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Citi Premier Credit Card

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Credit card

Citi Premier

Annual Fee:  $95

Bonus Offer: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months


Bonus Offer: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months

★ This card earns bonus points for spend in the following bonus categories:

Airfare3x
Dining3x
Gas Stations3x
Hotels3x
Supermarkets3x

Best for:

Earning Citi ThankYou points. Travel, gas, groceries, and dining are its key bonus categories.

Card Features and Benefits:

    The Citi Premier Credit Card is an excellent general travel, dining, and grocery card with a low annual fee.

    Citi ThankYou cards are great because they have a range of interesting and advanced airline partners that you can transfer your points to, including Avianca, Turkish, and Cathay Pacific.

    There are frequent transfer bonuses as well. If you are looking to get started collecting ThankYou points, this is the best starter card for the program.

    Sign up Bonus

    In a word, it's strong. The current sign up bonus is 80,000 Citi ThankYou Rewards Points (TYP), which is worth a minimum of $800 in gift cards or travel. The points’ real value, though, comes from converting them to airline miles with one of 15 global partners. We estimate the sign up bonus as worth approximately $1,200 based on the MilesTalk / Your Best Credit Cards value of Citi ThankYou points (1.5 cents a piece).

    Why is the Citi Premier Card so Good?

    The card offers significant bonuses in a number of “everyday” categories, such as gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets. It’s an excellent choice for a “top of the wallet” card. While the card does have a $95 annual fee, the $100 annual hotel savings benefit more than offsets it. 

    Best For

    The Citi Premier Credit Card is an excellent entry level credit card for everyday spend and frequent travelers.

    Annual Fee

    The card does come with a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. There’s tremendous value in the card, though, including the significant bonus multipliers for purchases and $100 annual hotel credit.

    Citi Premier Card Earn Rate

    • 3X Citi ThankYou Points on Air Travel & Hotels, Gas Stations, Restaurants and Supermarkets.
    • 1X Citi ThankYou Points on all other purchases (but see our hint below to double up even those purchases)

    Citi Premier Credit Card Review and Benefits:

    The Citi Premier card comes with particularly strong benefits, some of which are unique to the card and provide value for your annual fee. Here are a few:

    • Receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through thankyou.com and use your annual hotel savings benefit. You can receive this benefit once each calendar year. Just note that if you have elite status with the hotel chain you book, these are prepaid rates and therefore do not earn points or status benefits.
    • There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases that you make abroad.
    • Transfer points to one of 15 airline partners
    • Citi Entertainment allows you to book tickets to thousands of events, including presales and unique experiences.
    • Transfer points from a Citi Double Cash Card to the Citi Premier Credit Card. Double Cash earns two points per dollar spent on every purchase and is a great alternative for Premier’s 1X categories.

    Double up by Transferring Points from the Citi Double Cash Card to the Citi Premier Card

    The single biggest “weak spot” with the Citi Premier Credit Card is that certain non-bonus categories only earn one point per dollar spent. The best credit cards give you two points per dollar spent in any category. Citi recently responded to the complaints by allowing customers to transfer points from the Citi Double Cash Card to their ThankYou Point balances.

    What is the Citi Double Cash Card?

    • The Citi Double Cash Card is possibly the most user-friendly credit card out there.
    • Double Cash earns two cents per dollar spent on every purchase, one cent when you make a purchase and another when you pay for the purchase.
    • There is no annual fee and no sign-up bonus for the Double Cash. It was created to be simple.

    How To Double Up With Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier

    The “double up” is easy. All you need is a Citi Double Cash Card and a Citi Premier card. Since the Double Cash has no annual fee, there’s no downside to having it.

    • Remember, the Citi Premier Card pays 3X in certain categories (Air/Hotel, Gas, Restaurants and Supermarkets) and 1X in everything else. The Citi Double Cash card pays 2X on everything.
    • If your purchase is in a Citi Premier card bonus category, go ahead and make the purchase with your Citi Premier card.
    • If it’s in any other category, make the purchase with your Double Cash card. That way, you’ll get one percent when you make the purchase and another percent when you pay it.
    • Once you have earned $1 in rewards with the Double Cash Card ($50 in spending), you can transfer from Double Cash to your ThankYou Points account with the Premier card. $1 in cash equals 100 TYP, so you’ve now earned two Thank You Points per dollar!

    The Citi Trifecta: Add a Citi Rewards+ Card for a 10% Points Rebate

    If you want to take full advantage of the Citicards family, add in a no-annual fee Citi Rewards+ card. While the 15,000 ThankYou Points that you’ll receive when you sign up (and spend $1,000 in the first three months) are nice, the real bonus comes from the redemption discount.

