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Citi Premier Card Review

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By Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief  Updated Jun 13, 2019

Citi Premier Card Essentials

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:

  • Spend $4,000 in the first three months and receive 60,000 bonus points, worth $750 in airfare when redeemed through the ThankYou® Travel Center or $600 in gift cards when redeemed through thankyou.com
  • Three points for every $1 spent on travel, including gas.
  • Two points per $1 spent on dining out and entertainment.
  • One point on other purchases.

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus ThankYou® points, worth $750 in airfare when redeemed through the ThankYou® Travel Center, after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for airfare through the ThankYou® Travel Center.
  • 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.

What Our Editors Like Most About Citi Premier Card

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% more when you redeem them for airfare through the ThankYou® Travel Center, Citi’s online booking tool.

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.

Potential Downsides of Citi Premier Card

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:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Eva Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • TrueBlue (JetBlue, the only domestic airline on the list)
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The annual fee 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. Statement credits, shopping purchases and cash back offer less. To get the most benefit, redeem your points for air travel through the ThankYou® Travel Center, where they’re worth 1.25 cents each.

Top Features

Rewards
Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations. Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Bonus Rewards
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual Fee
$95

How Citi Premier Card Compares to Other Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Citi Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also requires $4,000 in spending for the first three months to earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points, which are worth $750 in travel. It's technically an identical bonus offer, though Chase offers your 25% more value on any travel redemption, not just airfare, through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.

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.

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 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser. Terms apply. See Rates and Fees.)

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:

  • 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.
  • 4X Membership Rewards® Points at restaurants worldwide. 4X Membership Rewards® Points for shopping at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Terms apply.
You can choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more as well. But the $250 annual fee is higher than the Citi Premier Card. That's a hefty fee. If you’re a casual spender, Citi Premier Card offers better value.

Who Should Get The Citi Premier Card

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.

For rates and fees of American Express cards mentioned in this post, please see the following link: American Express® Gold Card (See Rates and Fees).

Citi Premier Card compared to other travel rewards cards

Card Name
Rewards
Bonus Rewards
Annual Fee
Ratings/Apply
Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations. Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
$95
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Apply online for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$95
2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
50,000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

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