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You will soon be able to earn triple ThankYou points with new Citi Premier℠ Card bonus categories. Restaurants and supermarkets are two of the new categories starting in August 2020. A few other benefit changes are coming as well this summer as spending habits shift.

Citi Premier bonus categories
The Citi Premier earns 3x ThankYou points at supermarkets starting August 23, 2020. Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

The information for the Citi Premier℠ Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

New 3x Citi Premier Bonus Categories

Starting August 23, 2020, the Citi Premier℠ Card earns 3 ThankYou points on these purchases:

  • Air travel
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants (includes takeout purchases for eating at home)
  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations

All remaining purchases will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1.

Interesting to note, it appears air travel and hotel purchases directly from the carrier, a third-party booking site, or ThankYou.com qualify.

Citi’s General Manager of Proprietary Rewards Products, Lora Monfared, states, “As our cardmembers’ needs evolve, we want to ensure we’re evolving with them and offering products that best meet their spending habits and deliver exceptional value.”

No additional changes have been announced yet for the other leading Citi credit cards, including the Citi® Double Cash Card, Citi Rewards+℠ Card, or Citi Prestige® Card.

Related: Best credit cards for buying groceries

Current Bonus Categories (Until August 22, 2020)

New cardmembers will continue to earn the current 3-2-1 purchase rewards through August 22, 2020. Existing cardmembers can still receive the 3x points and 2x points on the disappearing bonus purchases until April 10, 2021.

Until mid-August (for new cardholders), you will earn 3x on all travel purchases, including cruises, car rentals, and public transit. These travel purchases earn 1 point per $1 beginning August 23, 2020.

Restaurant purchases already earn bonus ThankYou points. However, you will only earn 2 points per $1 through August 22, 2020. Entertainment purchases also earn 2 points per $1 until August 22, 2020.

As we don’t have a clear picture of what our travel habits will be going into 2021, the category changes are a welcome change. The supermarket category is helpful if you don’t buy your groceries from a superstore like Walmart or Target.

Other Citi Premier Changes

The Citi Premier℠ Card is changing up the travel perks starting August 23, 2020, as well. These travel changes may be good or bad, depending on how you redeem your ThankYou points.

New $100 Hotel Credit

Beginning August 23, 2020, you get $100 off one hotel stay of $500 (excluding fees and taxes). You will need to book your stay on ThankYou.com. The credit can be redeemed once a calendar year.

This benefit is a scaled-down version of the 4th hotel night free the premium Citi Prestige offers. If you are booking a multi-night stay, this perk can offset the Citi Premier $95 annual fee.

Flight Redemption Bonus Disappears

One negative change is that the Citi Premier travel redemption bonus disappears on April 10, 2021. Until then, your points are worth 25% more (1.25 cents each) when booking award travel on Citi ThankYou. Your points are worth up to 1 cent each for non-travel awards like gift cards.

You have up to one year to enjoy the travel redemption bonus.

After April 10, 2021, your points are worth 1 cent each for award travel you book with the ThankYou travel center.

The better option can be transferring your ThankYou points to the airline partners. Some of the best transfer partners include:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Booking award flights directly from the airline can easily make your points worth at least 2 cents each. Saving your points for first-class or business class can make them worth up to 8 cents each.

However, redeeming your points at ThankYou.com is the better option if the airline isn’t a Citi transfer partner, and you don’t want to pay cash for your seat.

You might prefer redeeming your points directly through the credit card travel portal to keep life simple, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that uses the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. The Chase Sapphire Preferred will still be offering a 25% travel redemption bonus at this time.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier Credit Card

What’s Staying the Same for Citi Premier?

The Citi Premier isn’t undergoing radical changes. These features remain the same for all cardholders.

$95 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee

The annual fee remains $95 per year for the primary card and $0 for additional cards. There is no foreign transaction fee.

This fee is competitive with some of the best travel credit cards that offer similar benefits and the same annual fee.

60,000 ThankYou Points Signup Bonus

New cardmembers will still be able to qualify for the 60,000 bonus ThankYou points signup bonus. You will need to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to qualify. This offer is worth $750 in award travel booked on the Citi ThankYou travel center. Well, until the 25% travel redemption bonus disappears on April 10, 2021.

You qualify for this bonus if you haven’t received a signup bonus for another Citi credit card that earns ThankYou rewards or closed an account within the most recent 24 months.

You may be able to find more than $750 in value for the 60k signup bonus by first transferring your points to a 1:1 airline partner. Award flights are currently selling at some of their lowest prices in recent memory. On some routes, award flights are selling for their lowest price ever!

You should still take the time to compare the cash ticket price to the award flight price, but the present moment can be an excellent time to pay with points if you’re able to fly.

For example, Virgin Atlantic was offering discount Upper-Class seats from the United States to London. You can also avoid fuel surcharges for international airlines when booking Star Alliance partner flights with Avianca LifeMiles.

Contactless Payments

You can practice good hygiene and safe shopping by using contactless payments for in-person transactions. The Citi Premier is compatible with digital wallets if you prefer to pay with your phone. Both payment methods qualify for the $0 fraud protection benefits, just like the EMV chip methods.

You can take your credit card security a step further. Most Citi credit cards support virtual card numbers for online purchases. Existing cardholders should contact Citi to see if your account is eligible.

Enhanced Citi ThankYou Preferred Purchase Rewards

If you also happen to have a Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card (not open to new applicants), you will get new bonus categories. Starting August 23, 2020, you will earn 2x ThankYou points on:

  • Cable and popular streaming services (new benefit!)
  • Live entertainment (new benefit!)
  • Restaurants

All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1.

Related: Best Citi Credit Cards

Summary of the Citi Premier Bonus Categories

Adapting to the new Citi Premier bonus categories can help you earn bonus points on daily spending while enjoying award travel. Also, keep an eye on the travel redemption and point transfer options to find the best value for your ThankYou points.

FAQs

What are the Citi Premier bonus categories?

Starting August 23, 2020, the Citi Premier earns 3 ThankYou points per $1 on these purchases:

All non-bonus spending earns 1 point per $1.

Until August 23, 2020, all travel purchases will earn triple ThankYou points. Qualifying purchases include car rentals, tours, public transit, commuting, and rideshares that all earn 1 point per $1 after August 23, 2020.

Restaurant purchases will earn 2 ThankYou points per $1 before August 23, 2020.

Is the Citi Premier worth it?

The Citi Premier credit card can be worth it if you can maximize the 3x bonus categories and redeem your ThankYou points for award travel. Starting August 23, 2020, you earn 3 points per $1 on flights, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. The annual fee is $95, and there isn’t a foreign transaction fee.

Your points can be worth 1.25 cents each for all award travel you book at ThankYou.com through April 10, 2021. After that, each point is worth 1 cent each.

Starting August 23, 2020, you get an annual $100 credit on the first $500 hotel booking (excluding taxes and fees) you make through thankyou.com.

Can you downgrade the Citi Premier?

It’s possible to downgrade the Citi Premier. However, Citi may not approve your request because there isn’t a fee-free version of the Premier. For example, you can downgrade the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Assuming you downgrade the Citi Premier, your only option might be the Citi Rewards+℠ Card. This card continues to earn Citi ThankYou points but has no annual fee. The Rewards+ earns 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations (on the first $6,000 in combined spending). Plus, Citi Rewards rounds up purchases to the number of points you earn to the nearest “10.” For example, 31 points become 40 points.

While you can’t transfer your ThankYou points to airline partners, you get back 10% of the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. This can make your points worth up to 1.1 cents each for award travel and gift cards.

The information for the Citi Rewards+℠ Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Josh Patoka

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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