If you’re looking for your next jack-of-all-trades credit card to add to your portfolio, it’s worth considering either the Citi Rewards+® Card or Citi Premier® Card. As Citi products, they both allow you to collect ThankYou points, which you can redeem for gift cards, travel and more on ThankYou.com.
Each card has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and determine which card is better for you and your lifestyle. Here’s an in-depth comparison to help guide your decision.
|Cards||Citi Rewards+||Citi Premier|
|Welcome bonus||20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening||60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening|
|Rewards rate||2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases||3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and on air travel; 1X points on all other purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months (from the date of account opening) on purchases and balance transfers (13.74% to 23.74% variable APR after)||16.24% to 24.24% variable APR|
Citi Rewards+ vs. Citi Premier highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Citi Premier
While the Citi Premier requires you to spend $4,000 within three months to achieve its welcome bonus—compared to $1,500 within three months for the Citi Rewards+—the math works out to 15 points per dollar in value with the Citi Premier and 13 points per dollar in value with the Citi Rewards+.
If you’re able to spend the money, opting to apply for the Citi Premier gets you more points for your dollar. However, you do have to be willing to spend about $1,334 a month in order to meet this bonus. If you can’t, opting for the Citi Rewards+ might be the better option.
Rewards rate winner: Citi Premier
The Citi Premier wins this round as well due to the variety of 3X rewards categories it offers. As a cardholder, you earn 3X points for spending at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and on air travel. All other spending earns you 1X points.
In contrast, the Citi Rewards+ earns you 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations, but it’s capped at $6,000 in purchases per year (and drops to 1X points thereafter). And, you get 1X points on all non-category purchases.
The Citi Rewards+ does offer a helpful round up feature, meaning each purchase you make is rounded up to the nearest 10 points. Additionally, as a cardholder, you get 10 percent of your points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem annually. (Note, the maximum number of points you can earn with the points-back feature is 10,000.)
All in all, the Citi Rewards+ still doesn’t offer the same level of rewards across all spending as the Citi Premier does.
Annual Fee winner: Citi Rewards+
With no annual fee, the Citi Rewards+ is the clear winner in this category. Conversely, the Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year. Before making a snap judgement about this card, though, keep in mind that with so many ways to earn points, you’ll likely earn your money back. You only need to spend $267 per month across the 3X categories to offset the fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Citi Premier
The Citi Premier doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S.—something that’s pretty standard for most travel credit cards. On the other hand, the Citi Rewards+ charges a 3 percent fee on all foreign transactions. If you frequently travel outside of the United States, the Citi Premier might make more sense for you. Alternatively, you can simply choose to swipe a different card you own when traveling abroad.
Which card earns the most?
With a wider range of categories that earn higher rewards, the Citi Premier has the ability to earn most people more money than the Citi Rewards+—even those who don’t travel.
Citi Premier vs. Citi Rewards+ spending example
Let’s say your spending for the month breaks down as follows:
- $500 on groceries (Supermarket purchases)
- $200 on hotels
- $350 on flights
- $150 on gas
- $100 on restaurants
With the Citi Rewards+, you’ll accrue 300 points for gas, 1,000 for groceries and 100 for the restaurant purchases. For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on air travel and hotels up to $6,000 in the first 12 months and then 1 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent thereafter. You’ll accrue 2,750 for your hotels an flights purchases, leaving you with a total of 4,150 points. As is standard, each point redeems for 1 cent, so your rewards will be worth approximately $41.50.
With the Citi Premier, you’ll accrue 1,500 points for groceries, 600 for the hotel stay, 1,050 for the flight, 450 for gas and 300 for restaurant purchases. This totals out to 3,900 points (worth $39).
Note, the Citi Rewards+ round up feature and 10 percent points back benefit can most certainly boost your earnings over the course of the year.
Why should you get the Citi Premier?
The Citi Premier is a well-rounded travel card for the tier that it’s in. There’s a wide range of categories you can earn 3X points in, and it’s fairly easy to earn enough rewards to offset the annual fee.
On top of the solid rewards structure, you get access to an annual $100 hotel savings benefit. This perk can be used on a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you use your Citi Premier card and book through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU.
Further, owning the card gets you access to World Elite Mastercard benefits, which include:
- World Elite discount and access programs for hotel stays and other travel packages
- $5 Lyft credit after three rides (once per month)
- 5 percent cash rewards on HelloFresh orders, usable on future purchases
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership, offering free two-day shipping and free returns with 100+ online retailers
- World Elite Concierge for 24/7 service personal assistance
Each ThankYou point can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point—unless you redeem them for travel. According to monthly valuations from The Points Guy, you can get up to 1.7 cents per point by transferring your ThankYou points to a Citi travel partner.
If you don’t have travel coming up, you can redeem your points for a wide selection of things, including:
- Cash back and statement credits
- Payment credits, including mortgages, student loans or online bill pay
- Gift cards
- Shop with points at popular retailer websites, including Amazon and PayPal
- Transfer points to another account or charity
Recommended credit score
To take full advantage of this card and maintain a lower APR, you’ll want to have a good to excellent credit score. Anything from 670 to 850 would be ideal for this card.
Why should you get the Citi Rewards+?
While the Citi Rewards+ has a lower welcome bonus and rewards rates compared to the Citi Premier, it’s still a good card for everyday purchases.
The Citi Rewards+ card’s round up feature and 10 percent points back perk are nothing to sneeze at. Further, like most Citi cardmembers, owning the Citi Rewards+ gets you access to Citi Entertainment experiences and Mastercard benefits like $0 liability and identity theft protection.
The biggest drawback of the Citi Rewards+ is that the card technically earns basic ThankYou points, which simply means you can’t transfer points earned with this card to Citi travel partners. You can still book travel through Citi’s portal for a 1 cent value, though.
To get the most out of the Citi Rewards+, consider pairing it with another rewards credit card that allows you to earn heightened rewards on transferred points (hint: the Citi Premier might be a good option).
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Citi Premier, you’ll want a good to excellent credit score (670-850) before applying for the Citi Rewards+.
The bottom line
The Citi Premier is the better card between these two Citi credit card options. It has more rewards categories, earns standard ThankYou points and offers a bigger first-year welcome bonus. But if you’re interested in eventually owning both cards and pairing them together, doing so can help you earn heightened rewards on transfer partner travel.
Regardless of which option you choose, neither is a bad card to have—and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of both if you use them wisely.