The Citi Premier® Card is a travel credit card suited for both frequent and semi-frequent travelers. We like that it has a generous welcome offer and how its earning categories cater to both travel and common everyday expenses, such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee, which isn’t high compared to some luxury travel cards with annual fees around $400 or more. But a lower fee means you miss out on premium travel perks, including airport lounge access.
Let’s dig into the Citi Premier benefits to see if this is the right travel rewards credit card for you.
- The Citi Premier earns Citi ThankYou Points, which can be combined with points earned from other applicable Citi credit cards.
- Your ThankYou Points don’t expire, and there’s no limit to how many points you can earn.
- The Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee.
- Citi has over a dozen transfer partners, including Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- The Citi Premier has no foreign transaction fees.
Citi Premier credit card benefits
The Citi Premier is arguably Citi’s most popular travel credit card. It’s not a premium travel credit card, meaning it doesn’t provide loads of additional benefits, such as airport lounge access or a general travel statement credit each year. But that also means you can expect a lower $95 annual fee.
If you compare credit cards from other credit card issuers, including Chase, American Express, and Capital One, you’ll find that travel cards with a similar annual fee tend to have a decent number of benefits plus some useful ways to earn points on your purchases. This is exactly how the Citi Premier is set up, along with a few unique benefits.
You can earn 60,000 bonus thankyou® points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening; plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 thankyou® points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the citi travel℠ portal through june 30, 2024.
The Citi Premier welcome bonus can vary depending on what Citi is offering, but you can typically find it has an above-average bonus for new cardholders. The spending requirement is normal for this type of travel card, and the number of points you can earn is generous.
Learn more in our full Citi Premier Card review.
The Citi Premier provides 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases.
As a travel card, it’s not surprising that you can earn some bonus points on certain travel purchases. But the other bonus categories tend to align with everyday purchases, which is helpful for earning points on common expenses.
Let’s say you spend an average of $2,000 per month on purchases that fall into the 3X categories (restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels). That’s 6,000 points per month and 24,000 points over the course of a year.
We think Citi ThankYou Rewards points are worth at least 1 cent per point, so that’s at least $240 (24,000 x 0.01) worth of points you can redeem toward travel or something else.
As a Citi Premier cardholder, you can redeem your Citi ThankYou Points for:
- Transfer partners
- Gift cards
- Cash-related redemptions
- Charitable contributions
- Sharing rewards points
In general, Citi ThankYou Points are worth at least 1 cent per point if redeemed for travel. This includes using the ThankYou travel portal, where you can book airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, and more. It also includes the option to transfer points to hotel and airline partners, where your redemption value can vary but could go much higher than 1 cent per point.
Travel redemption options are often the best bet for maximizing your value with Citi rewards points, especially considering that you might get lower than 1 cent per point with cash-related or shopping redemptions. This could include using your points to pay for Amazon purchases.
Transfer partners are typically loyalty programs of airlines and hotels that partner with a credit card rewards program so cardholders can convert their travel rewards from one currency to another. For example, you can transfer your Citi ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines and receive KrisFlyer miles.
The Citi transfer partners include:
We often find that taking advantage of travel partners can result in the best way to maximize your redemption value with different credit card rewards, including Citi ThankYou Points.
One example of how you can increase your redemption value by using a Citi transfer partner is by transferring some points to Choice Privileges. With the Citi Premier card, you get an excellent 1:2 transfer ratio with Choice. This means for every 1,000 Citi points you transfer, you get 2,000 Choice points.
Choice points, like many hotel program currencies, generally have a low value — below 1 cent per point. But you can find some gems, like this one, at the Hotel Christiania Teater, Ascend Hotel Collection in Oslo, Norway.
The cash price is $239 for this one-night stay or 20,000 points. That’s an average value of about 1.2 cents per point ($239 / 20,000 = 0.01195).
But remember, you only need 10,000 Citi points to equal 20,000 Choice points. So the valuation would be a much higher 2.4 cents per point ($239 / 10,000 = 0.0239), which is well above average.
Hotel savings benefit
The Citi Premier provides an annual hotel savings benefit of $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (not including taxes and fees) each calendar year. You have to book through ThankYou.com or call 1-800-THANKYOU and pre-pay the entire stay with your Citi Premier Card, ThankYou Points, or a combination of the two.
This might not be the most useful travel benefit for you unless you frequently have hotel stays that cost $500 or more. That might be the case if you aren’t a budget traveler, have long hotel stays, or have to book more expensive rooms to fit your family.
Citi card members can receive exclusive access to experiences and presale tickets through the Citi Entertainment program. That means you can use the Citi Premier to access presale tickets to concerts, sporting events, and other experiences before the general public.
World Elite Mastercard benefits
Citi doesn’t publish what World Elite Mastercard benefits are available on the Citi Premier. But some of the most common benefits associated with World Elite Mastercards include:
- A complimentary ShopRunner membership
- Lyft credits
- Fandango Rewards
- DoorDash benefits
- Access to a 24/7 travel concierge service
- Access to exclusive experiences from Mastercard
No foreign transaction fees
With the Citi Premier, you don’t have to pay any foreign transaction fees. This means no worrying about a fee that’s attached to any transactions you make with a credit card while abroad.
In some cases, that could mean paying 3% extra with every credit card transaction. So if you were to pay $2,000 while on vacation with friends or family, that’s $60 in foreign transaction fees that you could keep in your wallet.
Does the Citi Premier card have lounge access?
No, the Citi Premier doesn’t provide any airport lounge access. For a Citi credit card with lounge access, consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. This card provides an Admirals Club Membership, giving you and up to two guests access to about 50 lounge locations worldwide.
Is it worth it to upgrade to the Citi Premier card?
It could be worth upgrading to the Citi Premier if:
- You want a card with no foreign transaction fees.
- Your spending habits align with its bonus categories.
- You can take advantage of an upgrade offer.
In many cases, it might not be worth upgrading to the Citi Premier because you’ll likely miss out on a welcome bonus.
Is Citi Premier a World Elite card?
Yes, it’s a World Elite Mastercard, which means it provides some World Elite Mastercard benefits. Citi doesn’t publish which specific Mastercard perks you receive, but it’s common to have access to a 24/7 concierge service, exclusive experiences, and offers from partners.
There are a variety of Citi Premier benefits, but we think its welcome bonus, earning potential, and transfer partners are some of its top perks. Taking advantage of these benefits, especially if your everyday purchases align with the Citi Premier spending categories, can help you easily offset the $95 annual fee and more.
The Citi Premier is one of our top travel card recommendations. See what else makes the list with our selection of the best travel credit cards.
Earn Valuable Travel Points Even Faster
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening; Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024
3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases