8 Reasons To Get The Citi Premier℠ Card

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Update: This offer for the Citi Premier℠ Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Since the beginning of the month the Citi Premier℠ Card has been offering its best ever welcome bonus, and in this post I wanted to look at eight reasons you should consider applying for the card under the current offer.

Welcome bonus of 60,000 points

The Citi Premier℠ Card is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.

This is the first time we’ve seen a welcome bonus this big on the card. Previously the card offered a bonus of 50,000 points at the absolute most, though for the most part it has been even less than that. So seeing a bonus of 60,000 points is pretty special.

Annual fee waived for the first year

Like many mid-range cards, the card has a $95 annual fee, though the annual fee is waived for the first 12 months. This is a great opportunity to try the card before you buy it, so to speak. Given the card’s welcome bonus and bonus categories, it’s especially great to have the first year’s annual fee waived.

Exceptional bonus categories (up to 3x 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 mid-range card out there that offers such generous bonus categories, in my opinion.

Transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Etihad for business class redemptions

Redeem points for $750 towards travel

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.

Redeem ThankYou points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of an airline ticket

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 PartnerTransfer Ratio
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000
Avianca LifeMiles1000 : 1000
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1000 : 1000
Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles1000 : 1000
Jet Airways JetPrivilege1000 : 1000
JetBlue TrueBlue1000 : 800
Malaysia Airlines Enrich1000 : 1000
Qantas Frequent Flyer1000 : 1000
Qatar Privilege Club1000 : 1000
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000
Thai Royal Orchid Plus1000 : 1000
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1000 : 1000
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000

If you don’t otherwise have Citi ThankYou points, some of these points currencies overlap with partners of Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, making it easy to accumulate a lot of points in a single program.

Singapore KrisFlyer is partners with Amex, Chase, and Citi

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 increasing in value

I recently wrote a post sharing my general thoughts on the three major transferable points currencies. As I explained in that post, my relative valuation of Citi ThankYou points has gone up:

  • Citi has offered transfer bonuses with some regularity, including to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (Amex also offers transfer bonuses sometimes, but Chase doesn’t)
  • Citi has added several transfer partners lately, including Avianca LifeMiles, which really add value to the program

What it comes down to is that at this point I value Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points roughly equally. With Chase losing Korean Air SkyPass as a partner, I might even value those points slightly less, for the first time ever.

LifeMiles are a useful currency for all kinds of Star Alliance redemptions

A potential path to the Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige Card is one of my favorite credit cards, given that it offers a fourth night free hotel benefit that saves me thousands of dollars per year. The catch is that if you apply for this card outright there’s not actually a welcome bonus.

The future for the Citi Prestige is pretty unclear at this point, though I’d note that historically it’s possible to upgrade your Citi Premier to a Citi Prestige after a year. This would allow you to take advantage of the great points earning and welcome bonus on the Premier, while eventually transitioning to the Prestige.

Assuming things stay the way they are right now, that potentially gives you the best of both worlds.

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 opened or closed the ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, or Citi Prestige card 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.

Bottom line

If you don’t have the Citi Premier℠ Card, the card is seriously worth considering, especially given its best ever welcome bonus. The card has a big bonus, offers a great rewards structure, and in my opinion is increasing in value overall, unlike some other currencies.

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  1. Are any of these xfer partners good for flying to Scotland w/o a lot of fees? And if I cancel the card next year, would I lose my points?

  2. Shouldn’t you also point out that if you cancel the card, you get 60 days to use the points or they expire.

    I’m all for you pushing the credit cards, and I refer others to your site. But if it isn’t a balanced discussion, I’ll have to stop.

    I personally dislike the card because I wasn’t ready to transfer the points (because SQ, CX, AF, Avianca all have expiration dates if you don’t fly them (or have bought points in the case of Avianca) so I had to pay the annual fee for another year just to preserve them (even though I also have Citi Prestige)

  3. @beachfan I’m pretty sure it’s possible for you to still hold on to your thank you points as long as you had another card that can also transfer thank you points. I think the process would have been to just transfer all your thank you points into the Citi prestige thank you points account similar to how chase UR works.

