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
The Citi Premier Card is a smart option for consumers who spend a lot of money on travel (including gas), entertainment, and dining. Plus, its robust rewards program ensures you’ll earn points you can actually use. Not only is the card great for earning points on travel, but you also have a variety of choices for redeeming rewards for travel. On the flip side, it’s nice to know you don’t have to redeem points for travel.
No matter what, you may want to compare a few travel credit cards and their respective rewards programs to find the right fit. Some other programs have different transfer partners and perks, which could be a better option.
Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards
More value when you redeem points for airfare
No foreign transaction fees
Limited U.S. airline transfer partners
High interest rate
- Generous rewards: This card offers an initial 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 3 points per $1 on an expansive travel category that includes airplane and train travel, in addition to gas stations and other aspects of everyday commuting. The rewards on dining and entertainment are also very competitive.
- Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards: If you’re eager to travel but don’t want to deal with complicated hotel or airline loyalty programs or blackout dates, this card could be for you. You can book with a variety of hotels and airlines through the Citi portal.
- More value when you redeem points for airfare: The Citi Premier Card gives you more value for your points when you redeem them through the portal for airfare. According to Citi, the 60,000-point signup bonus may be worth $750 in travel when redeemed for flights that way.
- No foreign transaction fees: The fact you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees on purchases made overseas with this card solidifies its place as a top travel credit card.
- Annual fee: The Citi Premier Card has a $95 annual fee. This isn’t overly expensive for a travel credit card, but it’s still worth asking yourself if the rewards are worth it.
- Limited U.S. airline transfer partners: The Citi ThankYou program has an array of transfer partners you can move points to without a fee, but its partners won’t work for everyone. Many of the airline partners are based in Europe and Asia, which may not be ideal if you mostly travel close to home. However, the program sometimes offers bonus miles for a limited time.
- High interest rate: The Citi Premier Card isn’t a good option if you plan to carry a balance. You’ll pay a variable rate of 15.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness.
It’s rarely, if ever, a good idea to carry a balance on a rewards card. The cost of interest charges will almost certainly outweigh the rewards value.
Bonus for New Cardholders
The Citi Premier Card gives you 60,000 points after you sign up and spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. Based on The Balance calculations, this offer is worth about $732 when averaged over multiple travel redemption options.
This bonus is on par with competing travel credit cards charging a similar annual fee. However, it may be hard to earn through organic spending—you’ll need to spend at least $1,334 per month for three months in a row to reach the threshold.
Earning Points & Rewards
One big benefit of the Citi Premier Card is the fact that its earning tiers are so generous. Having the ability to earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas, parking, ferries and other daily-commuting requirements could be a huge boon if you spend a lot in those categories anyway. Earn 2 points per $1 on dining and entertainment, along with 1 point per $1 on regular purchases. Also note that your points will never expire provided you have an open Citi ThankYou credit card account, and that there are no limits to the rewards you can earn.
Citi is revamping this card offer and the earning rate structure will soon change. Starting Aug. 23, 2020, you'll earn 3 points per $1 spent at supermarkets and restaurants, including takeout, which will be a nice boost for those routine purchase categories. However, open this card on or after Aug. 23 and you'll only earn 1 point per $1 spent on cruises, toll fare, parking, and entertainment. (Existing cardholders won't have worry about that lower earning rate until April 10, 2021.)
There are many ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points earned with this card, but you’ll get more from your points when they are used for travel. If you book flights directly through Citi’s ThankYou Rewards portal, your points will be worth 1.25 cents each.
After April 10, 2021, you'll no longer get 25% more value from your points when redeemed for airfare, hotels, cruises, or car rentals through the ThankYou Travel Center. They will be worth just 1 cent each when used that way.
For now, though, The Balance found Citi Premier points are worth about 1.15 cents each, on average, when what we consider the most common travel and transfer options are considered. Citi has 15 airline transfer partners, and the transfer ratio is typically 1 point for 1 mile.
You can also redeem points for hotels, cruises, and car rentals through Citi. If you don’t have a travel bug, points may also be used for:
- Gift cards
- Shopping at online retailers like Best Buy or Amazon.com
- Cash back
- Statement credits
- Charity donations
- Student loan or mortgage payments
- Paying bills
To see how the Citi Premier Card’s points stack up, check out our in-depth analysis of what credit card points are worth.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Start by using your card for all your regular purchases, but especially those made on dining, entertainment, and travel—including gas. Make sure to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening to earn the initial sign-up bonus.
Maximizing this card’s benefits should be easy if you travel often. You’ll get the most value from your points when they are redeemed for airfare, and if you need more travel flexibility than what’s offered through Citi directly, take advantage of the solid 1:1 transfer ratio offered for most airline partners.
Citi Premier Card’s Other Features
- Citi Entertainment: Access to special events, movies, concerts, VIP experiences, and ticket presale opportunities, and a concierge service to help you with dining, entertainment, and travel plans.
Starting Aug. 23, 2020, cardholders will get a new annual travel benefit: $100 off a hotel stay booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees.
Global marketing company J.D. Power conducts independent customer satisfaction surveys, and rated Citi 6th out of its lineup of credit card companies in its 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The survey considered the opinions of over 28,000 credit card customers nationwide, and Citi received 799 points out of 1,000. The industry average, on the other hand, was 806.
When it comes to customer service options, you can reach Citi online via mobile chat, with a secure message, or over the phone. You can also reach out to Citi via the Citi mobile app, which has 4.8 stars out of 5 on iTunes and 4.3 stars out of 5 on Google Play.
You'll have access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions, which offers personalized assistance when you’re a victim of this crime. 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.
Citi Premier Card’s Fees and Finance Charges
Fees on this card are standard among travel credit cards, including the lack of foreign transaction fees. Note that the ongoing APR on this card is high, however, so you should strive to pay your balance in full each month.