Citi Premier Card Review

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The Citi Premier℠ Card makes it easy to rack up rewards in a hurry—especially if you spend a lot on commuting, travel, and entertainment. 

Citi Premier℠

overall rating
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 (%) 17.99% - 25.99% variable
  • Annual Fee $95.00
  • 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
1.0
for Rewards
1.9
for Credit
3.5

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

Top Rated For

  • Citi Credit Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

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

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, 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.

Pros

  • Generous rewards

  • Flexible options for redeeming travel rewards

  • More value when you redeem points for airfare

  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Limited airline transfer partners

  • High interest rate

Pros Explained

  • 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 a variety of hotels and airfare 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. Specifically, the 60,000-point signup bonus is worth $750 in travel when redeemed for flights. 
  • 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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 airline transfer partners: The Citi ThankYou program has an array of transfer partners you can move points to without a fee, but their partners aren't convenient for everyone. Many of their 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 select partners 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 17.99% - 25.99% 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.

Citi Premier Card Sign-up Bonus

The Citi Premier Card gives you 60,000 points worth $750 in airfare after you sign up and spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. 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 $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.

Redeeming Rewards

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, your points will be worth 1.25 cents each instead of just 1 cent, the typical Citi ThankYou point redemption value. However, The Balance research found that transferring points specifically to JetBlue via Citi’s Travel Loyalty Program gives points their high value of 1.32 cents each when redeemed for airfare. Citi has 15 airline transfer partners, and the transfer ratio is typically one point for one mile, which is good.

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

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, but particularly by transferring them to JetBlue. If you need more travel flexibility than what’s offered through Citi directly, take advantage of the solid 1:1 transfer ratio offered by 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. 

Customer Experience

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 2018 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The survey considered the opinions of over 24,000 credit card customers nationwide, and Citi received 797 points out of 1,000. The industry average, on the other hand, was 801.

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. 

Security Features

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.

For Citi Premier℠

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CURRENT CARD
Citi Premier℠
overall rating
3.5
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 (%) 17.99% - 25.99% variable
  • Annual Fee $95.00
  • 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.
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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.