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My Ranking of the Top Citi Travel Credit Card Offers

by on December 10, 2012 · 25 comments

in American, Citi, Credit Cards

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Update: Most Citi AAdvantage 50K offers have expired as reported in this FlyerTalk thread, though there is a live offer for the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® for 50,000 miles after $3,000 spent within the first 3 months.

Offer Expired: December 13, 2012

This is a post in my series ranking the top travel credit cards from the major banks. Other posts include: My Ranking of the Top American Express Travel Credit CardsMy Ranking of the Top 12 Chase Travel Credit Card Offers, and My Ranking of the Top US Bank Travel Credit Cards.

Last week I wrote about the top offers on Chase travel credit cards going on right now, but Chase isn’t alone with promoting some lucrative credit card deals.  Since the three verified 50,000-mile sign-up bonuses for Citi AAdvantage cards are coming to an end later this week on December 13, 2012, I thought I’d write a post ranking the top Citi cards including their sign-up bonuses, other perks they offer, annual fee and the range of values you can get from signing up and using them.

I will list both business and personal cards since Citi is somewhat flexible about allowing individuals to open business credit cards and filing as sole proprietorship with their own social security number. So even if you don’t have a business but you think you might open a business in the future, it’s a good idea to separate your personal expenses from your business ones, and you can explain that to any Citi reps you might have to talk to if your application is flagged.

Your valuations might differ from mine since very credit card product depends on what you spend money on and what you hope to use your points/miles for. These are my personal valuations, and I don’t have all of these cards myself, so if you have one (or several) that you use, please feel free to share your comments, especially if you have tips that can help other TPG readers learn to use these cards to maximize the points and miles they earn. My values are also on the conservative side, so  a lot of people should be able to get more than what I’ve outlined below – and I welcome your feedback on your own use of points.

Also just a note: When making these calculations, I am not including the benchmark base spending of 1 mile/point per dollar spent, just anything above that, for instance getting 2 American AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on flights rather than just 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.

Note: Many of these are my affiliate links, but to the best of my knowledge I have highlighted the best offers out there.  If anyone knows of better public offers, please share them and I will update the post with them. As always, this is a free site, so I greatly appreciate it if you use my links.

Citi offers numerous American Airlines cards, meaning the potential for numerous bonuses

Card: Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 American AAdvantage miles after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Your first eligible checked bag is free, priority boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year, earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount every cardmembership year when you spend $30,000 or more on eligible purchases
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year.
Value Range: I value American AAdvantage miles at approximately 1.9 cents each, so the 50,000 sign-up bonus off the bat is about $950 in value (its enough for a one-way business class award from US to Europe, for example). Let’s say you maxed out both the spending to earn the $100 flight discount plus 10,000 AAdvantage miles back if you redeem 100,000 miles on itineraries for another $190. Finally, if you check bags two times a year for two people, that’s $25 per bag, so $100 total. The value you’re looking at is around $1,340, however just note the increased spend required to get this value versus the first two unofficial offers.
Expiration of Offer: Not specified

Card: Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature Card
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in 3 months
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year; earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount every cardmembership year when you spend $30,000 or more on eligible purchases; reduced mileage awards; priority Boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases; first checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companions; Visa Signature benefits
Annual Fee: $85 waived the first year
Value Range: I value American AAdvantage miles at approximately 1.9 cents each, so the 50,000 sign-up bonus off the bat is about $950 in value (its enough for a one-way business class award from US to Europe, for example). Let’s say you maxed out both the spending to earn the $100 flight discount plus 10,000 AAdvantage miles back if you redeem 100,000 miles on itineraries for another $190. Finally, if you check bags two times a year for two people, that’s $25 per bag, so $100 total. The value you’re looking at is around $1,340
Expiration of Offer: This offer is available – and much discussed – via this FlyerTalk thread, so I cannot vouch for it or verify it, but a lot of people have reported success in getting 50,000 miles. I know many people are too wary to apply for a credit card offer through an unmarked linked through an internet forum, so there are other 50,000 mile offers available, but they require more spend (read below).

Card: Citi Select AAdvantage American Express – offer has expired December 13, 2012
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 miles when you spend $2,500 in 4 months
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year; earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount every cardmembership year when you spend $30,000 or more on eligible purchases; reduced mileage awards; priority Boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases; first checked bag free for cardholder and up to 4 companions
Annual Fee: $85 waived the first year
Value Range:I value American AAdvantage miles at approximately 1.9 cents each, so the 50,000 sign-up bonus off the bat is about $950 in value (its enough for a one-way business class award from US to Europe, for example). Let’s say you maxed out both the spending to earn the $100 flight discount plus 10,000 AAdvantage miles back if you redeem 100,000 miles on itineraries for another $190. Finally, if you check bags two times a year for two people, that’s $25 per bag, so $100 total. The value you’re looking at is around $1,340
Expiration of Offer: December 13, 2012

Card: Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard
Type: Business
Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 American AAdvantage miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembershi.
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Admirals Club membership privileges; 10,000 elite miles when you spend $40,000 on eligible within a calendar year; your first eligible checked bag is free, priority boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases; SmartChip technology; no foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee: $450
Value Range:I value American AAdvantage miles at approximately 1.9 cents each, so the 50,000 sign-up bonus off the bat is about $950 in value. Admirals Club membership is worth between $350-$500 per year depending on your elite level, since AA discounts it for elites. If you spend the $40,000 needed to get the 10,000 bonus elite qualifying miles, I’d value them at $600. If you were to take advantage of all the perks and spending threshold bonuses, I’d put the value of this card at about $1,550.
Expiration of Offer: Not specified

Card: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage World Mastercard
Type: Business
Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 American AAdvantage miles after $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership
Category Spending Bonuses: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and on purchases in select business categories including office supply, telecommunications and car rental merchants; 1 mile per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Earn 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus with renewal of annual cardmembership; earn a domestic economy American Airlines Companion Certificate each year of cardmembership when you spend $30,000 or more in purchases and renew your cardmembership – redeeming certificate costs $120.60-$142.20; your first eligible checked bag is free, priority boarding with Group 1 privileges* and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases.
Annual Fee: $95 waived the first year
Value Range: With the sign-up ($950) and category spending bonuses and 5% annual mileage bonus (minus the annual fee) and a companion certificate I’d value at about $300 (minus the fees) by maxing out the $30,000 in spend, I’d put the value around $1,345.
Expiration of Offer: This offer is available – and much discussed – via this FlyerTalk thread, so I cannot vouch for it or verify it, but a lot of people have reported success in getting 50,000 miles. I know many people are too wary to apply for a credit card offer through an unmarked linked through an internet forum, so there are other 50,000 mile offers available, but they require more spend (read below).

Citi just launched the Hilton Reserve card, which is a formidable competitor to the Amex Hilton Surpass

Card: Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Signature
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: Two weekend night certificates, each good for one weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at most hotels and resorts within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, after $2,500 in eligible purchases within the first 4 months.
Category Spending Bonuses: 10 points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio; 5 points for every $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases; 3 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Card Perks: Automatic Hilton HHonors Gold status; Diamond status with $40,000 annual spend; no foreign transaction fees, SmartChip technology; Visa Signature benefits; cardholders who spend $10,000 annually get an anniversary free weekend-night certificate as well that can be used at any property; GLON discount award redemption rates
Annual Fee: $95
Value Range: Those two free weekend nights are good at any Hilton property in the world including top-tier Waldorf Astorias. If you use them smartly, you could be getting easily $350 per night out of them. Then let’s say you max out the $40,000 spend to get Hilton Diamond status you’d be getting all the valuable perks elite status confers like free internet and breakfast, plus another free weekend night certificate (another $350) and the ability to redeem GLON awards for as much as 25% off, which I’d value at $300. Taking all of this into consideration, I’d say you’re getting at the very least $1,700 if you maxed out perks.
Expiration of Offer: None

Card: Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 HHonors points after $1,000 spent in the first 4 months
Category Spending Bonuses: 6 points per $1 at Hilton properties; 3 points per $1 at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores; 2 points per $1 on everything else
Card Perks: Automatic Silver status; fast track to HHonors Gold Status after four stays within your first 90 days of cardmembership; GLON reduced awards
Annual Fee: $0
Value Range: The sign-up bonus on this card isn’t that impressive, but considering the low spending requirement and no annual fee, plus the ability to redeem reduced GLON awards and the automatic Silver status, it’s got a pretty decent raft of benefits. The sign-up bonus alone is worth $280 (I value Hilton points at .7 cents a piece), plus, if you’ve got 4 Hilton stays you can plan within 90 days of getting the card, you’ll get Gold status, which I’d value at about $150, bringing the total value to around $430.
Expiration of Offer: None

Card: Citi Gold AAdvantage Visa Signature
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $750 in 4 months
Category Spending Bonuses: None, 1 AAdvantage mile per $1 on all purchases
Card Perks: Priority boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases, first checked bag free, Visa Signature benefits.
Annual Fee: $50 waived the first year.
Value Range: Though the spending requirement is low, the sign-up bonus is as well, at just 25,000 miles, which I’d value at $475. If you’re looking for some quick AA miles and to dump the card before the $50 annual fee (which is sort of high for a card with a low bonus and few benefits like this), this could be a good card for you.
Expiration of Offer: None for now.

Citi Thank You points can be redeemed for merchandise and travel, though not transferred into airline or hotel loyalty programs

Card: ThankYou Premier
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months
Category Spending Bonuses: 1.2 ThankYou points per $1 spent when you use your card at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, commuter transportation and parking merchants; 1 point per $1 on everything else.
Card Perks: Redeem points for travel at 1.33 cents each (they cannot be transferred to any airline or hotel loyalty programs); annual complimentary domestic companion ticket (within the contiguous USA) and a 15% discount when booking air travel through Spirit Incentives, no foreign transaction fees, sliding anniversary points bonus ranging from 1-3%; SmartChip technology.
Annual Fee: $125 waived for the first year.
Value Range: Let’s say you planned to use all 25,000 bonus sign-up points on travel, they’d be worth $332.50. Then if you spend $1,000 a month at supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores (and the other bonus categories), you’d be looking at 14,400 for the first year, adding $191.52 in value to the card. If you decide to renew the card after the first year and pay the $125 annual fee, you’ll get a 1% bonus on points for the first year – or just 144. Altogether, that’s an added value of $193.44, enough to outweigh the annual fee…but not by much. Your total value just from the sign-up bonus and minimum spend would be between $359-$364.
Expiration of Offer: None.

Card: ThankYou Premier with 2x Points
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent on all purchases for the first 24 months
Category Spending Bonuses: After first 24 months, 1.2 ThankYou points per $1 spent when you use your card at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, commuter transportation and parking merchants; 1 point per $1 on everything else.
Card Perks: Redeem points for travel at 1.33 cents each (they cannot be transferred to any airline or hotel loyalty programs); annual complimentary domestic companion ticket (within the contiguous USA) and a 15% discount when booking air travel through Spirit Incentives, no foreign transaction fees, sliding anniversary points bonus ranging from 1-3%; SmartChip technology.
Annual Fee: $125 waived for the first year
Value Range: This is an interesting offer that popped up recently where instead of 1.2 points per $1 in bonus categories, you get 2 points per $1 on everything for the first 2 years with no spending requirement to meet. With the other card offer, you’d have to spend $2,000 and you’d get a total of between 27,000-27,400 ThankYou points depending on how much of that spend was on bonus categories. To meet that with this offer, you’d need to spend between $13,500-$13,700 to earn as many ThankYou points. If my aims were a short-term bonus, I’d get the other offer, but if this is a card you plan on carrying for a while and really maxing out that 2 points per $1 bonus in the first 2 years, this offer could be the better choice for you.
Expiration of Offer: None.

Card: ThankYou Preferred
Type: Personal
Sign-Up Bonus: 20,000 points after you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Category Spending Bonuses: None
Card Perks: Redeem points for travel and gift cards at 1 cent each, or 1.33 cents each towards airfare if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier card (they cannot be transferred to any airline or hotel loyalty programs);  sliding anniversary points bonus ranging from 1-3%.
Annual Fee: $0
Value Range: You can redeem these points at 1 cent each for travel and gift cards, or 1.33 cents each towards airfare, so including the spending requirement of $6,000 total, you’d end up with 46,000 points equivalent to $460-$612 in value – a potential 10% return on your investment.
Expiration of Offer: None.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Andrew

    The link to the Citi Platinum Visa (#1) is not correct. In the first post of the Flyertalk thread they have the correct link.

  • Dave Op

    I got Citi AA Visa and Amex 50,000-mile offer by spending $2,500 within 4 months a few months ago. How long do I have to wait for me to get the Citi AA Visa & Amex 40,000 mile after $3000 and $10,000 after $10,000 spend? Do I have to wait the usual 18-20 months, or is the other offer considered different?

  • Cindyscott

    are you sure aa american express card also have 10,000 redemption rebate?

  • http://umlawgator.blogspot.com/ Chad M

    Thanks for the great rundown! I’d read elsewhere that the Citibank time limit between applications was 60 days, not 6 months as stated here, just wanted to confirm if you were certain about the 6 months. I’m just about 90 days from my last apps and will skip Citi this time if I’m unlikely to get approved.

  • rural

    If you’ve already gotten the AA Visa and Amex, does that preclude you from the bonus on the Mastercards?

  • Samuel

    you have to to wait the usual 18-20 months. It is the same card, just a different spend requirement.

  • http://twitter.com/mikehamilton mikehamilton

    For someone who (like me 12 months ago) wants the Citi Executive card, but wants to grab the 50k miles with lower spending limits and can afford to wait the cool-off period, you could grab one of the first two Citi AA card 50k/$2500 cards, and then convert it later. That’s what I did last year with the 75k bonus on the Citi Visa, then converted it to Citi Executive card. Easy way to avoid the $3k/$10k split for the full 50k bonus.

  • phil

    It is 60 days & not 6 months.

  • Eric

    Thanks, we fixed it.

  • Matt B

    Yeah, I have 65 days lodged in my brain from various flyertalk threads. Pretty sure it is around 60-65, not 6 months. Unless Brian has some new information the rest of us are not privy to.

  • http://umlawgator.blogspot.com/ Chad M

    Thanks Phil and Matt B! I appreciate it. I’m good on that time frame to go for the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage World Mastercard this week.

  • Arnoldpalmer2

    I did both of the 75K Citi AA offers… Which cards can I sign up for now? I’m confused..they all seem to be the same cards except for the business mastercard

  • The Points Guy

    Yes – it’s a benefit on the personal cards, and I confirmed it on the Amex specifically with a call to Citi.

  • Justin

    What’s the difference between #1 and #3? They both look like Citi Platinum Select Visas.

  • Marty Dee

    The preferred is only 1.33 towards airfare if you have the Thank You premier and prestige cards.Has this changed? Otherwise it’s the normal 1%

  • The Points Guy

    It’s the same card – #3 has a verified 50,000-mile bonus, but the spending requirement is higher.

  • Fanfoot

    If you get turned down, remember that Citi isn’t Chase. You probably won’t get anywhere on the phone call, though I’m not saying don’t try. You have a much better chance of overturning the decision by writing them at:

    CitiBank Executive Review Department, P.O. Box 6000, Sioux Falls, SD 57117

  • Fanfoot

    Thanks for this, and for the whole series! I’m only a month into my current churn so still queuing things up for next February. Sounds like I’ll have a variety of cards I can go for, will have to do some more research. I’ve done the (old) AAdvantage Elite World MasterCard, the AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard, and the CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard so the next obvious targets are the VISA Select and Amex cards. Have to see what offers are available when the time comes, but I’ve bookmarked this page as a future reference.

    Sounds like Citi isn’t like Chase and you don’t want to have to call them to shuffle credit around, so seems likely I should cancel one of my current cards beforehand. Paying off the Platinum Select early now and thinking I’ll call in next week and kill it. 6+ months in, not my oldest card (the World Elite). Not that certain about when to cancel etc though honestly, especially given I’ll be applying for a new AA card from Citi within a couple of months. Still lots of things to learn I guess…

    I will say one of the things I’d want to be careful about is the T&C’s on these offers. Are any/all of these only valid if you are not a current AA card holder? I’ve certainly run into cases with “unverified offers” that I clicked on without having access to the T&Cs that had such requirements, and thus was bounced by Citi and had to wait 60+ days before talking to them again. Would be helpful to highlight this sort of thing in posts like this…

  • Pingback: Reminder: 50,000 American Miles Bonus Offers on Citi Credit Cards Ends Tomorrow | The Points Guy()

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  • Jeremy

    I just applied for and was approved for the Citi Hilton card today and wanted to get an AA card soon. Can I do that today? Not sure if the two browser trick was required to do that or just two of the same card. Thanks!

  • zbird

    You’re missing a key benefit of the Citi Thank You Premier — Travel Points. When you book airfare using the Citi Card, you get 1 Travel Point per mile flown on the flight, in addition to 1 Thank You point per dollar spent. The Travel Points sort of sit in an account and are then redeemed for Thank You points at a 1:1 ratio every time you spend a dollar on the card. So between Thank You points per dollar spent and Travel Points redeemed per dollar spent, you’re effectively getting 2 Thank You points per dollar spent, as long as you fly enough to have Travel Points banked at all time.

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