The best Citi credit cards of 2019

3d ago

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In the past year, Citi has made upgrades and enlarged its credit card portfolio to stay competitive with Chase and American Express. One of the biggest changes has been a revamp of its luxury Citi Prestige card, unveiled in January. Around the same time the Citi Rewards+ Card, with its rounded-up points, was introduced. We also saw higher points being offered in popular categories with the Citi AAdvantage family of credit cards.

On the flip side, Citi announced plans on June 24 to eliminate many of the shopping and travel protections that cardholders have come to expect (and rely on). Those features included protection from trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage delay and lost baggage, plus Citi Price Rewind, 90-day return protection and many others. They were discontinued on Sept. 22, 2019, across the majority — if not all — of Citi’s cards.

These changes are leaving many to wonder which Citi credit cards are worth the investment. We take a look at all of Citi’s offerings.

The best Citi credit cards of 2019:

The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Research criteria

We reviewed Citi’s credit card lineup and studied their sign-up bonuses, rewards, perks and annual fees.

Things to consider before applying for Citi credit cards:

As always, head to the TPG cards hub to see the best credit cards currently available. Now, here are more details about the best Citi credit card offers available right now.

Comparing Citi credit cards

Here’s how each of these cards stack up against each other.

Citi Premier Card

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
60,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. $1,020 None $95 $925

Citi Prestige

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
50,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. $850 $250 annual travel credit $495 $605

Citi Rewards+ Card

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. $255 None $0 $255

 

Citi® Double Cash Card

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
None None None $0 $0

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. $700 Admirals Club membership ($650); Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) $450 $1,000

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months. $700 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) $0 intro for the first year, $99 after $800

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Bonus Offer Bonus Value* Perks Value Annual Fee Total Value
70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening $980 N/A $0 intro for the first year, $99 after $980

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

Citi Premier Card

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. The bonus is worth $1,020 based on TPG’s latest valuations.

Rewards: 3x points per $1 spent on travel, including gas stations; 2x points per $1 spent on dining and on entertainment; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Benefits: As a member of the ThankYou Rewards program, you can transfer your card points to 15 Citi travel transfer partners. As a World Elite Mastercard, the Citi Premier comes with a slew of travel perks that appeal to travelers, including a $10 discount on every five Lyft rides taken within a calendar month, free two-day shipping from ShopRunner, $5 off Postmates food deliveries, a 10% discount when booking luxury homes and villas with onefinestay and access to the Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio with on-property perks like free daily breakfast.

Finally, the card comes with Personal Concierge Service and Citi Private Pass (now known as Citi Entertainment), which offers special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events — ranging from concerts and sporting events to special dining experiences and movie screenings — before the general public can buy them.

Annual fee: $95

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi Premier Card

Citi Prestige

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. That bonus is worth $850 based on TPG’s latest valuations.

Rewards: 5x for airfare and restaurants, 3x for hotels and cruise lines and 1x per dollar spent on everything else.

Benefits: The Citi Prestige got a major upgrade in January 2019 in a move to better compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. The card comes with the same airline transfer partners and World Mastercard Elite perks as the Citi Premier. With the card, you’ll receive a $250 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, cellphone protection for damage and theft and 4th Night Free hotel bookings (but only twice per calendar year as of Sept. 1).

Annual fee: $495

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi Prestige

Citi Rewards+ Card

Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening. The bonus is worth $255, according to the latest TPG valuation.

Rewards: 2x at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 you spend per year and 1 point per $1 you spend after that; 1x on all other purchases. Plus your points are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase with no caps, so if you buy a cup of coffee for $2.31, that’s rounded up 10 points. If you spend $10.99 on lunch, that rounds up to 20 points.

Benefits: Get 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. If JetBlue is your airline of choice, you can transfer your points directly to its TrueBlue loyalty program at a ratio of 5:4. Otherwise, use your points to shop at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com or redeem for other rewards.

The card comes with Citi Concierge and Citi Entertainment to help you score special access to entertainment events, dining experiences and more. Note that the Rewards+ has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you may want to leave it at home when leaving the U.S.

Annual fee: $0

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi Rewards+ Card

Citi Double Cash Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: There isn’t a points-based sign-up bonus on this card, but it does offer an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers made within the first four months of card opening (then a 15.74% – 25.74% variable APR applies), for a fee of $5 or 3% of the balance you transfer (whichever is greater).

Rewards: 2% cash back on purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% when you make payments on your purchases.

Benefits: This is a no-frills card, but 2% cash back on all purchases makes it a good choice to have in your wallet for an everyday spending card, especially when it comes with no annual fee. Unfortunately, many of the primary perks of the card were discontinued in September, including trip cancellation and interruption protection, car rental insurance, Citi Price Rewind, purchase protection and an extended warranty.

The cash back you earn can be redeemed as a check, a statement credit or a gift card or be deposited into your banking account. Also, don’t use this credit card for purchases outside the U.S., since it carries a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Annual fee: $0

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi Double Cash Card

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

If you have the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, you can spend your way to 10,000 EQMs.
If you have the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, you can spend your way to 10,000 EQMs.

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 within the first three months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, the bonus is worth $700 according to TPG’s valuation.

Rewards: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

Benefits: For those who want all the help they can get with AAdvantage elite status, this card could be the winner, since you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 on it within a year. The card comes with a free Admirals Club airport lounge membership, valued at $650 for individuals or $1,250 for a household, which more than covers the card’s annual fee. The perk allows you to bring in either two guests or immediate family members into the club.

With this card, you’ll also receive priority check-in, priority airport screening (where available) and early boarding on domestic flights for you and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation. You’ll also receive up to a $100 credit to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee and a 25% discount on eligible inflight purchases when using the card. This is a World Elite Mastercard, so you’ll get the same World Elite benefits with it as the Citi Premier. Finally, you can take this card outside the U.S., since you won’t be paying foreign transaction fees on it.

Annual fee: $450

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, the bonus is worth $700 according to TPG’s valuation.

Rewards: Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurants and gas stations and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

Benefits: You and up to four passengers traveling on your reservation receive early boarding and a free checked bag on domestic flights. You’ll also get a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more on purchases on the card during your a membership year and renew your card, plus a 25% credit for inflight food and beverages when you pay for them with the card (but note it doesn’t work for Wi-Fi). Like the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, this card also comes with Mastercard World Elite benefits.

With this card, you can also get more value for your miles by using American’s Reduced Mileage Awards. TPG covers these cheaper award routes in depth every quarter. The MileSAAver discount is 7,500 miles round-trip or 3,750 one-way for flights greater than 500 miles in distance and 2,000 miles round-trip or 1,000 one-way for flights less than 500 miles.

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Sign-up bonus: You’ll earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. Those bonus miles are worth $980, based on TPG’s current valuation.

Rewards: Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and gas stations and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

Benefits: This card comes with many of the same benefits as the personal Citi AAdvantage card, including early boarding and a free checked bag on domestic flights for you and up to four travel companions, access to Reduced Mileage Awards and MileSAAver discounts and the 25% credit for inflight food and beverages. One difference is that this is a World Mastercard and not a World Elite Mastercard, meaning it has a different tier of Mastercard benefits.

The card comes with an American Airlines companion certificate that’s good on domestic economy flights after you spend $30,000 or more in purchases each membership year and you renew the card. You’ll pay $99 to cover the ticketing fee plus another $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees. But you won’t pay a foreign transaction fee when leaving the U.S.

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)

Further Reading

APPLY HERE: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard

Bottom line

Citi looks weaker next to its competitors after the decision to slash most of its shopping and travel protections. But aside from that, it still has a solid lineup of credit cards ranging from a no-annual-fee, flat-rate cash-back card to two luxury options that come with perks to guarantee your travel experience. The AAdvantage-branded credit cards come with some nice benefits for American flyers, and the chance to redeem the miles you earn on the card for travel and seat upgrades on American and its Oneworld alliance partners makes these good options for loyal travelers.

Related rewards card categories

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