Comparing Credit Card Offers from Citi
Citi, one of the nation's largest and oldest banks, offers much more than credit cards. In addition to rewards, business and credit-building cards, Citi serves as a bank for people seeking mortgages, investing services and more.
Here, we delve into what is Citi and what the bank offers:
- Citibank's best cards
- Deeper analysis on best cards
- What is Citi?
- Rewards program and redemptions
- Other benefits
- Quick recap
The Best Citi Credit Cards of 2019
Deeper analysis on Citi's best cards
No matter your credit circumstance, there is a Citi card for you. Whether you are new to credit or ready for a superior rewards card, Citi has it all. Here are the best Citi cards we have to offer:
Citi Rewards+SM Card
With this card, you can earn 15,000 bonus points after a $1,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership, then the ongoing rewards include 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 spent each year. It's 1X point after that and on other purchases. That means you can redeem $150 back for the sign-up bonus, then $60 on supermarkets and gas stations with the 2X points earnings, in gift cards at thankyou.com. All this with no annual fee.
- Card rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase
- Get 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year
- 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable 15.74%-25.74% after that
Citi Simplicity Card
Have a big purchase coming up? Need to transfer that monster balance? This card can help with both.
The Citi Simplicity's greatest feature is the 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases (then 16.24% - 26.24% variable). Note that there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
- 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers (then 16.24% - 26.24% variable)
- No late fees or penalty rate
- No annual fee
Citi Double Cash Card
If you don't love the idea of rotating categories and you have a sizeable balance transfer you need to make, the Citi Double Cash Card is the card for you.
This card is best known for 2 things: its 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (then 15.74% - 25.74% variable) and its double cash back. Here's how it works: you get unlimited 1% cash back when you make your purchase, then you get another 1% when you pay for the purchase. Heads up that balance transfers don't earn cash back.
- Total of 2% cash back on all purchases (1% cash back when you make your purchase, another 1% upon payment)
- No annual fee
- Generous balance transfer offer
Citi Premier Card
This worthy rival to the Chase Sapphire Preferred even offers a travel portal boost equal to the Chase Ultimate Rewards. Here's how it works:
The Premier Card offers 50,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership. But that's not all. Those points translate into $625 in airfare when redeemed through the ThankYou Travel Center.
Also, the Premier allows you to earn 3X points on travel – including gas stations. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
- 50,000 point bonus after $4,000 spend in first 3 months
- No expiration or limit to points you can earn
- No airline transfer fee and transfers can start at 1,000 points
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
This card is a staple of any frequent traveler's wallet, at least if they regularly fly on American Airlines. With solid rewards and perks on AA tickets, it also has rewards outside the airport at places like gas stations and restaurants.
There are other variations of this card to consider, for executive or frequent business travelers, for instance. However, the Platinum Select World Elite is a great option for the average flyer.
- 50,000 miles sign-up bonus for spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
- 2X miles per dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants, and eligible AA purchases
- $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
If you love American Airlines, you'll love this card more than you know.
Why? Because there are oodles of rewards, both sign-up and ongoing, to help you enjoy airline travel that much more. There's the 50,000 miles sign-up after a $5,000 spend in the first 3 months of card membership and 2X miles on eligible American Airlines spending. There's also 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after a $40,000 spend within the year.
And what about the benefits? From access to more than 50 airport lounges worldwide to free first checked bag (on domestic American Airline itineraries), the benefits are bountiful, making the $450 annual fee well worth it.
- Admirals Club membership
- Priority check-in, screening and boarding privileges
- First checked bag free
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUpSM Card
This Citi card is a great starter American Airlines card with extra benefits outside of American purchases.
With the brand new MileUp card, you not only get 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, but they also give you the same multiplier for every dollar spent at the grocery store. Group that bonus category with no annual fee and a 10,000 mile sign-up bonus plus a $50 statement credit (after you spend $500 in the first 3 months), and you have a great starter card for racking up miles if you're an American Airlines loyalist.
