Citi Premier Card Review

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The Citi Premier Card has a lucrative rewards proposition and lots of flexibility in how you use your points.

Citi Premier℠

Overall Rating
3.7
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 (%) 15.99% - 23.99% 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%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
2.5
for Rewards
3.6
for Credit
2.2
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

If you have excellent credit and travel frequently, the Citi Premier Card may be a smart option for earning points toward your next trip. The points earned on airfare and hotel stays are quite competitive, especially for a travel card with a modest annual fee. What’s more, this card makes it pretty easy to rack up rewards even when you’re not in the air. You’ll earn points on restaurant tabs, gas purchases, and in the near future, groceries, too. Plus, the robust redemption options mean you’ll earn points anyone can use.

Pros
  • Generous rewards

  • Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards

Cons
  • Only one U.S. airline transfer partner

  • No interest-free promotions for new cardholders

Pros Explained

  • Generous rewards: The rewards scheme on this card will be changed on Aug. 23, 2020, but any way you slice it, it’s pretty competitive. Currently you’ll have the opportunity to earn 3 points per $1 on travel and gas and 2 points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment—all solid rates for travel cards. Then, come August 23, the dining rate will increase to 3 points per $1 and supermarkets will be added as another triple points category. Airfare, hotel stays and gas will continue to earn 3 points per $1 as well. What’s taken away? Entertainment and some types of travel spending, including car rentals, public transportation and tolls, will no longer earn extra points.
  • Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards: If you like to travel but don’t want to be tied down to a specific hotel or airline loyalty program, this card could be for you. You can book your choice of hotel or flight through the Citi travel portal. 

Cons Explained

  • Only one U.S. airline transfer partner: The Citi ThankYou program will let you transfer your points to 16 frequent flyer partners with their own programs, but the list is noticeably lacking domestic airlines. JetBlue is the only one. 
  • No interest-free promotions for new cardholders: Getting a break on interest charges can be great for spreading out the cost of an unusually large purchase or paying down debt you’ve already accrued on another credit card. But unlike some competitors, this card doesn’t have 0% APR deals on purchases or balance transfers.

Citi Premier Card Bonus for New Cardholders

The Citi Premier Card gives you a bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. Based on The Balance’s estimate of the average value of a ThankYou point, this offer is worth $732 if used for travel—hundreds more than some competing travel credit cards charging a similar annual fee. 

Earning Points & Rewards

One big benefit of the Citi Premier Card is the fact that its earning tiers are so generous. Until Aug. 23, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 on travel—including things like rental cars, public transit, and rideshares—and gas purchases, 2 points per $1 on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on everything else. Effective Aug. 23, you’ll continue to earn 3 points per $1 on air travel, hotel stays and gas, but the dining rewards will increase to 3 points per $1 and you’ll begin earning 3 points per $1 at supermarkets too. These are among the better rates offered on a travel card with tiered rates, and the categories cater to multiple types of spenders.

For anyone who doesn’t already have the card, the bonus rewards on entertainment purchases and several forms of travel will go away in August. Those that got the card on or before April 9, 2020 get to keep these reward categories for a year.

Estimates based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data for average yearly spending show one household could earn as many as 46,735 points per year under the new rewards scheme from Citi.

Your points will never expire provided you have an open Citi ThankYou credit-card account. Also, there are no limits to the rewards you can earn.

Redeeming Rewards

There are many ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points earned with this card, but you may get more value from your points by using them for travel. If you book flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals or other eligible travel directly through Citi’s ThankYou Rewards portal, your points will be worth 1 cent each, while redeeming for cash back or while shopping may get you less than that. (It’s unclear whether the per-point value for cash back is 0.5 cents or 1 cent with this card, and a Citi spokeswoman was unable to clarify.) At the Amazon checkout, you’ll get 0.8 cents per point.
Points may also be used for: 

  • Gift cards (valued at 1 cent per point)
  • Charity donations 
  • Student loan or mortgage payments
  • Paying bills

Transferring PointsOne of the pluses of this card is the ability to transfer your points to frequent flyer programs. Citi has 16 airline partners, and Citi Premier cardholders can convert each ThankYou point into one mile or point in the partner programs. Factoring in the one domestic transfer option (JetBlue), the Balance found Citi Premier points are worth an average of 1.22 cents each when used for travel. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Besides making sure to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening to earn the impressive bonus, make sure to use your card whenever you can earn the lucrative bonus points.

When it comes time to redeem, make sure to use your points for travel to get the most value. If JetBlue goes to the cities you travel between, consider converting your points to TrueBlue points rather than redeeming them for flights through Citi’s travel portal. Internationally, you’ll get the most value from your points when you transfer them to airlines in the Star Alliance network.

Starting on Aug. 23, 2020, cardholders will get a $100 discount on one hotel booking of at least $500 (before taxes and fees) made through ThankYou.com, Citi’s travel portal. You’ll receive the discount one per calendar year at checkout.

Other Features

  • Sports, music, and even ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events

Customer Experience

Global marketing company J.D. Power ranked Citi sixth out of 11 credit card issuers in its 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, giving the company an “about average” rating.

When it comes to customer service options, you can reach Citi online via mobile chat, with a secure message, or over the phone.

Security Features

You’ll have access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions, which offers personalized assistance when you’re a victim of identity theft. This service will help keep an eye on your TransUnion credit report and advise you on how to proceed if your information has been compromised.

Fees to Watch Out For

Fees on this card are standard among travel credit cards, including the lack of foreign transaction fees.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Citi Premier℠
overall rating
3.7
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 (%) 15.99% - 23.99% 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.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • 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. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Citi. "Travel Rewards Credit Card - Citi Premier Card." Accessed June 4, 2020.

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures -- 2018." Accessed June 4, 2020.

  3. Citi. "Citi ThankYou Rewards—Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed June 4, 2020. 

  4. J.D. Power. "2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey." Accessed June 4, 2020.