Updated Nov 20, 2020 | Published Oct 28, 2020 • 13 min read
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The Citi Premier Card earns 3X ThankYou points per dollar on air travel, hotel stays, gas, and at supermarkets and restaurants. It’s a decently rewarding card for $95 per year, with an annual $100 hotel credit to soften the blow.
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Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Citi Premier® Card4 out of 5 Stars, because it’s pretty rewarding with a decent signup bonus. But it doesn’t get 5 Stars, because it doesn’t really offer an outsized value for the fee you pay.
Why We Like It
3X points per dollar for hotels, gas, supermarkets, dining, and air travel
60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
No foreign transaction fees
Why It Could Be Better
$95 annual fee (but that’s typical for cards in this range)
Should you use the Citi Premier card to help pay for your next trip? You could earn some nice rewards, but a different card may work out better for you. Read on to learn more and find out!
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
At restaurants and travel: Use the Premier to get 3X points at restaurants and the gas you use to get there.
Get the signup bonus: 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Redeem for airfare or transfer points: You’ll get the best redemption rates for airfare through the ThankYou program, or with point transfers to airlines.
Utilize the benefits: Check out the benefits you get with this card, like the Concierge and Private Pass, and be ready to use them if necessary.
Don’t pay extra outside the U.S.: You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees with this card, and Citi cards are chip-and-PIN enabled, making it a good option for traveling abroad.
The Premier can provide a cash back equivalent of 3.75%, when spending at the 3X rate and redeeming for airfare at 1.25 cents per point. But you may be able to get an even better deal with point transfers, like 2 cents per point for a 6% cash back equivalent.
3X ThankYou points for:
1X ThankYou point for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Certain restaurants/cafes inside department, grocery or warehouse stores
Excluded from the gas category:
Fuel used for non-automobile purposes
Gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores, and convenience stores
There are many ways to redeem ThankYou points, including:
Other travel expenses, like hotels and car rentals
Point transfers to airlines
ThankYou Select and Credit
Shop with Points at select merchants like Amazon
The two most valuable redemption options are airfare and point transfers. Avoid the other methods, because they’ll provide less value per point.
We recommend usually redeeming for airfare, because you’ll get a 25% point bonus. That makes your ThankYou points worth 1.25 cents each. In this case you’d be earning a cash back equivalent of 3.75% for travel, supermarkets, and restaurants, and 2.5% back for entertainment.
To redeem for airfare and get the bonus, use the ThankYou Rewards travel center to book flights.
With the other good option, point transfers, the value you get per point will depend on how, when, and where you transfer.
Since you can get 1.25 cents per point for airfare through the ThankYou travel center, you should only transfer points if you’ll get a better value than that.
If you can end up getting a value of 1.5 cents per point, you’ll be earning a 4.5% cash back equivalent on travel, restaurants, and supermarkets, with 3% back for entertainment. If you manage to get 2 cents per point, you’ll be getting a 6% cash back equivalent in the first case, and 4% back in the second.
Citibank is partnered with a number of airline loyalty programs, plus one retail program. In most cases the transfer rate is 1:1, but there are some exceptions. Transfers to airline partners require a minimum of 1,000 ThankYou points.
In order to transfer points, the first and last names on your ThankYou rewards account must match the account to which you’re transferring.
This card comes with a handful of useful benefits but is lacking shopping and travel protections.
$100 annual hotel credit: Valid when you book a hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com, once per calendar year
Citi Concierge: Call 1-800-508-8930 to request assistance for non-emergency tasks like restaurant reservations, travel arrangements, finding lost luggage, and more.
Citi Private Pass: The Citi Private Pass service provides presale and preferred access tickets to select events and experiences in big cities.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Cardholders can register with ShopRunner at no cost, to get free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers.
Free FICO Credit Score: You can check your FICO Bankcard Score 8 for free, based on your Equifax credit report. The key factors affecting your score will be shown as well, giving you some advice on how to improve your credit.
The terms of the Citi Premier are basic, and easy to understand.
You’ll pay an annual fee of $95. And there are no fees on foreign transactions, making this a good choice for traveling outside the country or making purchases in foreign currency. That’s especially true because Citi cards are equipped with Chip-and-PIN functionality in addition to the basic Chip-and-Signature, making them more useful for shopping outside the country.
Purchases will be charged interest at the rate above, unless you pay your statement balance in full each month. We recommend always paying the full statement balance, as this will let you completely avoid interest charges on purchases.
The Bottom Line
The Citi Premier® Card has some features that travelers will enjoy, but you should check out some other options before settling on it.
