Citi Premier® Card review

Citi Premier® Card review

Updated: October 8, 2021

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When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Updated: October 8, 2021

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
4.3 rating
4.3 rating
4.3 / 5
Rewards Value:5.0
Annual Percentage Rate:3.0
Rewards Flexibility:4.0
Features:3.0
Issuer Customer Experience3.0

In a Nutshell:

The Citi Premier card offers a generous travel rewards program, but its meager airline transfer options limit its appeal.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 3:1 per dollar spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels
  • 1:1 per dollar spent on other purchases
Excellent

Sign-up Bonus
80,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months (worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com)

Excellent

Annual Bonus
None

Poor

Annual Fee
$95

Average

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$584

Very Good

APR
15.99% – 23.99% (variable)

Fair

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Points don’t expire
  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem points on gift cards, merchandise, travel, cash and more
  • Use your points on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com
  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners

Cons

  • Redemption value is only high on gift cards
  • Travel must be booked through Citi
  • Only air travel earns 3X points per dollar spent
Very Good

Citi Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 801 (50% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.6/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Very Good

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, free concierge service, Annual Hotel Savings Benefit, extended warranty, EMV chip,

You don’t have to venture far to reap the benefits of this travel rewards card. The Citi Premier card offers triple the rewards points per dollar spent on a wide variety of expenses, including not only air travel and hotels, but also gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets. This makes the card a smart choice for frequent travelers who want to use a single rewards card for the bulk of their everyday spending.

Lucrative bonus categories

The Citi Premier card offers three points for every dollar spent on air travel, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets, as well as one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. This combination of bonus rewards on travel spending and practical everyday spending should make the Citi Premier a flexible and lucrative choice for many cardholders.

Indeed, based on the average consumer’s spending, we estimate that the Citi Premier card carries an average rewards rate of 2.16 points per dollar – one of the higher average rates available on a travel rewards card.

Unfortunately, the card no longer offers bonus points on as wide a variety of travel purchases: Where the Citi Premier once got you three points per dollar spent on purchases like bus, train and subway fares, as well as parking and tolls, it now only includes air travel and hotels. The card’s entertainment bonus category has also been removed. However, these purchases make up a relatively small amount of most people’s spending, especially compared to the added bonus category of supermarket purchases.

Highest-ever bonus

The Citi Premier card is currently offering its largest sign-up bonus to date: 80,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months. That’s a 33% boost to the card’s previous bonus of 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The Premier’s 80,000-point bonus is one of the highest welcome bonus currently available on a travel rewards card and is higher than some other comparable travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is currently offering a 60,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, worth $750 in travel with Chase).

We estimate Citi ThankYou points are worth around 1.19 cents apiece, which would make the current Citi Premier bonus is worth a little over $950 in airfare when booked through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center. Meanwhile, gift card redemptions typically get you 1 cent per point in value, making the bonus worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.

Since this is the highest welcome bonus the card has ever offered, now is a great time to apply. Keep in mind, though, that if you’ve received a cardmember bonus for other Citi ThankYou rewards cards, or closed a Citi ThankYou card account in the past 24 months, you aren’t eligible for the bonus.

Flexible redemption

Citi gives you a ton of options for redeeming your rewards, so you won’t have trouble finding something to do with all the points you’re racking up. The ThankYou points program allows you to redeem your points on everything from Amazon.com purchases to credit card statement credits. But you’ll get more bang for your buck if you redeem points for gift cards, which offer a higher redemption value.

Limited transfer options

Another major downside to the card is its paltry transfer options for cardholders who do most of their traveling stateside. You can transfer points to partnering travel rewards programs. But most of Citi’s 15 airline transfer partners – including Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Qatar Airways – are based overseas, so cardholders who do most of their traveling on domestic carriers won’t benefit.

Pairs well with Citi cash back cards

To fill your earning gap and maximize your rewards on spending outside of airfare, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets, consider pairing the Citi Premier card with one of Citi’s no annual fee cash back cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card or the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. The Double Cash offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases (you earn 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off your purchases), while the Custom Cash gives you 5% back in whichever eligible category (including dining, grocery stores, gas and more) you spend the most in each billing cycle (on your first $500 in spending, then 1% back).

With these cards, you’re not limited to receiving your rewards as cash back. You can convert cash back to ThankYou points at a rate of $1 cash back to 100 ThankYou Points, which is effectively a 1:1 rate. This means that the Double Cash card could be used to earn up to 2 ThankYou points per dollar on general purchases, while the Custom Cash earns 5 ThankYou points on the first $500 you spend in one of its eligible categories each billing cycle. Combining one or both of these cards with the Citi Premier card could really help you maximize rewards across categories.

Rich side benefits

Citi’s Premier card also offers a number of premium credit card perks that are usually reserved for higher-fee cards. For example, cardholders get access to VIP entertainment and concert ticket pre-sales as well as round-the-clock concierge services to help book hotel and restaurant reservations.

Why get the Citi Premier card?

  • You spend a lot of time on the road and want to be rewarded for both gas and air travel purchases.
  • You are looking for a card that covers both travel spending and everyday purchases at supermarkets, restaurants and more.
  • You eat a lot of takeout or frequently visit fast food restaurants or coffee shops as well as traditional dining establishments.
  • You travel frequently abroad.

How to use the Citi Premier card:

  • Don’t bother redeeming your points for cash or merchandise. You’ll get more value from your spending if you stick to travel purchases, such as airfare or hotel reservations, or gift cards.
  • Book your rewards-funded travel through Citi’s travel center.

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All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

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Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
Apply now