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You may have your eyes set on getting the Citi Premier® Card as your next travel rewards card. After all, the card earns triple points on various purchases and comes with lucrative travel redemption options. It’s time to take a look and see if the Citi Premier is worth it.

Having a card like the Citi Premier Card can help you earn more on grocery purchases like at the Vallarta Supermarket produce section. Credit: Vallarta Supermarket

Earn 3x ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier earns Citi ThankYou points along with several other Citi credit cards.

These purchases earn 3x ThankYou points per $1:

  • Air travel
  • Hotels
  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Supermarkets

All remaining Citi Premier® Card purchases earn 1 point per $1.

There is no foreign transaction fee for international purchases.

Earning triple ThankYou points makes this card an attractive option as many competing cards earn 2x points. It’s also easy to earn points on some of your most significant purchases, whether you’re at home (gas, dining, and groceries) or traveling.

Multiple Redemption Options

There are several ways to redeem your points for travel and non-travel rewards. Travel redemptions can be the most valuable as you can redeem points through the Citi ThankYou travel portal or transferring to airlines.

Points can be worth 1 cent each when booking award flights through the ThankYou travel center. The Citi Premier no longer offers a travel redemption bonus (similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 25% booking bonus) when booking award travel through the credit card travel portal.

You might be able to squeeze more value for your points by transferring ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio to airline partners. This option can be better when you can travel internationally but can book domestic flights with alliance partners.

The current ThankYou transfer partners include:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • JetBlue Airways
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Gift cards can also have a redemption value of 1 cent each. While you must find a store or restaurant you can patronize, you can get the same redemption value if you won’t be traveling soon.

Other non-travel redemptions like cash statement credits or online shopping points have a redemption value of 0.8 cents or less. The Citi Premier can be worth it if you can redeem each point for at least 1 cent each, the average redemption of credit card points.

Related: How much are Citi ThankYou points worth?

$100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

One additional card perk that can offset the $95 annual fee is an annual $100 hotel savings benefit. Citi applies the $100 discount on a minimum $500 stay you book at thankyou.com or by calling 1-800-Thank-You.

You can prepay for the hotel with cash, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. The savings apply instantly to your first eligible booking.

This benefit can be worth it if you stay in hotels. But you may not be able to use this benefit if you prefer vacation rentals or booking directly from the hotel to get extra help.

Other Citi Premier Benefits

The remaining Citi Premier® Card add-on perks are standard among the other Citi credit cards. While they can add value, the real reasons to try for the Premier Card are for the 3x bonus categories, flexible point redemption options, and the $100 annual hotel credit.

For example, the card includes contactless payments, Citi Entertainment discounts, and exclusive ticket pre-sales access.

Mastercard World Elite Benefits

The Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard World Elite product and has several built-in perks:

  • $10 monthly ride credit after the first 5 Lyft rides per month
  • Free ShopRunner 2-day shipping
  • $5 off Fandango movie tickets (virtual or in-theater)
  • Exclusive golf offers and benefits

These benefits are available with other Mastercard World Elite credit cards.

Signup Bonus

New Citi Premier® Card cardholders can qualify for a signup bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points. The minimum spend requirement is $4,000 on new purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

This signup bonus is worth up to $600 in award travel or gift cards.

People won’t qualify for this bonus if they received a new cardmembers bonus for the following cards in the last 24 months:

Applicants won’t qualify if they have canceled one of the above cards within the past 24 months. You will want to make sure neither of the 24-month qualification rules prevents you from earning this bonus.

$95 Annual Fee

The Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee for the primary card (additional cards are free). There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

The purchase rewards, redemption options, and additional benefits are competitive with other travel credit cards with a similar annual fee.

The $100 annual hotel benefit can easily offset the annual fee (if you stay at hotels). You will need to decide if you can get enough mileage from the purchase rewards and redemption options to provide more value or if another hotel credit card does a better job of maximizing purchases.

You may also prefer a no annual fee travel credit card if you only travel occasionally or don’t make many monthly purchases.

Minimum Qualifications

Is the Citi Premier worth it? Determining if you qualify for the Citi Premier® Card can influence your decision.

Here are some basic guidelines to get the best approval odds:

  • Minimum 670 FICO credit score
  • Have less than 6 hard credit inquires in the last 6 months
  • Have not applied for more than two Citi cards in the previous 65 days

It would be best if you also waited to try once you qualify for the signup bonus. It’s an easy way to get $600 in bonus credit card rewards if you can meet the $4,000 minimum spending requirement.

Related: What Credit Score Do You Need for Citi Premier?

Should You Try for the Citi Premier?

The Citi Premier can be a great travel credit card because of its flexibility. It also has a reasonable $95 annual fee. The Citi Premier® Card is worth it if you can practice these suggestions:

  • Can maximize the 3x purchase rewards categories
  • Redeem points for award travel on Citi ThankYou or gift cards
  • Can utilize the 1:1 point transfers
  • Use the annual $100 hotel stay credit
  • Qualify for the Citi Premier signup bonus

When to Avoid the Citi Premier

The Citi Premier may not be worth it for these reasons:

  • Prefer other point redemption options
  • Won’t use the 1:1 airline transfer partners
  • The $100 annual hotel credit isn’t worth it
  • Don’t want to pay a $95 annual fee
  • Cannot earn the signup bonus

You may also consider an airline or hotel credit card if you’re loyal to a specific travel brand. These cards provide extra loyalty benefits that can improve the quality of each stay.

Three top alternatives to the Citi Premier® Card include the following.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card earns unlimited 4x Membership Rewards points on dining worldwide (including delivery and takeout), plus, earn 4x points on Uber Eats purchases, too. Cardholders also earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, then 1x). Cardholders also earn 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Related: American Express Gold Card Review

American Express Gold Card Uber Perks

American Express® Gold Card cardholders can also get up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. Plus, you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards® points for each Uber Eats purchase on your card. To use this perk, add your card to your Uber account, and you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month in your Uber account for U.S. Uber Eats orders or U.S. Uber rides. Any unused Uber Cash expires at the end of each month (it does not roll over to the next month).

Cardholders also get up to 12 complimentary months of Eats Pass when you subscribe with your American Express Gold Card. That’s a value of up to $119 annually (based on the $9.99 monthly price over 12 months). With the Uber Eats Pass, you can get unlimited $0 Delivery Fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants. Note that taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum.

This benefit applies only in the U.S. on U.S. orders at eligible restaurants and eligible restaurant purchases.

Enrollment is required by 12/31/2021. After that, the Uber Eats Pass will begin auto-billing 12 months after your enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly price. Learn more about the Uber Eats partnership for more information.

New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns unlimited 2x points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases worldwide. There is a 25% travel redemption bonus when redeeming points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. You can also transfer points to airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio.

Cardholders also earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022. Through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 2x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month.

Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DoorDash DashPass subscription. Activate your card by December 31, 2021.

Plus, cardholders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. Points are worth 25% more now through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 25% more when redeemed through the new Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Signup Bonus

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus, they can earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within the first year of account opening.

The annual fee is $95.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles on all purchases. You can redeem miles for travel statement credits, gift cards or transfer them to airline and hotel partners. A fee credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is also a perk.

New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

The annual fee is $95.

Related: Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards

Summary

Is the Citi Premier worth it? The Citi Premier® Card makes it easy to earn bonus points on many everyday purchases that can also be significant monthly expenses. It can also be easy to redeem points for travel, and the annual $100 hotel credit pays the yearly fee by itself. This is a great travel credit card if your travel habits and spending habits align with the Citi Premier benefits.

FAQs

How much are Citi Premier points worth?

The Citi Premier® Card earns Citi ThankYou points. These points can be worth up to 1 cent each for these redemption options:

  • Award flights using Citi ThankYou
  • Gift cards
  • Citi loan payments

Point transfers at a 1:1 ratio to airlines can make each point worth at least 1 cent each. However, this option requires more effort to find award space.

Cash rewards, statement credits, and online shopping credits may only have a redemption value of 0.5 cents to 0.8 cents.

What is the Citi Premier annual fee?

The Citi Premier annual fee is $95 but $0 for additional cards.

Is the Citi Premier Card worth it?

The Citi Premier® Card can be worth it if you can maximize the 3x bonus categories, redeem your points for travel or gift cards, and utilize the annual $100 hotel certificate. Qualifying the Citi Premier signup bonus and meeting the minimum spending requirement adds additional value.

The Citi Premier® Card isn’t worth it if your spending habits are mostly for non-bonus categories or you prefer cash rewards to travel redemptions and gift cards.

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Josh Patoka
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