- 2x miles at the grocery store and on American Airlines purchases
- Small, but solid sign-up bonus
- 25% off inflight food and beverage
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
The Citi Secured Mastercard is a good option if you're new to credit and need to build it from the ground up.
Since this Citi card is a secured card, that means that you'll have to put down a security deposit to use the card. The minimum here is $200, but it gets you off to a good start to pay your bill on time every month and build your credit back up. With online bill pay and auto pay options, it's easy to keep track of bill payments each month.
- No annual fee
- Monthly reports to credit bureaus
- Auto pay and online bill pay options
Citi Rewards+SM Student Card
This card is a great option for college sudents and contains a few more perks than you might expect from a student credit card.
Most notably, the Citi Rewards+ Student Card earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in purchase per year, then reverts to earning 1X point per dollar as it does on all other purchases. There's also a 2,500-point sign-up bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months, which can then be redeemed for a $25 gift card.
- 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations
- 10% points back for the first 100,000 points redeemed every year
- No annual fee
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
While you don't have to have this Costco card to shop there, you can max out on gas, restaurants and travel, and Costco spending with some pretty generous rewards with the Costco Anywhere Visa. There's no sign-up bonus with this card, but the ongoing rewards more than make up for it.
To start off, while there's no sign-up bonus, Costco members receive a reward coupon annually which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses.
Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas (worldwide and at Costco) for up to $7,000 for the year, then 1% thereafter; 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel; 2% cash back on all other Costco and Costco.com purchases; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Here's how a year's spending would break down:
Costco Anywhere Visa rewards...
|Gas||Restaurants & eligible travel||Costco & Costco.com||Total end of first year|
|$400 * 12 * 4% = $192||$500 * 12 * 3% = $180||$500 * 12 * 2% = $120||$492|
- Can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted
- No annual fee with your paid Costco membership
- No foreign transaction fee
What is Citi?
Citibank, a division of Citigroup, is a full-service bank that provides mortgages, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and more.
Citibank was founded in 1812 as City Bank of New York, with Samuel Osgood as the founding president. One of North America's oldest banks in continuous operation, it is steeped in the United States' banking history.
America's oldest continuous banks...
|Year founded||Rank||Founding name||Current name|
|1||1784||Bank of New York||BNY Mellon|
|2||1792||State Street Deposit & Trust||State Street Corp.|
|3||1799||The Manhattan Company||Now part of JPMorgan Chase|
|4||1812||City Bank of New York||Citibank|
|5||1818||John A. Brown & Co.||Brown Brothers Harriman|
Wikipedia and creditcards.com research
Services Citi offers
Citibank's services vary by location. For example, in New York, you can qualify for a mortgage, card, bank accounts, and more. Here are some Citi services that are available in New York as an example:
- CDs and IRAs
- Low interest
- Cash back & savings
- Balance transfer
- Home equity
- Personal lines
- For retirement
- For college
- For life changes
- Protecting your wealth
- Estate planning
- Small business banking
Overview of their rewards program and best redemption options
Citi ThankYou Rewards
It's actually pretty simple – the more business you do with Citi, the more ThankYou points you receive. Have a mortgage with them? That's up to 175 points a month. Checking, bill pay and direct deposit? Up to 650 a month. Here's how it all breaks down.
Monthly points with Citi direct deposit and bill payment...
|Eligible products & services||Citigold, Citi Priority, or Citi Private Bank Account||The Citibank Account|
|Checking account, bill payment, direct deposit||650||450|
|Home equity loan||175||100|
|Custom credit line||150||75|
When it comes to redemptions, your options are numerous. Rewards start at 1,000 points, which is rock-bottom compared to other programs, and TPG ranks a ThankYou point at 1.7 cents, which is more than competitive. Here are ways your points can be redeemed. Heads up that there can be gift card and shopping deals, and the ThankYou Travel Center portal is competitive with the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Get gift cards from such retailers as Best Buy, Starbucks, Macy's and The Home Depot.
