This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Today Citi made some updates to the Citi Premier Card, including a lucrative new sign-up bonus offer, a reduced annual fee, and improvements to the bonus spending categories. You can now earn 50,000 ThankYou Points after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s a huge improvement from the previous bonus, which you couldn’t earn fully until your second year as a cardholder.
I value ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents apiece, so I think the sign-up bonus alone is worth $800. However, the other recent changes make it even more attractive. For starters, Citi lowered the annual fee from $125 to $95, and will continue to waive that fee for the first year. That puts ThankYou Premier more in line with its main competitor, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
As for the bonus categories, Citi increased the bonus to 3x points per dollar spent on travel, and broadened the travel category to include gas and a wide range of other expenses. In addition to airlines, hotels, and travel agencies (which were already included), you’ll now earn 3x ThankYou Points for spending on car rental agencies, gas stations, commuter transportation, taxi/limousines, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, time shares, bus lines, motor home/RV Rental, and boat rentals.
The one casualty among today’s updates was a decrease in the bonus for dining and entertainment purchases, which now earn 2x points per dollar instead of 3. However, the list of qualifying expenses hasn’t changed, and still includes restaurants and select entertainment merchants, such as sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores, and video rental stores. You’ll also still earn 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.
Other benefits — like no foreign transaction fees and the 25% bonus on redemptions through the Citi ThankYou Travel portal — remain unchanged.
Citi has made great strides in the travel rewards space over the past year by bolstering the ThankYou Rewards program with 11 new airline transfer partners and adding quality benefits to its premium product, the Citi Prestige Card. Having recently launched an increased sign-up bonus for Prestige, it makes sense for Citi to reintroduce this offer for the ThankYou Premier card and bring in award travelers who are interested in the program, but prefer the lower annual fee.
Despite the improved redemption options, I still think ThankYou Rewards falls a bit short of Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. However, the program is just one or two major transfer partners short of breaking out. If Citi could bring American Airlines AAdvantage into the fold along with another hotel partner (even an unspectacular one like Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards, or Best Western Rewards), I think ThankYou Rewards would become much more popular.
Nonetheless, this sign-up bonus for the ThankYou Premier Card is a no-brainer, especially with the relatively low spending requirement and minimal hassle required to earn it. I’m not sure why Citi felt compelled to lower the bonus on dining and entertainment — since keeping it would have put the card firmly ahead of Sapphire Preferred — but overall I think the improved bonus for travel purchases outweighs that decrease.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees