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If you’re looking for a credit card with flexible redemption options and travel credits that you can use annually (like for a nice little getaway after everything that was 2020), check out the Citi Premier® Card. While this card was easy to overlook a few years ago, the Premier is once again a competitive travel rewards card thanks to a $100 hotel savings benefit and 3x rewards for some everyday purchases. Cardholders can also earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Keep reading to learn why the Citi Premier Card might be your best option.
Learn more: Citi Premier® Card
In-Depth Citi Premier Card Review
While travel might not be on your radar just yet, the Citi Premier can be a good fit if you want a travel credit card that lets you redeem your points for award travel with different airlines or will use the $100 annual hotel benefit. Cardholders can enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com, once annually.
It’s possible for new cardmembers to qualify for a signup bonus worth up to $750 in award travel. New Citi Premier® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. If you earn the bonus and apply it towards award travel through the ThankYou® Travel Center, it can be worth $750. Your points are most valuable when redeeming points for award flights.
The Citi Premier may also be a good alternative to other popular travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture if you want a clearer understanding of either card).
Keep reading to learn if this is one of the best travel credit cards for you.
Earn Signup Bonus ThankYou Points
New Citi Premier® Card cardmembers can qualify for a signup bonus of 60,000 bonus Citi ThankYou points. This bonus is worth up to $750 in award flights booked through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center. You get the bonus by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Unfortunately, this bonus isn’t available to all new cardmembers. You won’t qualify for this bonus if you have received a signup bonus for another ThankYou credit card or closed a ThankYou credit card in the past 24 months. These cards include the Citi Prestige® Card and the Citi Rewards+® Card.
Earn Up to 3x ThankYou Points on Purchases
Each card purchase earns ThankYou points per $1 spent:
- 3x points on air travel, hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations
- 1x points for everything else
Your points won’t expire as long as your ThankYou account remains in good standing. There is also no limit as to how many points you can earn.
As this card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, you will earn bonus points on foreign purchases too. But if you want to compare or earn points on other purchases, check out the best Citi credit cards.
Redeem Points for Award Flights
Your points are most valuable when redeeming award flights on ThankYou.com or by transferring to an airline partner. Your points are worth 1 cent or less when redeemed for gift cards, non-airfare travel rewards, cash rewards, and merchandise credit.
25% Travel Redemption Bonus
Each point is worth 25% more (1.25 cents each) when booking award flights through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.
The points are only worth 1 cent each when booking other travel on the ThankYou Center. Your points are also worth 1 cent each when redeeming points for gift cards. This can be one of the best miles credit cards.
Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners
A potentially more valuable redemption option is transferring your points to the Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners. The current list of airline partners include:
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- EVA Air
- Etihad Guest
- Air France KLM FlyingBlue
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
You can also pack up one of the best face masks for flying and transfer your ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio to most of these airlines in 1,000-point increments. Most airline miles are worth at least 1.5 cents for main cabin seats. If you’re patient, they can be worth as much as 8 cents each when flying in business class or first class on an airline like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Most of these transfer partners are ideal for international flights. However, you can also book domestic flights through an airline alliance. For example, Singapore Airlines partners with United Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
If you prefer more domestic airline transfer partners, American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards might be better. Amex partners with Delta Air Lines and JetBlue. Chase travel partners include JetBlue, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Visit our best American Express Cards review and our best Chase credit cards review if you want to learn more about those specific options.
Additional Card Benefits
Citi has recently rolled back the various additional card benefits with the recent Citi ThankYou Premier rebranding. Not too long ago, you may have had Citi Price Rewind which monitored eligible purchases for price drops.
Another nice additional benefit can be Citi Entertainment (previously known as Citi Private Pass). You can get early access to ticket presales for concerts, movies, sports, and dining events.
If you’re looking for more cards that earn on entertainment, check out the best credit cards for theme parks. You may also be interested in the best credit cards for Netflix and streaming services.
World Elite Mastercard Benefits
Benefits that are easy to overlook are those that Mastercard offers. The Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard World Elite product. Some of the complimentary perks include:
- 5% cash rewards on Boxed purchases redeemable for future purchases
- $5 off every $25 purchase at Postmates
- Up to $1,000 in annual cell phone protection
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership
The annual fee for the Citi Premier Card is $95. There is no foreign transaction fee, therefore a viable option as one of the best credit cards for international travel.
Credit Score Needed for the Citi Premier
You will need good to excellent credit for the Citi Premier Card. Consider the Citi Premier once you have a 740 credit score or higher.
Several recent applicants have waited to apply with a score near 770. They report having an initial credit limit between $6,000 and $7,000.
You might be able to qualify with a score in the low 700s, but it can be worth trying to pre-qualify. Seeking pre-approval is free and only requires a soft credit pull. If Citi doesn’t extend a pre-approval offer, it’s best to wait and improve your credit score.
Citi Premier Positives and Negatives
Here’s a quick summary of the Citi Premier® Card’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Earn 3x points on air travel, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
- Points are worth 25% more when booking award travel on Citi ThankYou Center
- $100 annual hotel benefit
- 1:1 airline transfer partners
- No foreign transaction fee
- Travel redemption bonus only applies to award flights
- JetBlue is the only current domestic airline transfer partner
- Signup bonus may be difficult to qualify for if you own another Citi ThankYou credit card
The Citi Premier® Card has attractive 3x purchase rewards categories and a nice $100 annual hotel benefit. There are also valuable airfare redemption bonuses and the signup bonus worth up to $750 in award travel makes this an attractive option. However, if you prefer transferring airline miles, the American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards programs may have more attractive transfer partners.
Learn more: Citi Premier® Card
Is the Citi Premier Card worth it?
The Citi Premier® Card is worth it if you redeem your ThankYou points for award flights. Each point is worth 1.25 cents each when booking airfare directly through your ThankYou account. Your points can be worth more when transferring to 1:1 airline transfer partners including Air France KLM FlyingBlue, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines.
This card is also a good option if you spend a lot in the 3x categories.
Is Citi Premier a World Elite Mastercard?
Yes. The Citi Premier® Card is a World Elite Mastercard product. This is the Mastercard equivalent of a Visa Signature card. Some of the most valuable Mastercard World Elite benefits include a $10 monthly Lyft credit after your first 5 rides, up to $1,000 in annual cell phone protection, and $5 off every $25 Postmates purchase.
Does the Citi ThankYou Premier have foreign transaction fees?
No, the Citi Premier® Card (previously the Citi ThankYou Premier) never charges a foreign transaction fee. You will earn up to 3x points on travel purchases. As long as you pay your monthly statement balance on-time, the only fee you pay is the $95 annual fee.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
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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.