4 reasons the Citi Premier® Card should be on your short list
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information. For the most up-to-date card benefits due to the pandemic, read our guide to limited-time COVID-19 card perks.
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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 solid sign-up bonus, strong category spending bonuses and valuable redemption options — should be on your short list. We’ve recently 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 purse or wallet.
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60,000-point sign-up bonus
If you’ve been waiting to get the Citi Premier® Card, now might be a good time. Currently, you can earn 60,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s latest valuations, 60,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,020 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 at the Citi ThankYou travel center. With this redemption method, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus can be used to book $750 of paid airfare. (This will drop to $600 after April 10, 2021.) This also allows you to earn miles and elite qualifying credit with the airline.
Earn bonus points on many spending categories
The Citi Premier® Card has strong bonus spending categories, especially for a card with an annual fee of $95:
- 3x points on travel
- 3x points on gas
- 3x points on restaurants
- 3x points on grocery stores
- 2x points on entertainment
- 1x points on all other purchases
However, these categories will be changing as of Aug. 23, 2020, but for now, the bonus spending categories are broadly defined.
On Aug. 23, new Citi Premier applicants (after April 10, 2020) will lose the 3x on the broad category of travel and instead only receive 3x on air travel and hotels. Additionally, the 2x on entertainment will be eliminated. All the other categories remain.
Based on TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, you’ll earn a 5.1% return gas, making the Citi Premier® Card one of the best cards for gas purchases. Gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores are excluded from 3x earnings and instead earn only 1x.
The 3x dining out spending category is also broadly defined. You’ll earn 3x at restaurants — including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants. The Citi Premier® Card made TPG’s lists of best credit cards for dining.
New bonus categories as of Aug. 23, 2020:
- 3x on air travel and hotels
- 3x points at restaurants
- 3x points at supermarkets
- 3x at gas stations
- 1x on everything else
If you applied for this card before April 10, 2020, you’ll continue earning 3x points on all travel and 2x on entertainment through April 10, 2021.
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® Card as of Sept. 22, 2019. The shopping protections currently available are:
- 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)
The Citi Premier® Card 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. This will be reduced to 1 cent per point on April 10, 2021, however. 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
- InterMiles (formally known as 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 U.S.-based airline among the transfer partners, but there’s still plenty of value 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 domestic United flights.
The Citi Premier® Card features useful 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
- Maximizing the Citi Premier® Card
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy
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