Citi Premier Card Complete Guide

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The Citi Premier card is indeed Citi’s premier travel rewards credit card. Ever since Citi stopped taking applications for the Prestige card, the Premier card has become the primary card in Citi’s Thank You Rewards lineup. Arguably, it has been the primary card on the Citi roster for quite some time given excellent bonus categories and the ability to transfer to airline partners 1:1. This guide includes everything you need to know about the Premier card, its benefits, and how it fits into the Thank You Rewards ecosystem.

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Citi Premier Application Tips

Citi Application Tips

  • 24 Month Rule (ThankYou Cards): To get bonus on any ThankYou card, you must wait 24 months after receiving a new cardmember bonus or closing any ThankYou card account. Applies to Preferred, Premier, Prestige, and Rewards+.
  • 24 Month Rule (Expedia Cards): To get bonus on any Expedia card, you must wait 24 months after opening or closing any Expedia card account.
  • 48 Month Rule (AA Cards): With Citi AA cards, you have to wait 48 months after receiving a bonus for the same exact card.
  • Velocity Rules: Max 1 personal card per 8 days. Max 2 personal cards per 65 days. Max 1 business card per 95 days.
  • Get Same Card Again: Citi allows getting same card again (even if card is still open) as long as you follow the 24 or 48 month rules and velocity rules (above).
  • Hard inquiries DO NOT combine into 1 when approved same day

Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration here:800-695-5171 (personal); 800-763-9795 (business)
If reconsideration # doesn’t work, try the Citi Credit Card Executive Office: 423-477-6858

Should you apply?

The Citi Premier card typically has a reasonable welcome bonus that can yield a good deal of travel with transfer partners. It also has excellent bonus categories for ongoing spend in the most common categories. Ironically, Citi removed most travel protections from this card a couple of years ago, making it hard to consider this a primary card in a travel rewards card strategy, but as a means of diversifying your points it can be a very good choice.

If you are eligible (see next section), the welcome bonus on this card certainly makes it worthwhile for at least the first year.

Are you eligible?

To get this card, you must not have received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+®, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months. If you currently have one of those cards and would like to close it to get a new Premier card, be sure to open your new Premier card before closing any of those other cards.

How to apply

You can find the current best welcome bonus information below. Click the card name to go to our Citi Premier card page to find more information and a link to apply.

Card Offer
Citi Premier Card
80K points
80K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

Application status

After you apply, call 1-866-252-0118 to check your application status.

Reconsideration

If your application is denied, I recommend calling for reconsideration (800-695-5171). It’s surprising how often denials can be changed to approvals just by asking.

Citi Premier Perks

Ironically, this travel card carries few travel perks ever since Citi eliminated the various travel protections on almost all of their cards in September 2019. The key perks that remain on the Premier card are:

  • Transfer Points to Partners: Points can be transferred one to one to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit: Once per year you can apply a coupon for $100 off on an after-tax hotel booking of $500 or more. Unfortunately, you have to book through Citi’s ThankYou portal, which is notoriously overpriced and does not allow access to hotel member rates, AAA rates, or other discounted rates. In other words, this perk won’t save you a full $100 in many situations.

Travel Benefits

  • No foreign transaction fees

Travel Protections

Ironically, the Citi Premier no longer includes any travel protections. There is no rental car insurance, no trip delay or cancellation benefit, no lost baggage insurance, etc. Benefits that are pretty standard on most travel cards are completely absent on the Premier.

Purchase Protection

  • Extended Warranty: Citi extends the manufacturer’s warranty by 24 months on items with a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less. This is the best extended warranty coverage of any issuer.
  • Damage and Theft Protection: Covers your new purchases for 90 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per calendar year.

Citi Premier Earn Points

Intro Bonus

This card earns valuable Thank You points. Here’s the current welcome offer:

Card Offer
Citi Premier Card
80K points
80K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

Bonus Spend

Card Name w Details No Review (no offer)
Citi Premier Card

Annual Fee: $95

Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X grocery ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 3X gas stations ⚬ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies

Noteworthy perks: Transfer points to airline partners ⚬ $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Premier Redeem Points

Cash Back

Cardholders can redeem points for 1 cent each either as statement credits or as cash back.

