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5 Reasons Families Need a Citi Premier Card

June 19, 2019
8 min read
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Here’s the link to apply now for the Citi Premier® Card with a 60,000-point bonus worth $750+ in travel.

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 award travel spotlight much of the time, but the Citi ThankYou program and Citi card-specific benefits should absolutely not be ignored if your family likes to travel more for less. I personally use the Citi Premier® Card very frequently to fund my own family's travels (and save us money on everyday purchases) -- and here are five reasons why your family should consider the card, too. The information for the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

1. 60,000 Bonus Points Worth $750+

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 transfer partners and award availability, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $750 in paid airfare booked via the Citi ThankYou travel center. And unlike via Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can still book Disney resort hotels and use points for Disney tickets via Citi ThankYou!

Related: How to Use Points for Disney Tickets

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

2. Solid Transfer Partners and Transfer 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 and Chase, Citi has periodic transfer bonuses to several of those partners. The lineup of transfer partners isn't as US-centric as you will find with Chase Ultimate Rewards, but there are some solid programs available.

One of the 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.

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To fly on partner United Airlines within a zone, it normally costs as few as just 7,500 LifeMiles each way. However, sometimes the deals are better than that as some domestic United flights are currently pricing as low as 3,500 LifeMiles each way.

Even ignoring the inexplicable 3,500 mile awards, spending 7,500 miles per person to fly from Houston to Orlando can result in a mileage savings over using a program such as United MileagePlus for the very same flights.

ThankYou points aren't only useful for families when transferring to LifeMiles. The Citi ThankYou program currently has 15 travel transfer partners including:

  • 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. For example, through June 22, you can get 30% more Flying Club miles when transferring Citi ThankYou Points into that program. That bonus means you can spend as few as 16,000 points to fly Delta to Hawaii or 29,000 points to do that flight in Delta first class.

Enjoy Hanalei Bay on Kauai for less. (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

3. Save Lots of Money Shopping

My favorite non-points-related credit card perk on this card is unquestionably the Citi Price Rewind website. Thanks to our Citi Premier® Card, my family has saved over $2,300 just because of Price Rewind benefits. To use the Citi Price Rewind website, shop as usual and then enter information for your purchases in the website. It looks for lower prices and if one is found by the site (or you) within 60 days of purchase, you can cash in on the price difference via a statement credit.

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 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. Here are more details on how Price Rewind works in the real world and why your family should be using it to save money.

4. Citi Isn't Chase or Amex

Diversification is the name of the game for families who are most successful in the miles and points arena. The Citi Premier is not issued by Chase or Amex, which helps if you are trying to avoid going too heavily with any one card issuer. 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 to $1,020 toward travel, I'd say it is probably worth it.

5. Earn Bonus Points at Theme Parks, Gas Stations and Beyond

Lots of cards award bonus points on travel and dining charges, but the Citi Premier's approach to bonus categories is better than some other cards for families. The card awards 3 points per dollar on travel charges, but the travel category is broad as it includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, ride-sharing services, public transportation, tolls, parking and even 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.

(Photo by Stefan Widua via Unsplash)

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 movies, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions or theme parks. Many theme park expenses, such as park tickets, often don't code as travel, so you need a card that awards bonus points on entertainment if you frequent places like Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studios and beyond.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Theme Parks

Bottom Line

The Citi Premier is a somewhat 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. (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.) This card has been actively in my wallet for the last few years and it isn't leaving anytime soon.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.