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Citi Strata Premier℠ Card review: An ideal fit for occasional travelers?

This card’s mix of everyday bonus categories is hard to beat.

 /  15 min
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Snapshot

4.6

Bankrate rating
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Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5

Bottom line

If you want to earn travel rewards on everyday purchases but don’t actually spend a ton on travel, this can be a great option as both a standalone card or part of a Citi rewards stack.

4.6
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
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Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
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Recommended Credit

1X - 10X

Rewards rate

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Annual fee

Intro offer

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Regular APR

Citi is an advertising partner.

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card overview

If you’re looking to earn travel rewards but don’t actually spend a ton on travel, the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card can easily be one of the best travel credit cards out there. 

The card earns rewards at a solid rate not only on travel purchases, but also in a terrific mix of everyday bonus categories, making it easy for even occasional travelers to rack up points quickly. It also stacks well with no-annual-fee Citi rewards cards and its annual fee is a cinch to offset thanks to its valuable and easy-to-earn annual hotel benefit. 

That said, a few competing cards offer higher rewards rates on air travel, potentially making them more lucrative if you spend heavily in that category. We also estimate that Citi points carry a lower average redemption value than rewards from programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, which could make the Citi Strata Premier and the new Citi Trifecta less lucrative than competing options. Plus, the Citi Strata Premier is missing some perks like credits for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry, which may be key for frequent travelers.

While the Citi Strata Premier is no doubt one of the best credit cards on the market if you’re looking for a versatile, low-cost card that earns travel rewards on everyday spending, it may not be the best fit for dedicated travel hackers and frequent flyers.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 10X points on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com
    • 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas and EV charging stations
    • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases

    Expert analysis: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Rewards

    Welcome offer

    • 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in your first three months (when you apply via Bankrate, potentially more via the issuer’s website)

    Expert analysis: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: $95
    • Foreign transaction fee: None
    • APR: 21.24 percent - 29.24 percent variable

    Expert analysis: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • $100 annual hotel benefit: Once per calendar year, you’ll get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more — excluding taxes and fees — when booked through CitiTravel.com (benefit applied instantly at time of booking) 
    • Citi Concierge
    • Citi Entertainment

    Expert analysis: Typical
    See our expert analysis

Citi Strata Premier card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    This card boasts a solid rewards rate in several key everyday spending categories, making it a great standalone card and easy to earn points even if you don’t spend a ton on travel.

  • Checkmark

    Its current welcome offer isn’t far off from the original Citi Premier card’s highest-ever bonus, so now is a great time to apply.

  • Checkmark

    It stacks very well with no-annual-fee Citi cards, allowing you to maximize rewards in several bonus categories.

Cons

  • Though it carries an impressive annual hotel benefit, it’s missing a few popular travel card perks like credits for expedited security screening.

  • Based on Bankrate’s valuations, its travel transfer partners offer a lower average redemption value than those of competing mid-tier travel cards.

  • It doesn’t come with an intro APR offer, so it won’t help if you want to finance a large purchase or chip away at debt.

Why you might want the Citi Strata Premier card

The Citi Strata Premier is a terrific option for anyone looking to earn travel rewards on everyday spending. It can work as either a standalone rewards card or as the centerpiece of a Citi card stack. And though the card carries a modest annual fee ($95), its cost can easily be offset via its ongoing rewards, annual hotel benefit and — for the first few years — its generous welcome offer.

Rewards: A great mix for occasional travelers

The Citi Strata Premier boasts a terrific mix of everyday bonus categories on top of its solid rewards on travel purchases. 

In the travel category, you’ll earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com and 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases. This is a decent travel rewards rate for a mid-tier card, with its 10X and 3X rates beating out the travel rewards rates on some competing cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles on everything else). 

Where the card shines most, though, is with its everyday rewards potential. In addition to 3X points on air travel, you’ll earn 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, and gas and EV charging station purchases. That’s not only a solid everyday rewards rate for a card in the $95-per-year range, but also an exceptional mix of popular everyday categories. 

