The perfect Citi ThankYou card trifecta
In general I like to earn transferable points currencies for my credit card spending, since they offer the most flexibility. Within each points currency “ecosystem” (whether it’s Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards), there’s the possibility to build up a portfolio of cards so that you can maximize your points earning.
This morning I product changed my Citi Premier® Card (review) to the Citi Rewards+ Card (since the $95 annual fee was due), and with that, I now have what I’d consider to be the ideal combination of cards for earning ThankYou points.
Here are the three cards I have that are earning ThankYou points, and why I consider this combination to be so ideal:
Citi Prestige Card
The Citi Prestige Card is my “premium” card earning ThankYou points, as it’s essentially the Citi equivalent of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review). The card has a $495 annual fee, and here’s why I have it:
- The card offers 5x ThankYou points on restaurant purchases (which admittedly used to be a much bigger category for me than it is now)
- The card offers a $250 annual travel credit, which helps offset the annual fee
- This is a card that I can use to pool ThankYou points that I earn on the two no annual fee cards below
The card has a lots of useful benefits that others might value, though the above are the reasons that I have the card.
The Citi Prestige offers a $250 annual travel credit
Citi Double Cash Card
This no annual fee card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.
While that’s a solid cash back return, what makes this card truly exceptional is that you can convert the cash back into ThankYou points at a rate of one ThankYou point per cent. That’s incredible, because personally I value ThankYou points at ~1.7 cents each, increasing the value of my rewards by 70%.
This card offers the equivalent of two ThankYou points per dollar, which by my valuation makes this the best credit card for everyday spending.
The Citi Double Cash is my go-to card for everyday spending
Citi Rewards+ Card
I just got the Citi Rewards+® Card today, as I downgraded my Citi Premier Card to this. This card has no annual fee and:
- Offers 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations, for the first $6,000 spent per calendar year (and then 1x after that)
- Rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 ThankYou points
- Gets 10% of points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year
This is an incredible complement to the other cards. While I won’t be using this card for supermarkets and gas stations (since there are better options out there in my card portfolio), I love this card for two reasons:
- I can earn 10 ThankYou points even for a tiny purchase of a dollar
- Having this card will essentially score me 10,000 ThankYou points per year, assuming I redeem at least 100,000 ThankYou points per year
Having this card will earn me 10,000 ThankYou points per year
Big picture Citi ThankYou card strategy
I have three cards that can potentially earn me ThankYou points. The way I view it:
- I’m really paying about $245 per year for this combo, since one card has an annual fee, while the other two don’t; the Citi Prestige has a $495 annual fee, and I’m getting a $250 annual travel credit, which is more or less worth face value
- The Citi Prestige is earning me 5x points on restaurant spending, which is the best return of any card for that category
- The Citi Double Cash is the best card for everyday spending
- If nothing else, the Citi Rewards+ is earning me 10,000 ThankYou points per year when I redeem at least 100,000 points, which is great for a no annual fee card (I value the 10,000 points at ~$170)
I like earning ThankYou points for airline mileage transfers (in the future)
I also have the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card
While not related to earning ThankYou points, I should mention the one other Citi credit card that I have. I’m talking about the $450 annual fee Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review).
Under normal circumstances this is an incredible card:
- As the primary cardmember I get an Admirals Club membership
- I can then add 10 authorized users to the card and they each get Admirals Club access as well
- Admittedly this card is less valuable at the moment with reduced travel, but existing cardmembers are being offered a $225 credit, which helps offset the annual fee
While this is a card I might not be getting value from at this very moment, it’s still one that’s worth keeping, given the huge long-term value it has offered.
This is the best card for Admirals Club access
I have four Citi credit cards, and with my credit downgrade this morning, I now have my ideal Citi card portfolio.
Then I have the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, which is ideal for Admirals Club lounge access. Admittedly that’s of limited value right now, but I’ve gotten outsized value in the past, and plan to continue to keep this card.
How does this compare to your Citi credit card strategy?