- Choose merchandise from such brands as Apple, Sony and KitchenAid.
- Get tickets to concerts and other events at LiveNation.com. You can link your Live Nation and ThankYou Rewards accounts.
- Online Bill Pay allows you to use ThankYou points you've already earned toward your bill payments.
- If available, you can redeem through the Travel Center.
Cash back and AAdvantage
The Citi Double Cash allows you to earn cash back twice – once when you make the purchase and again when you pay the bill, bringing the total to 2%. So, a $500 expense becomes $10 back. There are also the Costco Anywhere Visa cards. Redemptions range from statement credits to gift cards.
With the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, you earn miles you can redeem with American Airlines or American Eagle to more than 250 destinations worldwide. Miles can also be redeemed for car rentals or hotel stays at more than 10,000 locations.
Citi Easy Deals
- Base tier – Gives you access upon registration to local offers for restaurants, shops and services.
- Enhanced tier – In addition to base tier benefits, spend $100 in purchases on your eligible credit card in one calendar year for access to savings on gift cards and magazines.
- Plus tier – In addition to base and enhanced benefits, spend $500 in purchases on your eligible credit card in one calendar year for access to savings on merchandise, travel and Daily Deals.
This rewards program earns you a 2% rebate when you lease or purchase a new or used car with the Driver's Edge Credit Card.
Other benefits of having Citi cards
Citi card benefits are famous for their generosity, provided you use your card or ThankYou points for the purchase that you want covered. Terms and conditions apply.
- Worldwide car rental insurance – One excellent aspect of this insurance is that while it's secondary in the U.S., it's primary outside of the U.S., which means it kicks in before all other insurance, even your personal auto insurance.
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection – This protects you up to $5,000 when the traveler becomes sick, dies, is injured or there are weather issues.
- Trip delay protection – If a trip on a common carrier is delayed at least 12 hours, you can be reimbursed up to $500.
- Baggage delay protection – This is handy for buying incidentals because your luggage hasn't arrived within 6 hours. Maximum coverage per trip, per traveler is $100.
- Lost baggage protection – Coverage is $3,000 outside of New York (which is $2,000) for up to $10,000 per trip.
- Roadside assistance dispatch service – You are only charged if you use the service for such things as towing or flat tires.
- Travel & emergency assistance – Get 24/7 assistance for emergency travel arrangements, travel issues, and medical and legal referrals.
- Worldwide travel accident insurance – Maximum coverage is $500,000 per person.
- Damage & theft purchase protection – Your product is covered for 120 days from purchase (except New York, which is 90 days) for up to $10,000 per item, $50,000 per year.
- Citi Price Rewind – Specific to Citi, this service searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your card within 60 days of purchase for a maximum of $2,500 per year.
- Extended warranty – This is a generous 24-month warranty tacked on to the existing warranty.
- 90-day return protection – If the merchant won't take it back within 90 days, you can be refunded up to $500 per item, $2,500 a year.
Recap: The Best Credit Cards from Citibank
|Card||Best For:||CreditCards.com Rating|
|Citi Simplicity Card||Long 0% intro period for balance transfers||3.2 / 5|
|Citi Double Cash Card||Flat-rate cash back||3.9 / 5|
|Citi Premier Card||Flexible travel rewards||3.8 / 5|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||Large miles bonus||4.1 / 5|
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||Frequent American flyers||4.1 / 5|
|American Airlines AAdvantage MileUpSM Card||Starter American Airlines card||3.8 / 5|
|Citi® Secured Mastercard®||Building your credit||3.0 / 5|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi||Gas purchases||2.5 / 5|
|Citi Rewards+SM Student Card||College students||2.5 /5|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi||Gas purchases||2.5 / 5|
Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.