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If you’re looking for a new go-to credit card, the Citi Premier Card should be on your short list. With a solid sign-up bonus, strong category spending bonuses, excellent shopping protections and valuable redemption options, the Citi Premier provides a lot of value. We’ve recently considered why the Citi Premier is particularly great for families, road trips and RV rentals — but let’s take a step back and consider the main reasons you should consider the Citi Premier.
1. 50,000-Point Sign-up Bonus
If you’ve been waiting to get the Citi Premier, now might be the perfect time to pull the trigger. Currently, you can earn 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months. Although this isn’t the best sign-up bonus we’ve seen on this card, it’s still a solid bonus. And, the card’s $95 annual fee is currently waived for the first 12 months.
Based on TPG’s latest point valuations, 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points are worth $850 when utilized for award flights via Citi’s airline transfer partners. However, if you value simplicity or just want to use your points to purchase cash fares, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus can also be used to book $625 of paid airfare directly at the Citi ThankYou travel center. And, in that case since you’re redeeming miles for a paid fare, you’ll still earn miles and elite qualifying credit with the airline.
Note that you aren’t eligible for the sign-up bonus if you’ve opened or closed a Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, Premier or Prestige card within the last 24 months.
2. Earn 3x on Travel, Including Gas
The Citi Premier has strong bonus spending categories, especially for a $95 annual fee card that waives that fee for the first 12 months. You’ll earn…
- 3x points on travel (including gas)
- 2x points on restaurants and entertainment
- 1x points on all other purchases
Even better, the bonus spending categories are broadly defined. Travel spending includes purchases at:
“…airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, gas stations, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, timeshares, bus lines, motor home/recreational vehicle rentals and boat leases and rentals”
Based on TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, you’ll earn a 5.1% return on travel purchases, making the Citi Premier one of the best cards for gas purchases. However, note that gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores are excluded from 3x earnings and instead earn just 1x.
The 2x dining out and entertainment bonus spending category is also broadly defined. You’ll earn 2x at restaurants — including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants — as well as on…
“…select entertainment, including live entertainment, live theatrical productions, concerts, live sporting events, movie theaters, amusement parks (including zoos, aquariums, circuses and carnivals), tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries), record stores, video rental stores and on-demand internet streaming media”
3. Excellent Shopping Protections
Citi provides the best shopping protections of any major card issuer, so I always use a Citi card when purchasing something where I might need one of the benefits. In particular, the Citi Premier offers the following shopping protections:
- Price Rewind refunds the price difference, up to $200 per item, when an item you purchased drops in price within 60 days of purchase; up to $1,000 per calendar year.
- Extended Warranty Protection adds an additional 24 months onto the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Damage and Theft Protection repairs or replaces an item that’s damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase (up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per year).
- Return Protection refunds the purchase price, up to $300 per item (and $1,000 per year), if you attempt to return an item within 90 days of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back.
I’ve filed numerous Price Rewind claims and found the process to be easier than one might expect. I’ve yet to use Citi’s extended warranty protection, but the 24 month extended warranty benefit is the main reason I purchase any item with a warranty using a Citi card.
4. Useful Travel Protections
The Citi Premier Card also offers many travel protections that can save you when things go south. Besides having no foreign transaction fees, the Citi Premier offers the following travel protections:
- Trip Delay Protection: If your trip is delayed for at least 12 hours, you may be reimbursed up to $500 per covered traveler in expenses incurred because of the delay.
- Lost Baggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost, stolen or damaged, you may be refunded for missing items or reimbursed the cost to repair or replace the damaged items (up to $3,000 per covered traveler or up to $2,000 for NY residents).
- Baggage Delay Protection: If your checked baggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you may be reimbursed up to $100 per covered traveler for necessary items until the baggage arrives.
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection: If certain unforeseen events get in the way of your trip, you may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip for non-refundable trip expenses.
- Auto Rental Insurance: Covers most types of vehicles and is secondary in the US, but primary abroad (up to $50,000 per vehicle, only for rented vehicle).
In our last year on the road, we booked most of our flights using a Citi credit card to get the trip protections that come with doing so. When a typhoon cancelled our flight and left us stranded in Japan for four additional days, Citi came through in providing the maximum $500 per traveler in trip delay protection benefits. Although recent changes have caused us to now use our Chase Sapphire Reserve to book flights, the trip protections provided by the Citi Premier are still very good considering the card’s modest annual fee.
But, remember that Citi recently tightened their definition of “covered traveler” — so make sure you know which of your traveling companions will be covered if you book tickets for others.
5. Redemption Possibilities
The Citi Premier participates in the ThankYou Rewards program, which means you can redeem Citi ThankYou points directly for airfare at the Citi ThankYou travel center for a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point. But, you’ll usually get better value by transferring your points to one of Citi’s 15 travel 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
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
JetBlue is the only US-based airline among the list of transfer partners, but there’s still plenty of value to be found in these partners even for domestic travelers. For example, you can find cheap Delta awards by booking through Virgin Atlantic — like 50,000-mile business class flights to Europe — or get excellent value on Star Alliance awards using Avianca LifeMiles, including 7,500-mile domestic United flights.
The Citi Premier Card features great shopping protections and strong category bonuses for travel, gas, dining and entertainment purchases. For more information on the Citi Premier Card, check out the following stories:
- Citi Premier: Should This Be Your Next Card?
- 5 Reasons Families Need a Citi Premier Card
- Why the Citi Premier Is Great for Road Trips and RV Rentals
- Credit Card Review: Citi Premier Card
- Citi Prestige vs. Citi Premier
Interested in applying? Here’s the link to apply now for the Citi Premier Card with a 50,000 point bonus
Featured image by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.
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