It earns 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and on air travel with 1X point per dollar on everything else. You can redeem your points in a variety of ways, including point transfers. That gives you a chance to earn more than the 1.25 cents per point you’ll get with airfare redemptions.
If you can redeem for close to 2 cents per point you’ll be getting a very competitive cash back equivalent. But as mentioned above, Citi’s transfer partners may not be too valuable for many users.
The benefits you get are pretty simple for a travel card, without any particularly useful cost-saving perks. But the concierge and shopping protections could come in handy if you ever need them, so they’re good to have for backup.
How Do I Apply for the Citi Premier Card?
Follow the link below to be directed to Citi’s website where you can apply. Citi will check one (or more) of your credit reports from one of the major bureaus.
Citi will often provide an instant decision, but in some cases, it may request more information to process the application.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Citi Premier Card?
You’ll need good credit to have the best shot at being approved for the Citi Premier Card.
To be considered as good credit, your scores would need to fall within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore.
But there are more factors that come into play than just your credit scores. Credit card issuers will also look at things like your income and your monthly rent and mortgage payments when deciding your creditworthiness. That extra information could lead to your approval, even if your scores are lower than what’s recommended.
However, that means even if you have high enough credit scores, there’s a chance you’ll still be denied.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
NEW! Earn 3 Points at Restaurants and Supermarkets
Earn 3 Points at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
NEW! Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
Frequently Asked Questions
What benefits come with the Citi Premier Card?
The Citi Premier Card comes with a concierge service, an annual $100 hotel credit if you book through thankyou.com, and you can monitor one of your credit scores. Citi removed quite a few shopping and travel protections recently.
What’s the difference between the Premier and the Citi Prestige card?
The Citi Prestige® Card (Review) is the upgraded form of the Premier card. As such, it comes with better rewards and benefits, but also a larger annual fee.
It’ll cost $495 annually, but you’ll earn 5X points per dollar on air travel, at restaurants, and on online, cable, and streaming purchases (the last category only through 12/31/20). 3X on hotels and cruise lines, and 1X everywhere else.
Some of the benefits include a $250 annual travel credit (this can be used at supermarkets and restaurants through 12/31/20), a fourth hotel night free if you book four nights through thankyou.com, complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounges, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. There’s also a handful of shopping protections included, like purchase protection and cell phone protection.
How do I log in to my Citi Premier account?
Navigate to Citi’s website and input your information into the login box. From there, you can monitor your spending by viewing your online card statements, make all of your necessary payments, and check out any other available card features.
What’s the credit limit of the Citi Premier Card?
The minimum credit limit of the Citi Premier is $2,000.
You can request a credit limit increase from Citibank at any time, although we recommend requesting an increase about once every six or 12 months if you want higher limits.
This card earns 5X miles per dollar with Uber Eats and 1.25X miles for everything else. The miles you earn are worth at least 1 cent, but could be worth more if you take advantage of good transfers to airline partners. It’ll come along with more shopping and travel protections, and there’s no annual fee.
There’s also no foreign transaction fee, meaning you can use it abroad without worrying about paying extra. There’s a 0% APR offer for purchases for 12 months, then your rate will be 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable).
5X miles per dollar with Uber Eats (through 1/31/21)
1.25X miles per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
20,000 bonus miles for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
Mile transfers: Most travel partners offer a transfer rate of 2:1.5 (2 Capital One miles for 1.5 partner airline miles or hotel points), but some may vary. Transfers to travel partners will often net you a better point value.
CreditWise credit monitoring: See your VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your TransUnion credit report, and check data from your TransUnion report.
Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides special perks at select hotels around the world
Shopping discounts: Get discounts at certain retailers. There are usually a few dozen offers available here, for both online and physical stores.
Fine Wine and Food: This is focused on food, with a bit of wine thrown in too. You’ll get certain perks at wineries and discounts from common merchants.
If you can plan for the bulk of your travel spending to go through the BofA Travel Center this card will provide a decent reward rate. And that rate gets even better depending on your account balances.
If you have a certain amount of money in your Bank of America and/or Merrill bank and investment account balances, you’ll get special bonuses like a higher rewards rate, increased interest on your savings account, a reduction on your mortgage, and more.
Most people won’t get the max bonuses, like a 75% bonus to rewards, which requires a very high combined balance ($100,000). But the 25% bonus will be accessible for many people ($20,000).
There’s no annual hotel credit, but you’ll get a few travel and shopping protections. You’ll also be able to monitor one of your credit scores. Other than that, however, the benefits are pretty sparse.
3X points per dollar on purchases from the Bank of America Travel Center
1.5X points per dollar on all other purchases
Signup Bonus Offer
25,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
Your points will usually be worth a maximum of 1 cent each when redeemed. So this card provides a cash back equivalent of 3% at the BofA Travel Center, and 1.5% back for other purchases. If you get a redemption bonus your actual earn rate will be higher, of course.
Preferred Rewards: You’ll receive a bonus to your rewards, depending on the combined balances of your Bank of America checking/savings accounts and Merrill investment account balances. 25% bonus for account balances totaling $20,000 or more, 50% for $50,000 or more, and 75% for a combined balance of $100,000 or more.
Free FICO credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like, based on your TransUnion credit report.
Travel protections: Rental car insurance and travel assistance services
Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
Purchase APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 17.24%–25.24% Variable
Balance Transfer APR: 17.24%–25.24% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $0
Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire
25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening – that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 17.24% – 25.24% Variable APR will apply
If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% – 75% more points on every purchase
Its annual fee is just as much as the Citi Premier’s, and you’ll have more flexibility when redeeming your points. But the Chase card doesn’t cover supermarkets or gas, and instead you’ll get 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022).
It could end up being slightly less rewarding than the Premier card, depending on how much you spend. If you spend more on Lyft, this card might have the upper hand, but the Premier covers more categories so it could quickly outpace the Chase card.
However, you’d likely get more out of the benefits from the Sapphire Preferred. There’s the Shop through Chase shopping portal, Chase Offers, a year-long DoorDash membership, and a wide array of shopping and travel protections.
5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
80,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
The Ultimate Rewards (UR) points you earn are normally worth 1 cent each. But if you redeem for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point.
UR points can also be transferred to a wide selection of airline and hotel partners. These partners include many popular U.S. airline and hotel brands, more so than Citi’s transfer partners. You can transfer UR points to United, JetBlue, Southwest, Marriott, Hyatt, and many more.
Point transfers may provide 2 cents per point in some cases, or even more. At that rate you’d be earning a 10% cash back equivalent for Lyft rides, 4% cash back for dining and travel, and 2% back for non-category purchases.
Redemption bonus: You’ll get a 25% bonus to points when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’ll bring your effective rewards up to 2.5X points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1.25X for everything else.
DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. This gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12, which could help you save quite a bit if you tend to order out.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection is provided by Chase, and includes benefits at a plethora of locations around the world.
Shop through Chase: Cardholders can get more points at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace.
Chase Offers: Receive exclusive offers from a variety of different merchants through Chase.
Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase.
Visa Signature Concierge: You can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7.
Travel protections: Trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance, rental car insurance, and roadside dispatch
Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $95
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R).
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
The American Express® Gold Card (Review) is a mid-range travel card, so it has a higher annual fee than the other alternatives, but it also has more impressive benefits.
Don’t get too intimidated by the fee, because there are a few annual credits that bring it down to a more manageable number. There’s a $100 incidental airline fee credit through 2021 and a $120 dining credit which offset the annual fee to just $30.
There are a variety of other benefits to help mitigate the fee even further, including a $100 hotel credit via The Hotel Collection, which is somewhat similar to the Premier’s, and a nice collection of shopping and travel protections.
The rewards are pretty solid, too. Your points could get you a cash back equivalent of 0.5%–8% or more, depending on where you shop and the value you get from point transfers to travel partners. So it could end up being more rewarding than the Premier card.
4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually, then 1X)
3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
Flights booked directly through airlines or American Express Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
$100 annual airline credit: A $100 credit for incidental fees when you fly, like airline meals or checked baggage fees. You must select a qualifying airline ahead of time to use the credit (through 2021).
$120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express Gold Card at participating restaurants and merchants, including Grubhub, Seamless, and Boxed.
The Hotel Collection: Get a $100 credit for qualifying charges per stay, and room upgrades when available.
Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you find your room being advertised for a lesser price you can be reimbursed for the difference.
The Travel Collection: Join the Travel Collection at no additional cost and access discounts and perks at select hotels, airlines, and car rental companies.
Gold Card Destinations: Get a $100 credit on eligible new bookings of vacation packages and cruises that cost at least $3,000.
Entertainment Access: You’ll be eligible for exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Enroll in ShopRunner to get free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers.
Shopping protections: Extended warranty and purchase protection
Travel protections: Personalized travel service, baggage insurance plan, global assist hotline, rental car insurance, and more
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $250
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
$120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
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