Citibank is one of the largest banks in the United States. They are best known for their Thank You points and international travel partners in the points and miles world. But not all credit cards are created equally. The focus of this post is to highlight my favorite Citi cards.

I have divided the cards into three sections: Thank You (TY) points-earning, cash back, and American Airlines co-branded. Only personal cards are mentioned because Citi has very few worthwhile business cards. Each card will have some quick facts and then a paragraph about why they’re so great.

 

Thank You Points Earning

Everyone who collects points and miles should have (and even start out with) transferrable points. Citi’s points are called Thank You (TY) points. These points are special because they can be transferred to 15 airline partners.

Citi has a much smaller card footprint than Chase. But both banks have a similar two-tier system for their transferrable points cards.

Prestige

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points for $4,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 5x points on Airfare and Dining; 3x points on Cruises and Hotels; 2x points on Entertainment (until August 31, 2019)

Perks: $250 Annual General Travel credit, Priority Pass Airport Lounges, Pre-TSA / Global Entry Fee Waiver, Fourth Night Free, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance, Citi Concierge, Cell Phone Protection

Annual Fee: $450 (for current card-members until September 1, 2019), $495 (for new card-members and all card-members after September 1, 2019) (NOT waived the first year)

This card is one of the best if a balance between TY points and perks is what you’re after. You can easily justify this card’s hefty annual fee if you value this card’s benefits. Casual international travelers would love this card’s benefits, especially the airport lounge access and travel credit. Even though the Fourth Night Free is limited to twice per year, you can still get thousands in value under the right circumstances.

 

Premier

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points for $4,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 3x points on General Travel and Gas Stations, 2x on Dining & Entertainment

Perks: Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance, Citi Concierge

Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)

This card is great if you want a sign-up bonus and good earning potential without the first year’s annual fee. If you don’t purchase airfare directly with the airline, this card is a better option than the Prestige. The Premier is also better than the Prestige if you don’t spend within the Prestige’s categories or value its perks.

In essence, this card is a jack of all trades. It lacks the perks and earning power of the Prestige, but it has a good sign-up bonus and a lower annual fee.

 

Rewards +

Sign-Up Bonus: 15,000 points (or $150) for $1,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 2x points at Gas Stations and at Grocery Stores; 1x points for everything else; points are rounded up to the nearest 10 for all purchases

Perks: Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance, Citi Private Pass

Annual Fee: $0

This successor to the Citi Thank You Preferred is a great option for those who are starting out in points and miles. You will earn TY points, but you cannot redeem them for more than 1 cent per point (CPP) without a Tier II card. This will give you incentive to stay with Citi if you like their points currency and partners.

The Rewards + is the best card in the industry for small purchases. This is because Citi rounds points earned to the nearest 10. For example, a $2 cup of coffee will net you 10 points.

This card requires you to have a Premier or Prestige to transfer points to partners or use the Citi travel portal. Without one of those cards, the best redemption option is cash back. This option makes the points worth 1 cent apiece.

 

Cash Back

Citi has a few cards that earn cash back as alternatives to their travel cards.

Double Cash

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Earning: 2% for everything (1% earned at the time of purchase plus 1% earned when you pay your bill)

Perks: Standard Citi

Annual Fee: $0

The Citi Double Cash is one of the best cash back cards in the industry. I would recommend this card as a long-term keeper card for those who want cash rewards. The Double Cash is one of the only 2% flat rate cash back cards that has no annual fee.

This card is a decent downgrade option for either of the Tier II TY points earning cards.

 

Costco Anywhere Card

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Earning: 4% on Gas ($7,000 annual limit); 3% on Dining and Travel; 2% at Costco; 1% for everything else

Perks: Costco and Standard Citi

Annual Fee: $0 for the card; $60 for basic Costco membership; $120 for Executive Costco membership

Costco members rejoice! This card will give you loads of cash back if you spend within its categories. However, the cash back must be redeemed at Costco. You could ask Costco for a check or straight cash for redemption.

Costco and Citi also offer a business version of this card. It has the same earning, burning, perks, and annual fee as the personal version.

 

American Airlines

American Airlines is Citibank’s only airline partner with whom they have co-branded cards. Citibank lacks the co-branded cards that Chase and American Express have. But those who love American Airlines will be in luck.

Keep reading (or go back) if American Airlines is not for you.

AA Platinum Select Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 AA Advantage miles for $2,000 spend in the first 3 months. Plus, another 10,000 AA Advantage miles for another $8,000 spend in the first 6 months.

Earning: 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, Gas, and Dining.

Burning: American Airlines flights and travel packages

Perks: Priority Boarding, Free First Checked Bag, 25% off in-flight purchases, $100 annual AA credit

Annual Fee: $99 (waived the first year)

American Airlines loyalists would love this card! It strikes a nice balance between perks and earning. Plus, the $100 annual AA credit offsets the card’s annual fee if you can use the whole thing. Everything else is a bonus that will make your flight easier.

I don’t like its sign-up bonus because most people won’t be able to hit the second $8,000 in spend. Also, the reward for spending $8,000 is just 10,000 miles. This is not worth the spend for many people.

 

AA MileUp Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after spending just $500 in the first 3 months

Earning: 2x miles on American Airlines purchases, Gas, and at Grocery Stores.

Burning: American Airlines flights and travel packages

Perks: 25% off in-flight purchases

Annual Fee: $0

This no-annual fee American Airlines card is a great option for aspiring AA loyalists. You get a great sign-up bonus for little minimum spend as well as good earning potential. This card is a fantastic downgrade option for the AA Platinum Select card.

 

Final Draw

If you’ve made it to this section, I hope that you’ve found a great Citi card for your needs.

Many people even have multiple Citi cards to combine points. This can apply to Thank You points earning and American Airlines cards. For example, someone who has the Citi Premier could get the Citi Rewards + as well for small purchases and groceries.

Even though Citibank doesn’t have the options that Amex and Chase has, certain people can benefit from Citi’s cards. As with everything credit and travel related, your mileage may vary.