When it comes to mid-range credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card seems to be the most popular card. However, the Citi Premier℠ Card is seriously worth considering as well, and is a direct competitor.
In this post I wanted to share nine reasons you should consider applying for this card, if you’re eligible.
60K point welcome bonus
The Citi Premier Card is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.
Personally, I value these points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me those 60,000 points are worth $1,020.
60,000 ThankYou points will get you a lot of travel
Up to 3x bonus points
Purely in terms of bonus categories, I consider this to be the most well rounded mid-range card out there, as it offers:
- 3x points on travel, including gas stations
- 2x points on dining & entertainment
- 1x points on all other purchases
There’s simply not another card with an annual fee of under $100 that has bonus categories that good, in my opinion.
Transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Etihad for business class redemptions
Redeem points for $750 towards airfare
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to play the mileage game, at a minimum you can redeem Citi ThankYou points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare. So the 60,000 point welcome bonus on the Citi Premier Card will get you $750 worth of airfare, which is an awesome bonus.
Great airline transfer partners
If you like getting outsized value from your points by converting them into airline miles, then Citi ThankYou has over a dozen partners, including the following:
|Citi ThankYou Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||1000 : 1000|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1000 : 1000|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000|
|Etihad Guest||1000 : 1000|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1000 : 1000|
|Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles||1000 : 1000|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||1000 : 1000|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1000 : 1000|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1000 : 1000|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1000 : 1000|
|Qatar Privilege Club||1000 : 1000|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000|
|Thai Royal Orchid Plus||1000 : 1000|
|Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles||1000 : 1000|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000|
If you don’t otherwise have Citi ThankYou points, some of these points currencies overlap with partners of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Capital One, making it easy to accumulate a lot of points in a single program.
Transfer points to other people
One of the challenges with transferable points currencies is that you’re often limited in terms of who you can transfer points to, should you want to convert your points into airline miles in someone else’s account.
Citi has one of the most generous policies when it comes to transferring points. They let you transfer up to 100,000 points per year to another ThankYou member, and there’s no requirement that they be a spouse, member of the same household, etc. Then, in turn, those members could transfer points to their own frequent flyer account.
This gives you lots of flexibility to consolidate points that multiple ThankYou members earn. Do note that points transferred to others expire after 90 days (though by transferring to one of Citi’s partners you’ll then be subjected to their expiration policy, rather than the 90 day policy).
A points currency that’s increasingly valuable
A while back I wrote a post sharing my general thoughts on the four major transferable points currencies. As I explained in that post, my relative valuation of Citi ThankYou points has gone up over time:
- Citi has offered transfer bonuses with some regularity, including to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Citi has added several transfer partners over the past year, which really add value to the program
At this point I value Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points roughly equally.
LifeMiles is a useful currency for all kinds of Star Alliance redemptions
World Elite Mastercard benefits
The Citi Premier Card is a World Elite Mastercard, and that comes with quite a few benefits. Possibly my favorite benefits are the ones that were recently added, including with Postmates and Lyft.
For example, Mastercard World Elite cardholders receive:
- A $10 Lyft credit after every five rides taken in a calendar month
- $5 off every Postmates order of $25 or more
As someone who uses Postmates all the time, this is a perk that has saved me a lot of money already.
A potential path to the Citi Prestige Card
The Citi Prestige Card is one of my favorite credit cards. Historically I liked the card because it offered a fourth night free benefit, though this will be devalued as of later this year. On the plus side, the card now offers 5x points on dining and air travel, which are some huge bonus categories.
However, the card also has a much higher annual fee, so one strategy could be to apply for the Citi Premier Card, and then after a year you should be able to upgrade to the Citi Prestige. This gives you quite a bit of flexibility.
This would allow you to take advantage of the great points earning, welcome bonus, and lower annual fee on the Premier, while eventually transitioning to the Prestige.
A potential path to the Citi Rewards+
While you can get the Citi Premier Card in order to eventually be able to upgrade to the Citi Prestige Card, there’s another great potential option.
The card has no annual fee and offers 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on the first $6,000 spent per year), plus most interesting is that with the card they round up every purchase to the nearest 10 ThankYou points.
The card only offers a welcome bonus of up to 15,000 points, so you could always get the Premier and after a year or more downgrade it to the Rewards+.
Getting approved for the Citi Premier Card
In terms of getting approved for the Citi Premier Card, you’re not eligible for the welcome bonus if you’ve:
- Received a new cardmember bonus on the Citi Rewards+, Citi Thank You Preferred, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige, in the past 24 months
- Closed the Citi Rewards+, Citi Thank You Preferred, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige, in the past 24 months
So you’re potentially eligible if you currently have one of those cards, you just can’t have opened or closed one of them in that timeframe.
I often get asked if product changing qualifies as opening or closing a card. As a general rule of thumb, a product change would reset that 24 month clock if you get a new card number, but it shouldn’t if you don’t.
If you don’t have the Citi Premier Card, the card is seriously worth considering. The card has a huge welcome bonus, offers a great rewards structure, and in my opinion, the points are increasing in value overall, unlike some other currencies.