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Citi Premier card review: A record-high 80,000-point welcome bonus, plus lots of options for earning and redeeming rewards

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Regular APR

15.99% – 23.99% Variable

Featured Reward

80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Strong sign-up bonus
    • Generous bonus categories
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
    • Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers
    • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
    • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
    • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

    Review: Is the Citi Premier the best credit card for you?

    There are dozens of travel rewards credit cards to choose from nowadays, but many consumers prefer cards with flexible rewards programs. With flexible, or transferable, points, you aren’t tied down to a specific loyalty program, and you can redeem your rewards how you want.

    The Citi Premier® Card is one such option, and it’s an especially lucrative choice because of its record-high welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

    You can use Citi ThankYou points from this card in multiple ways, including redeeming for gift cards, merchandise, and travel booked through the Citi portal. You can potentially get even higher value by transferring your points to Citi’s airline partners, like JetBlue and Air France-KLM.

    Read more: 6 reasons the Citi Premier should be your go-to card for the pandemic — and beyond

    Like other popular rewards credit cards, Citi has also stepped up to offer more ways to earn rewards as a result of the pandemic. With the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll earn 3x points at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, and on air travel and hotels, and 1x on everything else.

    So you can earn and redeem your rewards on everyday essentials if you’re staying close to home, or take the card on the road and get an excellent value that way, too. This versatility is why the Citi Premier® Card sits at the top of our guide to the best Citi credit cards.

    If you’re looking to really boost your Citi ThankYou Rewards earning, consider opening the Citi Premier® Card plus the other two cards in the Citi Trifecta — the Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. With this credit card combination, you’re guaranteed to earn 2x to 5x rewards for every single purchase and earn maximum points.

    Comparison: Citi Premier vs other Citi cards

    *eligible 5% cash back categories on the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card are restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment

    Citi Premier vs other travel credit cards

    How to use ThankYou points 

    Here’s where the Citi Premier® Card really stands out — you have many options for using your ThankYou points, whether you like to travel or prefer using points for gift cards and merchandise.

    Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Citi ThankYou points

    Transfer Citi ThankYou points to airline partners

    When you have the Citi Premier® Card (or the Citi Prestige® Card
    , which isn’t available to new applicants), you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio to over a dozen airline partners to book award travel. The value you’ll get per point is dependent on the partner you choose and how you use the miles — typically, redeeming for expensive, international premium-cabin award flights will get you a higher value than domestic economy seats.

    If you collect Sears Shop Your Way points, they’re another transfer option at a rate of 1 Citi ThankYou point to 10 Sears points. Note that if you only have a no-annual-fee Citi ThankYou credit card, like the Citi Rewards+® Card
    , the only airline you can transfer to is JetBlue, and the ratio is slightly lower at 1,000 Citi ThankYou points to 800 JetBlue points.

    Redeem Citi ThankYou points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more

    You can redeem Citi ThankYou points for gift cards, statement credits, or cash back at a rate of 1 cent each, making the bonus of 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening worth $800 in rewards. You can also use Citi ThankYou points at the same value to make a charitable donation, book travel through the Citi portal, or even pay your student loan or mortgage.

    Read more: How to use the Citi Travel Portal to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and more — and get the most from your ThankYou points

    It’s also possible to pay with points at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, but you’ll get a lower value when you redeem this way — as little as 0.5 cents per point for cash back.

    Benefits and features

    Annual $100 hotel discount

    The Citi Premier® Card comes with a valuable benefit for travelers that can more than offset the annual fee. Once per calendar year, you can get $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more (before taxes and fees) when you book through the Citi ThankYou travel portal. Interestingly, you can get the discount whether you pay for the hotel stay with your card, Citi ThankYou points, or a combination of both.

    Purchase protection

    Additionally, the Citi Premier® Card offers purchase protection if an item is damaged or stolen within 90 days from your purchase date. You can up to $10,000 in coverage per incident (with a maximum of $50,000 in coverage per year).

    Extended warranty

    The card also offers extended warranty protection — you’ll get 24 additional months on manufacturers’ warranties of five years or less for eligible items purchased with the card.

    Citi Entertainment

    As a cardholder, you get access to the Citi Entertainment program, which offers presale tickets, preferred tickets, VIP packages, and more. You’ll need to provide the first six digits of your card number as the passcode to take advantage of Citi’s ticket benefits when you check out at Ticketmaster or Live Nation.

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 23.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Strong sign-up bonus
    • Generous bonus categories
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
    • Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers
    • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
    • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
    • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

    Fees and costs

    The Citi Premier® Card comes with a 15.99% – 23.99% Variable APR, so this isn’t a good card option if you plan to carry a balance. If you plan to make a large purchase you want to pay for over time, you should check out the top 0% APR credit card offers first. 

    This card comes with a $95 annual fee, but you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees.

    Read more: The best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

    Like most cards, there are also fees for balance transfers, late or returned payments, and cash advances.

    Alternatives to the Citi Premier card

    Before you decide if the Citi Premier® Card is a good fit, you’ll also want to consider cards that offer similar flexibility and earning opportunities. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a similarly strong bonus and options for earning and redeeming — you can check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for the full details.

    Or if you don’t want to track bonus categories, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes with a hefty bonus and 2x earning on all purchases (you can find out more in our Capital One Venture review).

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