Few travel cards offer the same high rewards rate in all three of these everyday categories. As I noted in my piece on the Robinhood Gold card, credit card rewards tend to follow the “You can only pick two,” rule, but instead of “Good,” “Cheap” and “Fast,” you have “Groceries,” “Restaurants” and “Gas.”

If you want to earn travel points, but don’t actually spend much on travel, this rewards rate and mix of categories may make the Citi Strata Premier a more lucrative standalone option than many competing travel cards.

For example, if you spend about $2,000 per year on air travel, $5,000 per year on groceries, $3,600 per year on dining, $2,400 per year on gas and $8,000 on general purchases, the Citi Strata Premier will offer more value than the popular Capital One Venture card.

Card Rewards earned Point value Estimated value (minus annual fee)
Citi Strata Premier $13,000 at 3X points + $8,000 at 1X points = 47,000 points 1 cent per point (redeemed for travel via Citi) $375
Capital One Venture $21,000 at 2X miles = 42,000 miles 1 cent per mile (redeemed for travel via Capital One) $325
American Express® Green Card $10,600 at 3X points + $10,400 at 1X points  = 42,200 points 1 cent per point (redeemed for travel via Amex) $272
Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card  $2,000 at 4X points + $3,600 at 3X points + $15,400 at 1X points = 34,200 points 1 cent per point (redeemed for travel via Wells Fargo) $247

One exception to keep in mind: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® comes out on top in this example even with a relatively low travel spend. However, you’ll need to book travel through Chase, redeem points for travel via Chase and purchase all your groceries online. 

As you can see, depending on your spending habits, the Citi Strata Premier can be one of the most lucrative standalone travel rewards cards available.

Welcome offer: One of the best Citi travel card sign-up bonuses to date

The Citi Strata Premier card has debuted with an impressive welcome offer: If you apply via Bankrate, you can earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months as a cardholder. That’s worth $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com. Your bonus could be even higher if you apply via the issuer’s website.

Based on Bankrate’s latest travel point and mile valuations, which give Citi ThankYou points an average value of 1.6 cents per point based on its transfer partners, we estimate a 70,000-point bonus could be worth around $1,120 in travel.

While this offer isn’t a giant step up from the now-discontinued Citi Premier® Card’s final bonus (60,000 points with the same spending requirement), it’s still solid for a mid-tier travel card. 

We also haven’t seen a bonus of 70,000 points or more since this time last year, when the Citi Premier offered a 75,000-point bonus for the same spend. This makes now a good time to apply, especially if you anticipate a lot of spending in the next few months. Plus, the bonus holds enough value to offset the annual fee for at least your first seven years as a cardholder based on its baseline redemption value.

Rates and fees: Annual perk value outweighs annual fee

Like most mid-tier travel cards, the Citi Strata Premier doesn’t carry luxury perks like airport lounge access or flight credits (typically, you’ll have to get a card with a higher annual fee for those benefits). However, the card’s biggest perk holds enough value to completely offset the $95 annual fee on its own.

Once per calendar year, you can get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through CitiTravel.com. This benefit is applied instantly when you book, so you won’t face any runaround to get your discount. 

Assuming you typically book at least one hotel stay of $500 or more each year, this is a terrific value, essentially making the card free to hold. Competing cards also offer airline or hotel credits or discounts, but these are typically less valuable than the annual hotel benefit available with the Citi Strata Premier. 

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred only offers ​​up to $50 in annual statement credits toward hotel stays through the Chase Travel℠ portal, and the new Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card only carries a $50 annual statement credit for airline purchases (toward a $50 minimum airline purchase). Meanwhile, the Capital One Venture card doesn’t offer any credits or discounts for airfare or hotel bookings.

Why you might want a different travel rewards card

Though the Citi Strata Premier is a great option for occasional travelers who want to earn rewards on everyday spending, it may fall short if you spend a lot on travel or are looking to maximize your point value. A few competing cards not only carry a higher travel rewards rate with the same annual fee, but also higher-value points, additional transfer partners and other valuable perks.

Perks: Not the most practical

The Citi Strata Premier card’s main perk is its annual hotel benefit, which can get you a $100 discount on a single hotel booking of $500 or more (minus taxes and fees). However, this benefit trades value for flexibility. 

