Citi Premier® Card
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Citi Premier® Card
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Citi Premier® Card Review: Top Tier Rewards Card for International Travelers

Citi Premier® Card Review: Top Tier Rewards Card for International Travelers

The Citi Premier® Card is best for international travelers looking for a low-annual fee credit card with a solid rewards rate on everyday purchases.

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Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earning rate: Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fees: 0%

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earning rate: Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fees: 0%

More details

  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 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

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: 19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
  • Intro BT APR: N/A
  • Regular BT APR: 19.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Pros

  • Overall solid travel rewards card
  • Airline and hotel benefits
  • Multiple bonus earning categories
  • Long list of international airline transfer partners
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • Widely available internationally as a Mastercard

Cons

  • Lacks travel and purchase protections
  • Few domestic airline partners
  • Few hotel transfer partners
  • High spending requirement for sign-up bonus
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Is the Citi Premier® Card worth it?

First Year Savings

$1,092 ?

The Citi Premier® Card offers top-tier travel rewards, especially for those who frequently take international trips. The sign-up bonus and rewards on the Citi Premier® Card make it well worth its annual fee, netting around $1,000 in value for the average cardholder by our estimates. The card also grants you a $100 credit toward a hotel stay booked through ThankYou.com each year, which pays for the $95 annual fee by itself.

It offers elevated points on everyday purchases like restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations — on top of air travel and hotels. This card earns rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards or more. It's a great pick for international travelers because of its diverse range of airline loyalty programs, which you can transfer points to at a 1:1 ratio.

Citi Premier® Card benefits and features

The Citi Premier® Card is a rising star in the travel rewards cards space. With a $95 annual fee, the card’s most attractive features make the card suited for international travel, such as 0% foreign transaction fees.

In addition, the Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard equipped with EMV smart chip technology, which means cardholders will have less trouble getting their card accepted by foreign merchants.

Earn 80,000 bonus points

The Citi Premier® Card’s a welcome bonus is on par with other travel rewards cards:

For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s a sizable sign-up bonus that will result in plenty of redemption opportunities, from travel to gift cards.

The downside, however, is that the spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus is fairly high. If you're a frequent traveler, it should be easier to reach.

Bonus categories catered to travel and everyday expenses

With the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases.

The addition of these everyday categories makes it easy to earn Citi ThankYou points in no time. Meanwhile, its simiarly-tiered travel rewards card competitors have a lower earnings rate, making the Citi Premier® Card a more favorable option for earning on a wide number of categories.

Average rewards earned per $1 spent

$100 annual hotel savings benefit

With this benefit, you’ll enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes or fees) when booking through thankyou.com. This benefit will recur every year, so it’s an excellent opportunity to save on travel beyond air travel.

Even if you only take advantage of this hotel credit alone, you’ll make up for the $95 annual fee that comes with the Citi Premier® Card.

No foreign transaction fees

The Citi Premier® Card has a 0% foreign transaction fee, which means you won't accumulate fees on your purchases when traveling outside the U.S. This is another reason why it makes for a great international travel card.

Things to watch out for with the Citi Premier® Card

Lacks travel and purchase protections

The Citi Premier® Card doesn't offer any type of travel insurance or protections, like many other travel credit cards do. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which also has a $95 annual fee, offers several protections like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection and more.

Few domestic airline partners

The Citi Premier® Card has a great selection of international airline partners. However, of the 14 airline rewards transfer partners Citi has, the only domestic one is JetBlue TrueBlue.

Few hotel partners

While this card has a great selection of international airline transfer partners, its hotel transfer partner selection is lacking. It only has two rewards programs options available: Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards, leaving out many popular programs such as Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt, among others.

How to use Citi ThankYou points

Citi ThankYou points are flexible and transferable. You can redeem them in several different ways, including travel, cash, statement credits, gift cards and more.

Usually, the most valuable redemption option for your points is to transfer them to travel partners.

Most of Citi's transfer partners are international airlines, which provide value for travelers going abroad.

In most cases, you can transfer your points to airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

Airline partners

Hotel transfer partners

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest Miles
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Airline partners

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest Miles
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel transfer partners

  • Choice Privileges
  • Wyndham Rewards

You can also redeem your points in Citi's travel portal, but it offers limited options — and your points may become less valuable. You can book airline flights, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises, as well as other different experiences.

If you don't want to use your Citi ThankYou points for travel, you can redeem them in several other ways because they're flexible. Other redemption options include:

  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back
  • Direct deposit
  • Charitable contributions

Citi ThankYou points tend to be with the most when redeemed via transfer partners, since they can be redeemed at a 1:1 ratio.

There are a few other ways you can redeem your ThankYou points at around 1 cent each, including gift cards and charity donations. However, you have the flexibility to redeem points in other ways — even if it is at a lower value.

Usage

Example
Value Per Point
Cash Back$50 Cash Back: 10,000 points0.5 cents
Gift Cards$25 Best Buy Gift Card: 2,500 points1 cent
Redeem For Flights$450 fare: 45,000 points1 cent
Mortgage/Student Loan Payment$25 payment: 2,500 points1 cent
Charity Donation$25 donation: 2,500 points1 cent
Shopping$829 Apple iPad Mini: 100,000 points0.83 cents
Statement Credit$10 Statement Credit: 1,000-2,000 points (depending on the card)0.5-1 cent
Amazon$80 purchase: 10,000 points0.8 cents

Who's eligible for the Citi Premier® Card?

Unlike Chase with its 5/24 rule, Citi doesn’t have any written policies against the number of credit cards you open in a given time frame. Keep in mind that you will need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Citi Premier® Card.

You’re only eligible for the sign-up bonus if you haven’t received a sign-up bonus for another Citi ThankYou card (or closed an account for one) in the past 24 months.

How does the Citi Premier® Card compare to other credit cards?

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Annual Fee
$95
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Citi Premier® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Verdict: A better option if you travel domestically more frequently

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards, and it also incurs a $95 annual fee. This may be a better option for you than the Citi Premier® Card if you're looking for these features:

  • More domestic airline transfer partners, like United MileagePlus and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • More hotel transfer partners, including Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt
  • More travel insurance and protections

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a 25% bonus in travel redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, meaning that each point gets bumped up to 1.25 cents.

However, the Citi Premier® Card is better for earning rewards. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll earn only 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases. The Citi Premier® Card has better earning potential, with 3X points in many more categories than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Citi Premier® Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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Verdict: A better option if you're looking for a simpler rewards structure

Another $95 annual fee travel card worth considering is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It may be a better choice for you than the Citi Premier® Card if:

  • You want a simpler rewards structure
  • You book rental cars through Turo
  • You don't travel internationally often

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card does come with lower potential returns than the Citi Premier® Card. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers, at best, a 2% rewards rate, as you’ll earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.

For those who don’t want to keep up with multiple bonus categories, you may enjoy the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s steady rewards rate instead.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also transfers to a number of travel partners, mostly of which let you transfer miles at a 1:1 transfer ratio; however, unlike American Express or Chase, it lacks a major U.S. airline partner.

Citi Premier® Card vs. American Express® Gold Card

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Verdict: Best for frequent diners who will pay a higher annual fee for a higher rewards rate

The American Express® Gold Card is another valuable travel card that offers a high rewards rate on restaurants, but has a high annual fee of $250. Despite its high annual fee, it may be a better option for you than the Citi Premier® Card if the following applies to you:

  • You spend a lot on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
  • You want a larger selection of hotels through The Hotel Collection from American Express
  • You order from Uber Eats frequently

The American Express® Gold Card is a solid travel rewards card for frequent travelers who spend a lot on dining. You can Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

The Citi Premier® Card might be a better fit, however, if gas is also a high spending category for you, as the American Express® Gold Card doesn't offer elevated rewards for gas. You should also stick with the Citi Premier® Card if you plan to travel a lot internationally — the Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard and is more likely to be accepted than American Express abroad.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here

Frequently asked questions

Yes. You can see if you're pre-approved for the Citi Premier® Card and other Citi cards through its pre-screening page. Filling out the form alone will not affect your credit score, but applying for a credit card after that will.

The Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard. In the U.S., Visa and Mastercard have about the same acceptance rate. But internationally, Mastercard is more widely accepted — another reason why the Citi Premier® Card is great to take abroad.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to get the annual fee waived by contacting Citi. An issuer will sometimes waive a fee if you tell them you'll cancel the card otherwise. You can do this with any credit card — although it's never a guarantee your issuer will say yes.

It's not guaranteed, but you can try. Just like you can ask an issue to waive an annual fee, you can ask them to downgrade to another card. However, your only downgrading options might be cash back cards like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card and Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, instead of another travel cards. The Citi Premier® Card is the only travel card that isn't co-branded with American Airlines — so if you don't fly with American Airlines often, your options with Citi are limited.

Yes, the Citi Premier® Card is a metal credit card.

Should you apply for the Citi Premier® Card?

The Citi Premier® Card offers more travel reward possibilities for those looking beyond well-established travel rewards programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards. With a substantial welcome bonus and many ways to earn travel rewards, you can take advantage of Citi’s international airline partners.

Still, one downside to the Citi Premier® Card is that it lacks any travel protections or warranties that other travel rewards cards offer. A good alternative for that is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, a valuable and flexible travel card which also has a $95 annual fee.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here

The information related to American Express® Green Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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