Who should get the Citi Premier Card?
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The Citi Premier® Card is a solid travel credit card option, especially if you’re also looking to earn points on non-travel purchases.
For a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn rewards on hotel and airfare, as well as dining out, filling up your gas tank and shopping at the supermarket. Not only that, but the Premier offers a generous welcome bonus, a $100 annual hotel savings credit and access to World Elite Mastercard benefits.
Are you stuck on whether or not to apply? Keep reading to learn who the card is best for — and who would be better off with a different option.
Who should get the Citi Premier Card
Are you interested in earning rewards on everyday purchases alongside travel? How about a quality sign-up bonus? And do you already own another ThankYou points-earning Citi card? Here are a few cases where applying for the Premier makes sense.
Travelers who want rewards in everyday categories
The Citi Premier Card is a nice mix of travel and everyday rewards for frequent flyers and hotel hoppers. Specifically, you’ll earn 3X points on air travel and hotel purchases, as well as at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. Any purchases that fall outside of these categories earn 1X points.
And considering Citi ThankYou points can be more valuable when used toward transfer partner travel, those with an interest in maximizing their rewards are best suited. Bankrate currently values Citi ThankYou points earned with the Premier Card at 1.9 cents a piece when redeemed toward high-value transfer partner travel.
Those who want to earn solid welcome bonus for a reasonable fee
The Citi Premier Card offers a 60,000-point welcome bonus for spending at least $4,000 within your first three months of card ownership; that’s just under $1,334 in spending per month. For a card with a $95 annual fee, that’s pretty good — the comparable Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (also $95) offers the same 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
And when you factor in the potential value of transferring your rewards to Citi travel partners, the Premier’s welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,140.
Those who already own a basic Citi credit card
If you already own a no-annual-fee Citi credit card that earns ThankYou points, pairing it with the Citi Premier can be a great way to further boost your rewards.
No-annual-fee Citi cards, like the Citi Rewards+® Card, technically earn basic ThankYou points — which simply means the points can’t be redeemed for transfer partner travel. If you pool your points into your Citi Premier account, though, you’re looking at even greater rewards potential.
Who should avoid the Citi Premier Card?
Not everyone is best suited for the Citi Premier. Here’s a look at a few instances where you might want to opt for a different travel credit card.
Travelers who want more travel protections (and luxury perks)
Since Citi eliminated most travel protections, like lost baggage protection and accident insurance, travelers who rely on the peace of mind travel insurance brings should look toward another card.
The Premier does, though, offer access to World Elite Mastercard benefits, including zero liability protection and World Elite Concierge — though that doesn’t make up for its lack of travel insurance.
In terms of premium travel perks and statement credit opportunities, there’s really only one notable benefit: an annual $100 discount on a single hotel stay of at least $500 (excluding taxes and fees) when you use your card and book through ThankYou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU. While this isn’t uncommon for a mid-tier travel card, you’ll need to look toward premium travel card options for benefits like lounge access and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits.
Travelers who frequently fly domestic
Unfortunately, for domestic travelers, Citi’s list of transfer partners are mostly international carriers, with only two domestic partners — JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic (the latter currently only offers three domestic locations).
If you tend to fly within the United States or prefer to travel with more well-known transfer partners, you should consider a travel card with a more robust list of airline transfer partners.
Alternative cards to consider
Even if you’re set on the Citi Premier, it doesn’t hurt to look into other top travel credit cards on the market. While the Citi Premier is a great all-around travel option, it does lack some common benefits offered by comparable cards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, is a good alternative to consider as it features a similar welcome bonus and rewards for the same $95 annual fee — but there are different travel-related benefits to note. You can enjoy trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services and more. Plus, if you’re most interested in transfer partner travel, Chase offers more domestic partners — and points can be worth up to 2 cents apiece, according to Bankrate valuations.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another solid travel card option, offering a flat 2X miles on all purchases, plus 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. You’ll owe a $95 annual fee, but it offers benefits like an auto rental collision damage waiver and up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Note, though, Capital One offers the same number of domestic transfer partners as Citi — though, according to Bankrate, points can be worth up to 2 cents apiece.
The bottom line
Overall, the Citi Premier Card is a respectable and versatile travel credit card, though that doesn’t make it the right fit for everyone. If you’re still on the fence about the Citi Premier or would like to learn more, read through our Citi Premier Card review and benefits guide for more in-depth card details and analysis.