Best Citi Travel Credit Cards

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Citi has a name for offering travel-related services, particularly in the credit card arena. While some of its travel credit cards are directly affiliated with American Airlines, others offer a wide range of travel benefits, from enhanced points earning capability to cash back. Given the broad assortment of cards available, it pays to take the time to filter through and decide which is the best Citi travel credit card for you. Here’s an overview of the features and benefits of the top five Citi travel card options.

Credit Card Features
Citi Premier Card
  • Best for: Overall travel rewards
  • 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3x points on air travel and at hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • 15.99% to 23.99% variable APR
Citi Custom Cash Card
  • Best for: High spending in one category
  • $200 cash bonus after spending $750 in the first 3 months
  • 5% cash back in your top eligible spend category, up to the first $500 spent per month; 1% cash back after that
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
Citi Rewards+ Card
  • Best for: ThankYou Rewards points
  • 20,000 bonus points, which can be redeemed for $200 in gift cards, after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months
  • 2x ThankYou Points at supermarkets and gas stations, up to the first $6,000 spent per year
  • 1x ThankYou Points on all other purchases
  • Points on every purchase are rounded up to the nearest 10
  • Receive 10% points back for up to the first 100,000 ThankYou Points you redeem per year
  • 13.49% to 23.49% variable APR
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • Best for: Regular travelers
  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
  • 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • 15.99% to 24.99% variable APR
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
  • Best for: No annual fee
  • 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 2x miles at grocery stores and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • 15.99% to 24.99% variable APR

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

Citi Premier Card

Best for: Overall travel rewards

The best card to maximize overall travel rewards within the Citi family is with the Citi Premier Card. For starters, new cardholders can earn a big sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months after opening an account. This provides the equivalent of $800 in free gift cards right off the bat.

However, the true value of the card is in the accruals for daily spending. The Citi Premier Card offers triple points in not just one but a number of popular spending categories, from supermarkets and restaurants to gas stations, air travel and hotels. This alone makes it a contender for one of the most valuable Citi travel cards, as it rewards not just travel costs but also general, everyday spending.

Citi Custom Cash Card

Best for: High spending in one category

If you’re looking to earn the maximum points in the areas in which you spend the most, the Citi Custom Cash Card could be just the ticket. Rather than simply providing a flat cash-back rate or offering quarterly bonus categories, this card actually pays you its maximum cash-back rate of 5% on your highest-spending category every month. For example, if you spend $500 on groceries in one month and $400 on travel, you’ll earn 5% cash back on that $500 grocery spend. If in the following month you spend $500 on travel and only $400 on groceries, you’ll instead earn 5% cash back on your $500 travel spend.

Earn More Perks From Your Credit Card

This type of cash-back structure ensures that you’ll earn the most cash back you can every single month without having to worry about where you are allocating your spending. The only caveat is that your cash back is limited to the first $500 you spend in your top category every month. However, for a card with no annual fee, this is still a generous cash-back rate.

The Citi Custom Cash Card also comes with some other perks, including a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, although there is a 5% balance transfer fee. You’ll also earn $200 cash back after spending just $750 in the first three months of card ownership.

Citi Rewards+ Card

Best for: ThankYou Rewards points

If collecting your benefits in the form of ThankYou Rewards points is your style, you might be well suited for the Citi Rewards+ Card.

This card doesn’t have an annual fee but still provides double ThankYou Rewards points at gas stations and grocery stores. All other purchases net one point per dollar spent. A 20,000-point sign-up bonus is available to new cardholders who spend $1,500 in the first three months of card ownership. Cardholders are also granted a 10% bonus on up to the first 100,000 ThankYou Rewards points they redeem per year.

For the first 15 months after you open the account, you can also avail of a 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Best for: Regular travelers

Fans of American Airlines who don’t spend their whole lives traveling may enjoy the perks of the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. Some of the card’s most valuable perks include priority boarding and a free checked bag not just for yourself but also for up to four travel companions on domestic itineraries. When compared with the card’s modest $99 annual fee, the baggage perk alone typically makes the card worthwhile, as even a couple checking one bag each on a domestic round-trip itinerary would face $120 in fees.

On top of these benefits, the card also offers a lucrative 50,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months after opening an account. Once you’re in the air, the card also gets you 25% off in-flight food and beverage purchases.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

Best for: No annual fee

Those looking for a simple, no-annual-fee credit card that still offers travel perks may gravitate toward the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card.

The card’s 10,000-mile sign-up bonus is modest, but it requires just $500 in spending in the first three months after account opening to earn it. Those meeting the minimum spend requirement will also earn a $50 statement credit.

Beyond that, the main perk of the card is the double miles it pays on grocery purchases and eligible American Airlines purchases. Cardholders also earn a 25% discount on in-flight food and beverages on American Airlines flights.

Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the best travel credit cards by analyzing the following factors: (1) annual fees; (2) APR for purchases; (3) promotional APR; (4) sign-up bonuses; (5) rewards and features; (6) foreign transaction fees; and (7) travel perks. All fees and rates are subject to change at the credit card issuers’ discretion. Some bonus offers may or might no longer be available on the credit card issuers’ websites, depending on how one accesses the webpage. Data was sourced from each financial institution’s website or promotional material between Aug. 18, 2021, and Sept. 28, 2021. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account. In order to be considered, the card had to be sponsored by an airline or have travel be an option in redemption for points/cash back.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citibank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been endorsed by Citibank.

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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