7 Reasons To Get The Citi Premier Card

7 Reasons To Get The Citi Premier Card

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The $95 annual fee Citi Premier® Card (review) is one of the most rewarding mid-range credit cards. While many people might be familiar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review), the Citi Premier is an overlooked competitor (or complement, depending on how you look at it).

In this post, I wanted to share seven reasons you should get the Citi Premier, if you don’t yet have it. There has never been a better time to pick up the card, so now is the time to give it a try. In no particular order:

80,000 Bonus ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier Card has a welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months. Personally, I value ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that bonus is worth a massive $1,360. Since a lot of people don’t have this card, these are some easy rewards points to rack up.

Those 80,000 points can earn you at least $800 in rewards, or can be converted into airline miles of ThankYou partners at a 1:1 ratio.

See here for the general restrictions on applying for Citi cards, and also be aware of Citi’s 24-month rule.

Redeem Citi ThankYou points for travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

The Best 3x Points Bonus Categories

Among credit cards with annual fees of under $100, the Citi Premier almost unarguably offers the best bonus categories. The Citi Premier offers 3x ThankYou points in the following categories:

  • Airfare
  • Dining
  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Hotels

Of particular note is being able to earn 3x points on dining, gas, and groceries, which for some people covers a majority of everyday expenses.

Earn 3x ThankYou points on hotel spending

Annual $100 Hotel Credit

Once every calendar year, the Citi Premier offers $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees. This is valid when booking through the Citi ThankYou portal. While there may be an opportunity cost to booking this way, many people will find this to be valuable, and in those cases, this alone can more than justify the annual fee.

Receive a $100 annual hotel credit

Great Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

The Citi Premier is ideal if you’re looking to earn points that can be transferred to airline partners. These points hold their value quite well, and can give you some amazing premium travel experiences in the future.

For example, Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Emirates Skywards, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and many more. The opportunities to redeem these points for premium travel are endless.

Best of all, if you have Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, there is some overlap between airline partners, so in many cases, you can transfer points to the same partners from both programs.

Emirates Skywards is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner

Earn American AAdvantage Miles (Limited Time)

Separate from the standard Citi ThankYou transfer partners, for a limited time there’s an exciting additional transfer partner. Through November 13, 2021, Citi ThankYou points can be converted into American AAdvantage miles at a 1:1 ratio.

That means 80,000 ThankYou points could get you 80,000 American AAdvantage miles. That’s more than enough for a one-way business class ticket from the United States to Africa, Asia, Europe, etc., on a premium carrier like Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, or Qatar Airways. This is the best credit card bonus for earning AAdvantage miles at the moment.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways Qsuites

Maximize The Citi Double Cash

This is arguably the most compelling reason to get the Citi Premier. The no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card (review) is the single best card for everyday, non-bonused spending. The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.

While this is ordinarily a cash back card, if you have the Citi Double Cash in conjunction with the Citi Premier, then rewards can be converted into ThankYou points at the rate of one cent per point. This means you can earn 2x ThankYou points per dollar with the Citi Double Cash.

If you have the Citi Premier and Citi Double Cash you’d pay a single $95 annual fee, and you’d earn:

  • 3x points on airfare
  • 3x points on dining
  • 3x points on gas
  • 3x points on groceries
  • 3x points on hotels
  • 2x points on all other purchases

That’s incredible, and makes this one of the best credit card duos out there.

The Citi Double Cash is a great complement to the Citi Premier

Get Even More Value With The Citi Rewards+ & Citi Custom Cash

There are two other incredible no annual fee complements to the Citi Premier — the Citi Rewards+® Card (review) and the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (review). Most significantly:

  • The Citi Rewards+ offers 10% of your points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem every calendar year; this includes ThankYou points earned on other cards, meaning that 2-3x points can potentially earn you the equivalent of 2.2-3.3x points back, when all is said and done
  • The Citi Custom Cash offers 5x points on your top eligible spending category every billing cycle (on up to $500 of spending), with categories including drugstores, fitness clubs, gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, live entertainment, restaurants, select streaming services, select transit, and select travel

If you really wanted to maximize rewards you could pick up all three no annual fee complements to the Citi Premier, though even one or two could get you a long way.

Get 10% of your points back when you redeem Citi ThankYou points

Bottom Line

The Citi Premier Card is an excellent credit card that’s all too often overlooked by people. The card has a huge welcome bonus, offers some of the best 3x points categories of any card, and perhaps most exciting of all is that this card allows you to really maximize the no annual fee Citi Double Cash Card, which is the best card for everyday spending. The Citi Premier and Citi Double Cash are one of the best card duos out there.

If you don’t yet have the Citi Premier Card, I’d highly recommend applying, especially with the current best-ever bonus. There’s huge upside with the sign-up bonus, and then most people will probably see the long-term value in the card. The card has been offering an elevated welcome bonus for a couple of months now, and I can’t imagine it’ll last that much longer (purely speculation on my part).

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  1. mauipeter

    I had no problem with them. Except they keep pestering me with their loan and whatever offers. Even opened a savings account with them for 10K miles.

  2. Eskimo

    While OMAAT is pushing Citi cards every few days, they are not giving warnings of recent denials.

    I have known 3 recent denials all for the same reason.
    "Your credit report shows a high amount of unused credit compared to your available credit lines"

    As far as I know, all of them have excellent scores (very likely 800+), at least 6 figure income, under 5/24. 2 had other Citi cards, 1 had last Citi...

    While OMAAT is pushing Citi cards every few days, they are not giving warnings of recent denials.

    I have known 3 recent denials all for the same reason.
    "Your credit report shows a high amount of unused credit compared to your available credit lines"

    As far as I know, all of them have excellent scores (very likely 800+), at least 6 figure income, under 5/24. 2 had other Citi cards, 1 had last Citi card closed over 3 years ago.

    That made me too afraid to be data point number 4.

    So take this warning before you apply, it wasn't like this last year.

  3. Scranton

    815 credit and haven’t had any Citi cards open for over 3 years. I was automatically accepted, but weirdly the credit limit was only $3,000, which is too low to use this as an everyday card. Meanwhile any other credit card I apply for tries to shove $30,000 or more on me.

  4. Joe1293

    Ben,
    Why don’t you have this card?

  5. Mariah the Storm

    I applied for this card and was denied. My credit score is 850. Reason given: “your credit score shows a high amount of credit compared to your available credit lines” (does that mean I’m not spending enough?) “your credit report shows insufficient credit history on accounts” . ( I have credit cards open 10+ years including their CostCo Visa!) After calling Citi for an explanation, I came to the conclusion that Citi only wants cardholders...

    I applied for this card and was denied. My credit score is 850. Reason given: “your credit score shows a high amount of credit compared to your available credit lines” (does that mean I’m not spending enough?) “your credit report shows insufficient credit history on accounts” . ( I have credit cards open 10+ years including their CostCo Visa!) After calling Citi for an explanation, I came to the conclusion that Citi only wants cardholders who carry a balance and pay interest which I have NEVER done. Last year, Capitol One Venture also denied me their card and I suspect for the same reason. Any ideas how I can get it?

    1. James

      I have the same concern Mariah does, which is why i havnt applied yet. if anyone can respond to her question, i’m sure it’d be greatly appreciated by many.

      Thanks!

    2. Michael_CA

      I have an 805 score and I just got approved for this card. I have two other cards, a USAA signature visa rewards and a CSP. I got the CSP in May and charged too much on it carrying a balance for at least two months. I could have paid it off this month but left a small, less than $100 balance and then applied for this card on Saturday and was approved on Tuesday with a credit line of $5,600. Hopefully my mismanagement of my expenses can provide some insight.

  6. Ordinary Traveler

    I've never been able to fully get behind the Citi ecosystem. It offers a number of attractive benefits but for me I still find Chase's ecosystem the best combination of lucrative and easy to use. If it were me, I'd probably stick to a Sapphire card plus Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex. I've found that unless you were a really serious traveler, that most people just want something simple, easy to use and helpful. That's...

    I've never been able to fully get behind the Citi ecosystem. It offers a number of attractive benefits but for me I still find Chase's ecosystem the best combination of lucrative and easy to use. If it were me, I'd probably stick to a Sapphire card plus Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex. I've found that unless you were a really serious traveler, that most people just want something simple, easy to use and helpful. That's where I think that Chase shines. This article has been helpful though to consider what Citi might offer.

  7. Luke

    Thanks for the news on transfers to AA this week! By doing so just scored several round-trip tickets for JFK to Delhi, India later this year on AA flagship business for a promo web saver rate of just 55k miles each way. One of the greatest deals have managed to score ever!

  8. Zim

    @ben I have a question. I know citi let’s you transfer points to someone else up to 100k that must be used in 90 days. My question is if I had 75k citi points already in my account and someone was to transfer me 100k. Could I then transfer the 100k I received to American and that qualify as a redemption. Or would I have to also transfer my original 75k as well to satisfy that stipulation . Thanks for any insight you may have.

  9. ginger_pickle

    Multipliers are great but not the best, except for Gas, making them useless if you value Amex MR points equally.

  10. E C

    Please elaborate on how we get a 1.7 cent yield per point on Thank You points.

    1. Eskimo

      Can't because "we" never got 1.7 cents.