    Every calendar year, Citi will rebate 10% of the first 100,000 ThankYou Points that you spend. It’s a 10,000 annual TYP bonus! Best of all, you don’t ever need to spend on the card (after the $1,000 for the initial bonus, of course). Just having it in your profile and linked to the same ThankYou account will ensure that you get the rebate.

    Alternate Citi Trifecta

    Add a Citi Custom Cash card, which earns 5% on your top bonus category each month, up to $500 in spend, and features some unique bonus categories like Home Improvement Stores, Drugstores, and Live Entertainment (Concerts and Shows). It also comes with a 20,000 point signup bonus worth at least $200.

    Citi Application Limits (a.k.a. Citi Velocity Rules)

    Citi will not approve more than two cards in a 60-day period, although we recommend 65 days, just to be safe. So if you want a Citi Premier, Double Cash and Rewards+ card, you’ll have to pick one to wait and apply for on Day 66. We’d recommend waiting on the Rewards+, since the benefits are back-ended.

    Best Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points

    There are several ways to redeem your Citibank ThankYou Points and, not surprisingly, some are better than others. Here are the most popular options.

    Best: Transfer Points to an Airline Partner

    The best use of ThankYou Points is to transfer them to one of Citi’s 15 airline partners. All points transfer at a rate of 1:1 from ThankYou Points into the partner miles. ThankYou Points are particularly useful for international travel, since many of the partners are non-US airlines. You can, of course, use international airline miles to fly on domestic partners.

    Note: Citi states that points transfers can take from 7-14 days, but that’s rare. Typically, if the transfer doesn’t occur instantly, it will be completed in 1-2 business days. The partners are:

    • American Airlines AAdvantage - oneworld (Until Nov 13, 2021)
    • Aeromexico Club Premier – SkyTeam
    • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – oneworld
    • Avianca LifeMiles - Star Alliance
    • Emirates Skywards – Partners, no alliance
    • Etihad Guest – Partners, no alliance
    • EVA Air Infinity – Star Alliance
    • Air France/KLM – SkyTeam
    • JetBlue TrueBlue – Has partners, but no alliance
    • Malaysia Airlines Enrich – oneworld
    • Qantas Points – oneworld
    • Qatar Privilege – oneworld
    • Singapore KrisFlyer – Star Alliance
    • Thai Royal Orchid – Star Alliance
    • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles – Star Alliance
    • Virgin Atlantic – SkyTeam

    On a “points per dollar” basis, business and first-class tickets offer the best value. For instance, the famed Singapore Suites are available from the United States to Singapore, starting at 130,000 miles. But here’s another, less-known, opportunity: Singapore flies JFK to Frankfurt, and you can book the suites on that flight for as little as 86,000 miles.

    singapore suites citi premier card

    And while Singapore does partner with other airlines through the Star Alliance, it is much easier to find seats on the airline using KrisFlyer miles than it is with, say, United MileagePlus miles. In fact, Singapore Airlines rarely makes its long-haul First and Business Class flights available to any partners at all! So it’s good to be able to transfer into Singapore’s KrisFlyer if the need arises.

    What about taking advantage of JetBlue’s new flights to London? A one-way flight in economy can be had for under 40,000 points, but you’ll probably want to treat yourself to the new international suites. While they can run over 200,000 TrueBlue points, a quick search can find them at much more reasonable rates.

    jetblue citi premier

    Since Citi Premier points transfer 1:1 to JetBlue, a new card can get you more than halfway toward luxury.

    Turkish Miles and Smiles: The Most Valuable Program You’ve Never Heard Of

    This program is rich in bargains for travel within “North America” which covers a wide berth: A little creativity can go a long way, and Turkish Airlines, a member of Star Alliance (including United and Air Canada, among others) is a perfect example.  Turkish has an award chart divided by geographical zones, and the definition of “North America” is extraordinarily broad and includes the Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, United States, and Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii is in the same zone as the East Coast of the United States – a flight that exceeds 10 hours.

    A one-way flight in coach between countries in the region (or within them, for that matter) starts at only 7,500 miles (maxing out at 10,000 within these zones but outside the United States), and in Business Class, it’s just 12,500 (or 15,000 if you go beyond the United States). Traveling New York to Hawaii? How about Los Angeles to Toronto? The bonus from the Citi Premier card will fly two of you round-trip in Business Class. The only catch is that you do need to locate Saver award availability.

    It works for Europe, as well. Roundtrip economy is 60,000 miles, while roundtrip Business Class starts at 90,000. You can even choose to route to Europe via Istanbul if you want to sample Turkish Airline’s own world renowed service and onboard food. Try and look for one of their newer Business Class cabins.

