This card has a $95 annual fee, and beyond that, it’s an all around very compelling card. It offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment, which are some very well rounded bonus categories. I even picked up the card myself last week.
Establishing a minimum value for these points
Nowadays there are four major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Capital One.
When it comes to the bonuses on these cards, some readers have said something along the lines of “well that bonus sounds great, but I wouldn’t even know how to redeem those points.”
Personally I think their airline partners are incredibly useful (in particular Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Etihad Guest, and Singapore KrisFlyer), though I think it’s worth remembering that at a minimum, ThankYou points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare through Citi’s travel portal. You can book virtually any flight with no blackout dates. When you book through Citi’s website your ticket is still typically eligible for mileage accrual, upgrades, etc.
You also have so much flexibility in the ways in which you can redeem points as cash towards the cost of airfare. You could cover the entire cost of a ticket with ThankYou points, if you wanted to.
Or if you prefer, you could just pay for a portion of the ticket cost with ThankYou points, and pay cash for the rest (and since you’d be charging it to your Citi Premier℠ Card, you’d earn 3x points for the amount you’re spending, since this is categorized as travel).
Put another way, the 60,000 point welcome bonus on the Citi Premier℠ Card is worth a minimum of $750 of airfare, which is exceptional.
For example, earlier I wrote about how JetBlue Mint is one of my favorite domestic flying experiences, so you could use Citi ThankYou points to book a Mint ticket. I see tickets from Boston to Seattle for $449 in Mint, so you could redeem just under 36,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way ticket, which is pretty awesome.
Even if you’re not someone who wants to learn the ins and outs of maximizing miles, these kinds of bonuses can still be worthwhile.
Others cards with great bonuses
Other mid-range cards also have bonuses that potentially can be used as cash towards a travel purchase, including:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ($95 annual fee) offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months; points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each, meaning that gets you $750 worth of travel
- The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) offers 50,000 Venture miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months; miles can be redeemed for one cent each towards airfare, meaning that gets you $500 worth of travel
Personally I think the best way to maximize ThankYou points is to transfer them to one of the airline partners, especially if there’s a transfer bonus. However, there’s no denying that these kinds of redemptions are confusing to many. For those people just redeeming ThankYou points for 1.25 cents towards the cost of a purchase, that can still be a great reason to pick up the Citi Premier℠ Card.