Citi Premier® Review – Are Rewards Worth the Annual Fee?

The Citi Premier Credit Card is a decent choice for savvy consumers seeking a blend of travel perks and everyday rewards. Boasting a generous rewards program, cardholders earn accelerated points on travel, dining, entertainment, and more. The card stands out with its impressive sign-up bonus, offering a substantial points boost from the get-go.

Written by : Updated On: January 31
cb-review_card

The basics

Reward Rate:

Groceries

Air travel and hotels

3x
Groceries

Restaurants

3x
Groceries

Supermarkets

3x
Groceries

Gas stations

3x
Groceries

All other purchases

1x

With the Citi Premier® Card, you can earn ThankYou Points for purchases made on your card.
Unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn:

– 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent at restaurants

– 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent at supermarkets

– 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent at gas stations

– 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent on air travel and hotels

– 1 ThankYou Point for each $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardmembers will also be eligible to receive the $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

The following definitions apply to the categories:

Restaurants: Includes purchases at cafes, bars, lounges and fast-food restaurants. Excludes purchases at bakeries, caterers, restaurants located inside another business (such as hotels, stores, stadiums, grocery stores, or warehouse clubs) and third-party dining delivery services.

Supermarkets: Excludes purchases made at general merchandise/discount superstores, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food/convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionery stores, and meal kit delivery services. Purchases made at online supermarkets or with grocery delivery services also do not qualify if the merchant does not classify itself as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant code.

Gas Stations: Excludes gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores, convenience stores or other merchants that are not classified as gas stations using the gas station merchant code.

Air Travel and Hotels: Includes purchases at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies.

All Other Purchases: Include the non-qualifying purchases listed above.

Only Purchases Earn Points. You’ll earn Points for purchases using your Card Account, minus returns and refunds. Balance transfers, cash advances, checks that access your card account, items returned for credit, unauthorized charges, interest and account fees, travelers checks, foreign currency purchases, money orders, wire transfers (and similar cash-like transactions), lottery tickets, gaming chips (and similar betting transactions) do not earn ThankYou Points.

Read More: Additional Information – Citi Premier Card

Key Features:

Annual fee

$95

Intro APR

N/A

Regular APR

21.24% – 29.24%

Signup bonus

signup-bonus

60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening (redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com).

Redemption ways

signup-bonus

1. Shop with Points at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com

2. Gift cards

3. Travel (flights, hotels, cruises, and more)

4. Cash back

Our Verdict

The Citi Premier Credit Card emerges as a standout choice for individuals seeking a credit card that seamlessly blends everyday spending rewards with travel perks. The accelerated points system on travel, dining, and entertainment, coupled with an enticing sign-up bonus, makes it a lucrative option. The flexibility in redeeming points for travel, cash back, or other rewards adds a layer of versatility. In essence, the Citi Premier Credit Card stands as a compelling choice for those looking to maximize rewards across various spending categories.

That said, cardholders looking for more luxury travel perks, greater variety of transfer partners, or other benefits, this card is lacking compared to others on the market.

Best Suited for:

Group-11597-2

Always-on-the-road

Travel is your middle name. When you aren’t taking advantage of transit for your daily commute in the form of cabs, rideshares and trains, you are looking for a weekend escape. And if there is an opportunity to go somewhere, you take it. You are into earning miles, getting hotel upgrades, eating out and making sure your car is always fueled.

ProsCons
Big sign-up bonus.Limited choice of well-known or domestic transfer partners.
Triple points on top spending categories and travel.Hotel discount may be of limited value.
Multiple international travel partners.Lack of travel protections.
No foreign transaction fees.No intro APR on purchases or balance transfers.
No limit on the points you can earn and points don’t expire.Points redeemed for airfare now worth just 1 cent (through the Citi ThankYou portal).

Hidden perks

$100 annual hotel savings benefit (off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com.

Transfer ThankYou Points to participating airline programs with no fee.

Access to Citi Entertainment for presale tickets and exclusive experiences.

Comparing Citi Premier® with a similar card

Discover it® Miles

Reward rate1.50%
Reward details1.5X Miles on every dollar of every purchase
Intro Bonus:Equal to the cashback you earn in first year Annual fee$0
Regular APR16.24% - 27.24%
Read full review

Citi® Premier®

Reward rate1x - 3x
Reward detailsEarn 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.
Intro Bonus:60,000 Points Annual fee$95
Regular APR20.49% - 28.49%
Read full review

Beyond the basics

Balance Transfer Intro APR

21.24% – 29.24% (variable) for transfers completed within two months from date of account opening

Cash Advance APR

29.99% (variable)

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

Loan APR

N/A

Late Payment Fee

Up to $41

Penalty APR

Up to 29.99% (variable)

Credit Score Required

Good to excellent (700+ recommended)

Additional card features and benefits

You can redeem your ThankYou Points for travel bookings, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Your points may have different values depending on how you redeem them.

This card typically does not charge foreign transaction fees when you use it for purchases made outside the U.S. This can save you money when traveling internationally.

The card may offer purchase protection, which can help cover the cost of eligible items in case of damage or theft for a certain period after purchase.

