The Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, is a great starter credit card with lucrative earning potential and a valuable travel perk. As a mid-tier card, its annual fee is reasonable at $95 per year and the elevated welcome bonus makes it an enticing choice. It’s a sensible rewards card in a sea of flashy options. If you’ve got your eye on the Citi Premier, you may be wondering what the credit score requirement is for approval.
While good credit always makes approvals easier, we’ll dive into exactly what that means and what score range will increase your approval odds.
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Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 19.74% – 27.74%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review
Terms and restrictions apply
Annual Fee: $95
APR: This card features a 19.74% – 27.74% 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.
Citi Premier Overview
The Citi Premier card currently offers 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. The card is great if you want bonus rewards in everyday spending categories for a reasonable annual fee:
- 3X miles on air travel and hotels
- 3X miles at gas stations
- 3X miles at restaurants
- 3X miles at supermarkets
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
These are solid bonus categories for a mid-tier card. In fact, the only card with a similar earning structure is the American Express® Gold Card, which carries a $250 annual fee.
Citi’s ThankYouⓇ program lets you redeem points with 16 airline and hotel partners, including Choice Hotels, JetBlue, and Wyndham. Don’t let the lack of domestic airline partners fool you – you can do a lot with 80,000 ThankYou points. One great use is for round-trip domestic United flights using Turkish Airlines miles. The cost? A staggering 15,000 miles. That’s less than what most domestic airlines charge for a one-way ticket.
The Citi Premier’s $100 annual hotel savings benefit is also unusual for a mid-tier card and completely offsets the $95 annual fee. The benefit is valid on bookings of $500 or more. Plus, the card charges no foreign transaction fees. Despite the travel benefits, this card is better suited for everyday use than travel spending. That’s because Citi eliminated all travel protections, so you miss out on vital coverage like trip cancellation/interruption insurance and auto rental damage waiver.
What Credit Score Do You Need For Citi Premier?
Citi mostly pulls from Experian, though this might vary depending on your state. Citi requires a good credit score for a Premier card, which is defined as a FICO score of 670-739 and a Vantage Score of 661-780. Reports indicate that you’re more likely to get approved for a Citi Premier card with a minimum credit score of 700.
Per Citi, the bank considers “many factors” when determining creditworthiness. While there’s no guarantee that you will be approved for a card if your score falls in this range, it is a good indicator. If your credit score falls well under this range, then you might want to work on boosting your score before applying for a Citi Premier card.
If you want a sense of what type of Citi card you qualify for, head over to the pre-qualification page. After entering some personal information, Citi will match you with offers that you prequalify for. This tool is an excellent way to determine whether you might qualify for a Citi Premier, without impacting your credit score.
Rules That Can Impact Approval
Your credit score isn’t the only factor impacting your application. Citi will take your credit history into account, as well as income and existing credit lines. Additionally, Citi has several application rules you should be aware of when applying for a Citi Premier card.
For example, you must wait at least 24 months between canceling and reapplying for a Citi Premier Card. If you’ve opened or closed another Citi card in the last 24 months, you might not get approved for a Citi Premier either. The Premier card’s application page states explicitly that if you’ve opened or closed one of the following cards in the last 24 months, you won’t qualify for a Citi Premier:
- Citi Rewards+®
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred
- Citi Premier
- Citi Prestige®
Be sure to consult your credit report before applying for a Citi card so you don’t waste a credit inquiry on a card you don’t qualify for.
What To Do If You’re Rejected for a Citi Premier Card
You don’t have to take no for an answer if you get that dreaded rejection message. Depending on the reason for rejection, you have 30 days to appeal without incurring another credit inquiry. Simply call Citi’s reconsideration line (the number is listed in the decision letter) and make your case. Here are some tips on handling the most common reasons for rejection:
You Don’t Qualify Based On Credit History
If your rejection letter cites your credit history as the reason for your rejection, you have a few options. If the problem is negative hits on your credit report, you can dispute them and clear your record. But if your rejection is because you have a limited credit history, the solution will require a long-term commitment to building your credit history. That takes time.
Start by adding a secured credit card to your wallet if you can’t prequalify for a Citi card. Once you have this card, you’ll want to keep your credit utilization rate low and pay it off on time every month. After about 1-2 years, you’ll be in a better position to reapply and get approved for a Citi Premier.
You Have Too Many Recent Inquiries
Citi has been known to reject credit card applications for too many recent inquiries. There’s no hard-and-fast number, but you may see this reason cited in your decision letter. You can try to get Citi to reconsider your application by pointing to your good credit history and providing an explanation for the recent inquiries.
Citi wants to protect itself against “gaming,” so if you can make a good case for why you needed multiple credit cards in a short period, they might approve you for a Citi Premier card.
You Don’t Qualify for Additional Credit
Suppose you’re an existing Citi cardholder who is rejected because you’ve reached the maximum allowable credit. In that case, there’s a simple solution: Ask Citi to move some of your credit line from an existing card to the Citi Premier.
This may not work if your existing card has a low limit. But it’s still worthwhile to call Citi and ask if they can accommodate your request. It’s not a heavy lift and if you have enough of a credit limit, it might just work. If you decide to cancel your Citi Premier card at a certain point, be sure to transfer the credit line back to the original card. This will ensure that your credit score won’t be negatively affected because your available credit has decreased.
If you can’t get approved for a Citi Premier card, you can ask them to consider you for a lower-tier Citi card like the Citi Rewards+®. The card is easier to get approved for and earns Citi ThankYou points. The welcome bonus isn’t very high at 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 within the first three months of account opening. However, it offers some pretty generous category bonuses for a no-annual-fee card:
- 5X points at restaurants (up to $6,000 spent for the first 12 months)
- 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1X after that)
- 1X point on all other purchases
- Round up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase
- 10% back when redeeming points (up to the first 100,000 redeemed per year)
With no annual fee, the Citi Rewards+ is an excellent card to keep long-term.
Is It Worth It?
The Citi Premier card is worth it if you want to earn valuable (and flexible) points. Even if you don’t transfer your points to an airline or hotel program, you can redeem them at one cent each toward travel booked through Citi. If you qualify for a Citi Premier based on credit score, you should go for it – it’s an excellent card that checks off many boxes.
Remember that your credit score isn’t the only factor determining approval for a Citi Premier card. Citi has credit card application rules that may prevent you from being approved if you’ve had the card in the past. Just be aware of these rules and hopefully, you’ll increase your chances of getting approved.
And if you don’t, you can always try your luck at a reconsideration call. May the odds be ever in your favor.