When I opened up my Citigold account for 30,000 American Airline miles, I had my eye on applying for the Citi Prestige credit card as a Citigold member since Citigold members received a $100 discount on the annual fee. If you apply in a physical Citibank branch, there is an offer for 60,000 Thank You Points which is double the standard online offer of 30,000 Thank You Points. Since my post on my experience on opening the 30k AA Citigold account was pretty popular, the following is my experience opening the Citi Prestige card in branch. Spoiler alert: Everything worked out as advertised but you need to read my hilarious exchange with the Citibank banker on the benefits of the card below.
I went to my local branch on Saturday February 28th and told a banker I’d like to apply for the Citi Prestige card as a Citigold member. He instantly knew what I was talking about and produced the offer above (sorry for the bad snapshot, only picture I have of the offer). Before letting me apply for the offer, he asked if he could go over the benefits of the card and I mistakenly agreed. Hilarity ensured, here are just two of the blatantly wrong items the banker told me.
Banker: The card gives you $100 Global Entry Credit, which allows you to save $100 on airport taxes for trips outside the United States.
Me: Umm, I think Global Entry is a program that allows for an expedited entry into the United States after international trips.
Banker: No, I used it on a trip to the Dominican Republic to pay for the additional taxes on the airline ticket that the airline didn’t charge me for.
Umm what?!?! I didn’t bother correcting him because I think I was so floored with his response. It gets better. Next exchange –
Banker: The best benefit of this card is a four night free stay anywhere.
Me: I don’t think so, it says *fourth* night free, not that all four free nights are free.
Banker: No sir, that is incorrect. I am sure it is four free nights, I’ve confirmed this in the past.
Me: I’m pretty sure I’m right it’s the fourth night free. Can we ask someone else to confirm?
He proceeds to call some internal Citibank banker phone center and they quickly confirm that it is just the fourth free on stays and that the stays have to be booked through Citibank’s travel program. He claims someone previously gave him “bad information.” Also I didn’t mention that he claimed to already have this card! Seriously, you can’t make this crap up! I must have a thing for bad customer service from Citibank.
Anyway, I finally cut him off about the benefits and that I’ve seen enough to apply for the card. I proceed to fill out the application, he looked it over for maybe 5 seconds and then lets me know he will fax it over to continue the application process. Note: At no point, did he verify my account was actually a Citigold account. I filled in my Citigold account number myself and unless he checked it after I left (doubtful), he trusted that it was an actual Citigold account number and not just another Citibank checking product account number. There have been several reports of being able to get this offer in branch without having a Citigold account (here and here) and after my experience, I agree this to be true though in my example, it is highly dependent on the banker. I obviously didn’t have a bright one…
I knew it would take a few days for the application to appear on Citibank’s side so I started checking on Tuesday March 3rd by calling the automated application status line at 1-888-201-4523. The system failed to my find application until Thursday March 5th, so it took 4 business days for Citibank to process the application. This appears to be in the normal time range of 3-4 business days to wait after your banker submits the application for you.
At that point, my application was marked as pending which meant a call to the reconsideration department at 1-800-695-5171. My call was a little different than normal as the agent kept putting me on hold every 3 minutes and after about 12 minutes, he asked if he could call me back since “he still had to look through a few things.” At this point, I was a little worried and assumed if it was taking this long, it wasn’t a good sign.
About a half hour later, the same rep called back and said the delay was due to a discrepancy between my credit report as I recently closed my Citibank Executive AA card and my credit report still showed it as open. Nonetheless, he was able to offer me a credit line of $9,200 but asked if I wanted more. Considering the higher spend requirement on this card, I asked for $15,000 (I’m pretty sure I could have asked for more) and all he needed to do was get a second signature on the application which took him another few minutes. He came back on the line and congratulated me on my new Citi Prestige card!
Even though I still haven’t received my card yet, I am excited about this new addition to my credit card portfolio (up to 21 active cards). Stay tuned for my full review of the card and why I think you should strongly consider the Citigold + Citi Prestige combo.