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4 reasons the Citi Premier Card should be on your short list

July 15, 2022
6 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

If you’re looking for a new credit card that provides a lot of value, the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees) — with a generous sign-up bonus, strong category spending bonuses and valuable redemption options — should be on your short list. We’ve previously considered why the Citi Premier is particularly great for families, road trips and RV rentals — but let’s consider the main reasons you might want to add the card to your wallet.

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60,000-point sign-up bonus

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Currently, you can earn 60,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, 60,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,080 when transferred to Citi’s travel partners.

However, if you value simplicity or just want to use your points to purchase cash fares, the card gives you the option of redeeming miles for a paid fare directly through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. With this redemption method, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus can be used for $600 in cash, statement credits or travel through the Citi ThankYou online portal. We highly suggest you redeem your points for statement credits instead of through the portal for a couple of reasons:

  1. You’ll earn credit card rewards when you purchase your travel — then you can “erase” the purchase later with a statement credit.
  2. The Citi ThankYou online portal is a third-party online travel agency, meaning you aren’t booking directly with the airline or hotel. You won’t earn hotel points or elite night credits, and your elite status won’t be recognized if you use your points this way.

Read more: 9 things to consider when choosing to book via a portal vs. booking directly

Bonus points on many spending categories

(Photo by Sol de Zuasnabar Brebbia / Getty Images)
(Photo by Sol de Zuasnabar Brebbia/Getty Images)

The Citi Premier presents strong bonus spending categories, especially for a card with an annual fee of $95. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar in the following categories:

For a limited time, earn 10x points per dollar on hotels, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ Portal through June 30, 2024.

TPG values Citi points at approximately 1.8 cents each, making the Citi Premier one of the best cards for restaurant and gas purchases.

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Note that purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores are excluded from the card's bonus spending categories. The restaurant category, however, is broadly defined. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants, including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants.

Useful benefits and shopping protections

The Citi Premier also includes a number of additional perks for cardholders. Each year, you can receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) booked through Citi Travel. While this isn't a great option for properties that participate in major loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, it could be a great way to save on a boutique hotel or smaller, luxury resort. Just be sure to compare the price for booking directly with the property to make sure you're getting the full discount.

In addition, the card currently offers the following shopping protections:

Finally, the card has no foreign transaction fees, so it's a solid option when traveling outside the U.S.

Redemption possibilities

The Citi Premier participates in the ThankYou Rewards program, which means you can redeem Citi ThankYou points directly for airfare through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for a fixed rate of 1 cent per point. You’ll almost always get better value by transferring your points to one of Citi's transfer partners:

JetBlue is the only U.S.-based airline among the transfer partners, but there’s still plenty of value in these partners, whether you’re interested in domestic or international travel.

For example, you can receive excellent value on Star Alliance airlines using Avianca LifeMiles for international premium-cabin flights. You can fly to Europe in business class on Lufthansa for just 63,000 Avianca miles. Or, you can find stunning domestic award prices via Turkish Airlines for United Airlines flights. This 60,000-point bonus is more than enough to book five round-trip coach flights to Hawaii.

Read our post on redeeming Citi ThankYou points for maximum value to become an instant pro.

Bottom line

The Citi Premier features useful shopping protections and strong category bonuses for everyday purchases such as supermarkets and restaurants, and its 60,000-point bonus makes this an even more attractive card.

For more information on the Citi Premier, check out the following stories:

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Joseph Hostetler.

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.