Citi Premier℠ Card Review: A road warrior’s dream

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In a Nutshell

Earning bonus points on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases, the Citi Premier℠ Card is a great everyday rewards card for frequent flyers and road warriors alike.

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There’s no shortage of rewards credit cards that offer bonus points on travel and dining purchases.

Some of the most popular options include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the American Express® Gold Card. But there’s another card that tends to go unmentioned in conversations about the best rewards credit cards: the Citi Premier℠ Card.

And that’s a shame, because the Citi Premier℠ Card offers a lot to love, including rewards on eligible travel and dining purchases and on entertainment purchases.

Let’s take a quick look at the card and its specific rewards currency, which Citi calls ThankYou® Points.

How can I earn ThankYou® Points with the Citi Premier℠ Card?

With the Citi Premier℠ Card, you can earn three ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases (including at gas stations), two ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases, and one ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Other comparable travel cards may not include gas as a travel expense.

How can I use ThankYou® Points?

ThankYou® Points can be transferred to 15 airline loyalty programs (many at a 1-to-1 transfer rate) or used to book paid flights through Citi’s booking portal, If you’re not a traveler, you can use your ThankYou® Points to buy gift cards or as statement credit to pay for eligible purchases at participating online partners.

Eligible ThankYou® members can also use ThankYou® Points for statement credits to cover recent purchases in eligible categories made with an eligible Citi® card (like the Citi Premier℠ Card). Other redemption options include online bill pay with a Citibank® checking account, cash rewards and charitable gifts.

Now that we’ve gone over the ThankYou® rewards program, let’s take a look at what we like and don’t like about the Citi Premier℠ Card.

  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the Citi Premier℠ Card
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Citi Premier℠ Card
  3. Do the math: Ways to get the most out of the Citi Premier℠ Card
  4. Bottom line: Is the Citi Premier℠ Card right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about the Citi Premier℠ Card

High rewards-earning potential and flexible redemption options make the Citi Premier℠ Card a potentially great addition to any traveler’s wallet. Here’s what we like most about the card.

Earn rewards on travel, dining and entertainment

As we mentioned above, the Citi Premier℠ Card has a 3-2-1 rewards earning structure. The card earns three ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, two ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases, and one ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Even better, the travel and entertainment categories are broad. The travel category covers everything from boat rentals and commuter-railway purchases to airline tickets and hotel stays. It even includes certain purchases made at gas stations, which don’t always fall within the travel category as far as other cards are concerned. Similarly, the entertainment category covers everything from movie theater purchases to concert tickets to streaming media.

Generous sign-up bonus

Qualifying for a credit card’s sign-up bonus is one of the fastest ways to rack up rewards, and the Citi Premier℠ Card doesn’t disappoint in this regard.

The card’s current sign-up bonus offers 60,000 bonus points after you make at least $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Before you run off and spend thousands of dollars though, a word of caution: We don’t recommend trying to qualify for a sign-up bonus if you can’t do so responsibly. While nice, the bonus points probably aren’t worth the interest you’ll be charged for carrying a balance you can’t pay off in a timely manner.

The best credit card sign-up bonuses

Flexible rewards redemption

You can transfer your Citi ThankYou® Points to 15 frequent flyer programs or use them to book airline tickets through Citi’s travel portal. If traveling isn’t your thing, you can redeem your points for gift cards or use statement credit for purchases made with eligible partners at approximately 1 cent per point.

No foreign transaction fees

With this card, you could save some serious money when traveling abroad. The Citi Premier℠ Card doesn’t charge fees on purchases made outside the United States.

What is a foreign transaction fee?

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Citi Premier℠ Card

This card is geared toward travelers as well as people who frequently dine out, so it may not be the best fit for everyone’s wallet. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding if the Citi Premier℠ Card is for you.

High variable APR for purchases

If you usually carry a balance, the Citi Premier℠ Card may not be a good fit for your wallet. That’s because this card has a relatively high variable purchase APR of 18.24%–26.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.

We recommend paying off your full balance on time each month when possible, because interest charges can add up over time.

If you do expect to carry a balance for a short period of time, or you need a card with a 0% introductory APR offer, you may want to consider another card, like the Chase Freedom®.

The sign-up bonus may fluctuate

Sign-up bonuses have a habit of changing without notice, and this one is no exception. Our advice? Shop around for the best offer before you apply, and try to strike when the iron is hot.

Don’t overlook the annual fee

The Citi Premier℠ Card charges an annual fee of $95. This is fairly typical for midrange travel credit cards, but consider the cost when deciding if the card is worth it to you. You’d need to spend a decent amount of money on purchases every month that would net you three points, like travel expenses or at gas stations, to help you make up for the fee.

Do the math: Ways to get the most out of the Citi Premier℠ Card

A key to deciding whether this card has a place in your wallet is to examine your spending habits. If you frequently make travel, gas station, restaurant and entertainment purchases, it could be tough to find another card that beats this card’s bonus category rewards.

Also, be sure to consider how you’d like to redeem your rewards. If you like this card’s list of transfer partners or plan to use your points to book flights, the Citi Premier℠ Card may be just what you need to cover flights for your next summer vacation.

On the other hand, redeeming ThankYou® Points for cash back won’t give you the best possible value. If you prefer cash back rewards, look for a dedicated cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card , which earns 1% cash back on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% as you pay off those purchases for a total of 2% cash back on all purchases.

Finally, if you value travel perks like lounge access, consider a premium travel credit card like the Platinum Card® from American Express. This card comes with perks like up to $200 in airline fee credit per calendar year for eligible airline purchases and airport lounge access to the Global Lounge Collection.

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Bottom line: Is the Citi Premier℠ Card right for you?

If you’re a hardcore traveler — the kind that regularly buys plane tickets, makes hotel reservations and buys a lot of gas — this card could be pretty close to a no-brainer. Earning three ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on all eligible travel and gas station purchases can be hard to find, especially when paired with flexible reward-redemption options.