Citi Premier® Card Review [2023]: Triple Your Travel Rewards

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
With a generous welcome offer and a great rewards rate, the Citi Premier Card can get you traveling faster. (Citi is a FinanceBuzz partner.)
Updated Nov. 27, 2023

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With so many travel rewards cards out there, it can be tough to choose the right one. As you narrow your options, consider the Citi Premier® Card as a top contender. It has an excellent rewards rate for travel purchases and a comparatively low annual fee, meaning you can rack up points faster and get to a free vacation sooner than you would with some other credit cards.

Earn Valuable Travel Points Even Faster

4.9

Citi Premier® Card

Current Offer

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

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this Citi Premier Card review:

Who should get Citi Premier Card?

The Citi Premier Card is a great choice for people who frequently travel and spend money on dining and entertainment. Cardmembers can earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases. Your points are typically worth one cent each for travel redemptions but could be worth more if transferred to a travel partner such as JetBlue, Etihad, or Emirates.

But if you don’t travel frequently and you don’t typically spend money eating out or going to events, it might make more sense for you to apply for a cashback credit card without an annual fee. Many cards allow you to earn great cashback rewards on everyday purchases that might be more valuable to you.

Keep in mind that you might also need good or excellent credit to get approved for the Citi Premier Card, so it’s not worth taking a hard inquiry to your credit report if your credit score still needs work.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Citi
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $95
Intro bonus 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
Reward rate 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Citi Premier Card benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome bonus: 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 bonus is worth $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at ThankYou.com.
  • Excellent rewards on purchases: You’ll earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Transfer points to airline loyalty programs: You can transfer your points from your Citi Premier Card to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as TrueBlue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. There’s no fee and you only need a minimum of 1,000 points to request a transfer.
  • Annual hotel savings: This credit card offers a hotel savings perk for cardholders once per calendar year. You can get $100 off a single hotel stay that's $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through thankyou.com. 
  • No foreign transaction fees: This card has no foreign transaction fees, so don't stress about this additional cost while using your card abroad.

Drawbacks to the Citi Premier Card

  • Lacking premium perks: If you're looking for premium perks like lounge access and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits, another travel rewards card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be a better option. 
  • Annual fee: As mentioned, the Citi Premier Card does come with an annual fee of $95. However, if you travel relatively often, it will likely be pretty easy to offset this cost.

Earning & redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Citi Premier Card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of one cent.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,294

Year two earnings: $694

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome offer, and the annual fee.

While the earnings you get from regular spending are already pretty generous, you'll get even more value from this card if you're able to take advantage of its annual $100 hotel savings benefit. Not bad for a card with a modest $95 annual fee. 

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn points with the Citi Premier Card is to use it for bonus category purchases. Since this card earns 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases, you would be better served using a cashback card with a higher reward rate for purchases outside of those bonus categories.

In fact, a really smart strategy would be to use the Citi Double Cash® Card to earn up to 2% cash back on any purchase that falls outside the Premier card’s reward categories. That’s because if you have both the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier cards, then you can transfer Double Cash points to your ThankYou account

So, by using a two-card strategy, you can earn a lot of rewards from Citi. Just make sure you don’t apply for both cards at the same time. Follow Citibank’s credit card application rules and wait at least eight days in between applications.

Categories Rewards rate
Restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels 3X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

You have the option to redeem your ThankYou points in several ways, including travel, gift cards, cash, or Amazon.com purchases. The ThankYou points you earn with your Citi Premier Card are typically worth one cent per point.

You might also decide to transfer your points to an airline or hotel loyalty program. ThankYou points from your Citi Premier generally transfer to all of Citi’s travel partners at a 1:1 ratio. What’s more, Citi sometimes has special bonus offers for transferring your points. For example, your points could stretch further when you transfer them to certain loyalty programs. So, it’s a good idea to always be on the lookout for new offers from Citi.

Citi transfer partners

Citi has over a dozen transfer partners, and your ThankYou rewards points will generally transfer to those partners at a 1:1 ratio. Here's a quick look at Citi's airline and hotel partners:

Travel partner Airline Alliance Min. Transfer Transfer Ratio
Aeromexico SkyTeam 1,000 1:1
Air France Flying Blue SkyTeam 1,000 1:1
ALL Accor Live Limitless N/A 1,000 1:0.5
Avianca Star Alliance 1,000 1:1
Cathay Pacific Oneworld 1,000 1:1
Choice Privileges N/A 1,000 1:2 or 1:1.5, depending on your card
Emirates None 1,000 1:1
Etihad None 1,000 1:1
Eva Air Star Alliance 1,000 1:1
Hotel Leaders Club N/A 1,000 5:1
JetBlue None 1,000 1:1 or 1:0.8, depending on your card
Qantas Oneworld 1,000 1:1
Qatar Airways Oneworld 1,000 1:1
Singapore Airlines Star Alliance 1,000 1:1
Thai Airways Star Alliance 1,000 1:1
Turkish Airlines Star Alliance 1,000 1:1
Virgin Atlantic None 1,000 1:1
Wyndham Rewards N/A 1,000 1:1 or 1:0.8, depending on your card

Citi Premier Card FAQs

Is the Citi Premier Card worth it?

If you travel at least a couple times a year, this credit card will probably be worth it to you. It offers an excellent earning rate of 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases. 

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.

Is the Citi Premier Card a Mastercard?

Yes. That means your Citi Premier Card will be accepted at 37 million merchant locations across more than 210 countries and territories.

What are Citi ThankYou Points?

Citi ThankYou Points are rewards points you earn for spending with select Citi cards, including the Citi Premier Card. You can redeem your points for all kinds of options, like cash, gift cards, travel, and more. ThankYou Points are typically worth one cent per point, though you might get more value if you transfer them to travel partners such as major airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Do Citi ThankYou Points expire?

When you earn ThankYou Points with your Citi Premier Card, your points will never expire.

Does the Citi Premier Card have a foreign transaction fee?

No, there is no foreign transaction fee on purchases made with the Citi Premier Card.

Can I have more than one Citi credit card?

Absolutely! In fact, pairing the Citi Premier Card with a $0-annual-fee card like the Citi Double Cash Card is an excellent strategy. Just make sure you follow Citibank’s credit card application rules.

Other cards to consider

While the Citi Premier® Card is an excellent travel rewards credit card, it might not be the best choice for everyone. You might consider one of these cards instead:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has many similarities to the Citi Premier Card. There’s a welcome offer of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a $95 annual fee, and its points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The main difference is that you only earn 2X points on other travel purchases with this card. However, you can transfer your points to Chase’s travel partners. By comparing the Citi Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards side-by-side, you can see which better fits your needs.

While the American Express® Gold Card has a $250 annual fee, it has many more perks than the Citi Premier Card, including a $120 dining credit toward certain restaurants and delivery apps, including Grubhub. (Enrollment required for select benefits.) 

You’ll also earn 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. So despite the annual fee, this card might be a better choice for you if you tend to spend a lot at restaurants.

Earn Valuable Travel Points Even Faster

4.9

Citi Premier® Card

Why We Like It

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

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
  • Choose your color: gold or rose gold
  • Up to $120 in dining credits per year
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash per year
  • $250 annual fee
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • See rates and fees | Terms Apply

Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.

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