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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 rewards credit 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||25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months (from the date of account opening) on purchases and balance transfers (18.49% to 28.49% variable APR after)||None; 20.99% to 28.99% 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 20 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 an unlimited 3X points for spending at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and on air travel.
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).
The Citi Rewards+ does offer a helpful round-up feature, making it a great card for everyday purchases. Each purchase you make is rounded up to the nearest 10 points, taking a $3 coffee purchase from 1X points earned to 10X points earned. Additionally, as a Citi Rewards+ 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, making the Premier the clear winner.
Annual fee winner: Citi Rewards+
With no annual fee, the Citi Rewards+ wins this category. Conversely, the Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year. Before making a snap judgment 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 this 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 hold 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
- $200 at restaurants
- $350 on flights
- $150 on gas
- $100 on miscellaneous purchases
With the Citi Rewards+, you’ll accrue 1,000 points on groceries, 200 points on restaurant purchases, 350 points on flights, 300 points on gas and 100 points on everything else, bringing you to 1,950 total points for the month — worth $19.50 in gift cards.
On the other hand, with the Citi Premier, you’ll earn 1,500 points on groceries, 600 points on restaurant purchases, 1,050 points on flights, 450 points on gas and 100 points on all other purchases. That’s 3,700 points for the month, or $37 in gift cards.
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, but the real value can come from your ability to transfer points to high-value Citi transfer partners with the Citi Premier.
Points earned with the Citi Premier can be worth up to 1.9 cents apiece toward transfer partner travel according to Bankrate valuations, meaning your 3,700 points could be worth up to $70.30. Unfortunately, the Citi Rewards+ earns basic ThankYou points, simply meaning you can’t redeem rewards for transfer partner travel with this card.
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, holding 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
For more in-depth information on all the card has to offer, read through Bankrate’s Citi Premier benefits guide.
Each ThankYou point can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point — unless you redeem them for transfer partner travel, which has the potential to offer more value. 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
- Travel (and transfer partner travel), as noted
Recommended credit score
Why should you get the Citi Rewards+?
While the Citi Rewards+ has a lower welcome bonus and lower rewards rates compared to the Citi Premier, it can still be worth it for those who spend a moderate amount at supermarkets and gas stations (and don’t want to pay an annual fee).
The Citi Rewards+ card’s round-up feature and 10 percent points back perk are nothing to sneeze at and can help you maximize the card’s value. Further, like most Citi cardmembers, holding the Citi Rewards+ gets you access to Citi Entertainment experiences and Mastercard benefits like $0 liability and identity theft protection.
And if you have a large purchase on the horizon or are looking for a balance transfer card that offers value long after your debt is paid off, the card’s 15-month 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers makes it a solid option (18.49 percent to 28.49 percent variable APR after).
For more information on card perks, consider reading Bankrate’s Citi Rewards+ Card benefits guide.
Though you can’t transfer points earned with the Citi Rewards+ to Citi airline and hotel partners, you can still book travel through Citi’s portal for a 1 cent value.
The card’s list of redemption options includes:
- Gift cards
- Travel (excluding transfer partners), as noted
- Charitable donations
- Cash back
- Shopping with points on Amazon.com or BestBuy.com
- Online Citi bill payments
Note, redeeming for cash back with the Citi Rewards+ gets you half a cent in value, compared to 1 cent per point for gift cards.
Overall, 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 compared to the Citi Rewards+. It has more rewards categories, earns standard ThankYou points and offers a bigger first-year welcome bonus. But if you’re interested in eventually holding 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.