Whether you’re looking for rewards on your purchases or looking to shed your balance, there’s a Citi credit card for you. Citibank offers some of the best get-out-of-debt deals out there, and plays in the rewards card big leagues as well. Here are the best Citicards out there.
Best rewards credit card
The Citi ThankYou Premier is a great rewards credit card. It starts off with a solid signup bonus: Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points, after required spend. It continues with 3 points per $1 on restaurants and entertainment, 2 per $1 on airfare and hotels, and 1 per $1 elsewhere. What’s more, points are worth an extra 25% when you redeem for travel booked through Citi’s Kayak-like tool. Its annual fee is fairly steep at $125, but it’s waived the first year and more than offset by the awesome bonus. Moreover, it’s got no foreign transaction fee as well as an EMV chip, so it’s ideal for travelers.
Best low interest and balance transfer card
The Citi Simplicity really is one of the best get-out-of-debt options on the market. It offers an industry-leading 18 months of 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers, so it’s a great way to get rid of existing debt or make a big purchase and pay it off over time. But where the Simplicity stands out is its late fee and penalty APR: It has none. Whereas other cards will slap you with a $35 fee and jack up your interest rate to 30% if you miss a payment, the Simplicity does…nothing. It gives you a free pass, understanding that sometimes, it’s hard to stay on top of your payments. For its best-in-class zero APR period and foregone fees, the Simplicity wins out as one of the best cards out there.
Best rewards card with no fee & cash back
The Citi Dividend Platinum Select is one of the best rewards cards that Citibank offers. In addition to its Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. signup bonus (received after spending $500 in the first 3 months), it provides 5% cash back on rotating categories that change every quarter, and can range from restaurants to travel to gym memberships (non-bonus categories earn 1% rewards). The downside is that rewards are capped at $300 back per year, which works out to $1,500 in bonus categories per quarter. We’re actually not the biggest fans of the Dividend Platinum Select, because its bonus categories are so restrictive, but if home improvement’s your thing, it’s a great option.
Here’s the 2014 bonus schedule for the Chase Freedom, and the 2013 bonus schedule for the Dividend and it, which haven’t released their 2014 categories yet:
|Card||Signup Bonus||Rewards Limit||Q1||Q2||Q3||Q4|
|Chase Freedom||Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening||$1,500 in bonus spending/quarter||Gas, movie theaters, Starbucks||Restaurants, Lowe’s||Gas, Kohl’s||Amazon, Zappos, department stores|
|Citi Dividend Platinum Select||Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.||$300 cash back per year||Zappos, gym memberships, drugstores||Home furnishings, home and garden, Home Depot||Hilton hotels, car rentals, movies and theme parks||Toy stores, Best Buy and department stores|
|Discover It||None||$1,500 in bonus spending/quarter||Restaurants and movies||Home improvement||Gas||Online shopping|
In sum: The card’s great if you want to max out your $300 annual cash back rewards on home improvement; otherwise, give it a pass for other, better 5% back cards.
Best credit card for college students
The Citi Forward® Card for College Students is pretty much equivalent to the adult counterpart: it gives 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent at bookstores, restaurants, movies or music. It earns 5 points per $1 at campus bookstores (textbooks!), and considers 2:00A.M. Domino’s deliveries and most bars to be restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 TY point. Remember – the ThankYou Points program is less than ideal. You need to rack up a lot of points (10k) to get the full value when redeeming for gift cards. However, if you have a student loan to pay off, you’re in luck – you can make a payment with far fewer points at a 1 cent per point valuation. Otherwise, unless you redeem for a mortgage payment or charity, you’re stuck squirreling away your points or taking a hit in your rewards rate. Still, this card gives you bonus rewards on textbooks, bars, greasy food and school swag bought at the campus bookstore. If that isn’t student-friendly, nothing is.