How to maximize the Citi Premier®’s 4 bonus categories

Sep 10, 2020

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Almost every credit card has a unique value proposition.

Whether it’s luxury travel perks, strong cash-back earning or an array of category spending bonuses, there is likely a card catered to fit your needs. The Citi Premier® Card falls into that last bucket and is arguably one of the best when it comes to its relevant and rich categories.

Recently, Citi changed up its category bonuses on the Premier — adding on things intended for everyday spending but also eliminating select categories too. Here are the current Citi Premier® bonus categories and how you can maximize earning ThankYou points. The information for 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.

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Related: Citi Premier® credit card review

The refreshed category bonuses

As of mid-August 2020, Citi changed the category bonuses that you’ll earn for new Premier card applicants. The good news is that Citi added two new categories that will help you earn ThankYou points faster.

(Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Restaurants and supermarkets are key spending categories that have long been dominated by cards such as the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Citi is clearly trying to carve a niche in this area while still maintaining 3x points at gas stations and select forms of travel.

While the above categories are fairly straightforward, know that it’s up to the merchant to assign the correct code for you to receive bonus ThankYou points. Citi notes that:

…you won’t earn additional points for purchases made at general merchandise/discount superstores, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food/convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionery stores, and meal kit delivery services. You also won’t earn additional points for purchases made at online supermarkets if the merchant does not classify itself as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant code.

Related: How to ensure you earn bonus points for grocery purchases

Finally, cardholders will now also begin receiving an annual $100 hotel credit, eligible on purchases of $500 or more made through Thankyou.com. That’s a nice bonus — and new as of summer 2020. 

Screeshot courtesy of Citi
Screeshot courtesy of Citi

Eliminated categories

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news on the category bonus front. Citi eliminated the bonus on entertainment purchases (previously 2x) and the broad category of travel (previously 3x).

Related: Everything you need to know about Citi Entertainment 

Entertainment was a unique category that covered movies, sporting events, museums, tourist attractions and more. While the Citi Premier® Card still earns 3x ThankYou points specifically on air travel and hotels, other forms of travel — such as car rentals, transit, tolls and more — are no longer included.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Air travel still counts for the 3x bonus category (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The caveat for select existing cardholders

If you’re a current Citi Premier® cardholder who applied before April 10, 2020, you’ll still have through April 10, 2021, to enjoy the now-eliminated bonuses. Essentially, you’ve been grandfathered in on the 2x on entertainment and 3x on the broad category of travel for another year.

Related: 4 reasons the Citi Premier® Card should be on your short list

What points do you earn?

If you’ve been waiting to get the Citi Premier® Card, now might be a good time. Currently, you can earn 60,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, 60,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,020 when transferred to Citi’s travel partners.

You could also use the 60,000-point sign-up bonus to book $750 of paid airfare through the ThankYou travel center. (This will drop to $600 after April 10, 2021.) This also allows you to earn miles and elite qualifying credit with the airline.

Related: Everything you need to know about ThankYou points

Bottom line

There are now many ways to earn 3x ThankYou points with the Citi Premier® card, and by understanding exactly which categories they are, you can use this card to its fullest potential. However, note that entertainment and the broad category of travel are no longer eligible for bonuses.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

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