Why you should double down with the Citi Premier and Citi Rewards+
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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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+ — a no-annual-fee cash-back card — multiply your earnings by adding the Citi Premier to your wallet and make your points 1.8 times more valuable (based on TPG’s valuations). Here’s the inside scoop on how this duo works.
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Earn both sign-up bonuses
The Citi Premier comes with a welcome offer of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on 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 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
In addition, the Citi Rewards+ just added another piece to the sign-up bonus. New cardholders can earn 5 points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, on up to $6,000 in combined spending for the first 12 months (1 point per dollar thereafter).
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.
Be sure to pool all of your points in your Premier card’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).
However, 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 1.8 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.
Access to rewards rates that complement each other
The next selling point of owning both cards is their complementary earning rates.
The Citi Rewards+ earns 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 per year (then 1 point) and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. In addition, for a limited time, new cardholders can earn 5 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent on air travel and hotels in the first 12 months (then 1 point per dollar).
At first, these earning rates may seem repetitive. However, the new offer on the Citi Rewards+ means that, if you apply for the card today, you may want to use it for air travel and hotel purchases. That's because you'll earn at a higher rate than the Citi Premier — until you hit that $6,000 spending mark. Thereafter, you should shift back to the Premier to utilize the bonus-earning rate on flights and hotel stays.
In general, you should be using the Citi Premier at supermarkets and gas stations (3 points versus 2 points per dollar) — 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 (3 points per dollar on gas)||WINNER
10 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
|$41 of gas at the gas station||WINNER
123 points (3 points per dollar on gas)
|90 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)|
|$6 pack of cookies at the supermarket||18 points (3 points per dollar at supermarkets)||WINNER
20 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
|$68 grocery store purchase||WINNER
204 points (3 points per dollar at supermarkets)
|140 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)|
|$2 beer at a bar||6 points (3 points per dollar at restaurants)||WINNER
10 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
|$8 glass of wine at a bar||WINNER
24 points (3 points per dollar on restaurants)
|10 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)|
|$42 haircut||42 points (1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases)||WINNER
50 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points)
|$159 flight||WINNER (for existing Rewards+ cardholders)
477 points (3 points per dollar on flights)
|WINNER (for new Rewards+ cardholders in first 12 months)
800 points (5 points per dollar 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 cafe 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 3 points per dollar 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.
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 guide 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
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. Availability is typically very limited, but if you're flexible on dates and can plan far in advance, you might be able to snag a fantastic award.
Qatar Qsuite to Doha for 70,000 miles one-way
Another Citi transfer partner that can offer great value is Qatar Airways' Privilege Club program. One-way flights in Qsuite (the carrier's business-class product) from any U.S. gateway to Doha, Qatar (DOH), require just 70,000 miles. You can also add connecting flights to other destinations for a reasonable number of miles — like the Maldives for 85,000 miles or Cape Town, South Africa (CPT), for 95,000 miles.
United economy domestic flight for 6,500 miles one-way
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.
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. And with an enhanced bonus offer on the Citi Rewards+ card, now could be a great time to leverage this dynamic duo as you look to plan future trips.
Official application link: Citi Premier Card
Official application link: Citi Rewards+ Card