Travel

Redeem points for travel: 1 cents per point

Points can be redeemed for travel through the Citi ThankYou portal at a rate of 1c per point. Note that hotels booked through ThankYou.com will not earn hotel rewards. Worse, hotels booked through the portal often won’t offer you elite benefits even if you have status. Furthermore, hotel pricing through ThankYou.com is often higher than what you’ll find elsewhere (particularly so if you’re booking a hotel where you would otherwise have access to a member rate or discounted rate like AAA or a corporate code. Note that you can not access any of those discounted rates through ThankYou.com). See: How bad are Citi ThankYou hotel prices? for more on this topic.

Transfer points

The best use of Thank You points, in my opinion, is to transfer points to airline partners in order to book high value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight award before transferring points. Points transfer at a ratio of 1:1 as shown in the list of transfer partners below. Keep in mind that while transfers are instantly posted to most loyalty programs, transfers to Singapore Krisflyer and Turkish Miles and Smiles are not instant.

Combine points to transfer to partners

You cannot transfer points directly from a Citi Custom Cash or Double Cash card to airline partners, but you can pool points with a Citi Premier and then transfer the points to airline partners. Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user on the account. For more on this, see the “Managing points” section below.

Transfer Partners

Best Citi Transfer Partners

The following transfer partners represent the best potential value in my opinion.

Rewards ProgramCiti Transfer RatioBest Uses
American AAdvantage1 to 1
(Thru 11/13/21)
Best for AA's web special awards or for partner awards such as Cathay Pacific business class, Qatar business class, Etihad first class, etc. AA no longer charges change or cancellation fees on awards.
Avianca LifeMiles1 to 1
(instant)
Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1 to 1
(~2 days)
Miles & Smiles offers a number of awesome sweet-spot awards including 7.5K one-way anywhere within the US, even to Hawaii. Many awards cannot be booked online but can be booked via email. See: Turkish Miles & Smiles Complete Guide and Turkish business class sweet spots from the US.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1
(instant)
Virgin Atlantic offers quite a few sweet spot awards including ANA first class between the US and Japan for as low as 110K points round-trip; and US to Europe on Delta One business class for only 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).

Useful Citi Transfer Partners

The following transfer partners can offer great value under certain circumstances:

Rewards ProgramCiti Transfer RatioBest Uses
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 1
(instant)
Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1
(instant)
Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available. For long distance flights, it is possible to reduce the cost of first class by adding on a business class flight. See this post for details.
Emirates Skywards1 to 1The best use of Emirates miles is to fly Emirates itself. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip.
Etihad Guest1 to 1
(~1 week)
Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others.  For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1 to 1
(~2 days)
If you want to fly one of the best business class products in the sky, the best way to snag EVA flights is with their own miles since they release more award space to their own members. One-way business class flights from the US to Taipei cost 75K to 80K miles. Fuel surcharges are very low on these routes.
JetBlue1 to 1
(instant)
JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 1
(~2 days)
Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)
Qatar Privilege Club1 to 1
(~2 days)
Qatar has reasonable award prices for flying Qatar itself, but abysmal prices for flying partners.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1
(~2 days)
Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).

The Other Transfer Partners

Here are the transfer partners that didn’t make my “best of” list, above. Note that some of these are still worth considering under certain circumstances.

Rewards ProgramCiti Transfer RatioBest Uses
AeroMexico ClubPremier1 to 1AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.
Jet Airways Inter Miles1 to 1
(instant)
JetAirways JetPrivilege miles are useful only for a few very specific cases such as certain flights to Hawaii for as low as 15K (30K business) one-way, or to the Caribbean or Central America for as low as 10K (20K business) one-way. Details can be found here.
Malaysia Enrich1 to 1
(~2 days)
Given Malaysia's award chart devaluation in June 2017, I'm not aware of any good uses for these miles.
Shop Your Way Rewards1 to 10Don't do it. Shop Your Way points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards. That said, unless Shop Your Way starts offering discounted gift cards, there's no point in converting transferrable points to Shop Your Way.
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus1 to 1
(~1 week)
I'm not aware of any good uses for these miles

Sweet spot awards

Our post, Citi ThankYou points sweet spots for high value redemptions, details the best value uses of Citi ThankYou points. Either click here or click below to jump to a section of the post:

Other ways to redeem points

Through the Thank You portal you can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, merchandise, or experiences. With this approach you’ll usually get 1 cent per point value. One exception is that Citi occasionally offers gift cards at a discount so you may be able to get better than 1 cent per point value during a gift card sale.

