Citi Premier Credit Card Review

GOBankingRates Score

4.9
Quick Take: Among its suite of credit cards, Citi offers several rewards credit cards that earn you ThankYou Points, which are rewards that can be redeemed for shopping, statement credits, gift cards, travel rewards and more. With a fabulous bonus offer, 3x rewards in many popular spending categories, and a flexible points program, it's easy to get tons of value from this card, in spite of the $95 annual fee.
  • Rewards Program
    5.0
  • Bonus Offer
    5.0
  • Flexibility
    4.8
  • Travel Benefits
    4.6
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Earn up to 3x rewards points on every purchase
  • Points don't expire
  • Variety of redemption options
  • Points can be transferred to participating airline loyalty programs
  • Sign-up bonus worth up to $600

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Points are worth more for travel redemption, so this might not be the best option if you don't travel much
  • High interest rate if you don't pay your card off each month

Citi Premier Card Overview

The Citi Premier credit card is a cash back and travel rewards card that delivers tremendous value to consumers. With points that never expire, a sign-up bonus worth as much as $600, and flexible options to redeem rewards, Citi Premier is a great card to add to your wallet for everyday use. You can earn the best value on your ThankYou points if you transfer them to select travel partners and redeem for airline miles.

Who Is the Citi Premier Card Best For?

If you’re looking for a high-value rewards card that delivers 3x rewards in many popular spending categories, with no limits on the points you can earn, plus flexibility in how you can redeem those points, Citi Premier is worth considering. Some of the highlights of this card include points that never expire, a $100 hotel savings benefit yearly, and Citi Entertainment perks.

Features of the Citi Premier Card

Here are the details on some of the Citi Premier card’s best features.

Bonus Offer

Citi Premier delivers one of the most generous sign-up bonuses for any card in its class, with when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening your account. These points are worth a whopping $600 in gift cards when you redeem them at thankyou.com.

That compares favorably to Chase Freedom Flex, which offers a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months, especially if you tend to put everything on your credit card and then pay the bill when it comes due.

Citi Premier’s welcome bonus also beats out that of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card, which gives you $200 cash back when you spend $2,000 in the first six months.

Rewards Program

The Citi Premier card has several advantages as a rewards credit card. Shoppers and travelers alike will love the 3x points in multiple spending categories: restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels. You’ll also earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Unlike some cards, there is no limit to the number of 3x points you can earn in any category, so you won’t max out your bonuses. ThankYou points earned with the Citi Premier card also never expire.

It is important to note that you won’t earn 3x points if you purchase your groceries at discount superstores, dairy product stores, convenience stores, warehouse clubs, specialty vendors, or a few other types of specialty food shops. Purchases at some online grocery stores also won’t qualify for bonus points. Similarly, you won’t earn triple points for fuel purchases from warehouse clubs, convenience stores, and other merchants not classified as gas stations that happen to sell gas. However, these rules are standard with most rewards cards that offer bonus points, so it’s just something to be aware of when you plan out where and when to make these purchases if you’re using your Citi card.

Redeeming points is just as easy as earning them with Citi Premier. You can redeem your points for gift cards at thankyou.com to purchase whatever you’d like. You can choose the Shop with Points option at BestBuy.com or Amazon.com, which can help you save money on everything from everyday purchases to appliances, electronics and even clothing. You can also transfer points to a partner airline loyalty program. Additionally, you can redeem Citi ThankYou points for cash, at a rate of 1 cent per point. So, if you cash in 60,000 points, you’ll receive a $600 statement credit, direct deposit, or check by mail.

Flexibility

The flexibility of the Citi Premier card, with so many different ways to redeem points, is worth mentioning. The card also allows you to choose your own due date and add authorized users to the card to help accrue points faster. That’s why this card earns high marks for flexibility.

But let’s talk about its travel partner program, which is perhaps one of the most flexible features of the card. You can take your ThankYou points, combine them with ThankYou points earned from other Citi cards you might hold, and also transfer points to one of Citi’s 17 airline partners, for no fee. Keep in mind that you’ll need at least 1,000 points to initiate a transfer.

