It’s an odd phenomenon, but one thing that I have noticed in Hong Kong is that people shun from Credit Cards with fees – but in doing that, they might be missing out on benefits that could offer much more value than the annual fee.
One card that has offered considerable value to me in the past few years is the Citi Prestige card – the annual 2,500HKD fee is by no means cheap, but when you look deeper into the benefits, they offer considerable value:
- There is a welcome offer of 15k miles – this has been reduced from 30k miles when I first applied. This equates to about 0.167HKD per mile, which is almost as good as taking up offers of buying miles.
- Decent earn rate: At the time of writing, the earn rate is 6HKD per mile for local spend and 4HKD per mile for overseas spend. This earn rate is much better than most cards out there who are normally offering 8HKD per mile – what’s more, the program keeps it simple in that “local spend” is designated as HKD transactions; and “overseas spend” as being any transactions charged in any currency other than HKD. This means that if you’re a frequent online shopper – you can get a pretty decent earn rate if you’re buying things from overseas as well!
- Yearly Miles gift: As a loyalty gift for holding onto your card, from your second year onwards, you get a yearly gift of 20k Miles worth of points – this equates to 0.125HKD per point, which is much better than any other way of buying miles (even when there are promotions). With these miles, you can either spend it on award redemption tickets or even use it with other points to get a companion ticket to get more value (“Why Asia Miles companion tickets makes more sense.”)
- Priority Pass: one question that sometimes come up when I speak about miles is “I don’t travel enough to earn any status, redemption, companion” – and whilst these benefits do in fact offer more value for frequent travelers, one thing that can offer value for even infrequent travelers is the Priority Pass access. Priority Pass offers free lounge access to holders at many airports globally (Priority Pass lounge locations), which means that you don’t have to sit at the gate and you also get a bit of nibbles for free even when you’re traveling in economy or don’t have any status with an airline. Generally, the Priority Pass charges an annual fee, but it’s somewhat trivial since that most premium credit cards already offers this.
There are also various benefits such as 4th night complimented at hotel stays and also the concierge service (which has been very helpful to me for restaurant bookings overseas); for the full list, you can go here: Citi Prestige Card benefits.
Obviously, there are some requirements with applicants, and from what I’ve heard, they don’t have much flex over the entry barriers:
So whilst there is an upfront cost and application requirements, when in the market for a new credit card, definitely don’t write off the ones which has an upfront fee next time!
Note: Citi did not offer me or this blog anything for this post, and all views and comments are my own.