if needed, which can be taken into consideration as well.
In my experience, it does somewhat depend on the bank officer who is handling your application. Mine called to clarify some details during the application process but it eventually went through. Hurray!
$535 Membership Fee
The first payment happens during the credit card application and in return, there are welcome bonuses (ThankYou Points) or gifts to choose from for the first year.
In my case, I took the iPad welcome gift (Covid travel ban was in effect) which kind of offset the cost. The iPad ended up with my wife so, happy wife, happy life.
For subsequent years, renewal of the annual membership will be rewarded with 62,500 ThankYou Points (equivalent to 25,000 miles) worth $500 if I value them at 2 cents per mile. Acceptable to me, I guess.
For example, I can take this route Bali > Singapore (Stopover) > Taipei via SQ Business Saver Awards for a total cost of 30,500 miles + US$100 + fees/taxes. New Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer PDF chart effective 8th October 2021 can be found here if you’re too used to Googling for it.
Most people would first take a look at the benefits provided by the credit card to determine if it is worth paying the $535 annual fee.
FYI, the annual membership fee is non-waivable.
Covering the Standard Benefits
I’m mainly interested in the travel-related perks so these are the basics I’m interested in.
Miles per dollar at 3.25 ThankYou Points (1.3 miles) for every S$1 spent locally and 5 ThankYou Points (2 miles) for every S$1 spent overseas. It’ll work well as a general spend credit card.
One complimentary night stay when booking a minimum, consecutive four-night stay at any hotel or resort. To my disappointment, rules have been amended to exclude pool villas. Will need to assess how we can utilize this in future, just once or twice would practically mean ‘getting’ the annual fee back.
Unlimited lounge access for cardholder and one guest. Straight-forward, for the Missus and I when we are taking budget or domestic flights. Valued at about S$600 if we’re calculative but who’s counting? By the way, Priority Pass is going digital in May 2022 so no more physical cards.
Additional benefits that I don’t really care about (like golf) can be found here.
The really good stuff are the ones that are usually seldom mentioned.
1-for-1 Dining Deals
Regular emails would drop regarding 1-for-1 dining deals that gets fully-booked super fast.
As far as I can tell, these drop fairly regularly about once every few months.
Not much of a foodie so I haven’t tried this yet. Next time, perhaps.
Invites to Events
I don’t remember coming across much instances of events’ invites, possibly due to the on-going pandemic.
This one for a virtual event did land in my inbox.
Prior to the opening-up of global travel, this was definitely my favourite category as my wife and I went on staycations to scratch our travel itch.
Fullerton Hotel’s Marina Bay View Room which I got at $220 nett.
Grand Hyatt was going from $145 nett and Capitol Kempinski from $233 nett.
Shangri-La’s Valley Wing at $290 nett was insane value considering the cheapest rack rate for May 2022 is about $743.
Edit : OK added more info since someone asked. These are basically open secrets that can be found in forums or chat groups. Also included in limited time offers were for Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa at $250 and St Regis at $690 for 2 nights. Lowest rates apply for weekdays and things could obviously change as the situation around the pandemic evolves. Fastest fingers first.
Value for Money?
My most important consideration when I was getting the Citi Prestige was how it was going to fit into my existing plans, and not how I was going to use it after applying.
Instead of going along with the mentality of calculating how I was going to get back $535 of value in order not to lose out, I was thinking more of how much it can help me to shave off or negate my planned-for expenses.
In an average year, I’m estimating somewhere along the line of $1,500 to $2,000.
Just from browsing the official website, it doesn’t seem like much but Citi Prestige does represent excellent value based on my personal experience in the past year. I now understand when Citi Prestige is so highly sought after, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the right fit for you if your lifestyle doesn’t overlap with the perks that it offers.
Are the rest of the $120,000 tier credit cards just amazing? Let me know if you are generous enough to share your experience!
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Hello! I’m Kevin, Turtle Investor
At the age of 30, I am the Personal Finance Blogger who laid claim to a negative net worth of minus $25,755 – and decided to turn things around.
- Seven years later in 2019, I hit CPF Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176,000 without making a single cent of CPF top-up
- In nine years, I have added more than $1 million to my net worth
- In total, I have earned more than six-figures in alternative income in addition to my job
My blueprint for financial independence can help give you a head start in your own FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early (optional) – journey. More tidbits about myself here if you’re curious.
I am married to a lovely wife and that means dual income with no kids. In my free time, I chase miles so that we can fly in business class. My hobbies include making pocket change off this blog and sharing everything I know with you!
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