The Citi Premier is a great travel card for those who want to earn Citi Thank You (TY) points. It serves as Citi’s mid-tier card, positioned in between the Citi Prestige and Citi Rewards + in almost all aspects. In other words, the Premier is a balanced card that’s great for earning and has some perks to boot.
International travelers and those who can use Citi’s transfer partners will love this card too. While it doesn’t have the perks of the Prestige, the Premier can get you traveling quickly. The Premier has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). But its earning potential and select perks have the potential to outweigh the fee.
The Citi Premier’s value lies in its earning potential. You earn 3x TY points on General Travel and 2x points on Dining and Entertainment.
Citi includes gas stations, airfare, hotels, travel agencies, tolls, railways, and public transportation in their general travel category. Such inclusions make the Premier versatile, which is fantastic for earning points quickly.
The card also has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. If you want a Citi card with a sign-up bonus, this is a great option for you.
Earning points is fantastic, but points earned are useless if you cannot redeem them for anything of value. Citi has multiple options for redemption:
Transfer partners are by far Citi’s most valuable option. They are the reason why so many points and miles enthusiasts love Thank You points so much. Citi’s strength lies in international airlines and travel. If you want to travel outside of the United States, this card is a good one.
Unfortunately, Citi does not have any hotel partners. If you want to transfer your points to hotels, Citi Thank You earning cards might not be for you.
All TY points transfer to Citi’s airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, except for JetBlue.
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- Asia Miles
- Eva Air
- Jet Airways
- JetBlue (2 TY points = 1 True Blue points)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Your mileage may vary for each partner. But for most partners, you should be able to easily redeem your points for at least 1.5 cents per point (CPP).
Points can be redeemed via Citi’s Travel Center at a rate of 1.25 CPP. This is the best option if you can’t transfer your points for good value. The Travel Center can also be great for booking hotels, a glaring weakness in Citi’s transfer partners.
You can also use TY points to help pay down a mortgage or student loan. This is a unique option for a credit card redemption. This method lets you redeem points for 1 CPP, but it can help your finances in certain situations.
Gift Cards values range from 2,500 to 10,000 points per card. Like airfare, each point redeemed is worth 1 cent.
Points are worth around 0.8 CPP when redeemed for merchandise and 0.5 CPP for cash back. If either option is more attractive than points, Citi’s Double Cash card is a better option.
The Citi Premier is not known for being a great benefits card. However, Citi doesn’t leave you hanging as they offer a few perks to soften the blow of the annual fee.
This perk lets you call a number to get help with travel reservations, dining, shopping, and other needs.
Citi Private Pass
This perk gives you access to a multitude of presale tickets and VIP experiences. If you’re a concert or sports lover, Citi Private Pass will help you get to events faster.
Car Rental Insurance
This benefit covers the entire loss, damage, or theft of your car rental. But its level (primary or secondary) will depend on your location.
Citi offers Primary coverage with this card if you’re outside of the United States. That means you don’t have to accept the car rental company’s insurance policy if you use your Premier. If you’re within the United States, Citi offers Secondary coverage.
Citi covers up to $75,000 per car, regardless of your location.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
This increasingly common benefit saves you 3% on all purchases made outside of the United States.
Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance
If you need to cancel your trip because of an unexpected event, this benefit gives you up to $5,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, and tours are included.
Baggage Delay Insurance
This benefit gives you $500 per day up to 5 days if your luggage is lost or delayed. If your luggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you can redeem for toiletries, clothing, and other essentials.
Citibank is the best issuer for extended warranty. You will receive an extra two years of warranty on purchases with warranties of five years or less.
90 Day Return Protection
Citi will refund your money if you decide to return an item within 90 days of purchasing and the merchant doesn’t take it back.
Rules & Regulations
Citi has several rules to consider before applying for one of their cards. While these rules are annoying, they serve as a reminder to be certain before applying. However, their main purpose is to dissuade “churners” from getting sign-up bonuses.
The 1/24 Rule states that you cannot receive a sign-up bonus if you opened or closed a card within the same family in 24 months. For the Citi Premier, you can’t receive a bonus if you opened a Citi Prestige, Thank You Preferred, or Rewards + within the last two years.
Also, the 6 Inquiries Rule states that those with more than 5 hard inquiries in 6 months will be automatically denied.
The 1/8 Rule states that only one card can be approved within a rolling 8-day period. Its corollary, the 2/65 Rule, states that only two cards can be approved within a rolling 65-day period.
What if the Citi Premier is not for you? Here are some alternatives that might be better:
This “bigger sibling” is a great alternative to the Premier if you spend within its categories and can use its perks. It has a $495 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. The bonus can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
The Prestige earns 5x Thank You (TY) points on Dining and Airfare. You also earn 3x TY points on Cruises and Hotels. Entertainment will earn you 2x TY points as well until August 31, 2019. All other purchases earn only one point.
The Prestige is the better card if you value luxury perks. The Prestige’s include a $250 General Travel credit and airport lounge access. Some of these perks can make the higher annual fee worth it, but your mileage may vary.
The Premier is the better card if you don’t value (or already have) luxury perks. Those who also want to save money on annual fees will also do better with the Premier.
Chase’s mid-tier card earns 2x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on Dining and Travel purchases. The Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
Chase has a more well-rounded set of travel partners than Citi. Domestic travelers and hotel lovers will benefit more given Chase’s partners. But international travelers might like the Citi card more.
This card has a 60,000 UR point sign-up bonus. It can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
This mid-tier card from Amex is great for those who spend heavily in groceries and at the pump stateside. Like the Premier, this card has a $95 annual fee, but its NOT waived the first year.
The Everyday Preferred earns 3x Membership Rewards (MR) points at the Grocery Store and 2x points at the Gas Station. However, there is a 50% points bonus if you use your card at least 30 times per month. This means you can earn up to 4.5x points at the Grocery Store and 3x points at the Gas Station with the bonus.
The Amex card’s sign-up bonus is meager compared to that of the Citi card. The former’s bonus is 15,000 points which can be earned after spending $1,000.
The Citi Premier is a good card for international travel and those who want to collect Thank You points. While it doesn’t have the perks of the Citi Prestige, its sign-up bonus is Citi’s best!
This card is also great if you don’t want to spend almost $500 in annual fees but want to earn TY points. It’s also great if you already have a premium card and the Prestige’s benefits are redundant or useless. For example, the Premier would be the first card I would consider from Citi because I already have the Amex Business Platinum.