5 Reasons Families Need a Citi Premier Card
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If there is a most underrated credit card for families, it might be the Citi Premier Card. Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards get the spotlight much of the time, but the Citi ThankYou program and Citi card specific benefits should not to be ignored.
Families have much to gain from the ThankYou program, as it opens the pathway to award chart sweet spots via some unique airline transfer partners. Maximizing your miles is essential when you are booking for a whole family. The Citi Premier Card is a great gateway into the ThankYou program since it has a $95 annual fee (waived the first 12 months)
That said, one good reason that the Citi Premier Card may have dropped from the spotlight for a while is that during the past year there were times that it did not have any sign-up bonus attached. However, that has changed, and recently the card began offering its highest public sign-up bonus to date — 60,000 bonus points! This makes now the best time yet to explore five reasons with families need a Citi Premier Card.
1. 60,000 Bonus Points Worth $750+
First things first, the sign-up bonus on the Citi Premier has recently been increased to 60,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months. Based on TPG’s current valuations, those 60,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,020 when utilized for travel via Citi’s transfer partners. However, if you don’t want to mess with partners and award availability, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 in paid airfare booked via the Citi ThankYou travel center. When you book your airline tickets via that method, you will not only skip the hassle of dealing with award availability, but also earn airline miles and credit toward elite status.
Anytime a card has a welcome bonus worth $750 – $1,000+, it has my attention!
2. Unique Transfer Partners and Bonuses
Similar to the American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs, Citi has agreements with airline transfer partners so that you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to various frequent flyer programs. Like American Express, Citi has even also offered periodic transfer bonuses to several of those partners. The line-up of transfer partners isn’t as US-centric as you will find with Chase Ultimate Rewards, but there are some solid programs available that you won’t find with Amex or Chase.
One of the unique Citi ThankYou transfer partners that can work well for families is Avianca LifeMiles. Avianca LifeMiles is in the Star Alliance and has its quirks, but it also has award chart sweet spots. You may have read about using LifeMiles to fly Lufthansa first or business class, but there are also closer-to-home uses.
LifeMiles divides the continental United States into three zones denoted below in red, yellow and blue. To fly on partner United Airlines within a zone, it costs as few as just 7,500 LifeMiles each way.
This means that my family in Houston could fly on a nonstop United flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) to spend time with Mickey Mouse for just 7,500 LifeMiles each direction plus taxes and fees. United Airlines would want at least 12,500 miles for the exact same saver award flights. Multiply those costs and savings by a family of four and that is 60,000 total LifeMiles versus 100,000 total United miles for the very same trip.
LifeMiles isn’t a perfect program, and it does charge more taxes/fees on some of these domestic routes than you are probably used to from other programs, like United. On the example above, LifeMiles wants $36.23 in taxes and fees per round-trip whereas United would just charge $11.20. But even with the additional fees, you can see how a family can easily come out ahead by learning some of these ways to stretch your miles with Citi ThankYou transfer partners.
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Garuda Indonesia Miles
- Jet Airways JetPrivilege
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
When the right transfer bonus strikes, almost any of these options can become a good option for families looking to stretch their miles and save their cash.
3. Save Lots of Money Shopping
My favorite non-points-related credit card perk is unquestionably the Citi Price Rewind website. On my Citi Premier Card, my family has saved over $1,400 because of its Price Rewind benefits. To use the Citi Price Rewind website, you shop as usual, and then enter information for your purchases in the website and let it start searching for lower prices.
If the price drops within 60 days (and it often does), the difference is reimbursed to you as either a statement credit or a check. The Price Rewind website actively searches for lower prices, but you can also submit screenshots of lower prices if you find them yourself. The coverage is currently a maximum of $200 per item and $2,500 per calendar year — though starting in 2019 the maximum coverage per year will drop to $1,000.
While they won’t reimburse you if the car, airplane or diamond ring you purchased goes on sale, lots of everyday family purchases are eligible. Clothes, shoes, backpacks, bedding, sporting equipment, TVs, gaming systems and so much more are eligible for Price Rewind as long as you charge the item to your Citi card and enter the purchase information to the Price Rewind website. This perk isn’t unique to just the Citi Premier, but I enjoy earning points on that card while enjoying benefits like Price Rewind.
4. Citi Isn’t Chase or Amex
Diversification is the name of the game for families who are very successful in the miles and points arena. The Citi Premier is, as you can guess, not issued by Chase or Amex. I prefer not to go too heavy with any one card issuer, so mixing up your wallet with a solid rewards card from a bank that is not Chase or Amex is probably a good diversification strategy. This is especially true with the growing restrictions that banks are putting on any one family of cards. That said, getting a Citi Premier will count toward your Chase 5/24 status, but with a 60,000-point bonus worth $750 – $1,020, I’d say it is worth the hit.
5. Earn Bonus Points at Disney World, Gas Stations and Beyond
Lots of cards award bonus points on travel charges, but the Citi Premier’s approach to bonus categories is better than most similar cards for families. It awards 3x on travel charges, but it includes more in the travel category than most.
The Citi Premier’s travel category includes not only airfare, hotels, car rentals, ride-sharing services, public transportation, tolls and parking, but also gas stations! Getting 3 points per dollar on gas purchases when each point is worth 1.7 cents, according to TPG’s valuations, means a very nice return of over 5 cents in points per dollar of gas charged to the card. This should help you out whether you are running errands around town or hitting the open road.
The Citi Premier also awards 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment charges. This means double points when you take your family to the movie theater, a concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, etc. Even charges at Disney World and Disneyland that don’t code as travel when purchased by themselves, like park tickets or VIP experiences, should earn double points on the Citi Premier thanks to the family-friendly entertainment bonus category.
The Citi Premier is an under-the-radar but very solid card for families who like to maximize rewards and benefits. With its largest-ever current bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months, now is a great time consider adding this card to your wallet. The $95 annual fee is even waived for the first 12 months.
Be aware of the term that states bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.
No credit card is for everyone, but this card has been in my wallet for the last few years and I don’t anticipate it getting rid of it any time soon.
Know before you go.
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