Citi Premier Card Review: Solid Travel Rewards, But Lacking in Perks
Citi Premier℠ Card
The Citi Premier Card is worth considering if you’re looking for great travel rewards but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on travel, including at gas stations. You’ll also earn 2X points per dollar on dining and entertainment, and 1X point on everything else. It’s easy to rack up lots of points on this card. Best of all, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.
All that said, the Citi Premier Card doesn’t have quite as many travel perks and protections as other premium travel rewards cards. It’s worth your time to compare options and run your spending through the CardCruncher tool to make sure you’re getting the most rewards possible. In the meantime, read on to learn everything you need to know about the Citi Premier Card.
Citi Premier Card Highlights
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
APR: 18.24% to 26.24%
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points
- Earn 3X points per dollar on travel, include at gas stations
- Earn 2X points per dollar on dining and entertainment
- All other purchases earn 1X point per dollar
- 25% more value when you book flights through the ThankYou Travel Center with points
- Ability to transfer points to Citi’s airline partners
- Access to VIP packages to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more
- No foreign transaction fees
Citi Premier Card Minimum Payment: The greater of $25, the new balance, if it’s less than $25, 1% of the new balance, plus the current statement’s interest charges or minimum interest charges, plus late fees, or 1.5% of the new balance, rounded to the nearest dollar amount.
Citi Premier Card Fees:
- 3% for balance transfers with a $5 minimum
- 5% for cash advances with a $10 minimum
- Up to $39 for late payments
- Up to $39 for returned payments
Why Apply for the Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier Card provides decent value despite its annual fee. Here’s what we like about it:
Great rewards rates
You’ll earn 3X points per dollar on travel, including at gas stations, 2X points per dollar on dining and entertainment, and 1X point per dollar on everything else. The Citi Premier Card also offers a solid sign-up bonus worth 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Flexible redemption options
Since it’s a travel card, the Citi Premier Card’s best redemption options are for travel. That includes 25% more value if you use your points to book flights through Citi. For example, 50,000 points is worth $625 when redeemed for travel. If you’re savvy, you can also transfer points to one of Citi’s airline partners to get even better value.
Low annual fee
A lot of travel credit cards charge an annual fee, but this one has a fee of $0 the first year, then $95. This gives you plenty of time to test drive the card and determine if it’s right for you.
Citi Premier Card: Drawbacks and Downsides
While the Citi Premier Card offers great value, there are some things to consider before you apply for it:
The card doesn’t come with any major travel-specific benefits, which means you’ll get most of your value from the rewards program. Some other travel credit cards with comparable annual fees, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, offer a suite of travel protections and insurance. Those provide peace of mind and even more value if you travel often.
APR can be high
The card’s APR is 18.24% to 26.24% variable, which is above average. If you get the card’s highest rate, it could be downright expensive. It’s always a good idea to pay your balance in full to avoid interest, but that’s especially true with the Citi Premier Card.
Rewards boost is only for flights
You’ll only get a 25% boost on your points if you use them to book flights through Citi. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, for instance, you’ll get 25% more value if you use your points to book any type of travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Citi Premier Card Alternatives
If you’re on the fence about the Citi Premier Card, here are some cards you can compare it to:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a great sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. It earns a solid plus 2X points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1X point per dollar on everything else. As previously mentioned, you’ll get 25% more value if you use your points to book travel through Chase. You can also redeem your points for cash back at $0.01 per point, or transfer them to one of Chase’s many airline and hotel partners for even more lucrative redemptions. The card’s annual fee is $95.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a flat 2X miles per dollar every time you use it, and 10 points per dollar on hotels booked through hotels.com/venture through January 2020. You’ll also get 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. It also comes with an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck—that’s worth up to $100. You can redeem your miles for just about any type of travel, too. The card’s annual fee is a comparable $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, you’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days. Like the Capital One Venture, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard also earn 2X miles per dollar on all purchases, and you can redeem miles for just about any travel expense above $100. Redeeming miles is easy, too: Just use the card to pay, then redeem miles for a statement credit. You’ll even get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. The annual fee is $0 the first year, then $89.
Citi Premier Card FAQs
Here are some answers to common questions we’ve found about the Citi Premier Card:
Is Citi Premier a Mastercard?
Yes. Most of Citi’s credit cards have a Mastercard logo on them. The only exceptions are the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi and its business counterpart.
How much are Citi ThankYou points worth?
Depending on how you use them, Citi ThankYou points could be worth anywhere between $0.005 to $0.0125 apiece, and that’s just when you redeem them with Citi. If you transfer your points to one of the bank’s partner airlines and redeem that way, you could potentially get even more value.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Citi Premier Card?
The Citi Premier Card has a big sign-up bonus and great rewards rates. Still, its rewards program isn’t as valuable as Chase Ultimate Rewards. And if you’re looking for something more straightforward, you may be better off with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. As you consider each card—especially premium travel cards—compare all their features to help you decide which one is best for you. Rewards rates are great, but having extra travel insurance or lounge access can go a long way. Try out the CardCruncher tool to make sure you’re getting the most rewards possible—you don’t want to miss out.