Today, black is the new platinum. The Citi Chairman card is this respective banks premier credit card. It’s actually been on the market for several years now, yet it doesn’t have the notoriety of the other uber-luxury credit cards. It’s issued by Citi, but operates over the American Express payment networks. I decided to do my own Citi Chairman card review and this is what I found…
Update for 2016: From what I can tell the program has been discontinued, though there are rumors on the web that a version of the card (not an AmEx) may be available by invitation, though that is at most conjecture. They’ve taken down their webpage for the card and I can’t find any evidence it’s still around.
The Chairman carries an annual fee of $500. This is steep, but it’s also comparable to other high end credit cards. For example, the AmEx Platinum is $450 and the Centurion is $2,500 (plus a $5,000 initiation fee). So the annual fee on the Chairman credit card isn’t too bad for this category, but let’s find out whether or not the benefits are worth it…
This is a benefit I expect to be on any high end card, so it’s not surprising to see this one has it. If you’re not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s a program that lets you have free access to those nifty little airport lounges (normally for first-class ticket holders). These lounges typically have free beer, wine, champagne, assorted snacks and ho’orderves.
If you travel a lot, using this feature will actually save you money; you won’t have to buy the overpriced drinks and food in the airport. But as mentioned, this feature is not just a Citi Chairman card benefit… most of its competitors offer the same thing.
Spending earns Thank You Points; this is the typical rewards program you will find on most other Citi credit cards too. To be quite honest, I think this program is a big yawn. It’s the typical 1 point per 1 dollar spent. I’m also disappointed with how poorly the points convert over when it comes time to cash them in. Therefore, don’t fill out the Citi Chairman application just to get rewards!
This is a benefit you will also see on AmEx Platinum, Centurion, etc. Basically, they all give you 24/7 access to a dedicated personal phone concierge service. This service can be used for all types of things… snagging hard-to-get dinner reservations, hunting down a sold-out article of clothing, or just about anything else you can think of for them to do.
Like many other top tier cards do, Citi Chairman offers an assortment of travel related benefits. For example, there’s free car rental insurance and roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation, luggage insurance, etc.
Should You Apply?
Here’s my take on it: The benefits on the Citi Chairman credit card seems to be pretty comparable to the others in its league, so that’s not reason enough to apply for it.
As far as its status and prestige is concerned, unfortunately Citi has done a horrendous job with marketing this card. In fact, the vast majority of people have never even heard of it. Considering that the card looks pretty blah, don’t count on it impressing anyone when you whip it out to pay for dinner. And whether you care about status or not, the truth of the matter is that the type of card you have does matter when it comes to business. For example, I decided to ditch a deal with someone because they paid for drinks with a sub-prime credit card. Are they really at the top of their game if they have a bottom rung credit card? I don’t think so.
Therefore, I would have to pass on the Citi Chairman Card (were it in the public domain). I simply feel the AmEx Platinum card is a better value. In fact, that’s why this site has chosen to be affiliate adverting partners with them – among the premium credit cards it is clearly the winner in my opinion based on the value of the benefits. To find out more check out our American Express Platinum review.
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