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

Jul 15, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner. 


The ongoing pandemic has changed the value proposition of cards, but a few remain excellent top-of-wallet options.

If you’re looking for a new credit card that provides a lot of value, the Citi Premier® Card — with a highest-ever 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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In This Post

80,000-point sign-up bonus

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

If you’ve been waiting to get the Citi Premier Card, now might be a good time. Currently, you can earn 80,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, 80,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,360 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 80,000-point sign-up bonus can be used for $800 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.

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:

Based on TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, you’ll earn a 5.1% return in the above categories, making the Citi Premier one of the best cards for restaurant and gas purchases. Note: Gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores are excluded from 3x earnings and instead earn only 1x.

The restaurant category is broadly defined. You’ll earn 3x at restaurants — including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants.

Useful shopping protections

Citi has historically provided the best shopping protections of any major card issuer, but some shopping protections were removed from the Citi Premier as of Sept. 22, 2019. The shopping protections currently available are:

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 16 Citi 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 80,000-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. Its massive 80,000-point bonus is unheard-of, making this the single best time to apply for the card. For more information on the Citi Premier, check out the following stories:

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.