You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com for example). Don’t do this. These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Thank You points – causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated). The only time it is worth using points this way is when Amazon runs a coupon to save when using points: you can sometimes use 1 point to save $15 off of $50 or something like that and in those cases it might make sense to use only 1 point, though we recommend de-linking your points from Amazon after utilizing the discount.

Citi Premier Manage Points

Combine Points Across Cards

If you are the primary account holder with multiple cards, you can combine ThankYou Rewards accounts.  When your points are combined, they can then automatically be redeemed at the same value as your best card.  For example, if one of your cards is the Premier card, you will be able to transfer points to airline partners even if the points were earned on a card other than the Premier card.  Similarly, if you combine other cards with the Rewards+ card, you’ll get a 10% rebate on all award redemptions (up to 10,000 rebated points per year) even if the points originated from a different card.  If you have both the Premier and the Rewards+ card combined together and you transfer 100K points to a partner program, you’ll get 10,000 points back.

There are some disadvantages to combining points:

  • You lose the ability to pick and choose which points are used when you redeem awards.
  • You lose visibility into how many points remain with each card.

The above disadvantages become important when you want to cancel a card: when you cancel a card, all points earned from that account are lost after 60 days.  I recommend downgrading to a no-fee ThankYou card rather than cancelling outright.  That way your points are safe.

Share Points Across Cardholders

Citi generously allows people to transfer ThankYou points to anyone else, for free.  There are two “catches” to this:

  1. Shared points expire after 90 days. Make sure you have a specific near-term use in mind before transferring points.
  2. 100K limit: Each member may share up to 100,000 points per calendar year.  Each member may receive up to 100,000 points per calendar year.

Why this is valuable:

  • If a friend has airline elite status with one of Citi’s transfer partners with which you want to book an award, you may be better off transferring points to your friend who can then transfer the points to the airline partner and book the award for you (to get free award changes, for example).

How to Keep Points Alive

There are several situations in which you may have Citi ThankYou Rewards points that will expire:

  • Points earned by a credit card account expire 60 days after cancelling that account.
  • Points transferred to your account expire after 90 days.
  • Points earned from some older credit cards expire in a set amount of time after points were earned (e.g. 3 or 5 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned).
  • Points earned from some credit cards expire if your credit card account has no purchase activity in 18 months.
  • Points earned from Citibank banking products expire 3 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned.

Credit card points: how to keep points alive

With most credit card points (except with some older credit cards which are no longer available), points remain alive until you cancel the card from which they were earned.  Once you cancel the card, points expire after 60 days.

Combining accounts does not solve the problem.  When you combine multiple ThankYou accounts, it’s natural to assume that as long as you keep any ThankYou Rewards credit card open, your points will be safe.  That’s simply not the case.  Citi keeps track of where each ThankYou point came from.  If you cancel a card, the points earned on that card expire after 60 days.  Period. They are not known to reinstate points.

The best way to preserve your ThankYou points is to keep your credit card account alive.  If you don’t want an annual fee, then call to downgrade to a no-fee ThankYou card.  There is a side benefit to this approach too: Your no fee card may be eligible for occasional lucrative retention offers.  See: How one call led to a points bonanza and rethought plans.

Citi Premier Lifecycle

How to meet minimum spend requirements

Once you are approved for a Citi card, you generally have three months to meet the required spend in order to get the welcome bonus. If your usual spend isn’t enough, consider using the Plastiq bill pay service to use your card to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card (rent, mortgage, contractors, etc.). Note that Mastercards like the Premier card can be used to pay a greater range of payees than Visa or Amex cards. Click here to find many more options for increasing credit card spend.

Keep, cancel, or product change?

Is this card worth keeping in the long run? The main reason to keep this card around long term is as a way to transfer points to airline and programs. If you want to transfer Thank You points to partners, you’ll need the Premier. If you don’t need that capability for a while, consider downgrading to a no-fee ThankYou card. Note that the Double Cash is not a ThankYou card: downgrading to the Double Cash will count as having closed your Premier card in terms of Citi’s rules for the welcome bonus (in other words, you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus again on the Premier card for 2 years after downgrading to a non-Thank You card like the Double Cash). Instead consider the Rewards+ card.

Related cards

Card Offer and Details
Citi Premier Card
80K points
80K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: Very strong earnings for spend. Excellent bonus categories. Points transferable to select airlines. Recommend pairing this card with Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+. Sadly, this travel card doesn't provide any travel protections.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X grocery ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 3X gas stations ⚬ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies

Noteworthy perks: Transfer points to airline partners ⚬ $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Custom Cash Card
20K points
20K points after $750 spend in the first 3 months

No Annual Fee

Alternate offer: There is an in-branch offer for $300 / 30K points after $1K spend in the first 3 months that was originally scheduled to expire but has been extended without a clear end date. If you live near a branch, it may be worth calling to see if they have this offer available.

Recent better offer: None

FM Mini Review: This is a great card to have and hold for a single category where you spend no more than $500 per month as it represents an excellent return without rotating categories to track.


Card Type: Mastercard

Base
Other

Earning rate: 5x on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1x thereafter. Eligible categories: Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs and Live Entertainment. ⚬ 1x on all other purchases

Citi Business ThankYou Card

Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Other

Earning rate: 3X rotating quarterly categories

Noteworthy perks: Anniversary bonus on base earnings each membership year. (1% in year 1, 2% in year 2 and 3% in year 3 and beyond.)

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

AT&T Access Card
15K points + $100 statement credit
15K ThankYou Points after $1K Spend in 3 Months + $100 statement credit after $250 in AT&T purchases in the first 3 months

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card may be worth it for a welcome bonus, but it would be worth considering a product change to the Double Cash down the road..Unforunately, it seems it is no longer possible to product change to the AT&T Access More card.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Travel
Shop
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 2 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T ⚬ 2 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites ⚬ 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Rewards+ Card
15K points
15K points after $1K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: 10% points rebate (up to 10K rebate per year) make this a great choice to pool with ThankYou Premier, Prestige, and/or Double Cash


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases

Noteworthy perks: Round up to the nearest 10 points on all purchases with no cap. ⚬ get 10% of your points back on the first 100K redeemed each year

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Double Cash Card

Recent better offer: None

FM Mini Review: 2X rewards for all spend with no annual fee makes this card a winner. Earn 2X everywhere and redeem for the equivalent of 2% cash back or 2X ThankYou points. Pair with the Premier or Prestige card to make points transferrable to airlines.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base

Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere (1% cash back for each purchase + 1% when paying your credit card bill for that purchase)

Noteworthy perks: 1X when you make a purchase + 1X when you pay for those purchases

Citi Rewards+ Student Card
None
This card is not currently available to new applicants.

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: 10% points rebate (up to 10K rebate per year) make this a great choice to pool with ThankYou Premier, Prestige, and/or Double Cash


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases

Noteworthy perks: Round up to the nearest 10 points on all purchases with no cap. ⚬ get 10% of your points back on the first 100K redeemed each year

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

FM Mini Review: Downgrade from Prestige or Premier to this card in order to keep points alive


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 2X dining and entertainment

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

AT&T Access More Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent choice for those who shop often online (thanks to 3X earnings)


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Shop
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 3 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T ⚬ 3 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites ⚬ 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

Big spend bonus: 10,000 anniversary bonus points after $10,000 in annual spending

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi ThankYou Prestige Card

FM Mini Review: The Prestige card's best in class 5X rewards for dining, airfare, and travel agencies is hard to beat. Sadly, this travel card doesn't provide any travel protections.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: 5X airfare, dining, and travel agencies ⚬ 3X hotels and cruise line ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: $250 travel rebate per calendar year ⚬ Free lounge access: Citi Properietary Lounges; and Priority Pass Select with free guests ⚬ $100 Global Entry application fee credit ⚬ 4th night free hotel benefit

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

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