The best Citi credit cards of 2020

May 25, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card offers. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

Over the last couple of years, Citi has adjusted its credit card portfolio in an attempt to stay competitive with Chase and American Express. It’s probably time to take a fresh look at whether your current Citi credit cards are working for you, as well as whether any new Citi cards may be worth adding to your wallet. Today we’ll examine some of the best cards from Citi’s sizeable portfolio so you can decide.

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The best Citi credit cards of 2020

In This Post

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 Through Aug. 22, 2020: 3x points on travel including gas stations; 2x points on restaurants and entertainment

Starting Aug. 23, 2020: 3x points on air travel, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations

$95
Citi Prestige® Card Dining, airfare and travel perks 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening Priority Pass Select membership; 5x points with airlines, travel agencies and restaurants; fourth night free on hotel stays up to twice a year; $250 annual travel credit; Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years (up to $100) $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 ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year (then 1x); earnings rounded up to nearest 10 points; 10% points back on the first 100k points you redeem per year $0
Citi® Double Cash Card Flat-rate earning None 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay) $0
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Costco members None 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (then 1%); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel No annual fee with your paid Costco membership
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
American Airlines 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 or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years (up to $100) $450
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select®
World Elite™ Mastercard®
American Airlines flyers 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening 2x miles at gas stations, restaurants and on eligible American Airlines purchases; first checked bag free for you and up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights $99
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
American Airlines business flyers 65,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first four months of account opening 2x miles with telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, at gas stations and on eligible American Airlines purchases; first checked bag free for you and up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights $99, waived first 12 months

The information for the Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum 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.

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: Best sign-up bonus

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

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $1,020 based on TPG’s latest valuations. If you apply between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you’ll get an additional three months to hit the spending requirement.

Rewards: Through Aug. 22, 2020, you’ll earn 3x points on travel including gas stations; 2x points at restaurants and on entertainment; and 1x points on all other purchases. But, with upcoming changes on the Citi Premier, starting Aug. 23, 2020 you’ll earn 3x points on air travel and hotels as well as at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and 1x points on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $95

Benefits: There are many reasons to get the Citi Premier Card. A top reason is that the Citi Premier is a member of the ThankYou Rewards program, which means you can transfer your points to any of Citi’s airline transfer partners. Plus, there’s no fee to add authorized users to your card, no foreign transaction fees and you can tap to pay since you’ll get a contactless chip-enabled card.

And starting Aug. 23, 2020, you’ll get a $100 hotel savings benefit once per calendar year when you book a hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com. The Citi Premier also provides access to Citi Entertainment, so you’ll have the ability to purchase tickets to thousands of events before the general public can buy them.

For more details, see our card review of the Citi Premier.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier

Citi Prestige Card: Best for dining, airfare and travel perks

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $850 based on TPG’s latest valuations. If you apply between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you’ll get an additional three months to hit the spending requirement.

Rewards: 5x points with airlines, travel agencies and restaurants; 3x points with hotels and cruise lines; and 1x points on everything else.

Annual fee: $495

Benefits: The Citi Prestige has access to the same Citi ThankYou transfer partners as the Citi Premier. As a Citi Prestige cardholder, you’ll get a $250 annual travel credit (which can also be used at supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2020), Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and cellphone protection when you pay your monthly bill with your card. Plus, you’ll get a complimentary fourth night at a hotel of your choice twice each year when booking through thankyou.com. And, you can get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years.

For more details, check out our card review of the Citi Prestige Card.

Related reading: The Platinum Card from American Express vs. Citi Prestige Card

Citi Rewards+ Card: Best for earning extra points

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $150 in gift cards, although if you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige it’s worth $255 based on TPG’s latest valuations. If you apply between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you’ll get an additional three months to hit the spending requirement.

Rewards: 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 you spend per year (1x after that) and 1x ThankYou points on all other purchases. 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. And, if you spend $10.99 on lunch, that rounds up to 20 points.

Annual fee: $0

Benefits: You’ll 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, you can get 1 cent per point in value when you redeem for gift cards. However, if you pair the Citi Rewards+ with 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 Citi Rewards+ may be right for you if you’re looking for a contactless card that allows you to tap to pay. Note that the Rewards+ has a 3% foreign transaction fee though, so you’ll want to leave it at home when leaving the U.S.

For more information, check out our card review of the Citi Rewards+ Card.

Related reading: What credit score do you need to get the Citi Rewards+ Card?

Citi Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate earning

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben/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 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 all purchases (1% when you buy; 1% when you pay)

Annual fee: $0

Benefits: This is a no-frills card, but 2% cash back on all purchases makes it a good choice for an everyday spending card, especially because it comes with no annual fee. The cash back you earn can be redeemed as a check, a statement credit, a gift card or be deposited into your banking account. For these reasons, it has made our list of the best cash-back cards.

You can also convert cash back earned on the Citi Double Cash card to ThankYou Points via a linked ThankYou account. TPG values this solid cash-back card as one of the best rewards credit cards on the market because of its solid earning and flexibility. You’ll need an excellent credit score to get the Citi Double Cash Card though, and you won’t want to use this credit card for purchases outside the U.S. because it imposes a 3% foreign transaction fee.

For more details, see our card review of the Citi Double Cash Card.

Related reading: Citi Double Cash vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Best for Costco members

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: None

Rewards: 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on everything else. Cash back is provided as an annual credit card reward certificate once your February billing statement closes, redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco Warehouses (including Puerto Rico).

Annual fee: No annual fee with your paid Costco membership

Benefits: With many consumers preferring cash-back rewards, the Costco Anywhere Visa may be worth a spot in your wallet. The card has no foreign transaction fees and offers warranty protection that can extend eligible manufacturers’ warranties by two years. Plus, your card doubles as your Costco membership ID.

