Citi Premier Card Review With 80K Bonus Points (2021)

Citi Premier Card Review With 80K Bonus Points (2021)

Citi Premier® Card Earn 80,000 ThankYou points after qualifying purchases | $95
Apply Now Terms Apply.
Citi Premier® Card Earn 80,000 ThankYou points after qualifying purchases | $95
Earn 3x Points on Airfare
Earn 3x Points on Hotels
Earn 3x Points at Restaurants
1
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. Citi is an advertising partner of OMAAT. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

When talking about mid-range credit cards that earn transferrable points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably the first card that comes to mind for many. The card offers lots of great benefits, including a huge welcome bonus, bonus points on dining and travel, and valuable travel and purchase protection. For those who are eligible for the card, I think it’s worth applying for.

However, there are a couple of cards that can compete with the Sapphire Preferred, and in this post, I wanted to take a look at one of those cards, which I think for many people may just be a better option. This is an incredibly underrated card, especially in conjunction with the Citi® Double Cash Card (as I’ll explain below). There has never been a better time to pick up the card, given that it’s also offering a best-ever welcome bonus.

Citi Premier Card Basics For September 2021

The Citi Premier® Card is an often overlooked card that offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 points, five different categories where cardmembers can earn 3x points, and also lots of flexibility thanks to how many transfer partners there are.

Is this card right for you, though? Let’s look at this card in a bit more detail.

Best-Ever Bonus Of 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier® Card has a best-ever welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months. Not only can you transfer those points to airline partners (and get at least 80,000 airline miles), but you can also redeem them towards other purchases (and get at least $800 in value).

Redeem ThankYou points in Royal Air Maroc business class

Card Bonus Eligibility

There are some restrictions to be aware of if you’re looking to earn the welcome bonus on the Citi Premier. You’re not eligible for the welcome bonus if you’ve:

  • Received a new cardmember bonus on the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige, in the past 24 months
  • Closed the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige, in the past 24 months

In other words, it’s fine if you have one of those other cards, but you just can’t have opened or closed it in that time period. So if you’re a current Citi Prestige Card member, you can get the Citi Premier Card as long as you got the Prestige over 24 months ago.

Be aware of Citi’s other general card approval rules:

  • You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
  • You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days
Citi has unique restrictions when it comes to card eligibility

Product Changing

Citi will often let you product change from one card to another, assuming you’ve had it for at least 12 months. For example, one strategy could be to apply for the Citi Premier, and then later you could product change it to the Citi Prestige or Citi Rewards+.

You’ll have to call Citi to find out the options available on your account.

$95 Annual Fee

The Citi Premier Card has a reasonable $95 annual fee. You can add authorized users to the card at no extra cost, and any spending that authorized users put on their card will contribute towards the points you earn.

Earning Points With The Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier® Card offers the best bonus categories of any mid-range credit card, in my opinion. When picking a credit card I recommend getting one that offers bonus points in categories that you’re likely to spend a lot in.

Credit cards offer bonus points on categories like travel, dining, gas, supermarkets, etc., so just pick a card that offers points in categories useful to you. For context, I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each.

3x Points On Air Travel & Hotels

The Citi Premier offers 3x points on air travel and hotel purchases, with no limit on how many bonus points you can earn. This includes purchases made directly with airlines and hotels, as well as purchases through travel agencies. To me that’s like a 5.1% return in these categories.

Earn 3x ThankYou points on flight purchases

3x Points On Gas

The Citi Premier offers 3x points on gas station purchases. Again, I value that at a ~5.1% return, and that makes this one of the best cards for gas station purchases.

3x Points On Dining 

The Citi Premier also offers 3x points on dining, which includes restaurants, cafes, takeout, and delivery. A 5.1% return in this category makes this one of the best cards for dining.

3x Points On Groceries

Lastly (but certainly not least), the Citi Premier offers 3x points on groceries. I would also consider this to be one of the best cards for supermarket purchases.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Citi Premier has no foreign transaction fees, so this is an excellent card to use for purchases globally, since you can earn valuable rewards while not being stuck with those fees, which are sometimes as high as 3%.

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier® Card earns ThankYou points. This is one of the four major transferable points currencies, and it’s also a points currency that I’ve found has increased in value significantly over the past few years thanks to all the transfer partners that have been added. Let’s take a closer look at how redemptions work.