Some purchases made with the Citi Premier Card may receive an extended warranty benefit, giving you extra peace of mind.

This benefit may reimburse you for non-refundable expenses in case your trip is canceled or interrupted for covered reasons.

You may be eligible for travel accident insurance, which provides coverage in the event of accidental death or dismemberment while traveling on a common carrier.

When you rent a car and pay with your Citi Premier Card, you may receive coverage for damage due to collision or theft.

This feature allows you to get a refund of the price difference if you find a lower price on an eligible item within a specified time frame after purchase.

If your luggage is lost while traveling on a common carrier and you’ve paid for your trip with your card, you may receive reimbursement for your lost belongings.

The card may offer identity theft solutions to help you recover in case your identity is compromised.

What we like about this card

1. Robust Rewards Structure: The Citi Premier Credit Card impresses with its generous rewards program, offering accelerated points on key spending categories like travel, dining, and entertainment. This makes it an ideal companion for those who enjoy both everyday indulgences and frequent travel.

2. Lucrative Sign-Up Bonus: The card kicks off with a substantial sign-up bonus, providing cardholders with an immediate boost in points. This enticing feature sweetens the deal for new users, making it particularly attractive from the onset.

3. Flexible Redemption Options: The flexibility in redeeming earned points is a standout feature. Whether you prefer to use your points for travel, cash back, or other rewards, the Citi Premier Credit Card caters to diverse preferences, allowing users to maximize the value of their rewards.

4. No Foreign Transaction Fees: Travelers will appreciate the absence of foreign transaction fees. This feature not only enhances the card’s appeal for globetrotters but also ensures that users can make purchases abroad without incurring additional costs.

 

Drawbacks and considerations

1. Annual Fee: While the Citi Premier Credit Card offers substantial benefits, it comes with an annual fee. Potential cardholders should weigh the value of the rewards and features against this cost to ensure it aligns with their spending habits and financial priorities.

2. Redemption Restrictions: Although the card provides flexible redemption options, there are some restrictions to be mindful of. Certain redemption categories may offer better value than others, and the redemption process itself may require careful navigation to optimize point value.

3. Variable APR: The card’s Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is variable and can be relatively high for those carrying a balance. Responsible credit management is crucial to avoid accruing interest charges, as these can offset the value of the rewards earned.

4. Limited Travel Partners: While the Citi Premier Credit Card has a variety of redemption options, its list of airline transfer partners is not as extensive as some other premium travel cards. Potential cardholders should assess whether the available partners align with their travel preferences.

5. Lack of luxury benefits: The Citi Premier card doesn’t provide benefits like travel insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection, access to airport lounges, or others that many travel cards on the market provide. Weigh the importance of these benefits when choosing a card.

 

How to decide if this card is right for you

Choosing a credit card is a personal decision that hinges on individual preferences and financial habits. Here are key factors to consider when determining if the Citi Premier Credit Card is the right fit for you:

1. Spending Habits: Evaluate your typical spending patterns. If you frequently spend on travel, dining, and entertainment, the accelerated points in these categories make the Citi Premier Card an attractive option.

2. Travel Plans: Assess your travel plans and preferences. If you’re a frequent traveler or have upcoming trips, the card’s travel perks, including the lack of foreign transaction fees and ability to redeem rewards for travel may significantly enhance your experience.

3. Rewards Optimization: Consider how you plan to redeem your rewards. If you appreciate flexibility in choosing between travel, cash back, or other options, the Citi Premier’s versatile redemption options may align well with your preferences.

4. Financial Discipline: Since the card comes with an annual fee and a variable APR, it’s essential to evaluate your financial discipline. If you can manage your credit responsibly and pay off your balance monthly, you can maximize the card’s benefits without incurring high-interest charges.

5. Interest in Citi Transfer Partners: If you have a specific preference for or loyalty to the Citi transfer partners, check if they align with your travel needs. The card’s transfer options may influence your decision, especially if you have preferred airlines or hotel chains.

6. Tolerance for Drawbacks: Consider the drawbacks mentioned, such as the annual fee and lack of luxury benefits. If these limitations align with your financial expectations and you are comfortable with the trade-offs, the Citi Premier Credit Card may still be a suitable choice.

7. Credit Score: Ensure that your credit score meets the card’s eligibility requirements. The Citi Premier Card is typically designed for individuals with good to excellent credit, so a strong credit history is essential for approval.

In conclusion, the Citi Premier Credit Card can be a powerful financial tool for those who align with its rewards structure and travel benefits. By carefully evaluating your spending habits, preferences, and financial discipline, you can determine whether this card is the right fit for your lifestyle and financial goals.

 

Pair this card with:

Citi Custom Cash

citi-Premier

Pair this card with the Citi Custom Cash credit card to maximize your everyday purchases. While some of the categories have the potential to overlap, the Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your highest spend category per billing cycle. You could use the Citi Custom Cash card for the two categories you’re most likely to max out, and then move your spending in those categories over to the Citi Premier card for 3x points back. Or, if you don’t want to keep track of that, use the Citi Custom Cash regularly in a 5% category that doesn’t overlap.

Apply now: Citi Custom Cash

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