Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
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.
Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards
Only one U.S. airline transfer partner
No interest-free promotions for new cardholders
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Sports, music, and even ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events
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.
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.