Citi Premier® Card: Top Tier Travel Rewards Card

Citi Premier® Card: Top Tier Travel Rewards Card

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.

Editor's Rating

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The Citi Premier® Card has everything you need in a travel rewards credit card with a generous rewards rate, a hefty sign up bonus, and flexible redemption options.
  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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Editor's Rating

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The Citi Premier® Card has everything you need in a travel rewards credit card with a generous rewards rate, a hefty sign up bonus, and flexible redemption options.
  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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Citi is an advertising partner

The Citi Premier® Card is a top-tier travel rewards card often overshadowed by competitors like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Over the past couple of months, however, Citi has added several new improvements to the Citi Premier® Card that make it worth considering. From its new bonus categories to its annual $100 hotel credit, you’ll want to add this card to your wallet for several reasons.

This card earns rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which can then be redeemed for travel, gift cards or more. Redeeming your points for travel will ensure you the most value, as your Citi ThankYou® points transfer to Citi’s many airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. For travel hackers looking to unlock points and miles at a diverse range of airline loyalty programs, the Citi Premier® Card is a terrific option for those who travel internationally.

Citi Premier® Card

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Excellent

  • 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
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Pros

  • Overall solid travel rewards card; airline and hotel benefits; multiple bonus earning categories; long list of international airline transfer partners

Cons

  • Lacks travel and purchase protections; few domestic airline partners

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 no foreign transaction fees. Additionally, the Citi Premier® Card is a Mastercard equipped with EMV smart chip technology, essential in many places outside of the United States. Cardholders will have less trouble getting their card accepted by foreign merchants.

Valuable sign-up bonus

The Citi Premier® Card has a welcome bonus that’s on par with other travel rewards cards: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is a sizable sign-up bonus that will result in plenty of redemption opportunities, from travel to gift cards.

Bonus categories catered to everyday spending and travel purchases

With the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll Earn 3X points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X on all other purchases . The addition of these everyday categories makes it easy to earn Citi ThankYou points in no time. Meanwhile, its travel rewards card competitors have a lower earnings rate, making the Citi Premier a more favorable option for earning on a wide number of categories.

New $100 annual hotel credit

Another new addition to the Citi Premier® Card is the $100 annual hotel credit. 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 this is an excellent opportunity to save on travel beyond air travel.

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

How to make the most of your Citi ThankYou points

With the Citi Premier® Card, you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to one of Citi’s 16 airline partners, redeem for gift cards or use your points to shop at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com. The best redemption will be through transferring your points to the following loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio:

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

As you can see, most of the transfer partners are international airlines, except JetBlue Airways. However, there are plenty of excellent redemptions to be found here. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and AeroMexico Club Premier are both known for outstanding mileage awards. As long as you’re strategic when transferring your Citi ThankYou points, you can score some great flight deals.

Who’s eligible for the Citi Premier® Card?

Unlike Chase with its 5/24 rule, Citi does not have any written policies against the number of credit cards you open in a given timeframe. 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?

If you want to understand the value of the Citi Premier® Card fully, you should consider how it performs when stacked up against other leading travel rewards credit cards.

Citi Premier® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 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 travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • 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 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards and also incurs a $95 annual fee. Its rewards are based around earning users Ultimate Rewards points. These points can also be transferred at a 1:1 ratio but to a number of domestic airlines, including United MileagePlus and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.

Unlike the Citi Premier® Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with plenty of travel and purchase protections that may come in handy in times of need. From trip insurance to auto rental waivers, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is more well-rounded when it comes to the whole travel experience. 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 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. 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

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website

$95

17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
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Another $95 annual fee travel card worth considering is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. However, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes 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. 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 but at a significantly lower rate — most transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio. The key benefit of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is that it offers a credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, which can be particularly useful for travelers who don’t have this perk already. However, for those who don’t need TSA Precheck or Global Entry, the Citi Premier® Card offers a recurring hotel credit that can prove to be more beneficial.

Citi Premier® Card vs. Citi Prestige® Credit Card

The Citi Prestige® Credit Card has a $495 annual fee (vs. the $95 annual fee on the Citi Premier® Card). This significantly higher annual fee comes with added luxury benefits. Citi Prestige® Credit Cardholders get access to airport lounges, a $250 travel credit and a TSA Precheck or Global Entry credit. If you care about these benefits, then we recommend going with the Citi Prestige® Credit Card over the Citi Premier® Card.

Otherwise, the Citi Premier® Card is still a great travel rewards card at a much more reasonable annual fee.

ValuePenguin’s verdict

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. One downside to the Citi Premier® Card is that it lacks any travel protections or warranties that other travel rewards cards offer.

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

Stella Shon

Stella Shon is a travel credit cards writer with ValuePenguin. After studying abroad in Paris three years ago, she became determined to keep traveling. That’s when she discovered the world of points and miles, which enabled her to travel on a student budget. Since then, she’s flown over 150,000 miles and earned more than 500,000 points and miles with eight different credit cards. While in college, she even co-founded her own travel agency, helping her peers plan and book trips on a budget. As a recent journalism graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, her goal is to write about travel to make it simpler and achievable for everyone. Her work has also appeared on JetBlue, The Points Guy, Travel + Leisure and CNBC.

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).

  • On Citibank's Secure Website
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