While the credits on competing cards might carry less value, they could be easier to take advantage of for some cardholders.

The Sapphire Preferred card’s hotel perk and the Autograph Journey Card’s airline credit each only require a $50 spend (the Sapphire Preferred card offers up to $50 in annual statement credits toward hotel stays through Chase Travel and the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card offers $50 annual statement credit for airline purchases with a $50 minimum airline purchase). With the Citi Strata card you not only need to spend at least $500, but also spend $500 on a single hotel booking. If you don’t meet that requirement, you won’t get any discount. This means the perk could be of little use if you tend to book short stays or budget hotels.

And while the Capital One Venture card doesn’t offer any credits or discounts for airfare or hotel bookings, it comes with an up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. That’s the same potential value for what may be a more useful perk if you fly but rarely stay in hotels.

The Citi Strata Premier also offers little in the way of everyday perks — it doesn’t come with an intro APR offer or any credits for dining, rideshares and streaming. A few other mid-tier travel and even some no- or low-annual-fee cash back cards beat the CIti Strata Premier in this area. 

For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express gets you $7 back each month when you spend $9.99 or more on an eligible subscription to the Disney Bundle (enrollment required; subject to auto-renewal). That’s potentially $84 in annual value. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers at least 12 months of complimentary DashPass if you activate the membership with your card by the end of 2024 (almost $120 in potential savings).

Redemption: Low point value and limited transfer partners

If you try to squeeze every bit of value out of your travel rewards with strategic redemptions and point transfers, the Citi Strata Premier may not be your best option. 

While the card does boast a solid list of travel partners, including airlines like JetBlue and hotel brands like Wyndham and Choice Privileges, we estimate that Citi’s transfer partners will net you less redemption value on average than those of issuers like Chase and American Express. 

If you book travel with Citi, your ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each; based on an average of its five highest-value transfer partners, we estimate your points are worth around 1.6 cents each.

Compare this with Chase Sapphire Preferred points, which are worth at least 1.25 cents per point if you redeem via Chase Travel and, based on Bankrate’s estimates, around 2.0 cents per point with the right transfer partner. Amex also wins here, boasting an estimated point value of around 2.0 cents per point with the right partner.

How the Citi Strata Premier compares to other travel cards

Depending on your spending habits and rewards goals, the Citi Strata may not be your best option, particularly if you spend heavily on travel or already have cards that earn rewards on staples like groceries, gas and dining. A few competing travel cards also offer more flexible perks and higher point value. 

Image of Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

70,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 10X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

75,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

Earn 75,000 miles
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Rewards rate

2 Miles - 5 Miles
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Citi Strata Premier

The Citi Strata Premier can be a great option if you’re building a rewards card stack. By using the card alongside the Citi Double Cash, Citi Custom Cash or both, you can maximize your earnings in nearly every key spending category.

Who is the Citi Strata Premier right for?

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Citi Strata Premier Card worth it?

Definitely. The Citi Strata Premier is easily worth it for the right cardholder — someone who may not spend a ton on travel but still wants to earn travel rewards on everyday purchases like dining, groceries and gas without juggling a ton of cards. 

While the Citi Strata Premier doesn’t carry the highest travel rewards rate out there, its generous everyday rewards rate means it can be more rewarding for occasional travelers than many mid-tier travel cards. Plus, the card’s annual hotel benefit should offer more than enough value to offset the annual fee. 

However, if you’re looking to maximize rewards on travel spending and boost your point redemption value via an issuer portal or transfer to travel partners, another card may be a better fit.

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Written by
Nouri Zarrugh
Senior Editor, Credit Cards

Nouri Zarrugh is a writer and editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate,  focusing on product news, guides and reviews. His areas of expertise include credit card strategy, rewards programs, point valuation and credit scores, and his stories on building credit have been cited by Mic.com, LifeHacker, People.com and more. Through his thorough card reviews and product comparisons, Nouri strives to demystify personal finance topics and credit card terms and conditions to help readers save money and protect their credit score.

Edited by Editor II, Credit Cards

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