CNBC Select calls Citi ThankYou points “arguably some of the most valuable points around.” If you use your points for a Shop with Points purchase, trade them in for a gift card, or get cash back, you should be able to get at least 1 cent per point.

But if you take advantage of the airline transfer program, you should be able to earn even more. That’s why Citi Premier gets such high marks as a travel credit card.

Travel Benefits

You’ll get the best points exchange rate when you use your ThankYou points with Citi travel partners. But the card also includes a host of other travel benefits, along with the 3x points on travel, gas, and restaurants — not to mention supermarkets if you are the type of traveler who likes to rent a vacation home and cook some meals yourself.

Citi Premier also has no foreign transaction fees, which makes it a great card for travel abroad, as well.

In addition, the card offers a $100 hotel savings benefit each calendar year, allowing you to save $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more if you book through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANK-YOU. Keep in mind that the $500 total does not include taxes and fees, and you must prepay for your stay using your Citi Premier card and/or ThankYou points. Best of all, if you have to cancel your stay for any reason, you won’t lose the $100 benefit — it will be available for you to use at another time during the year.

If you’re looking for benefits like travel insurance, lost luggage insurance or rental car insurance, you won’t find them with Citi Premier, which is why the card earned a score of a 4.6 in the travel benefits category.

Citi Premier Card vs. Other Options

The valuable points, flexible travel partner program, and the fact that points never expire and there is no limit to the number of bonus points you can earn in each category all set Citi Premier apart as an easy-to-use travel credit card. To help you choose the credit card that best suits your needs, here’s a look at how Citi Premier stacks up against other options you might consider.

Citi Premier vs. American Express Blue Cash Everyday

The Citi Premier card is at least as good as American Express Blue Cash Everyday if you’re comparing rewards cards in this class. However, Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee, compared to Citi Premier’s $95 annual fee. Blue Cash Everyday also has a fabulous introductory offer with 0% APR for the first 15 months.

But for the long haul, the Citi Premier card delivers downright better rewards, with 3x rewards in four popular categories. Blue Cash Everyday only offers 3% cash back at supermarkets and 2% at gas stations and select department stores, with a $6,000 limit on grocery purchases that earn 3%.

Citi Premier vs. Citi Double Cash

If you’re considering another card in the Citi family, you might look into Citi Double Cash. Citi Double Cash recently transitioned to delivering ThankYou points to cardholders, but just as with Citi Premier, you can still redeem those points for cash back. Citi Double Cash is a straightforward card since you’ll receive 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your bill. Plus, there’s no annual fee.

However, if you use your Citi Premier card enough, it should be easy to rack up the 9,500 points that will cover the $95 annual fee. Every point after that is pure profit. You’d need to spend just over $3,000 in bonus spending categories or $9,500 on other purchases, which are worth 1 point each.

Citi Double Cash has an 18-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers, which Citi Premier does not. If you’re looking to transfer a high-interest balance to get out of debt faster, Citi Double Cash is a good call. But if you’re looking for a high-value travel rewards card, your better investment is the Citi Premier card.   

Is the Citi Premier Card Right for You?

For frequent travelers looking for a card with a flexible rewards structure, Citi Premier could be one of the best cards to carry. No foreign transaction fees add even more value for international travelers. However, if you’re looking for a 0% APR to make a large purchase and pay it off over time, there are better options.

Good To Know

It’s important to be aware that the Citi Premier card carries a variable APR of between . So if you don’t pay off your balance when it comes due each month, you’ll quickly see the value of those bonus points evaporate in interest charges.

Citi Premier Card FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Citi Premier card.
  • Does Citi Premier waive the annual fee?
    • Citi Premier does not waive the annual fee. However, the 60,000-point welcome bonus translates to $600 cash back or $600 in gift cards. Therefore, as long as you meet the spending threshold of $4,000 in the first three months, your annual fee is covered by your bonus points in the first year.
  • What are Citi ThankYou points worth?
    • At their base rate, Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent per point when you redeem them. But you can maximize points by transferring them to any of Citi's travel partners, where they can be worth even more.
  • What is the foreign transaction fee on Citi Premier?
    • Citi Premier has no foreign transaction fee, making it a great travel rewards credit card for international travelers.

Information is accurate as of March 13, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in the article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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