    I may be wrong on this tho and maybe things have changed since I held it but I know that I was able to move my thank you points from my Citi forward to my Citi prestige when I still had the cards

  4. @Andy, I just cancelled my Citi Premier (I, too, was tired of paying the annual fee just to keep the points). I had 30 days to use or lose the points associated with my Premier card, even though both points had been merged under my Prestige account years ago. They are somehow able to track where the points come from when the accounts are combined. After much fretting, I decided the best place to park the miles was with Avianca for Star Alliance award availability, which I know I will use soon. My next challenge is to clear out the Prestige miles. . .

  5. I consistently have bad experience trying to use this card abroad: pretty much every other transaction is marked as fraud: your card is locked and you are getting a lovely call in the middle of the night local time: “did you really try to charge $4.95 in local pharmacy???” Especially so if you try to use Applepay

  6. @Beachfan @Andy @Greg, when the one year is up and you don’t want to pay another annual fee, do a product change to the Preferred Card. It’s a no annual fee card and your points stay intact. No rush to transfer or lose them. I did this last year and had no issues.

  7. By all accounts this should have been the perfect card for my wife and I, but we experienced what PolarBear described. It’s almost impossible to use then thing when actually traveling. I canceled it after our first international trip because of how embarrassing it was trying to use a card that flags almost everything as fraud even with a travel notice posted.

  8. @DW TYP points that go from a Premier to Preferred have their value crippled, ie can only transfer to Jet Blue, not other airlines. And I think the cash redemption value is less.

    If one also had a Prestige or another Premier, I think you can transfer them into that TYP account, which then sets a 60 day timer on those points to use or lose.

    Another option would be to see about a retention bonus to offset the fee.

    @Andy, definitely NOT like Chase UR

  9. I had a hard time using the points for more than 1 cent for hotels in the travel portal since the prices there are inflated vs looking on booking.com. Then it was often an adventure checking in at smaller hotels in Asia. No one had heard of thank you or their subcontractor (“connexions” I think) who then used an undisclosed 5th party to book rooms. It was embarrassing checking in and not knowing who I booked through. I also needed to make several long calls using unstable voip from places like Sri Lanka to straighten things out. Nonetheless, I still like free nights. Your mileage may vary.

  10. I downgraded to Preferred to preserve my 65k points about a year ago. Can I now ‘upgrade’ to Premier and get the 50k bonus and get more value transfer partners for the 65k points?

  11. AMEX PRG with the elevated bonus at 50K MR points with only a 2K minimum spend is a no brainer. Apply with the right link. Cancel after the first year if you don’t want to keep it.

  12. Here’s a question, maybe for the forum. If I just opened a Citi Premier today, do I need to get the Welcome Bonus posted to my account before closing my Citi Prestige (that was opened 36 months ago). Is Citi’s IT that good? Need to know re: Annual Fee upcoming Citi Prestige.

  13. @ Nick — It’s based on whether or not you have the card when you open it, not based on whether you have it after completing the minimum spend.

  14. @ Christian — If you maintain the same card number (which I think most upgrades and downgrades do) then it wouldn’t reset the clock, as far as I know.

  15. @PolarBear @BobW: If you call up Citi and setup a travel notification with specific countries and dates, may be your transactions abroad will not get blocked. I set up a travel notification with them for 5 countries in EU this summer, and none of my transactions got declined or were flagged for fraud protection. YMMV still.

  16. just used it in Japan and didn’t have any issue stated by some folks. I did receive an email for confirmation but only after I returned. Didn’t do anything before the trip either.

  17. @Ricardo Powell just curious why you didn’t do it online. I always set mine for my cards on their websites…it shouldn’t make a difference, right?

  18. @Beachfan If you downgrade your Thank you Premier or Prestige to the Preferred card, but also have a 2nd Prestige or Premier card, you can pool your points from that card you are downgrading to the Premier or Prestige card, and the points will not have an expiration date. The reason is the Preferred card still uses Thank You points, though the points are not as valuable, as mentioned, which is why you will want to pool all your points to the Premier or Prestige card.

  19. I took advantage of this (have a hefty purchase coming up and figured why not). They hit both experian AND equifax. Is this normal to do two pulls? Excessive, no? Especially when the first likely yielded ~800?

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