Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Citi Premier Card

This card has a discount on hotel stays, on top of additional travel savings opportunities by redeeming points.

Keith M. RossoDec 15, 2020
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The Citi Premier® Card offers a lucrative sign-up bonus and a low annual fee while letting you earn Citi’s transferable currency, ThankYou points.

Despite some changes earlier this year that made this card less valuable for travelers, there remain some underrated benefits that make the card worth considering. Here’s a quick review of well-known reasons to get this card, followed by underrated reasons it could be a good choice for you.

The well-known reasons

The Citi Premier® Card offers several popular benefits:

  • Welcome bonus: Cardholders can earn the following sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. At a minimum, you can redeem 60,000 points for $600 cash back or gift cards through the Citi ThankYou Rewards portal. Points can be worth more if you transfer them to one of Citi’s travel partner programs (more on that below).

  • Low annual fee: The card has a $95 annual fee, which is relatively low given the value of the sign-up bonus, points-earning opportunities and other perks.

  • No foreign transaction fees: If you travel overseas frequently, the Citi Premier® Card will save you from paying foreign transaction fees on purchases, which can be an added 3% charge on other cards.

The underrated reasons

Earn 2X or 3X ThankYou Points by spending in bonus categories

Every time you use the card for a qualifying purchase, you earn at least 1 Citi ThankYou point per dollar. But in some spending categories, you get triple that. You'll earn 3 ThankYou Points for each $1 spent on:

  • Air travel and hotels.

  • Restaurants.

  • Supermarkets.

  • Gas stations.

Plus, 1 ThankYou Point for each $1 spent on all other purchases.

That supermarket category is new — a potentially lucrative opportunity for cardholders who spend a lot at the grocery store. But some of the recent changes this card made to its travel category are a downgrade. You can currently get 3x points on airfare and hotels, but previously, this card paid 3x points for a much broader range of travel purchases.

Of note, cardmembers who applied for the card before April 10, 2020 continue to earn 2x on entertainment and 3x on other travel through April 9, 2021.

Nerdy tip: If you spend a lot on car rentals, rideshare services, rail lines or other types of travel, this card won’t get you big rewards in those categories. But if you have another card that earns bonus points on all travel purchases, you could use the Citi Premier® Card in combination with one of your other cards to take advantage of the different bonus categories each offers.

1:1 point transfers to numerous airline partners

The Citi ThankYou program gives Citi Premier® Card holders the ability to transfer points to more than a dozen airline partners, including JetBlue.

You get especially good value for your rewards by transferring points to one of Citi’s international airline partners, like Emirates or Qantas.

$100 hotel discount

Cardholders can save $100 off of a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) once per calendar year by booking through thankyou.com.

World Elite Mastercard benefits

As a Citi Premier® Card holder, you can use World Elite card perks, including cell phone insurance, Lyft rideshare credits, savings on Boxed grocery deliveries and car rental benefits.

Purchase protection

When you purchase an eligible item with the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll get important purchase protection benefits, like:

  • Damage and theft protection. If an item is damaged or stolen within 90 days after you buy it with your card, Citi may repair or reimburse you up to the amount paid. The card covers you for up to $10,000 per incident, up to $50,000 per year.

  • Extended warranty. Buy an item with a warranty with your card and Citi will add an additional 24 months of warranty coverage after the manufacturer warranty ends, so long as the total warranty period doesn’t go over seven years. This benefit can cover repairs or replacement of the item up to the amount charged or $10,000, whichever is less.

The bottom line

In addition to the valuable welcome bonus, the Citi Premier® Card will get you 3x bonus points for supermarket spending, airline tickets, hotel stays and restaurant purchases. You can transfer the points you earn directly to airline partners to book award flights. Cardholders can also take advantage of World Elite parks, including rideshare credits and online shopping discounts.


How to Maximize Your Rewards

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