The best Citi credit cards of 2020
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card offers. It was originally published on Oct. 11, 2019.
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Over the last couple of years, Citi has upgraded and expanded its credit card portfolio in an attempt to stay competitive with Chase and American Express. One of the biggest changes was a significant revamp of it’s high-end Citi Prestige® Card, unveiled in January 2019. 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 issuer’s AAdvantage family of credit cards.
However, it hasn’t been all good news. Citi also announced plans 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. Today we’ll take a look at all of Citi’s offerings.
The best Citi credit cards of 2020
- Citi Premier℠ Card: Best sign-up bonus
- Citi Prestige® Card: Best for travel
- Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Best for earning extra points
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate earning
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®: Best for American lounge access
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: Best for regular American Airlines flyers
The information for the Citi Prestige and the Citi Premier 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.
Comparing the best Citi credit cards
Here’s a quick snapshot of how these cards stack up against each other.
|Credit Card||Best For||Bonus||Key perks/benefits||Annual Fee|
|Citi Premier℠ Card||Sign-up bonus||60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening||3x points on eligible travel purchases (including gas); 2x points on dining||$95|
|Citi Prestige® Card||Travel||50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening||Priority Pass Select membership; 5x on eligible airfare and dining purchases; fourth night free on hotel stays||$495|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Card||Earning extra points||15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening||2x points at supermarkets on up to $6k per year (then 1x); earnings rounded up to nearest 10 points||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Flat-rate earning||None||2% cash-back on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay your statement)||$0|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®||American lounge access||50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening.||Admirals Club membership plus access for authorized users; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit||$450|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||Regular American flyers||60,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening.||2x miles at gas stations and restaurants; first checked bag free on domestic AA flights||$99|
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these cards to see if any of them deserve a spot in your wallet.
Best Citi credit cards
Citi Premier Card
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The bonus is worth $1,020 based on TPG’s latest valuations.
Rewards: 3 points per $1 spent on travel, including gas stations; 2 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 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 and a 10% discount when booking luxury homes and villas with Onefinestay.
Finally, the card comes with Personal Concierge Service and Citi Entertainment (formerly Citi Private Pass), 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
- Credit card review: Citi Premier Card
- 5 reasons to get the Citi Premier Card
- Maximizing the Citi Premier Card
APPLY HERE: Citi Premier Card
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases 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. However, you’ll earn 5x points for every dollar you spend on airfare and at restaurants along with 3x points at hotels and cruise lines. With the card, you’ll receive a $250 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, cell phone protection for damage and theft and fourth night free on paid hotel stays twice per calendar year.
Annual fee: $495
- Credit card review: Is the Citi Prestige worth it?
- Citi Prestige vs. Citi Premier
- Now that the Citi Prestige offers 5x, which card should you use for dining?
Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The bonus is worth $150 in rewards, though if you also have the Premier or Prestige, it’s worth $255 based on 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. However, if you pair this card with either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, the earnings can be combined into a single ThankYou Rewards account, thus making them transferable to Citi’s airline partners.
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
APPLY HERE: Citi Rewards+ Card
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 13.99% – 23.99% 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. Plus cardholders can convert the cash back they earn on the Citi Double Cash card to ThankYou Points via a linked ThankYou account.
Also, don’t use this credit card for purchases outside the U.S., since it carries a 3% foreign transaction fee. Still, TPG values this solid cash-back card as one of the best rewards credit cards on the market today.
Annual fee: $0
APPLY HERE: Citi Double Cash Card
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases 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 earning 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 — and authorized users of the card (free to add) also have access.
You can also get more value for your miles as a cardholder 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.
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
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, the bonus is worth $840 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 card, this one also comes with World Elite Mastercard benefits.
This card also offers the same Reduced Mileage Awards as the Executive card, so be sure to see if your desired airports are on the list whenever you’re ready to put the new sign-up bonus to use.
Annual fee: $99
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard review
- 5 lesser-known benefits of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard
How we choose the best Citi credit cards
We reviewed Citi’s credit card lineup and studied their sign-up bonuses, rewards, perks and annual fees. This included both the cards that participate in the ThankYou Rewards program as well as the issuer’s cobranded card lineup. One TPG writer even believes that Citi ThankYou Rewards is the most underrated program out there.
However, there are a number of things to consider before applying for Citi credit cards:
- RIP: Citi removes most travel and shopping protections
- Citi slashes benefits on most — if not all — cards
- Citi Premier: Should this be your next card?
- 5 things to understand about credit before applying for cards
- 3 key considerations for improving your credit score
- Debunking credit card myths: Does applying for a card permanently impact my credit score
- Avoiding late payments and other silly credit card mistakes
As always, head to the TPG cards hub to see the best credit cards currently available.
Citi may look a bit weaker next to its competitors after the decision to slash most of its shopping and travel protections. In spite of 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.
- Best travel credit cards
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- The best credit cards for dining rewards
Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy
- Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
- New! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
- Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
- Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees