Citi Premier® Card Review
The Citi Premier® Card is ideal for frequent international travelers who spend a lot at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, airlines and hotels. It also comes with a generous welcome bonus, making it an attractive travel rewards card.
For a $95 annual fee, the Citi Premier® Card rewards spending on popular categories with flexible points. You earn three ThankYou points per dollar spent on groceries, gas, restaurants, airlines and hotels, while you earn one point per dollar on everything else. The points can be redeemed as gift cards, travel rewards, cash back and more. You can even transfer your points to Citi's transfer partners.
Additionally, you can earn the sign-up bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening. That’s worth around $800 in gift cards.
Card Details to Know Up Front
- Bonus, Fee or FeatureHas or Not
- Has Annual Fee
- Has Balance Transfer Offer
- Has APR Offer
- Cash Back Rewards
- Travel Rewards
Citi Premier® Card at a Glance
The Citi Premier® Card rewards purchases in various categories while offering a significant welcome bonus. It triples points for purchases on groceries, restaurants, gas, airfare and hotels, which is rare to find among similar cards. By spending $4,000 within three months from account opening, the card provides 80,000 bonus ThankYou points. The points can be redeemed as gift cards, travel rewards or used to shop online.
- Citi Premier® Card
An excellent travel rewards card for international use
- ExcellentCredit Needed
- $95Annual Fee
- 1–3 Points per $1Rewards Rate
- 3xRewards Rate at Hotels
- 3xRewards Rate on Groceries
Pros & Cons Explained
Although the Citi Premier® Card offers a noteworthy welcome bonus and well-rounded rewards system, it may not be for everybody. It’s important to weigh its pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right card for you.
- Rewards points tripledThe Citi Premier® Card gives three ThankYou points per dollar spent on major categories in many household budgets — groceries, restaurants and gas. It does the same with spending on airlines and hotels, while all other purchases get one point per dollar.
- Big welcome bonusYou earn 80,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.
- Flexible points redemptionThe ThankYou points earned from this card are redeemable in a variety of ways, including as gift cards or travel rewards, or you can shop with your points at Amazon or Best Buy. Points are more valuable when converted as gift cards and travel rewards since they usually convert to one cent per point. Meanwhile, if you use them to shop online, they can be worth roughly 0.8 cents per point.
- No foreign transaction feesYou will not need to pay foreign transaction fees if you use this card outside of the U.S.
- Annual feeThe card comes with a $95 annual fee, and it is not waived during the first year. This is a relatively reasonable fee, but there are some competing cards with no annual fee.
- Lacks protection benefitsUnlike similar cards, the Citi Premier® Card does not offer travel or purchase protections. It lacks insurance on trip cancellations, car rental collisions, lost baggage, travel accidents and more. It also lacks liability protections for fraudulent purchases.
- Limited choice for domestic travelWhile the Citi Premier® Card allows you to transfer your points to airlines, most of Citi’s partners are international carriers.
The MoneyGeek team evaluates various credit card offers and chooses the best options for popular card categories each month. For example, you can compare the Citi Premier® Card with the top credit cards for people with excellent credit.
Bonuses & Rewards Explained
All purchases made with the Citi Premier® Card earn ThankYou points. Every dollar spent on groceries, gas, restaurants, hotels and airfare earns you three points, while you get one point on everything else. There’s no limit on the points you can earn, and they don’t expire. While the value of your ThankYou points may change, they are usually around one cent per point.
Currently, the Citi Premier® Card gives a welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 within three months of the account opening.
ThankYou points can be redeemed in a number of ways:
Points can be redeemed as gift cards, which can be used with restaurants, retailers and other merchants. Occasionally, Citi offers sales that can increase the value of your points.
You can book flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises using your ThankYou points. You can use them to pay your bookings in full or in part.
Cash back rewards
Points are redeemable as cash rewards, statement credit, check or direct deposit. You can even use them for a mortgage or student loan payment.
Transfer to Citi’s partner airlines
You can transfer your ThankYou points to Citi’s partner airlines. This has the potential of providing the most value for your points. The only downside is that almost all of Citi’s partner airlines are international carriers.
Share to another ThankYou account
Citi allows you to transfer up to 100,000 ThankYou points per year to another account. Although transferred points should be redeemed within 90 days, this option allows you to pool your points with another person.
Other Features Explained
The Citi Premier® Card has a number of benefits beyond its lucrative rewards system.
- Card FeatureDescription
- Contactless paymentUse this card to safely shop with qualified merchants by simply tapping your cards on contactless payment readers.
- Additional usersYou can add an authorized user to your account for free. This allows you to earn points faster.
- Citi EntertainmentUsers of this card gain exclusive access to the most anticipated concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
The Citi Premier® Card offers a $100 discount on a single hotel stay of $500 (excluding taxes and fees) or more booked through ThankYou rewards.
Understanding the Fine Print
To accurately assess the potential value proposition of the Citi Premier Card to your wallet, it’s important to understand the fees associated with the card.
- Card FeatureAmount or Rate
- Annual Fee$95
- Cash Back Rewards
- Rewards Rate1–3 Points per $1
- Airline Benefits
This card comes with a variable APR of 19.74% – 27.74%, depending on the cardholder’s creditworthiness. This APR applies to all purchases.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee. However, it can easily be set off by earning at least 9,500 points, which is equivalent to spending around $3,200 per year in the reward categories with tripled points.
Points Rewards Rate
You earn 3x ThankYou points for every dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, gas, hotel and airfare; other purchases earn 1x points per dollar. Points can be redeemed as gift cards, cash back and travel rewards. While the conversion varies depending on available offers, one point usually converts to one cent. You can also transfer your points to Citi’s partner airlines to get more value on your points.
When comparing the Citi Premier® Card with other travel rewards cards, carefully study the point multiplier for each spending category. To maximize your ThankYou points, regularly visit the ThankYou Rewards website to see their latest offerings. You can also visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) credit card agreement database to compare the card with other cards you may already have.
Who Should & Shouldn’t Consider Citi Premier® Card?
Other Considerations for Citi Premier® Card
Whether you’ll use the Citi Premier® Card on its own or with other cards can affect its overall value proposition. It works great by itself with its generous rewards on common spending categories, but its annual fee is something to consider if you’re having it as an additional card.
Things to Consider if This Will Be Your First or Only Credit Card
The Citi Premier® Card comes with a significant sign-up bonus and a good rewards system that can be appealing to frequent travelers. The card also does not charge any foreign transaction fee, making it more convenient for travelers.
It comes with an annual fee, but if you wisely use the card and redeem rewards, it can be a solid travel rewards card. However, its lack of travel benefits and protection cannot be ignored.
Things to Consider if This Will Be an Additional Card in Your Wallet
As an additional card, the Citi Premier® Card can provide value by gaining more points on spending categories that might not be as generously rewarded by your existing card. If you have another card that offers travel protections and insurance, the Citi Premier® Card’s lack of these features won’t matter as much. However, it also comes with an annual fee, while some other similar cards don’t.
MoneyGeek uses a comprehensive review process when appraising credit cards. We independently collect data from various sources, including the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s database. Throughout our process, we standardize data points, use an average spending profile and factor in promotions, among many other considerations. Additionally, our team regularly revisits our data to ensure the accuracy of our findings.
How Citi Premier® Card Compares to Other Cards
The Citi Premier® Card stands firm when compared with similar cards. It offsets the reasonable annual fee by offering tripled rewards on various spending categories and a flexible rewards redemption option. However, its overall value depends on your needs and preferences.
In-Depth Credit Card Comparisons:
Quick Comparison of Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
- Annual Fee: $95
- Rewards Rate: 3x points on grocery, restaurants, gas, hotel and airfare; 1x points on other categories
- Welcome Bonus: 80,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months
- Travel Benefits: N/A
- Mini Verdict: Ideal for big spenders who frequently travel internationally
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Annual Fee: $95
- Rewards Rate: 2x points on dining and travel; 1x points on other purchases
- Welcome Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months
- Travel Benefits: Complimentary insurance on trip cancellations, auto rental collisions, baggage delays and trip delays
- Mini Verdict: Ideal for travelers who want to earn points and have some travel protections with their card
Other Helpful Decision-Making Q&As
Still unsure if the Citi Premier® Card is a good fit? We’ve answered the card’s frequently asked questions to help you decide.
Still not sure about this card? Consider these options.
The Citi Premier® Card is a good card for frequent travelers who are willing to exert some effort to maximize their reward points. Still unsure if it’s the right fit for you? Take a look at the other rewards cards on the market. You can also check out other cards for people with excellent credit.
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