|Rewards Rating:||4.7 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||4.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.0|
In a Nutshell:
The Citi Premier card offers a generous travel rewards program and its broad category coverage make it a terrific standalone rewards card for everyday spending.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Citi Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, free concierge service, Annual Hotel Savings Benefit, extended warranty, EMV chip
The Citi Premier Card is similar to other flexible rewards travel credit cards that let you redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, travel through an issuer’s portal or transfers to other loyalty programs. However, this card truly stands out due to its excellent rewards rate (3 points per dollar) in popular everyday categories like restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, as well as on air travel and hotels.
New cardholders are also eligible for a bonus offer of 60,000 points (worth $600 in gift cards) after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Meanwhile, perks like a $100 annual hotel benefit and no foreign transaction fees add even more value for cardholders who travel often.
Why you might want the Citi Premier® Card
Overall, the ease of earning points and the flexibility of its rewards program makes the Citi Premier® Card a smart choice for almost anyone. Here are some of the main reasons consumers sign up for this card.
Earn 3X points in everyday spending and travel categories
When you sign up for the Citi Premier® Card, you can earn 3 points per dollar spent in popular categories without any limitations. Categories that qualify for this rate include restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels. Even if you don’t travel very often, the everyday spending categories this card offers (for example, dining, gas and groceries) are easy to maximize. Also note that you’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases made with your card.
As with any rewards cards that features category-specific earning rates, the amount of rewards you can expect to earn in a year depends on how much you spend as well as in which categories you spend; but for the right cardholder, the Citi Premier could prove quite valuable. Consider the following example:
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four with two kids ages 12 to 13 spends $14,272.80 per year on a moderate food plan. Meanwhile, the average family spent $1,568 on gas within a year in 2020, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now imagine this family spends $4,800 per year ($400 per month) on dining out, including takeout and delivery. When you add up these figures, the average family spends $20,640.80 in categories that earn 3 points per $1, which would yield 61,922 points. If you used those points for cash back or travel at a rate of 1 cent per point, that’s a whopping $619 in value.
On top of that, you would earn 3 points per $1 spent in travel categories (air travel and hotels) and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
Generous bonus offer
The Citi Premier Card also gives new cardholders the chance to earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. While that’s down from the card’s previous bonus offer of 80,000 points with the same spending requirement and timeframe, it’s still a generous offer, worth $600 when you redeem for travel or gift cards at thankyou.com (or potentially even more with the right transfer partner). Plus, you don’t have to spend a ton each month to reach the threshold — just $1,334 per month on purchases for three months in a row.
Flexible rewards program
One of the biggest benefits of this card is its rewards program, which is known as Citi ThankYou rewards. There is a lot of flexibility in how you can redeem your points, and that’s true whether you’re a frequent traveler or you prefer to stick with the simplicity of cash back.
When it comes to redeeming your points, you can use them for gift cards, merchandise through shopping partners, statement credits, a direct deposit, a check in the mail, charitable contributions or even payments toward a student loan or a mortgage.
You can also redeem your rewards for airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars and more through the Citi travel portal, which works similarly to Travelocity or Expedia.
Lastly, you can transfer your points to Citi airline partners, which include:
- Asia Miles
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air
- Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
$100 annual hotel savings benefit
The Citi Premier Card also comes with a $100 hotel savings benefit that can make up for the card’s $95 annual fee. You can use this perk by booking a prepaid hotel stay of $500 or more through ThankYou.com or by calling 1-800-THANKYOU.
Why you might want a different card
The Citi Premier Card is popular for a reason, yet there are some important downsides you should know about before you apply. Consider the main disadvantages we outline below and how they could apply in your situation.
You might want different transfer partners
While it’s nice the Citi Premier Card lets you transfer your points to airline partners, you should make sure you can use the options availalble. While Citi travel partners are better than nothing, they don’t currently include any major domestic airlines (though the issuer recently had a temporary partnership with American Airlines that expired in November).
Also note that, by comparison, two other flexible rewards programs – Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards – have a handful of hotel loyalty programs to choose from among their transfer options. This places the Citi Premier card in a competitive landscape where the benefit of travel partners, while nice, is situational based on how you plan your travel.
The Citi Premier Card falls short of several competing travel cards when it comes to perks, with one notable example being its lack of travel insurance benefits. By contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with similar rewards redemption options, yet cardholders also get trip cancellation and interruption coverage, primary auto rental coverage, baggage delay insurance, trip delay coverage, travel and emergency assistance services and other perks.
If travel insurance is a perk you want, the Citi Premier Card is definitely not your ideal card. One of the few other notable perks included on this card is Citi Entertainment access, which, for many cardholders, is nothing to get too excited about.
How does the Citi Premier Card compare to other rewards credit cards?
Before you sign up for the Citi Premier Card, you should take the time to see how it stacks up to similar credit cards with flexible rewards programs. The chart below compares three travel credit cards that offer similar features.
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
Earn unlimited 2X miles for each dollar you spend
60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership
75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Citi Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
When you start comparing the Citi Premier and Sapphire Preferred cards, you’ll notice that they are somewhat similar. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be a better option if you like Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners better, or if you want some travel insurance protections as a cardholder. Also keep in mind that you’ll earn a 25% boosted point redemption rate for travel redemptions made with the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
If you sign up, you can earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Considering the 1.25-cent-per-point value you can get when you redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, that beats out the Citi Premier card’s 60,000-point offer ($750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, versus $600 in value with the Citi card).
Citi Premier Card vs. American Express Gold Card
The American Express Gold Card offers a similar intro offer as the Citi Premier® Card, although this card offers a very generous rate of 4 points per $1 spent in popular spending categories that include dining and U.S. supermarkets, as well as 3 points per $1 on airfare.
Make sure you understand the American Express Membership Rewards program, including Amex transfer partners, before you apply for this card. Also be aware that, in exchange for this card’s benefits, you’ll owe a $250 annual fee which is substantial compared to the Citi Premier Card. However, the American Express Gold Card comes with some great perks that easily offset that annual fee.
Citi Premier Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Finally, you may also want to check out the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card keeps things simple by offering a flat 2X miles for each dollar you spend, and you can redeem rewards for Amazon or PayPal purchases, travel purchases charged to your card or transfers to Capital One airline and hotel partners.
In exchange for its $95 annual fee, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes with a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership every four years. Although that perk is nice, the rewards rate on this card is a little underwhelming compared to the Citi Premier Card. In place of a flat 2 points per dollar on every purchase, strategizing your spending with a card that has a higher rate will earn you more in rewards.
How to use the Citi Premier Card:
- Use it for all your purchases and bills, and especially in the 3 points per $1 on everyday spending categories like dining out, gas and groceries.
- Spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening to earn the card’s sign-up bonus.
- Use the card abroad without paying any foreign transaction fees.
- Book a $500 or more hotel stay through ThankYou.com to take advantage of the $100 annual hotel benefit.
Is the Citi Premier Card right for you?
When you look at everything the Citi Premier Card has to offer, it’s easy to see why you would consider signing up. The sign-up bonus is generous and the bonus categories can work for almost anyone. Plus, this card offers a flexible rewards program and the annual fee is only $95.
Then again, there are some areas where the Citi Premier Card really falls short, such as in the negligible cardholder benefits it offers. If you want one rewards credit card only and need it to come with a few perks, you may want to consider a different card that provides you with a few more convenient offerings. Although perks may not seem like much, they certainly add up when you’re tasked with offsetting an annual fee.
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