What’s Wrong With Citi Premier Pass Elite?

Q: I had a Premier Pass MasterCard which has sat dormant for a couple years. I called up customer service today to use the companion ticket (a benefit on it) and they told me my card was discontinued and supposedly converted to a Citi ThankYou card. What did I do wrong for them to downgrade me like that? Because I didn’t use it?

A: They didn’t downgrade you. The Citi Premier Pass MasterCard was discontinued back at the start of 2011. I’m guessing they automatically switched you to the TY card as a replacement.

Funny enough though, I found an old page about this credit card that is still up on Citi’s website. There’s no application link, but it does talk about some of the benefits that were on it including the companion flight:

Premier Pass companion program

Is that really a benefit you should miss? That depends…

The companion travel program was administered thru a third-party, Spirit Incentives. They had limited flight options and the price of the first ticket – according to cardholder reviews and from my own experience – wasn’t always a good deal.

At the end of the day it still saved you money, but it wasn’t a price equivalence of getting the second ticket free. Many people said the net savings were more like $50 or $100, when compared to the price of buying the same two tickets elsewhere.

In 2013 a Premier Pass card still exists, sort of

While the Premier Pass Elite was discontinued by Citi, they did start using the Premier Pass label on their Expedia MasterCard. Unfortunately it’s nothing like the old P.P. card. It doesn’t have a companion ticket benefit and the in order to earn decent rewards, you have to pay for the $75 version (which does not waive the annual fee the first year).

Your best bets right now are…

If you want companion airfare then you should consider the Delta SkyMiles cards. Two of them include a once-per-year companion benefit.

Sure, you still have to pay the gov’t taxes and fees on the second ticket, but aside from that, it’s free and there’s no inflated cost for the first ticket. Compare the Delta card offers here.

If you want travel rewards and premier benefits then the Sapphire Preferred from Chase will be your best bet. There are too many benefits to list here, so head over to my review of it to learn more. But I will mention here that it wins the award for being the sexiest credit card because it’s made out of metal!

Back in the day, there’s no denying that the Citi Premier Pass was one of the best travel cards around, largely because of its rewards program. But even if still did exist, I don’t think it would still be competitive when you compare it to the top travel cards on the market right now.

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