With cost of living expenses increasing dramatically, one of the ways to help offset these rising costs is to carry the right credit card. From everyday spending alone, you can effortlessly rack up thousands of travel points and miles every year to help fuel your next trip.
One of the best (and most affordable) options out there is the Citi PremierⓇ Card, from our partner CIti, offering 3x points per dollar on a wide array of categories, from restaurants to airfare to gas. It comes with a $100 annual hotel credit that more than nullifies the $95 annual fee, on top of other essential travel benefits.
Here’s a rundown of who should — and shouldn’t — apply for the Citi Premier Card.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 17.49% – 25.49%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review
Terms and restrictions apply
Annual Fee: $95
APR: This card features a 17.49% – 25.49% variable APR based on creditworthiness.
Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.
Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.
It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.
Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.
Current Welcome Offer on the Citi Premier Card
One of the most enticing aspects of applying for a new card is earning the sign-up bonus. New applicants will earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 or more on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.8 cents apiece when redeemed toward travel, locking in about $1,440 of value from the jump. Citi partners with more than a dozen frequent flier and hotel programs, and cardholders can transfer their points to any of these programs and find an excellent award flight or hotel stay.
If you’ve dreamed of an international business class flight or a great vacation rental for a getaway, some of Citi’s best transfer partners include Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Wyndham Rewards.
Benefits of Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier Card’s diverse earning rate is one of the biggest selling points of the card:
- Earn 3x points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
- Earn 1x point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
The annual hotel credit offers cardholders a $100 discount off a hotel stay of $500 or more when booked through thankyou.com. Other benefits include no foreign transaction fees, extended warranty protection, damage and theft protection and more.
Who Should Get the Citi Premier Card?
Someone who wants a rewarding card for both travel and everyday purchases
It’s hard to beat the Citi Premier Card’s 3x earning rate, which hits some of your daily necessities (restaurants, supermarkets and gas), while earning points for booking flights and hotels.
Let’s say that you spend $500 in these three everyday categories. You would earn 1,500 points per month, or 18,000 points annually, worth about $324 toward travel. The more you spend in these categories, the more points you’ll accrue in no time.
Someone who wants to score business class flights for a fraction of the cost
For those who want maximum value from their spend, you’ll want to earn “general” travel rewards like Citi ThankYou points, which give you the flexibility to transfer to a selection of airline and hotel programs. You’re never locked into one program since there’s 15+ options to choose from.
You’ll want to brush up on all of the best ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou points, since the options seem virtually endless — but we’ll provide a few examples here.
By transferring 50,000 Citi ThankYou points to the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program, you can score a one-way Delta lie-flat class flight to Europe. Delta Air Lines is part of the SkyTeam alliance, so you can redeem your points for this domestic carrier, even through an international loyalty program.
If you want to fly to Hawaii, you can score a one-way United economy flight for just 7,500 Turkish Miles&Smiles miles. Similarly, United Airlines and Turkish Airlines both participate in the Star Alliance, widening up the opportunities for award travel.
If you want a large signup bonus
The Citi Premier Card offers 80,000 bonus miles after $4,000 in minimum spend requirements, which is a sizable welcome offer worth considering. With an estimated value of $1,440 toward travel, that’s more than 11 times the cost of the $95 annual fee. Earning this haul of bonus points can truly help you kickstart that next vacation.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Citi Premier Card?
Someone who doesn’t want to deal with complicated travel rewards
While earning Citi ThankYou points is a breeze, understanding how to maximize their worth can be a steep learning curve for many. Award flights are excellent, but limited availability and confusing loyalty programs can make the point transfer process frustrating for many.
Many travelers who prefer to work with simple, no frills rewards may not enjoy putting in the elbow grease it takes to maximize these Citi ThankYou points. Citi’s partners are also mostly international airlines, and although you can still book domestic flights through these partners, it can be hard to navigate these websites.
The $100 hotel credit can be limiting
Every calendar year, Citi Premier Card cardholders get a $100 statement credit for hotel stays of $500 or greater. However, this can be limiting as you can’t book directly with the hotel. Rather, you’ll have to book through thankyou.com, and inventory or prices may not match up with what you find elsewhere.
The $100 credit is still great if you can take advantage of it, but if you can’t find a use for it, the benefit can seem futile. Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, provide travel credits that are much more flexible to use.
Someone who wants complimentary travel insurance benefits
The Citi Premier Card is an excellent rewards card, but it lacks many of the travel protections that come with other competitors.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card provides a suite of coverages, like trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, primary rental car insurance and more. These are incredibly valuable benefits that come with the card — for no extra charge — and could potentially save you upwards of thousands of dollars if you’re stuck in a travel nightmare.
The Citi Premier Card offers affordability and consistent value, making it one of the top travel cards out there. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to maximize Citi ThankYou points, you can reap incredible value from your credit card rewards.
Featured photo courtesy of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.