Link: Apply now for the Citi Premier® Card
There’s a lot to love about the $95 annual fee Citi Premier® Card (review), including that the card is currently offering a best-ever welcome bonus. One particularly compelling aspect of the card is that it’s the mid-range credit card with the best bonus categories, in my opinion.
In many ways the Citi Premier Card is a competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review). While there are pros and cons to both cards, a huge advantage of the Citi Premier is the superior bonus categories. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how those bonus categories work.
Citi Premier Card 3x ThankYou points bonus categories
What makes the Citi Premier Card lucrative long-term is that it offers 3x points in five different categories. The Citi Premier offers 3x points on:
- Dining & restaurants
- Gas stations
- Groceries & supermarkets
How does Citi define each of these categories? In other words, specifically, which kinds of purchases qualify, and which don’t? Let’s go over each category below. I’d also like to mention that the card is ideal for purchases abroad, given that:
- The Citi Premier has no foreign transaction fees
- The Citi Premier bonus categories apply globally, rather than being US-centric
3x points on dining & restaurants
The Citi Premier offers 3x points on dining and restaurant purchases, which generally includes cafes, bars, lounges, fast food restaurants, takeout, and delivery.
You generally won’t earn bonus points for purchases made at bakeries, caterers, and restaurants located inside other establishments (like hotels, department stores, grocery stores, discount stores, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs).
That makes the Citi Premier one of the best cards for dining and restaurant purchases.
3x points on gas stations
The Citi Premier offers 3x points on gas station purchases. This typically includes purchases of gas, as well as other gas station purchases.
You generally won’t earn bonus points for gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores, convenience stores, or other merchants that aren’t classified as gas stations.
That makes the Citi Premier one of the best cards for gas station purchases.
3x points on groceries & supermarkets
The Citi Premier offers 3x points on grocery and supermarket purchases.
You generally won’t earn bonus points for purchases made at general merchandise or discount stores, freezer or meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food and convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionary stories, and meal kit delivery services.
That makes the Citi Premier one of the best cards for grocery and supermarket purchases.
3x points on airfare
The Citi Premier offers 3x points on airfare. This includes all airfare purchased directly with airlines or through a travel agency. It’s not just ticket costs that qualify, but generally other fees associated with airline tickets as well.
That makes the Citi Premier one of the best cards for airfare purchases.
3x points on hotels
The Citi Premier offers 3x points on hotels. This includes hotels booked directly or through a travel agency. This also includes incidental purchases at hotels, and not just the room rate.
That makes the Citi Premier one of the best cards for hotel purchases. Also keep in mind that the Citi Premier offers a $100 annual hotel credit, which can be applied toward a single hotel stay of $500+ when booking through Citi ThankYou.
Maximize ThankYou points with Citi no annual fee cards
If you want to maximize the Citi ThankYou points you earn, you can’t beat having the Citi Premier Card plus some of the no annual fee Citi cards that can potentially earn ThankYou points:
- The Citi® Double Cash Card (review) can earn you up to 2x points for everyday spending, making it one of the best cards for non-bonused spending
- The Citi Rewards+® Card (review) rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 points, and can help you maximize your points by offering 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 ThankYou points redeemed every calendar year, including those earned on the Citi Premier Card
- The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (review) earns 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
At a minimum, you can’t beat the combination of the Citi Premier Card and Citi Double Cash Card, so that you can earn 2-3x points on all purchases. Picking up other cards can make a lot of sense as well.
The Citi Premier Card offers incredibly well rounded bonus categories, as you can earn triple points on gas, grocery, restaurant, airfare, and hotel purchases. When you add it all together, you can easily average multiple points per dollar spent, making this one of the most compelling mid-range cards out there.
Hopefully the above sheds some light on how each bonus category is defined, since it can sometimes get confusing to figure out which purchases qualify for each bonus category.
If you don’t yet have the Citi Premier Card, this is a fantastic time to apply.
I booked a road trip through New Zealand through an online travel agent and got the triple points for that.
I'm not sure whether that's the official rule, or if I just got lucky.
Thank you for this explanation! I totally overlooked this card and will be adding it to my CC portfolio of Amex Plat, Amex Gold, CSR, Marriott Bonvoy. This will be great for my international honeymoon to Bali later this year :) Appreciate it!!
For Airbnb bookings of $1,000 or less, the Citi Custom Cash and Premier duo is outstanding. You can overcome the 5X $500 monthly spending limit by using the Airbnb half and half payment option. You'll get 5X ThankYou Points that can transfer out to Travel partners through the Premier and become 10X. No other duo can do that for Airbnb.
True, you can get triple points on airfare purchases, BUT you give up the insurance benefits offered by Chase Ink. In my mind the insurance is a better option.
It might be worth adding a teaser regarding the to-be-opened Citi travel portal, which will offer 10X on pre-paid hotel and rental car bookings.
I got the Premier right when they were shutting down bookings on ThankYou.com, and was greatly disappointed because I didn't get the official memo. I found it by myself online. They halted bookings, card holders can still transfer points to Partners. And that's really where you get the most value anyway.