Best Citi Credit Cards of December 2019

Here's where to find the best Citi credit cards.

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The best Citi credit cards are probably already on your short list if you’re seeking a card with a generous introductory interest rate offer, cash back, or airline rewards. Citi offers a wide range of credit cards, from a secured card to a premium airline card, plus all sorts of points and cash back rewards in between. 

Best Citi Credit Cards

Citi Rewards+℠

Best Overall

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Best With No Annual Fee

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Best for Financing Large Purchases

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
4.4
Citi Rewards+℠
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 24.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2X ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and 1X points on all other purchases
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%

Why We Chose This Card

This is our favorite Citi card for several reasons. For starters, we love how it rewards everyday purchases. Not only do you get 2 points per $1 spent on your first $6,000 worth of groceries and gas, but this card rounds up the points earned on each purchase, which is a one-of-a-kind deal. You also get a portion of your rewards back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year, so you’ll almost always have points to play with. New cardholders will enjoy a competitive 0% purchase APR offer, which gives you 15 months to finance a large purchase, interest-free. To top that all off, there’s no annual fee.

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

Best for Students

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
4.3
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 25.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 7 Months
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2X points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%

Why We Chose This Card

Students can build credit while earning rewards on everyday expenses like gas and groceries with this card. There’s also a seven-month 0% purchase APR deal for new cardholders, which is a reasonable offer for a student card. Open this card and spend $500 in three months to earn 2,500 bonus points, too, which can be redeemed in a number of ways. Much like its non-student card counterpart, this card also offers some fun rewards boosts and extra points on each dollar spent after the purchase total is rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for Cash-Back Rewards

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
4.0
Citi® Double Cash Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%

Why We Chose This Card

This is a simple, easy-to-use card, and the cash-back earning rate is the highest among similar cards on the market right now. There are no purchase categories to track, no limits on your rewards-earning potential, and no annual fee to worry about. For those reasons, we think it’s the best cash-back card you can get from Citi.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Best for Bad Credit

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
3.8
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes

Why We Chose This Card

The best part about this card? No annual fee. It requires a standard minimum deposit and will report account information to the credit bureaus, so you can build a positive credit history with smart use. Unlike a few other credit cards, you’ll need a bank account to apply for this one. You can’t earn rewards with it either, but if you use it as part of a strategy to improve your credit score, you can apply for a better rewards card later.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card

Best for Balance Transfers

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
3.7
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.24% - 25.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 21 Months

This card schools the competition with one of the longest introductory 0% balance transfer APR periods available: 21 months. That’s a very generous offer. If you have high-interest debt on another card that you want (or need) to get rid of once and for all, use this card to spread out the repayment of a no-interest balance transfer and pocket what you’ll save on interest costs. Just note that you’ll pay a standard 5% ($5 minimum) fee for each balance transfer you make.

Citi Premier℠

Best for Travel

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Best Sign-Up Bonus

Our Rating Among Citi Cards
3.5
Citi Premier℠
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations, 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

Why We Chose This Card

Frequent travelers will quickly rack up rewards, thanks to a broad triple-points travel purchase category. On top of a hefty sign-up bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points (which are worth $750 in airfare, according to Citi) by spending $4,000 on this card within the first three months. On an ongoing basis, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel (including gas), 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment, and then 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. You can use the points for a variety of rewards, though travel is your best bet. And, like all good travel cards, this one doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. 

What Is Citi?

Citi (or technically, Citibank) is the fourth largest commercial bank in the U.S. It also issues more than a dozen credit cards, some under the Citi brand and others through co-branded partnerships with merchants like Costco and American Airlines.

Citi is known for its cash back and long promotional APR card offers, but the bank also issues several travel rewards and business cards. You’ll need at least good credit to qualify for most Citi credit cards. However, if you’re new to credit, or rebuilding it, Citi does have secured and student credit card options. 

Note

A good FICO credit score is defined as 670 or above. 

How Citi ThankYou Rewards Work

Citi ThankYou Rewards is the bank-branded program for several Citi credit cards: Citi Rewards+ Card, Citi Rewards+ Student Card, Citi Premier Card, and the Citi Prestige Card.

When you use one of those cards, you’ll earn a set number of points per dollar spent. The earning rate will depend on the card, but you’ll earn at least 1 point per dollar spent, and more on spending in categories that may include groceries, gas, or travel purchases. 

Citi ThankYou points are typically worth about 1.15 cents each, based on average valuations from The Balance, and can be redeemed for:

  • Travel purchases like flights, rental car, and hotel reservations
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back
  • Shop or pay with points at participating online retailers, like Amazon and Best Buy
  • Online bill payments
  • Charity donations

ThankYou points can be transferred to partner loyalty programs, such as Jet Blue’s TrueBlue program, and the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Citi Customer Service

Citibank customer service is just OK, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The bank ranked sixth among 11 major card issuers, scoring 799 on a 1,000-point scale, slightly below the industry average score of 801. 

However, as a Citi cardholder, you will have some useful service benefits, such as free access to your FICO score online and via the Citi mobile app, a 24/7 customer service phone line, and a secure, online portal where you can chat with a customer service representative. 

Methodology

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

Our reviews are always impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

The Balance team created this best card list using the same evaluation process used to score our best overall card rankings, but focused solely on cards issued by Citi (though we excluded co-branded airline cards from this round-up). We re-evaluate this list on a monthly basis, or when there are major changes to Citi's credit card offerings.

What We Score

We consider low APRs, big sign-up offers, valuable rewards, and minimal fees some of the best card qualities, and our scoring model reflects this. Our full methodology includes further detail about how we evaluate credit card attributes.