      Each person gets different valuation.
      Some blogs like to brag about a $20000 last minute ticket but actually booked it under saver miles 10 months ahead. Those might get you 20+ cents.
      Some who doesn't really bother playing these games would just cash out at 1 cent.

      Historically for me, I'm getting better than 1.7 cents. But I also redeem mostly international premium cabin months ahead....

      Can't because "we" never got 1.7 cents.

      Each person gets different valuation.
      Some blogs like to brag about a $20000 last minute ticket but actually booked it under saver miles 10 months ahead. Those might get you 20+ cents.
      Some who doesn't really bother playing these games would just cash out at 1 cent.

      Historically for me, I'm getting better than 1.7 cents. But I also redeem mostly international premium cabin months ahead. But if you don't put much effort into it, seems 1.5-2.0 is reasonable range and better off paying with cash if you get less than that.
      But the downside of waiting for a good valuation is you'll be sitting on large amount of points. With no 2020-2021 redemptions (but lots of refunds), my balance is getting way too big. Cheaper fare makes it even harder to justify points. Not a good position I want to be in.

    2. Andrew

      Transfer 140,000 Citi Points to American Airlines. Book a Round trip ticket to the Maldives in Qsuites. This normally costs over $4,000 so that's a 2.8 cent value.

      Transfer 120,000 points to virgin atlantic and book a first class ANA flight to Tokyo. This normally costs 20,000+ dollars. That's a 16.6 cent value.

      Book a round trip American Airlines business class flight to Europe on Etihad for 100,000 points. This can easily cost $5,000. That's a 5 cent value.

    3. Edel

      Transfer 15,000 points to Turkish for round trip flight to Hawaii on United.

  11. EC2

    Lucky,

    My only feedback is on articles regarding Citi, Chase, Capitol One and AMEX card reviews is to list the transfer partners and then to side notate if the transfer partner is common to other card transfer partners.

    1. Eskimo

      Redundant to put that on every single card articles.
      A quick search would get you what you are looking for in a nice table format.

      And if you're in this game you should know who are the "few useful" unique partners to each card, and who are "few useful" partners for more than one card.

      Half of the transfer partners are good to have but generally isn't useful.

  12. Bob

    @gstork
    The foundation of miles and travel IS credit cards.

  13. dalo

    I was interested to learn more about the Citi Premier and other Citi cards that i have given no consideration until now. I currently plan to apply for the Citi Custom Cash and accumulate TYP with that card-maybe for a few years. Then get a Citi Premier to enable transfer of points to airline programs. So thanks for the refresher Lucky!

    1. Eskimo

      I don't know what your target is and why it would take few years to spend?
      Right off the bat, you strike me as a "no annual fee card" person or "don't spend enough" person.
      If you are not, then your strategy is completely wrong.

      I suggest you get the Citi Premier now when the bonus is great, 80k is enough for many redemptions.

  14. Gman58

    Ben,
    First off... I love the look of you new website! Great design, layout, colors.... really, really sharp!
    Couple things holding me back on getting this card. It has no zero interest period, which I could probably get to work if I wasn't working to pay off the balance on my new Chase Biz Unlimited card.
    But the bigger cautionary tale are the comments I've read regarding Citi's customer service. Can you speak from any experience to that?
    Gman58

  15. gstork

    WAY too many articles on credit cards. I get that’s a big revenue stream for you. But it’s not why most of us come to your site. Please talk more about travel or airlines or even hotels.

    1. EC2

      Actually it is why many come to this site. While one could search for past articles on certain cards he’s actually doing a service by putting out actual benefits that may have changed since last post on that card. I get that it’s frustrating not having more flight and hotel reviews, but the posts on the credit cards have value. One can just skip by them. Believe me if Lucky could travel more and post more reviews he would.

  16. DenB

    For spending outside the US, the Citi Premier 3x categories all work. Sapphire restricts theirs to US-only.

    1. monopod

      Sapphire also provides bonus categories world wide. It's AMEX that restricts some categories to US only

Featured Comments Load all 25 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.

James

I have the same concern Mariah does, which is why i havnt applied yet. if anyone can respond to her question, i’m sure it’d be greatly appreciated by many. Thanks!

Mariah the Storm

I applied for this card and was denied. My credit score is 850. Reason given: “your credit score shows a high amount of credit compared to your available credit lines” (does that mean I’m not spending enough?) “your credit report shows insufficient credit history on accounts” . ( I have credit cards open 10+ years including their CostCo Visa!) After calling Citi for an explanation, I came to the conclusion that Citi only wants cardholders who carry a balance and pay interest which I have NEVER done. Last year, Capitol One Venture also denied me their card and I suspect for the same reason. Any ideas how I can get it?

mauipeter

I had no problem with them. Except they keep pestering me with their loan and whatever offers. Even opened a savings account with them for 10K miles.

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