Citi Premier® Card review: Earn points for travel on everyday purchases
Citi Premier® Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Enjoy 80,000 bonus ThankYou® points, worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed through thankyou.com, after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
- Earn 3 points per dollar spent at supermarkets and restaurants and on hotels, air travel and at gas stations.
- You can redeem points at any time on any airline, without blackout dates, when you book through the ThankYou® Travel Center.
- While you can transfer your points to some airline loyalty programs, the list of options is short on domestic carries so cardholders that tend to fly within the United States might not be able to maximize the transferable points flexibility.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- CITI PREMIER® CARD REWARDS
- HOW MUCH ARE CITI PREMIER® CARD POINTS WORTH?
- CITI PREMIER® CARD BENEFITS
- CITI PREMIER® CARD ANNUAL FEE
- CITI PREMIER® CARD FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE
- POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE CITI PREMIER® CARD
- HOW CITI PREMIER® CARD COMPARES TO OTHER CARDS
- IS CITI PREMIER® CARD A GOOD CARD?
(Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)
For a travel card that provides plenty of rewards for everyday purchases, consider adding the Citi Premier® Card to your line-up of credit cards. Even if you're not traveling right now, this can be a great card to rack up points for use in the future. The card issues its rewards in the form of ThankYou® points.
Cardholders earn extra bonus points on spending in the following popular spending categories:
- 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants
- 3 points per dollar spent at supermarkets
- 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations
- 3 points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels
All other purchases earn one point per dollar spent.
Citi Premier® is currently offering a lucrative welcome bonus as well. Spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account and receive 80,000 bonus points. That bonus has a $800 value when redeemed for gift cards.
However, ThankYou® points have multiple redemption options. You can redeem them for gift cards, travel, charity, or a statement credit. They can also be used to shop online at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. Points can be transferred to partnering loyalty programs such as TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and there is no fee to transfer points. These transfers can be completed with as few as 1,000 points.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
When redeemed for gift cards, the ThankYou® points awarded by the Citi Premier® Card are worth one cent each. Cash back redemptions are valued lower at 0.5 cents per point, but you may get more value by transferring points and using them in a partnering loyalty program.
While the opportunity to earn and redeem ThankYou® points is one of the main benefits of the Citi Premier® Card, it isn't the only one. And although a travel rewards credit card, the Citi Premier® offers plenty of benefits for those who are staying close to home.
The card offers these extra perks, among others:
- $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit which provides $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more each year.
- Citi Entertainment which offers access to tickets for exclusive experiences.
- Citi Concierge which provides 24/7 access to experts who can help with everything from finding an open pharmacy to providing ideas for activities.
- World Elite Mastercard Benefits which include a variety of valuable extras such as cell phone coverage, discounts on movies from Fandango and credits for rides on Lyft.
- Cardholders also receive a complimentary ShopRunner membership that offers free 2-day shipping from more than 100 online retailers.
The Citi Premier® Card charges a $95 annual fee. If you are a frequent traveler, the card's $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit can offset the cost, but even non-travelers may find the fee is worth the rewards potential.
Good news for international travelers: the Citi Premier® Card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. This also saves you money if you make online purchases in a foreign currency.
No card is perfect, and the Citi Premier® Card lacks some of the bells and whistles you'll find with other travel cards. You won't get lounge access, free checked bags, or enhanced point values for travel redemptions. What's more, the ThankYou® points program doesn't have any of the major domestic carriers among its partners. Still, the annual fee on this card is reasonable and in line with what you'd expect for the benefits offered.
Citi Premier® Card vs. Citi Prestige® Card
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
The Citi Prestige® Card offers greater earning potential and more perks than the Citi Premier® Card. On the other hand, its welcome bonus isn't as large, and its annual fee is one of the highest on the market.
New Prestige cardholders receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months. That's 10,000 points fewer than what comes with the Premier. However, the Prestige awards five points per dollar spent on restaurants and air travel as well as three points per dollar spent on hotels and cruise lines. For the frequent traveler, those bonus point categories could add up quickly.
Plus, the Citi Prestige® Card offers benefits such as a $250 travel credit each calendar year, complimentary fourth night during hotel stays, VIP lounge access and a credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. But to get all that, you'll need to pay a $495, plus $75 for each authorized user annual fee.
The Citi Prestige® Card makes sense for those who travel heavily and will use all the card's perks. If you're staying close to home right now, the Citi Premier® Card may be a better choice for everyday purchases.
Citi Premier® Card vs. Citi Rewards+® Card
If you like the idea of earning ThankYou® points but aren't thrilled about paying an annual fee, the Citi Rewards+® Card may be the card for you. The Citi Rewards+® Card doesn't charge an annual fee but the downside is lower earning potential.
With Citi Rewards+® Card, cardholders earn two points per dollar spent on up to $6,000 in purchases at grocery stores and gas stations each year. After that, the card awards one point per dollar spent. All other purchases also earn one point per dollar. Unlike the Citi Premier® Card, there are no bonus points for spending on travel or at restaurants.
However, the Citi Rewards+® Card does offer two nice perks not available on the Citi Premier® Card. With every purchase, reward points are rounded up to the next 10. Plus, cardholders receive 10% of their points back upon redemption, valid for the first 100,000 points redeemed per year. That could mean an extra 10,000 points in your account with no additional spending required.
As for its welcome bonus, Citi Rewards+® Card, for a limited time, awards 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in three months. That's obviously the bonus of the Citi Premier® Card, but the spending requirement is significantly lower as well.
Citi Premier® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Both the Citi Premier® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® make our list of best travel rewards credit cards, but they have different strengths. While the Citi Premier® Card offers travel perks, it also rewards cardholders for everyday purchases. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will appeal mainly to those who are still traveling often.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® awards 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining; and 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Cardholders also receive an automatic $300 travel credit each account anniversary year.
When points are redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® for travel or qualifying Pay Yourself Back categories, cardholders get 50% more redemption value. That extra boost in value can make points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® worth more than the ThankYou points offered by the Citi Premier® Card. For instance, the 80,000 welcome bonus points offered by Citi are worth $800 when redeemed for gift cards, but the Reserve awards 60,000 bonus points that are worth $900 when redeemed for travel. You'll need to spend $4,000 in three months to earn the bonus from either card.
The rewards and benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® don't come cheap though. The card charges a $550 annual fee which is its biggest downside.
We think so, especially if you only travel occasionally. With the Citi Premier® Card, you can earn points for travel by making every day purchases, but if a vacation isn't in your future, the ThankYou® program offers flexible redemption options that allow you to use your points for gift cards, online shopping and more. That makes this card a good fit for just about anyone.