Citi Chairman Card Review

citi chairmanToday, 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.

Annual Fee
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…

Airport Lounge
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.

The Top 7 Most Prestigious Credit Cards

Sherbank Visa Infinite Gold Card
Dubai First Royale MasterCard
American Express Centurion
JP Morgan Palladium Card
Royal Bank of Scotland Coutts Silk Card
Merrill Lynch Octave
American Express Platinum Card
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The card is not discontinued! The website exists. No Priority Pass but Airport Angel for lounge accss.

I was a little shocked that you turned down a deal with someone who paid for drinks with a non-prestige card. I traveled to spend the day brainstorming yesterday with a well known author and speaker who grosses over $100 million a year in his business and his personal income is just over $50 million/year. He bought lunch with a no-name card from his local bank. On the other hand I know two people with Amex Centurion cards who struggle to pay their bills every month because they spend more than their high incomes thanks to the luxury cars and boats and vacation condos……

Wow, that is a sad story right there.

jus sayin

Regarding the Citi Chairman Card mentioned in the article. It was discontinued and replaced with the Citi Prestige Card around 02/2013, which carries a $400 annual fee. Existing Citi Chairman Card holders received the Prestige as a replacement.

I have a Citi Chairman and have not received any offers to exchange for a Prestige yet. In fact, I just received more (expensively designed) marketing materials on new benefits. From what I’ve seen of the Prestige, I probably would rather have its benefits – so we’ll see if and when they offer that.

Roadside coverage has been severely curtailed. They locate a service for you but the card will pay for none of the cost.

Over Christmas, my car broke down. Call Concierge and after being routed to several different places learned that they merely contact a towing company and you pay the towing company charges. Amex covers the first $50.

I am a Citi Chairman Black Amex Holder for years. You mentioned that this card allows you to use airport lounges through Priority Pass. I need for you to do more research. Years ago, AA, Delta and the other larger airlines accepted Priority Pass. About 4 years later, these lounges cancelled their alliances and no longer accept this card. I find it highly inconvenience in some older airports (ex: La Guardia) have their sub-prime lounges located before security check-in. So I can’t even go to these lounges because I can’t take the chance of missing my flight because security check ins are unpredictable. Additionaly, the lounges that accept Priority Pass are inferior compared to Admiral and the likes. They are usually in terminals that aren’t accessable from larger airline terminals. SO it is work to near useless of a feature. A business traveler doesn’t use airlines that aren’t influential in their airport placements. Real lounges belong to Delta, AA, Cathay Pacific etc. So to pay $500 so you can lose time looking who accepts Priority Pass is a waste. I no longer want to carry this card.

Oh yes your definitely an AMEX Blk and a chairman holder, you spend over 250 grand on just your amex alone to keep it active. You also have over 1 Million liquid cash in Citi-Bank, and you’re on a chat board. You’re a 16 year old kid sitting in-front of his comp with 10 zits who cant get laid, and needs to create an alternate lifestyle in his own mind. Let me guess you drove your Lamborghini last night and your Ferrari this morning, but only because your Bugatti Veyrnon was in the shop???? More like your dads minivan that needs a new exhaust.

Um…..Marco?? It’s V-e-y-r-o-n, dear. Me thinks somebody is wicked jealous.

Hugs and kisses


*and, no, I’m not a teenager but I sometimes get mistaken for one (God bless ALL you lovely people who have said to me over the past twenty years ‘… what high school do you go to?’

Marco, Takes one to know one. You’re probably jealous of a rich classmate and your venting on the administrator of a semi-successful credit card blog…. You need therapy, because you are a jealous and mean person. And by the way, you NEED to go to school, because with your grammar and horrid spelling, and also vulgar acronyms (you don’t call the American Express Centurion the “AMEX Blk” if you have one, and judging by your tone, you don’t have one).

Marco, you’re probably right about this douche, but I know 3 people with Amex Centurion cards and 2 of the 3 are middle-class corporate road warriors who run all travel through their personal cards, and that’s how they exceeded the $250k spend. The other is a private jet pilot earning a $75,000/year salary who got the card by charging nearly $100k/month in jet fuel which is reimbursed by his clients.

I spend about $400k/year in business expenses and have had an “invitation” for Centurion for the past 3 years or so which I have no use for since I don’t travel and their only remaining airline partner anyway is Delta. I bought the Citi AA Executive card since I’m in Dallas although I may move the spend over to Chase since they have a great points program.


Hi Donna, I should probably expand on what I said regarding ditching a deal because of a sub-prime credit card. Think about this logically for a second, if you are doing a financial deal with someone, you want them to have A+ money management skills, am I right? Well the deal I was referring to, the man had a subprime card for those with bad credit who can’t get approved for a normal card so yes, I do think it was warranted to bail on the deal. I’m not saying someone needs a Citi Chairman card or a AmEx Platinum but if you are in business, it looks horrible to whip out a card that is only used for rebuilding credit. He should have just paid with a debit because a card for bad credit basically screams “I can’t manage money.”

Thumbs up for your statement, CreditCardGuru. A person’s credit is an ASSET, and should be managed as such. The global economy runs on credit; not cash…and how you manager your personal credit is the most important professional/personal/character reference you can offer anyone. It can open doors or slam doors shut in your face. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just fooling themselves.

I own a Citi Chairman Black Mastercard, by far the best blackcard, which is no longer available to new clients. Not every vendor takes Amex blackcard or Amex Platinum but almost everyone takes Mastercard. As far as ditching a deal with someone because they don’t have a black or platinum card, I feel sorry for the pompous a######. C’est dommage!!

What you fail to mention is that you get credit for miles flown in addition to the dollarrs purchased. If you fly 50K miles per year, you effectively get 50K in points, hence the 500 annual fee is free.

Now this doesn’t look so bad, does it?