    Avianca works great, as well

    Avianca to Europe: Avianca is another great option to. Europe. Let’s take a look at that same flight from JFK to Frankfurt that we saw on Singapore. Or really, any award flight from the United States to Europe. The rates are pretty inexpensive to begin with, as we can see from this flight:

    But one thing that makes Avianca LifeMiles special is that you can buy miles if you need them. Normally, buying miles is an expensive proposition, but Avianca almost always has bonus offers that bring the total under 2 cents per mile, which is very cheap. You can transfer your points from your Citi Premier Card and make up the rest by buying them if you need to. You should be aware, though, that Avianca isn’t always the easiest to deal with when things go wrong, so this is best for simple itineraries that you don’t plan to change or cancel.

    avianca citi premier

    Still, 63,000 miles for a one way Business Class to Europe or 87,000 miles for First Class (we’re talking about the famous Lufthansa First Class here, which is opened to partners like Avianca LifeMiles 2 weeks before travel) is a steal of a deal – and LifeMiles never adds on so-called Fuel Surcharges, which sweetens the deal immensely.

    Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines AAdvantage

    Are you most comfortable with a frequent flyer program that you are already familiar with? Until November 13th, Citi is allowing you to transfer ThankYou points to the American Airlines AAdvantage program. The transfer with a Citi Premier card is at a sweet 1:1 ratio, so 1,000 Citi ThankYou = 1,000 AA.

    Read about sweet spots for using American Airlines AAdvantage miles here.

    Adequate: Use for Travel or Gift Cards

    If you don’t want to transfer your points to miles, you have the option to use them for gift cards. Citi offers gift card rewards from more than 100 partners, so you’re not going to be at a loss for options.

    You can also book travel through Citi’s dedicated travel website. There’s no real advantage in doing it this way other than that you can use your points to do so.

    The downside to these options is that the translation rate is not particularly good. You’ll receive a penny per point, which is generally less than the value of a mile in the “best use” scenario above.

    Avoid: Cash and Shopping Rewards

    You can also use your points to shop online directly, receive a statement credit or get cash back. This is the worst possible use of points, since Citi gives you less than a penny per point. For instance, you can shop directly at Amazon or use your points to “reimburse” you for purchases made at merchants such as Best Buy.

    So here’s the question: Why would you make a purchase and get a statement credit, worth significantly less than a penny per point, when you could just buy a gift card for that same merchant and receive a full penny?

    Citi Premier Credit Card FAQs

    What credit score do I need to get the Citi Premier card?

    You should have at least a 700 FICO score before applying for the card.

    Do I need to pay my bill in full every month?

    Absolutely! Rewards cards charge extremely high interest rates if you carry over a balance. How do you think they pay for all of those rewards? If you don’t pay your bill in full every month, please get a low-interest rate card before the Citi Premier. 3% in rewards is not enough to offset a 20%+ interest rate.

    Does the Citi Premier credit card provide primary car rental coverage?

    No. Very few credit cards provide primary rental car insurance. If you are looking for a card that provides primary coverage, meaning that you don’t need to go through your personal auto insurance in case of an incident, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or any of these credit cards with primary car rental damage coverage.

    Can I share Citi ThankYou points with others?

    Yes but…You can only share (or receive) up to 100,000 points per calendar year and, more importantly, the recipient must use the points within 90 days.

    Does the Citi Premier Credit Card offer airport lounge access?

    This card doesn’t. You may want to look at an alternative, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or any of these credit cards with Priority Pass lounge access.

    Do ThankYou Points from Citi Premier Expire?

    They don’t expire, as long as you keep the card open. If you decide to close your Citi Premier Credit Card account, downgrade your card to a Rewards+ or a ThankYou Preferred instead, thus keeping your points alive. Note that if you product change to any other cards, your points will expire in 30 days.

    Is there a limit on the number of points I can earn?

    There isn’t. The only limit to how much you can earn is how much you spend.

    Can I add an authorized user?

    Yes, you can. There is no fee to add an authorized user to the Citi Premier Credit Card and you’ll earn points on their purchases, as well.

    Does the Citi Premier offer contactless payment?

    It does. Just tap it on the payment reader and you’re ready to go.

    Does the Citi Premier offer access to my credit score?

    Yes, the Premier card allows you free access to view your FICO score.

    Conclusion: Is the Citi Premier Credit Card worth it?

    Absolutely! 60,000 points is worth a minimum of $600, while the $100 annual hotel credit offsets the annual fee. Bonuses are also excellent, with triple points with supermarkets, air travel/hotels, restaurants and gas stations.

    The best redemption options are almost always converting those points to miles with a transfer partner. There are several great options, including Avianca and Turkish, that can get you to Europe on the cheap, while the Singapore Air suites are a great way to spoil yourself on a trip to Asia. Don’t want to travel so far? Use 30,000 points to get yourself a roundtrip flight in Business Class to Canada or Mexico. And let’s not forget Hawaii or Bermuda, which are always a great option.

    More Reading at MilesTalk

    Related Credit Cards

Citi Premier

Offer: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months

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