Home Credit Cards Citi Premier Card: The Underappreciated Hero Of The ThankYou Cards

Citi Premier Card: The Underappreciated Hero Of The ThankYou Cards

by joeheg

The Citi Premier Card is the mid-level entry in the Citi ThankYou family. It fits between the Citi Prestige (no longer available to new applicants) and the no-annual-fee Citi Rewards+ cards. This was the first of the Citi cards Sharon or I signed up for, and we both still have it.

Each of the Citi cards has valuable properties, but it’s the Premier that is indeed the powerhouse of the bunch when it comes to the bang for your buck.

Here are the details of the Premier card:

Citi Premier℠ Card

Annual Fee 

$95 per year

Sign Up Benefits

The Citi Premier is currently offering 60,000 ThankYou points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months after opening your account with this link. Citi has rules about applying for cards in the same family. Here are the requirements from Citi’s website:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier/Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

Spending Bonus Categories

The Citi Premier has plenty of opportunities to earn multiple points per dollar spent. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 in the following categories.

  • Supermarkets
  • Restaurants, including takeout
  • Gas Stations
  • Air Travel
  • Hotels
  • Travel Agencies (This is a hidden bonus category)

Citi’s terms state that charges with travel agencies will earn 3 points per dollar so it still is possible to earn bonus points for otherwise non-bonused travel spending. I learned of this glitch when a reservation booked with Rocketmiles coded as airfare. The card earns one point per dollar for all other types of spending.

No Foreign Transaction Fees 

As you would expect from a travel credit card, the Citi Premier card does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier earns ThankYou points, which are a type of flexible (transferrable) point. Citi has made these points more valuable by consistently adding travel partners. Currently. you can transfer points to the following programs:

  • Aeromexico
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Etihad Guest
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Eva Air
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Intermiles
  • JetBlue (fixed value program)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Sears Shop Your Way (1 point = 10 SYW points)

If you’re a U.S.-based flyer, you notice there are not many airlines you know on this list, like American, Delta, or United. You’re right. That’s not to say there isn’t value to be had with some of these partners; you just really need to know what you’re doing to book the flights you want and get a good return. Here are some examples of how you can book flights in the U.S. with the available transfer partners:

  • United Airlines flights can be booked with Singapore & Turkish miles
  • Delta Airlines flights can be booked with Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic miles

If you don’t want to learn about all the ways to transfer points, you could always use your ThankYou points to book travel (flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and activities) through the ThankYou Rewards portal. You’ll get 1 cent for each ThankYou point when using this method. It’s better than the other options available like getting gift cards, redeeming for merchandise or concert tickets.

Combining points with other ThankYou accounts

Only Citi Premier or Prestige offer transfers to airline and hotel partners. You can transfer ThankYou points from other Citi cards to the Premier and then transfer points to any of the partner programs.

$100 Hotel Savings Benefit

Once per year, you can receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through the ThankYou travel portal. To get the savings you need to pre-pay for your stay using either the Citi Premier card, ThankYou points or a combination of the two. The savings will show up at the time of booking. This benefit can not be combined with the 4th night free from the Citi Prestige card.

If you’re thinking about using this benefit, make sure to check prices elsewhere before booking. Also know that by using a third-party website you will not receive hotel loyalty points or status benefits during your stay. (Some hotels will provide on-site benefits to program members as a courtesy but they’re under no obligation to do so.)

Extra Perks

Having any Citi card will get you access to the Citi Entertainment events. These are either events exclusive for Citi cardholders or access to presale and preferred tickets for concerts and sporting events.

Final Thoughts

The Citi Premier Card may be the best overall card in the ThankYou program. It offers many bonus point categories, and it’s quite easy to rack up points without having to try very hard. With a 60,000 point sign-up bonus, it may be a good idea to apply if you are eligible under Citi’s guidelines.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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