We just circled back on our $4,500 Credit Card Application Spree  to pick up our 8th day Citi card. (Citi’s rules state that you can’t apply for two cards on the same day, you need to wait 8 days to apply for the second card).
We got a Citi Prestige card… a card I never thought we’d pick up because it has a $450 annual fee!
However, once I started reading all the details and did the math on the flight credits, free hotel nights and redemption options, we’re going to come out around $1,000 ahead after paying the annual fee! I’m still a bit horrified at the idea, but the numbers win on this one.
The current sign up bonus on the Citi Prestige card is 50,000 points. Update: The sign up bonus on this card is now 40,000 points.
It’s time to celebrate Free Money  Friday.
How to Get Your 50,000 Point Sign Up Bonus
- Apply for the Citi Prestige card.
- Spend $3,000 within the first 3 months.
- Earn 50,000 points.
*Find and compare all current credit card offers in our credit card directory . I had to click “show more results” a few times to find it buried at the bottom.
Citi Terms and Conditions
- $450 annual fee.
- $50 annual additional user fee.
- Bonus ThankYou Points not available if you have had a Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 18 months.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
More on Citi Premier
Travel Credit. You’ll get a $250 air travel credit each calendar year for airline purchases. An application in March like we did means a $250 credit now and another $250 credit next January or February to earn this benefit twice on one annual fee.
Free Hotel Nights. The card reimburses you for the 4th night of hotel stays. You need to book through their booking service for the free night.
Earning Points. You’ll earn up to 3 points per dollar on air travel and hotels, 2 points per dollar dining out and 1 point on all other purchases.
Redeeming Points. Your 50,000 bonus points are worth $500 in gift cards, $665 in flights or $800 on American Airlines flights.
Airline Lounge Access. While we don’t fly often, we do have two upcoming trips. Free lounge access eliminates a meal for our kids at most airports. You can use the American Airlines Admirals Club lounges or Priority Pass lounges.
Do The Math
This card, with the incredibly steep annual fee really needs some careful math! When you redeem the 50,000 bonus points for $500 in gift cards, you’re ahead by $50. Add in the travel credits at $250 x 2 and now we can see that the sign up bonus is worth at least $550. When you add a free 4th hotel night (we only have one planned right now, so I’ll keep it conservative at $200) we’re at $750. Since we plan to redeem our bonus points on American it’s worth $300 more. Total value: $1,050 plus lounge food and any other 4 night hotel stays we use it for.
Of course, the benefit over $1,000 only works since we have 2 upcoming trips in the next 12 months. Without any planned trips it is worth about $50. You’d have to calculate your own benefit beyond the bonus points to see how much it’s worth in your situation.