The Citi Premier℠ Card (Citi is a CardRatings.com advertiser) offers high rewards for everyday purchases like gas, tolls and parking and good-for-you splurges like amusement park trips, RV and boat rentals, and airfare.
The Citi Premier℠ Card's best features:
Thanks to changes Citi® made in early 2015, you now can earn more points on travel (up from 2 points per dollar to 3 points). For most cards, this typically includes airfare, hotels and public transportation, but the Citi Premier℠ Card also gives you rewards for gas – which adds up quickly, especially if you’re a chauffeur for the little ones, a commuter or a road warrior.
Your points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem them for air travel, cruises, hotels and car rentals through the ThankYou® Travel Center, Citi’s online booking tool. Do the basic math and a $400 purchase turns into 500 points – not a bad incentive to skip Kayak and Expedia.
No foreign transaction fees. The card also has several travel protection benefits, including chip technology for enhanced security, which is a bonus when traveling abroad.
One great card benefit is Citi’s 24/7 personal concierge service. Too busy to book your own travel? Use the service and a representative will book your flight and hotel. A rep can even make your restaurant reservations and help you find the perfect gift.
And if you’re an avid concert goer or sports enthusiast, use Citi® Private Pass® to purchase pre-sale tickets and VIP packages to concerts, sporting and various entertainment events.
While you can transfer points to different loyalty programs from airlines and hotels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a domestic carrier on the list. Unless you’re headed to Qatar (maybe to check out World Cup 2022) or Singapore on your next vacation, you’ll likely be underwhelmed by the rewards transfer program. Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards Program only includes the following airlines:
The annual fee of $95 is in line with competitors, but you need to spend around $800 per month to offset the fee. If you’re a light credit card user, considering a card without an annual fee may mean more rewards for you.
Another drawback of the Citi Premier℠ Card is that there’s some red tape on redeemable offers, so you’ll need to be strategic about redeeming points. Gift cards and flight redemptions will get you the most value, at 1 cent per point. Statement credits, shopping purchases and cash back offer less. To get the most benefit, redeem your points for air travel, cruises, hotels and car rentals through the ThankYou® Travel Center, where they’re worth 1.25 cents each.
Citi Premier℠ Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card requires $4,000 in spending for the first three months to earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards® points, which are worth $625 in travel. It's an equal required spend as with the Citi card, and an equal bonus reward, except with Citi you have the option to get $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.
In terms of ongoing rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers two times the points on travel and dining, while you’ll get three times the points on travel with the Citi Premier℠ Card and two times the points on dining out and entertainment. Both cards eliminate foreign transaction fees and waive the annual fee the first year. (After that, it’s $95 for both). However, if you prefer to use your rewards points on domestic travel, Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the better option, because Citi Premier℠ Card's points transfer program includes fewer airlines and most are international.
Citi Premier℠ Card vs. American Express® Gold Card
The welcome offer for the American Express® Gold Card is 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
There are a few differences from the Citi Premier℠ Card to the American Express® Gold Card. While the Citi Premier℠ Card offers three times the points on travel, which includes gas, the American Express® Gold Card offers:
If Citi® could mold the perfect consumer for its Citi Premier℠ Card, it would probably be a suburbanite who commutes an hour to work every day, has date nights at a place sans coloring placemats and is game for a family RV adventure.
If you tend to use your credit card for everyday expenses like gas, tolls, parking, dining out and going to the movies, offsetting that annual fee after the first 12 months shouldn't be a problem.