Redeem Citi ThankYou points for travel in JetBlue Mint

Transfer Points To Airline Programs

Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to airline partners. The program has the following 15 partners:

Airline Partners
Transfer Ratio
Aeromexico Club Premier
1000 : 1000
American AAdvantage
1000 : 1000
Avianca LifeMiles
1000 : 1000
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
1000 : 1000
Etihad Guest
1000 : 1000
EVA Air Infinity Mileagelands
1000 : 1000
FlyingBlue
1000 : 1000
JetBlue TrueBlue
1000 : 1000
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
1000 : 1000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1000 : 1000
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
1000 : 1000
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1000 : 1000
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
1000 : 1000
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
1000 : 1000
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
1000 : 1000
Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners and Ratios

Note that through November 13, 2021, American AAdvantage is a temporary Citi ThankYou transfer partner. This is a pretty awesome opportunity, as AAdvantage hasn’t historically partnered with any major transferable points currencies. There are some great uses of AAdvantage miles.

Transferring points to partners can be a great value if you’re looking to redeem for first and business class travel. That’s because first and business class tickets are often super expensive if paying cash, while they’re often reasonably priced if paying in points.

My favorite partners are Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Etihad Guest, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and for a limited time, American AAdvantage.

Redeem ThankYou points for travel in Etihad first class

Look Out For Transfer Bonuses

One way to get even more value out of your ThankYou points is to look out for airline transfer bonuses. Occasionally Citi offers additional bonuses when you transfer points, and these can often be in the range of 20-30%.

We’ve seen these to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and more. These can be a great deal.

Redeem Points For One Cent Each Towards Airfare

Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed at the rate of one cent each towards airfare, so I wouldn’t recommend redeeming that way. You can get much better value by transferring to travel partners.

What About Redeeming For Gift Cards?

While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, merchandise, and more, I’d generally recommend against this. That’s because you’ll get at most one cent of value per point, which isn’t a particularly good deal. It could be a good deal in the context of the welcome bonus since 80,000 points could get you $800 in value, but otherwise, I’d advise against it.

How Should You Redeem Citi ThankYou Points?

It all depends on what your travel goals are. Generally speaking:

  • If you’re just looking to redeem for economy travel, redeeming points for one cent each towards the cost of airfare could be okay for you, and might be a better value than transferring to partners
  • If you want to redeem for travel in first and business class (which is what I recommend), there’s huge value in learning airline award charts, because you can get an outsized value that way
Redeem ThankYou points for travel in Delta business class

You Can Combine Citi ThankYou Points

Note that if you have the Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Citi Rewards+, Citi Double Cash, and/or Citi Custom Cash, then you can pool the points earned across all the cards. You can also transfer ThankYou points to other ThankYou members, though do note that these points then expire after 60 days (so I’d recommend transferring them to a partner program within that timeframe).

Citi Premier Card Benefits

I would plan on getting the Citi Premier® Card for the bonus and return on spending that it offers, rather than the perks. That being said, the card does have some benefits that people may find useful.

$100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

With the Citi Premier, you can get $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, when booking through Citi ThankYou. This benefit is available once per calendar year.

For some people, this will more or less be worth face value, while for others it will be worth very little. If you can get value out of this, it could more than make up for the annual fee on the card.

Get a $100 annual hotel credit with the Citi Premier

World Elite Mastercard Benefits

The Citi Premier is a World Elite Mastercard, meaning that it comes with quite a few benefits, including savings with Lyft, Boxed, ShopRunner, and more.

Is The Citi Premier Card Worth It?

The Citi Premier® Card offers the most rewarding bonus categories of any mid-range credit card, in my opinion, as the card offers 3x points in five different categories. I also love Citi ThankYou points, and get huge value by transferring them to airline partners, especially in conjunction with a transfer bonus. On top of that, the card is currently offering a phenomenal bonus, which in and of itself is a reason to pick up this card.

So, how does this compare to some of the other cards out there, and how do you truly maximize value?

Tip: Complement With Citi Double Cash

One major reason to consider getting the Citi Premier is because of the value of complementing it with the Citi® Double Cash Card (review). The Citi Double Cash:

  • Has no annual fee
  • Offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase
  • However, those rewards can be converted into ThankYou points in conjunction with the Citi Premier, at the rate of one cent per ThankYou point

The Citi Double Cash is my go-to card for everyday spending, and I consider this to be an unbeatable combination. You can earn 3x points on dining, gas, groceries, and more, and 2x points on all of your other purchases.

For that matter, personally I’d also throw the no annual fee Citi Rewards+® Card (review) into the mix. The card offers two unique benefits:

  • Each purchase on the card is rounded up to the 10 nearest ThankYou points, so this is a great card for small purchases
  • Having the Citi Rewards+ gets you 10% back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points redeemed per calendar year, so having this card will make your points go further

The no annual fee Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (review) can be a great complement as well:

  • The card offers 5x ThankYou points on your top eligible spending category, on up to $500 spent each billing cycle
  • Eligible spending categories include drugstores, fitness clubs, gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, live entertainment, restaurants, select streaming services, select transit, and select travel

Comparison: Citi Premier Vs. Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige is the premium version of the Citi Premier, so how do the cards compare?

  • Welcome bonus: Citi Premier offers 80,000 points, the Citi Prestige is not currently available for new applicants
  • Annual fee: Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee, Citi Prestige has a $495 annual fee
  • Points earning:
    • Citi Premier offers 3x points on dining, gas, groceries, air travel, hotels, and gas
    • Citi Prestige offers 5x points on dining air travel, and 3x points on hotels and cruise lines
  • Other perks: The Prestige has the benefit of offering a $250 travel credit every year and a Priority Pass membership

In general, my recommendation is to start with the Citi Premier, see how you like it, and then after a year you can always product change to the Citi Prestige (assuming it continues to be available, since it’s not currently open to new cardmembers). That way you can take advantage of the much better bonus and lower annual fee on the Citi Premier as you get used to the Citi ThankYou program.

Personally, I think the Citi Premier is a more well-rounded credit card nowadays. But there’s not even a decision to be made here nowadays, since the Citi Prestige isn’t open to new applicants.

If you value a Priority Pass membership, the Citi Prestige is a good option

Alternatives To The Citi Premier

If you want to consider another mid-range card in place of the Citi Premier, there are two cards I’d most consider:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Vs. Citi Premier

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) is probably the biggest competitor to the Citi Premier, and the card recently underwent some changes.

The card also has a $95 annual fee, so the biggest differences are the following:

  • The Sapphire Preferred has a huge welcome bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points, which I’d consider to be the best welcome bonus of any credit card
  • The Citi Premier has better bonus categories, as the card offers triple points on dining, gas, groceries, air travel, and hotels, while the Sapphire Preferred offers triple points on dining, online groceries, and select streaming services, and double points on travel
  • The Sapphire Preferred offers significantly better travel, car rental, and purchase protection, and also offers a $50 annual hotel credit; everyone has to decide how much they value that
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers a hotel credit

Amex Gold Card Vs. Citi Premier

The American Express® Gold Card (review) offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 points. As far as the return on spending goes, the card offers:

  • 4x Membership Rewards points for dining at restaurants
  • 4x points for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of spend per year)
  • 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines.

The card has a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees), though offers an up to a $120 annual dining credit and Uber Cash & Uber Eats benefits. These credits help offset the annual fee significantly.

As you can see, the Amex Gold is better for dining and U.S. supermarkets, though it doesn’t offer bonus points on gas or hotels.

Earn 4x points on dining with the Amex Gold

Citi Premier Card Summary

The Citi Premier® Card is an underrated card that earns valuable transferrable points. The card has a reasonable annual fee, a huge welcome bonus that’s the best we’ve seen, and excellent 3x points categories. I don’t think there’s a single other card in the market with bonus categories as well-rounded as this card.

When you complement it with the ability to earn 2x ThankYou points per dollar with the Citi® Double Cash Card, that’s a great duo.

In general, for mid-range cards, I really think it’s between the Citi Premier and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, as both are excellent cards. You can always pick up both cards and then long term decide which makes the most sense for you.

Apply Now for the Citi Premier Card Card with 80,000 bonus points!

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees).

Conversations (1)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Carl WV

    Why even consider gift cards or using towards airfare when you can get the same one cent per mile with a statement credit (or checkk)? That just doesn't make sense to me. If you're not interested in a transfer partner then just get the cash (or equivalent) and use a credit card for travel or purchases instead of gift cards.

    I have a good stash of airline miles (one million+) so I did an $840+...

    Why even consider gift cards or using towards airfare when you can get the same one cent per mile with a statement credit (or checkk)? That just doesn't make sense to me. If you're not interested in a transfer partner then just get the cash (or equivalent) and use a credit card for travel or purchases instead of gift cards.

    I have a good stash of airline miles (one million+) so I did an $840+ statement credit. I had it within days and put it towards the last of the required spend statement. You can also get a check, but not as quick.

Featured Comments Load all 1 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Carl WV

Why even consider gift cards or using towards airfare when you can get the same one cent per mile with a statement credit (or checkk)? That just doesn't make sense to me. If you're not interested in a transfer partner then just get the cash (or equivalent) and use a credit card for travel or purchases instead of gift cards. I have a good stash of airline miles (one million+) so I did an $840+ statement credit. I had it within days and put it towards the last of the required spend statement. You can also get a check, but not as quick.

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT