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The Citi Premier® Card is an attractive option if you want flexible travel rewards redemption options including point transfers. You can easily earn bonus rewards on travel and daily purchases. But is your credit score high enough for the Citi Premier Card? Here’s what you need to know.

You may be able to use your Citi Premier Card to visit places like Dubrovnik, Croatia (Photo: Ingram Publishing)

Minimum Credit Score for the Citi Premier Card

Citi doesn’t publish a minimum qualifying credit score to try for the Citi Premier® Card. But several online data points indicate you will need a “good” or “excellent” credit score.

What’s Good Credit?

Many regard good credit to start at a 670 FICO score or a 700 VantageScore 3.0 score. An excellent credit score begins at 740 FICO or 800 VantageScore.

You can check your credit score for free to see where you stand. If possible, try to obtain a FICO score as that’s the score model the banks use to check your credit card application. There are several places to check your credit for free without impacting your score.

Related: How often should you check your credit score?

Recent Citi Premier Applications

It’s possible to get an instant approval for the Citi Premier® Card with a score above 700. But some applicants report having to wait several days to receive an application decision.

Instant Approval with 740 FICO

MyFICO forum member tech-d reports an instant approval with a 740 FICO credit score which is the border between good and excellent credit. The credit limit is $7,500.

Plus, they have seen a 120-point increase after paying off close to $20k in credit card debt in the past two years. If you currently have a card balance, reducing and paying it off can help your score rise quickly as your credit utilization ratio drops.

Calling the Reconsideration Line (770 FICO)

Another data point comes from MyFICO member regional_ryan with a 770 credit score in the excellent credit range. This person states having to call the Citi reconsideration line after waiting up to ten days for a secondary review.

They have a $4,500 spending limit, which is relatively low, but it’s their sixth new credit card in the last two years.

Consider Citi Premier Instead of Chase Sapphire (716 FICO)

One user, Sage512MB, reports applying for the Citi Premier after Chase wouldn’t offer a credit limit increase on their existing Chase credit card.

They got instantly approved for a $2,000 limit with a 715 FICO score and a $50,000 annual income. While this is one of the lowest credit limits the Citi Premier Card offers, it’s a legit tradeline.

Citi Premier Application Denied (800 FICO)

There are many “success stories” online but it can be harder to find denied applications. Having a high credit score doesn’t guarantee application approval.

Addicted_to_credit reports Citi rejecting their Premier Card application for too many recent hard inquiries for bank loans and credit cards. This person also called the reconsideration line and was unsuccessful.

The Citi rejection letter lists these three denial reasons:

  • Length of time accounts have been established
  • Too many recently opened accounts
  • Too many recent inquiries

It appears that Citi pulls the applicant’s Experian credit report. It’s important to make sure you apply for credit cards and loans sparingly before seeking the Citi Premier.

Citi Premier Application Rules

There are several guidelines to follow to boost your approval odds.

Each bank has its own set of application rules (like the Chase 5/24 rule). Citi is no different.

Citi 1/8 Rule

You can only apply for one Citi credit card in a rolling 8-day period. For Citi business credit cards, only apply for one card every 90 days (Citi 1/90 rule).

Citi 2/65 Rule

Only apply for 2 Citi credit cards within a 65-day period.

Citi 6/6 Rule

Your credit application may be denied if you have at least 6 hard inquires in the most recent 6 months.

If you have opened several recent non-Citi credit cards but are below the 6 hard inquiries in 6 months threshold, you might wait at least 6 months between card applications. This waiting period can help ensure you don’t have too many new credit accounts.

Signup Bonus Rules

Another rule to pay close attention to is the signup bonus waiting period. You must wait 24 months between receiving a new ThankYou card signup bonus or closing a Citi credit card that earns ThankYou points.

The cards in the ThankYou family include:

If you have closed one of these card accounts recently. You must wait at least 24 months from the closing date to apply and qualify for the Citi Premier signup bonus.

For the Citi co-brand cards, like the Citi American Airlines credit card family, the waiting period is 48 months between applications. However, the 48-month window doesn’t apply to getting the Citi Premier as a secondary Citi credit card.

Do You Qualify for the Citi Premier?

Here are the basic guidelines to have the best Citi Premier® Card approval odds:

  • FICO credit score of 700 or higher
  • Less than six hard credit inquires in the past 6 months
  • Haven’t earned a ThankYou new cardmember bonus in the last 24 months
  • Haven’t closed a ThankYou credit card in the last 24 months

If you already have another Citi credit card, make sure you wait at least 8 days after the first credit card application. You might wait closer to 6 or 12 months after the first application to establish a payment history and avoid getting penalized for having too new of an account.

You can also use the CardMatch™ tool to estimate your approval odds before you apply without affecting your credit score. Citi will still make a final decision once you submit a formal application.

Related: Citi Premier Review

Citi Premier Alternatives

As you can see, the credit score for the Citi Premier Card may require some patience. If you don’t have good approval odds for the Citi Premier® Card, you might consider these alternatives.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most similar alternatives to the Citi Premier. Travel and dining purchases earn 2x points per $1 and there is a 25% travel redemption bonus. You can also transfer points to airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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, simply 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 on 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

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.

Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

The annual fee is $95.

Related: Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards

Summary

So what credit score for the Citi Premier Card will you need to have? The basic requirements to qualify for the Citi Premier Card are similar to the other best rewards credit cards. Consider the Citi Premier when your credit score is at least 700 and you don’t have too many recent inquiries.

FAQs

What credit score does Citi use?

Citi primarily uses the Experian credit reports for credit card applications. The bank also pulls from another bureau which can either be Equifax or TransUnion to look for reporting gaps. But, applicants won’t know for sure which two bureaus Citi will pull reports from.

Is the Citi Premier metal?

No, the Citi Premier is a plastic credit card. Applicants will need to try for the Citi Prestige® Card to get a metal credit card.

How long does Citibank credit card approval take?

Most Citi credit card applications have instant approvals. Some applicants require further review and normally take up to 10 days to reach a decision.

Several reasons why an application may need secondary review include:

  • Must verify the personal identity or stated annual income
  • Have too many recent hard inquiries in the past 24 months
  • Opened several new credit card and loan account in the past 24 months
  • Recently opened Citi credit card accounts

Applicants can consider calling the reconsideration line after waiting several days with no response or to try to reverse a denial decision. It may be possible to get approved if Citi requires additional documentation or you can agree to a smaller-than-usual credit limit for the Citi Premier® Card.

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Josh Patoka
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