Better together: Why the Citi Premier℠ Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Card are a great pair
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The Citi Premier℠ Card is one of my favorite mid-tier credit cards. Between solid earning, access to valuable Citi ThankYou Rewards points and a respectable sign-up bonus, the Citi Premier Card is the perfect card if you want to earn Citi ThankYou Points with more transfer partners but don’t want to pay the $495 annual fee (see rates & fees) of the Citi Prestige® Card.
However, you can improve your everyday Citi ThankYou Points earnings by pairing the Citi Premier Card with the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, which was introduced earlier this year. Likewise, if you currently have the Citi Rewards+ Card, you should consider adding the Citi Premier Card to your wallet to increase your earnings as well as the redemption value of your ThankYou Points. Here are all the reasons these two cards belong in your wallet together.
The information for the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige 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: The best Citi credit cards of 2019
The Citi Premier Card offers the following bonus categories:
- 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel (including most gas stations)
- 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment
- 1 ThankYou Point per dollar spent on everything else
The Citi Rewards+ Card offers the following bonus categories:
- 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent at gas stations and supermarkets (on the first $6,000 per year; then 1 ThankYou point per dollar thereafter)
- 1 ThankYou Point per dollar spent on everything else
- Earning on all purchases is rounded up to the nearest 10 points
- Earn 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points redeemed each year
So, if the Citi Premier Card and Citi Rewards+ Card are the only cards you use, you’ll want to use the Citi Premier Card for travel, gas, restaurant and entertainment purchases. And, you’ll want to use the Citi Rewards+ Card for supermarket purchases and other everyday purchases.
The Citi Rewards+ Card gets the nod over the Citi Premier Card for everyday purchases because the Citi Rewards+ Card rounds the earnings for all purchases up to the nearest 10 points. This rounding means you’ll almost always earn more than 1 ThankYou® Point per dollar spent on everyday purchases, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot.
By using the Citi Premier Card and Citi Rewards+ Card strategically for different types of expenses, you can earn:
- 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel and gas with the Citi Premier Card
- 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment with the Citi Premier Card
- At least 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent at supermarkets with the Citi Rewards+ Card for the first $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1x)
- At least 1 ThankYou Point per dollar spent on everything else with the Citi Rewards+ Card
- At least 10 points on every purchase put on the Citi Rewards+ Card
All Citi ThankYou Rewards cards earn Citi ThankYou Rewards Points. But, unless you hold a ThankYou Rewards card that earns ThankYou Points with more transfer partners like the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier Card, these points are worth up to 1 cent each when used toward select redemptions like gift cards, statement credits and Pay with Points. Without a card that earns ThankYou Points with more transfer partners, you can’t transfer your ThankYou points to any ThankYou travel partners besides JetBlue.
So, if you currently have the Citi Rewards+ Card, your ThankYou Points will become more valuable if you get the Citi Premier Card and link your accounts. Having the Citi Premier Card will allow you to transfer your points to more transfer partners, which can unlock some excellent sweet spots. Or, if you prefer the simplicity of booking travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center (travel is provided by Connexions), your ThankYou Points will have a redemption value of 1.25 cents apiece toward airfare if you have the Citi Premier Card.
And if you currently have the Citi Premier Card, getting the Citi Rewards+ Card can make your redemptions more valuable. That’s because the Citi Rewards+ Card offers 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year. And, 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 also have the Citi Premier Card, you can link your accounts and get the best of both worlds: 10% points back as well as access to many transfer partners and redemptions for airfare through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center at a redemption value of 1.25 cents.
After the changes Citi made across its credit card portfolio in September, the Citi Premier Card still offers two types of protection for purchases made with your card:
- Theft and Damage Purchase Protection: Within 90 days of purchase or delivery, covers lesser of purchase amount and $10,000 per incident, cap of $50,000 per year per account
- Extended Warranty: Extends manufacturer’s warranty by 24 months, will repair or replace the item or reimburse up to the lesser of the purchase amount or $10,000 per item
While the Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t have shopping or travel protections, it offers new cardholders a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of account opening, and a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months from the date of first transfer; after that will be a variable APR of 13.49% – 23.49% based on your credit worthiness (see rates & fees). Balance transfers must occur within 4 months of account opening, and there’s a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the balance transfer, whichever is greater (see rates & fees).
Cost of adding a new card
The Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t have an annual fee (see rates & fees), so there’s no direct monetary cost to adding the card to your wallet. Plus, the card currently features a modest sign-up bonus of 15,000 ThankYou Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this sign-up bonus has a redemption value of about $255 when you transfer points if you also have the Citi Premier Card.
The Citi Premier Card, on the other hand, has a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees). This card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, this sign-up bonus has a redemption value of about $1,020 when you transfer your points to one of Citi’s loyalty partners.
Since the Citi Premier Card offers 3x earning on travel and gas, let’s consider how much you’d need to spend in just these categories to earn ThankYou Points valued at $95 when redeemed at Citi’s transfer partners. Obviously this is a conservative estimate, since the card’s perks and earning in 2x and 1x categories may also provide value.
If you plan to transfer your points to transfer partners, you can estimate the redemption value of Citi ThankYou Points at 1.7 cents each using TPG’s latest valuations. This means you’d need to earn 5,589 points on travel and gas spending to justify the $95 annual fee (see rates & fees). To earn 5,589 points, you’d need to spend $1,863 on travel and gas each year. This is just $156 per month.
If you plan to redeem your ThankYou Points through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for airfare, your points will have a redemption value of 1.25 cents each. This means you’d need to earn 7,600 points on travel and gas spending to justify the $95 annual fee (see rates & fees). To earn 7,600 points, you’d need to spend $2,534 on travel and gas each year. This is only $212 per month.
Note that you won’t be eligible for either of these sign-up bonuses if you received a new cardmember bonus for, or if you have closed, select Citi ThankYou cards in the past 24 months, which also means you can’t get both of these sign-up bonuses one right after the other — you’ll have to wait between the two or get one card without the bonus. So, check the fine print before applying to ensure you’ll be eligible for at least one sign-up bonus.
If you already have the Citi Premier Card, you can boost your earning and redemption value by adding the Citi Rewards+ Card to your wallet. The Citi Rewards+ Card has no annual fee (see rates & fees), yet it can increase your earnings on supermarket purchases as well as everyday non-bonus purchases. This is due to the Citi Rewards+ Card’s exclusive benefit that rounds the earning on all purchases up to the nearest 10 points, which means you’ll earn more than 1x on most everyday purchases as well as earning at least 10 points on every purchase. Plus, you’ll get 10% of the first 100,000 points you redeem back each year when you have the Citi Rewards+ Card.
Likewise, if you already have the Citi Rewards+ Card, adding the Citi Premier Card to your wallet can increase your earnings as well as the redemption value of your points. The Citi Premier Card earns more points on travel, gas, restaurants and entertainment than the Citi Rewards+ Card, plus having the Citi Premier Card unlocks better airfare redemptions through the Citi Rewards Travel Center as well as all of the Citi ThankYou transfer partners. The Citi Premier Card does have a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees), but many people can get enough redemption value from the Citi ThankYou Points they earn and the card’s benefits to justify the annual fee.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
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CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
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