Better together: Why the Citi Premier and Rewards+ cards are a great pair
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
Some things in life are better in twos — and that’s absolutely the case with the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees) and the Citi Rewards+® Card (see rates and fees).
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.
Earn two sign-up bonuses
The Citi Premier comes with a welcome offer of 60,000 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 25,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,500 on 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.
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 redeem your points at Amazon or Best Buy (which we strongly advise you don’t do).
However, if you transfer your points to the Citi Premier, you’ll unlock all-new redemption possibilities 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.
Plus, having both cards can make your redemptions more valuable in another way because the Citi Rewards+ Card offers 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year. Reports have shown that if you have the Citi Rewards+ Card, you'll also get 10% points back when you redeem ThankYou Points from a linked card.
This means that if you have both cards, you can link your accounts and get the best of both worlds: 10% points back, access to many transfer partners, and redemptions for airfare through the Citi travel portal at a redemption value of 1.25 cents.
Related: Better together: An ultimate guide to the best credit card pairings
Boost your points-earning
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+ 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, Premier and Rewards+ cardholders can earn 10 and 5 points per dollar, respectively, on hotel, car rentals and eligible attractions (excluding air travel) through the Citi Travel portal through June 30, 2024.
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 smaller purchases — like that $2 chocolate bar — or 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).
477 points (3 points per dollar on flights).
|160 points (1 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).|
The Citi Rewards+ is an excellent card if you make those routine small purchases — perhaps you’re guilty of visiting your neighborhood cafe too often and buying a $4 coffee almost daily.
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.
Related: The best credit cards with points you can combine
Access more redemption options
As discussed earlier, all 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.
Read more: When and how to book Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
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.
Related: How Qatar Airways’ new 787-9 business class compares to Qsuite
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 few as 6,500 miles one-way.
Doubling down on one program can be beneficial for many 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 over a dozen international partners spanning every airline alliance. With the unique ability to round purchases up with the Rewards+ card and the Premier's generous bonus categories, now could be a great time to leverage this dynamic duo as you look to plan future trips.
For more details, check out our full reviews of the Citi Rewards+ and the Citi Premier.
Official application link: Citi Premier Card
Official application link: Citi Rewards+ Card
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson.