Why you should double down with the Citi Premier and Citi Rewards+

Oct 22, 2021

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Some things in life are better in twos — and that’s absolutely the case with the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Rewards+® Card.

While the Citi Premier is a great stand-alone travel credit card, you should seriously consider adding the Citi Rewards+ to achieve another sign-up bonus and earn more points on everyday spending — all for no annual fee.

This also works in reverse. If you already carry the Citi Rewards+ in your wallet currently — a no-annual-fee cash-back card — multiply your earnings by adding the Citi Premier to your wallet and make your points 1.7x more valuable (based on TPG’s valuations). Here’s the inside scoop on how this duo works.

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In This Post

Earn both sign-up bonuses

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Citi Premier comes with its best-ever offer of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. On the other hand, the Citi Rewards+ comes with 20,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,500 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Just remember that Citi has an application restriction on its ThankYou rewards cards. Opening or closing a Citi ThankYou points earning card will make you ineligible for a welcome bonus on another ThankYou points earning card for at least 24 months.

If it’s been more than 24 months since you applied for the Premier or the Rewards+ card, you’ll likely be eligible to apply for the other card and attain the sign-up bonus.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Be sure to pool all of your points in your Premier’s balance to increase the value of your rewards. On their own, the points on the Citi Rewards+ are worth 1 cent each when you redeem for gift cards. They’re worth even less if you decide to redeem your points at Amazon or Best Buy (which we strongly advise that you don’t do).

But, transfer your points to the Citi Premier, and you’ll unlock all-new redemption possibilities that are worth significantly more. The value increases from 1 cent to 1.7 cents (based on TPG valuations) because you’ll now have access to Citi’s suite of airline and hotel transfer partners, such as Avianca LifeMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

If scoring business- or first-class flights with your points — for a fraction of the cash price — sounds tempting to you, then owning both cards is a must.

Related: Better together: An ultimate guide to the best credit card pairings

Access to rewards rates that complement each other

The Citi Rewards+ is the best card for those small, routine purchases. (Photo by Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)

The next selling point of owning both cards is their complementary earning rates.

With the Citi Premier, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

The Citi Rewards+ comes with 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 per year (then 1x) and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

At first, these earning rates may seem repetitive. In general, you should be using the Citi Premier for supermarkets and gas stations (3x vs. 2x earning rate) — but there are a few noteworthy exceptions. That’s because the Citi Rewards+ comes with an interesting value proposition: Every purchase you make automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points.

That means the Citi Rewards+ is a better card for those smaller purchases — like that $2 chocolate bar — or, of course, purchases that don’t earn bonus points with the Citi Premier. Here’s a table to illustrate how this benefit works in your favor:

Purchase Using the Citi Premier Using the Citi Rewards+
$3 candy at the gas station 9 points (3x on gas) WINNER

10 points (2x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)

$41 of gas at the gas station WINNER

123 points (3x on gas)

90 points (2x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
$6 pack of cookies at the supermarket 18 points (3x on supermarkets) WINNER

20 points (2x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)

$68 grocery store purchase WINNER

204 points (3x on supermarkets)

140 points (2x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
$2 beer at a bar 6 points (3x on restaurants) WINNER

10 points (1x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)

$8 glass of wine at a bar WINNER

24 points (3x on restaurants)

10 points (1x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
$42 haircut 42 points (1x on all other eligible purchases) WINNER

50 points (1x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)

$159 flight WINNER

477 points (3x on flights)

160 points (1x earning rate plus round up to the nearest 10 points)

In sum, there are many scenarios where each card demonstrates its strengths and weaknesses. The Citi Rewards+ is an excellent card if you make those routine small purchases — perhaps you’re guilty of visiting your neighborhood café way too often and buying a $4 coffee almost every day.

If the math is too much to keep track of, you could commit to simplicity and use the Citi Premier to earn 3x on all of its bonus categories and the Citi Rewards+ for non-bonus purchases for its ability to round up to the nearest 10 points.

Related: The best credit cards with points you can combine

More redemption possibilities

As discussed earlier, all of the points you earn from the Citi Rewards+ can seamlessly be combined with your Premier balance. Then, you can transfer your points to 15-plus airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio — so 100,000 ThankYou points can turn into 100,000 points or miles with any of Citi’s transfer partners.

While you can read our extensive guides on maximizing Citi ThankYou points for travel, here’s a preview of some of our favorite ways to redeem them.

Delta One suite to Europe for 50,000 miles one-way

The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, settles into a Delta One suite aboard an Airbus A350-900. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to score a Delta One suite to Europe for 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles and only $5.60 in taxes and fees.

Qatar Qsuite to Doha for 70,000 miles one-way

Qatar QSuite on the A350-900. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

 

United economy domestic flight for 6,500 miles one-way

United 767-300 Economy
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Stretch the value of your points by booking economy jaunts. By transferring your Citi ThankYou points to Avianca LifeMiles, you can book United domestic economy flights for as low as 6,500 Avianca miles one-way.

Bottom line

Doubling down on one program can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons, but it’s especially worth it when you get to save up enough points for those dream redemptions around the world. The Citi ThankYou program is incredibly prolific, with more than a dozen international partners spanning every airline alliance.

Official application link: Citi Premier Card.
Official application link: Citi Rewards+ Card.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

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