Citi Premier℠ Card
If you’re OK with redeeming rewards for airfare through the card’s travel portal, the Citi Premier℠ Card provides excellent value. With wide definitions for what qualifies as travel and entertainment, faithful users of the card should be able to score free flights fast. Plus, this card boasts a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months.
But if you value maximum flexibility over rewards-earning potential, this may not be the best card for you.
The Citi Premier℠ Card suffers from mood swings. This card’s appeal improved greatly when Citi boosted the sign-up bonus in 2017. That move alone pushed this card into the top tier of travel rewards credit cards, especially considering its modest (in comparison) annual fee.
Citi then killed the bonus in September 2017, brought it back in January 2018 but at a lower rate than the original offer and then as of August 2018, after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening you can earn 50,000 points that can be redeemed for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.
When it’s not offering a sign-up bonus, this card may seem less appealing than one that offers an initial bonus, but anyone who spends a decent amount of time in their car will likely get more value over the long term from a card that pays big rewards on gas, parking and tolls. It’s worth noting that at 3x the rewards, this card pays as much on gas spending as some of the best gas credit cards on the market.
If your primary objective is to earn rewards toward air travel and you don’t mind booking your flights through the Citi ThankYou portal, you can benefit from owning the Citi Premier℠ Card. Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent under Citi’s broad definition of what counts as travel. Gas stations, parking garages, tolls and even travel agencies will all net you triple rewards. And, downloading music, going to a sporting event, or a movie all count in the entertainment and restaurant categories, which earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent. All other purchases earn 1 point.
We are disappointed this card has a smaller sign-up than other premium rewards cards. Other travel rewards cards offer this perk.
Who should get this card
Frequent air travelers who aren’t loyal to a particular airline stand to gain the most from owning this card.
Fees and APR
- The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
- The APR on purchases and balance transfers is a variable 16.74% – 25.74%.
- There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S.
- There’s a penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable that may apply indefinitely after one late or returned payment. Plus, a late payment fee of up to $39 may apply.
Extras, perks and using rewards
Cards for authorized users are free.
This card has Citi Price Rewind price protection, which may help you get a refund on the price difference if an item you purchased is found at a lower price within 60 days of the initial purchase.
Cardholders also can get pre-sale access to purchase select event tickets. The card also comes with trip and luggage insurances as well as access to emergency and auto protections and concierge services.
Citi ThankYou points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou website. You can also redeem points for gift cards and merchandise, but you’ll forgo the points bonus afforded travel redemptions.
You can transfer your points to participating airline partners and there’s no fee to redeem them.
How this card compares
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.
It pays 2x points on travel and dining and it also offers more travel partners then the Citi Premier℠ Card, making it the more flexible option between the two cards. The Citi Premier℠ Card pulls ahead when it comes to rewards potential, paying 3 points per dollar on travel — including gas, which might make it a better choice for some.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. The Arrival Plus pays a 5% redemption bonus every time you cash in your miles. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases makes it less cumbersome to track than cards with different bonus categories. Depending on your spending habits this could work out better or worse for you in terms of mileage earning potential. One of the best attributes of this card is you can book your travel any way you like, on any site, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit towards that purchase. This makes it a more flexible choice than other cards that require you to use their travel portals for maximum value.