For more details, see our card review of the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

Official application link: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Best for American Airlines lounge access

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

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, this bonus is worth $700 according to TPG’s valuations. If you apply between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, you’ll get an additional three months to hit the spending requirement.

Rewards: Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else. Plus, spending on your card that posts to your AAdvantage account between May 2020 and December 2020 will count toward your Million Miler balance.

Annual fee: $450. Citi is offering customers whose accounts were open as of March 31, 2020, a one-time $225 statement credit upon card renewal. There’s no fee for up to 10 authorized user.

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 up to $650 for individuals or $1,250 for a household. The perk allows you to bring two guests or immediate family members into the club — and authorized users of the card also have access.

You can get more value for your miles as a cardholder by using American’s reduced mileage awards. Plus, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation will get your first checked bag free when traveling on domestic American Airlines itineraries. You’ll also receive a credit of up to $100 to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee every five years. Finally, you can take this card outside the U.S., since you won’t be paying foreign transaction fees.

For more information, see our card review of the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

Official application link: Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Best for American Airlines flyers

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurants and gas stations, and 1x miles on everything else. Plus, spending on your card that posts to your AAdvantage account between May 2020 and December 2020 will count toward your Million Miler balance.

Annual fee: $99

Benefits: The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select has many benefits. For example, you and up to four passengers traveling on your reservation receive your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries. You’ll also get a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more on purchases on the card during your membership year and renew your card.

This card also offers the same reduced mileage awards as the Citi/AAdvantage Executive Card, so check to see if your desired destinations are on the list whenever you’re ready to put the new sign-up bonus to use. And, the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. For these reasons, it has made our list of the best travel rewards credit cards.

To learn more, check out our full review of the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.

Official application link: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard: Best for American Airlines business flyers

Sign-up bonus: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, this bonus is worth $910 according to TPG’s valuations.

Rewards: Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations, and 1x miles on everything else.

Annual fee: $99, but the fee is waived for your first 12 months

Benefits: The most valuable perk of this business credit card is likely the first checked bag free for you and up to four passengers traveling on your reservation on American Airlines domestic flights. You’ll more than make up for the fee if you avoid just four checked bag fees each year.

You’ll also get a $99 American Airlines Companion Certificate for domestic main cabin economy travel if you spend $30,000 or more with your card during a cardmembership year, renew the card and keep your account open for at least 45 days after your account anniversary date. You’ll have access to book reduced mileage awards and won’t need to pay foreign transaction fees if you use your card abroad.

For more details, see our full card review of the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select.

Official application link: CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

How we chose 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.

Here are some aspects to consider when applying for Citi credit cards:

As always, head to the TPG cards hub to see the best credit cards currently available.

Related reading: How to choose the right credit card for you

Recent changes to Citi Cards

Citi has made some significant changes to its cards over the last few years. One of the biggest changes was the significant refresh of the Citi Prestige Card that was announced in January 2019. Around the same time, the Citi Rewards+ Card, with its rounded-up points and 10% rebate on redemptions, was introduced. And Citi introduced higher earning rates in select categories on some of its cobranded AAdvantage credit cards.

And, the changes have continued. You can now transfer your Citi Double Cash Card rewards to ThankYou Points. But, Citi eliminated many of the shopping and travel protections from its cards in September 2019. And, Citi recently announced upcoming changes to its Citi Premier Card.

Some of the changes have been positive, such as improved earning. But card benefits and perks have slowly decreased, leading some Citi Prestige cardholders to move to other cards.

Related reading: Is Citi ThankYou Rewards the most underappreciated and misunderstood program?

Frequently asked questions about Citi credit cards

Which Citi credit card is the best?

The best Citi card for you depends on what you are looking for in a card. But, three of the most popular Citi credit cards are the Citi Premier Card for its earning and ability to transfer rewards to Citi ThankYou airline partners, the Citi  AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard for the benefits it provides while flying American Airlines and the Citi Double Cash Card for its earning on everyday spending.

Related reading: 9 signs a credit card isn’t the right one for you

What is the easiest Citi card to get?

Citi currently offers two credit cards that it classifies as “credit building credit cards”: the Citi® Secured Mastercard® and the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card. Although it’s unclear exactly what type of credit score is needed to be approved for these cards, they should be the easiest to get in Citi’s portfolio.

The information for the Citi Secured Mastercard and the Citi Rewards+ Student 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.

Related reading: How to earn points and miles with fair to poor credit

Does Citi give instant approval?

When you apply for a Citi card, you may be approved (or rejected) within a few minutes or you may need to wait a few weeks for a decision. If you aren’t instantly approved, you may still be approved once Citi processes your application further or by calling Citi’s reconsideration line.

Related reading: The guide to credit card application restrictions

Can I request a credit limit increase with Citi?

It is possible to request a credit limit increase online for most Citi credit cards. To check whether your card is eligible and request a credit limit increase if your card is eligible, log into your online Citi account. Hover over Services on the top navigation bar and click on Credit Card Services. Then, under Card Management, click on Request a Credit Limit Increase. You’ll be taken to a page that will either state you aren’t eligible or will ask for updated information on your total annual income and monthly mortgage or rent payment.

Related reading: What happens if you go over your credit limit?

Bottom line

Citi may look a bit weaker next to its competitors after slashing most of its shopping and travel protections in late 2019, but 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 enhance your travel experience. And, the AAdvantage-branded credit cards come with some nice benefits for American flyers as well as the ability to redeem the miles you earn on the card for travel on American and its partners.

Related reading: The best rewards credit cards

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.