Citi Premier Card
60,000 ThankYou points
$4,000 initial spend
($800 net value, .20/$)Signup Bonus Chart
3x Restaurants (≈4.2%)
3x Airfare, Online Travel Agencies, and Hotels (≈4.2%)
3x Groceries (≈4.2%)
3x Gas (≈4.2%)
1x Everywhere Else (≈1.4%)
No Foreign Transaction Fee
If you are comfortable using your points for frequent flyer tickets and aren't willing or able to use business cards, the Citi Premier and Double Cash combo is the best way to earn rewards on your credit card spending. For a total of $95 in annual fees, you'll earn 3x points on restaurants, groceries, gas, and most travel expenses, and 2x points on everything else. You can then get extra value from your points by transferring them to one of a dozen different frequent flyer programs.
The Citi Premier is the most well-rounded bonus reward card available, with good reward rates on each of the major bonus categories. It also offers the most lucrative ThankYou signup bonus and unlocks your ability to transfer ThankYou points to airline partners.
Introduction to ThankYou Points
ThankYou Rewards is the name of Citibank's own rewards program. ThankYou Rewards Guide.
- ThankYou points can be transferred to many different frequent flyer programs. his gives you the flexibility to take advantage of award space on over a hundred different airlines. In many cases, you can choose to book a flight through one of several different partner programs, allowing you to take advantage of whichever program requires the fewest miles and fees for your trip.
- ThankYou Rewards occasionally offers promotional transfer bonuses. When the promotion is active, you'll get extra airline miles when you transfer your ThankYou Reward points to a specific airline. For example, if Citibank is offering a 40% bonus for British Airways, you'll receive 14,000 British Airways points for every 10,000 ThankYou points you transfer. See Take Advantage of Transfer Bonuses to Get More Value from Your Reward Points for more information or visit Frequent Miler’s Current Transfer Bonuses page for a list of current (and past) promotions.
- You can also "cash out" your points at 1 cent each. Citi Premier and Prestige customers can very easily convert their points to cash.
- If you have the no-annual-fee Citi Rewards+ card, you get a 10% rebate on your points redemptions. This is capped at to your first 100,000 points of redemptions each year. For example, if you transfer 50,000 points to British Airways, you'll get 5,000 points back. This gives you an easy boost of 11% to point values, regardless if you convert your points to frequent flyer tickets or cash them out.
- We value ThankYou points at 1.4 cents each. Because you can take advantage of award space and "sweet spots" from many different frequent flyer programs and the occasional transfer bonus, ThankYou points are generally worth more than any single type of airline miles. If you highly valuable premium-cabin award tickets, ThankYou points are worth even more. But because Citibank has a weaker set of airline partners, ThankYou points are typically somewhat less valuable than Membership Rewards points. On the other hand, if you expect to be able to take advantage of Turkish Airlines awards for domestic and Hawaii travel on United Airlines, they may actually be more valuable the other types of bank points. How Much are Points Worth?
- If you aren't comfortable using your points for frequent flyer tickets, they are only worth 1 cent each. Unlike Chase's Ultimate Rewards, transfer rates for hotel programs aren't very attractive, there are no fixed-value airline partners (like Southwest), and there is no cash out option for greater than 1 cent per point.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
- It is worth signing up for this card just to collect the signup bonus. The typical signup bonus is 60,000 ThankYou points, valued at $840 (at 1.4 cents per point). After subtracting the annual fee and the opportunity cost of using the card for $4,000 of spending, the calculated net value for the initial year is $700 (18 cents per dollar spent). Your value may be higher or lower, depending on how much you value ThankYou points.. How Much are Points Worth?
- You can only collect one signup bonus every 24 months from the Citi ThankYou card family. More accurately, you can't collect a signup bonus within 24 months of signing up for, or cancelling, the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, Citi Preferred, or Citi Rewards+ card. While cancelling a card resets the clock, converting a card from one to another usually does not. This special signup bonus restriction doesn't apply to the Custom Cash, Double Cash or AT&T card, even though they can earn ThankYou points.
- To maximize the bonuses you collect from Citi's ThankYou cards, carefully time when you cancel your cards. If you don't want a card after your initial year, convert it to the no-annual-fee Rewards+ or Custom Cash card instead. A year later, you'll be eligible for a new signup offer. If you want to cancel an extra Rewards+ or Custom Cash Card, you should wait until just after been approved for one of their other cards, so it doesn't separately reset the clock. And you need to remember to avoid cancelling any card that still has points associated with it.
- Annual $100 hotel savings benefit. Once per calendar year, you can save $100 off any hotel reservation of at least $500 that you make through Citibank's website. Since rates on this website are usually higher than what you can find elsewhere (and don't entitle you to participate in the hotel's own loyalty program), you typicall won't get full value from this benefit, but you can often save at least some money.
- Elite car rental status. As with all World Elite MasterCards, you get free National Emerald Club Executive and Sixt Platinum status. Instant Car Rental Elite Status.
- Access to Mastercard's luxury hotel program. Another benefit of high-end MasterCards is access to MasterCard's luxury hotel program. When you use the program to book one of the participating hotels, you'll get a number of valuable benefits, like free breakfast, a $100 hotel credit, a room upgrade, and late checkout.Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
- Free ShopRunner membership. Like all World Elite MasterCards, your card entitles you to a complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day and return shipping from around 150 of the largest online retailers. ShopRunner.
- DoorDash and Hello Fresh discounts. Cardmembers who have a DoorDash membership get $5 off their first two orders each month when paid for by their Mastercard. If you don't have a free membership from Chase, you can get your first three months membership for free through Mastercard. You also get a 5% credit back on each HelloFresh purchase.
- Some additional discounts. If you pay for at least 3 Lyft rides each calendar month with your Mastercard, you'll receive a $5 Lyft credit good for the following month (once you enroll in the Lyft app). You also receive double Fandango points, a 5% reward rebate at Boxed, and $5 off every Postmates order of $25 or more.
- The Premier Card earns earns the best set of bonus category rewards of any individual card. It earns 3x ThankYou points (valued at 4.2 cents per dollar) on all the main bonus categories, including groceries, gas, restaurants, and most travel expenses. Better reward rates are sometimes available from other cards, but there is no simpler way to earn good bonus rewards on all the common categories (as long as your are comfortable using your points for frequent flyer tickets).
- The Citi Premier Card supercharges the rewards you earn from the Citi Double Cash Card. The Double Cash Card earns 2x points on every purchase. Normally, these points are only worth 1 cent each. But if you have the Citi Premier Card (or Citi Prestige Card), you'll have the option of turning your Double Cash points into ThankYou points and transferring them to frequent flyer programs. For anyone who is comfortable redeeming their points for frequent flyer tickets and isn't willing and able to get business cards, the Citibank Combo is the best option for earning credit card rewards.
- The no-annual-fee Reward+ card can boost your rewards. It gives you a rebate of 10% on the first 100,000 of ThankYou points you redeem each year. For example, if you transfer 50,000 points to British Airways, you'll get 5,000 points back, and if you use 20,000 points to purchase $200 of travel on the Citibank website, you'll get 2,000 points back. This boosts the rewards from the Premier, Prestige, and Double Cash cards by 11%.
Getting Rid of the Card
- You could lose your ThankYou points when you cancel your card. Any ThankYou points associated with your card will expire 60 days after you cancel. You can transfer them to another person's account, but they will then expire after 90 days. You need to either hold onto your card, product change it to the Citi Rewards+, Citi Custom Cash Card, or Citi Preferred Card, or transfer your points to your favorite travel partner. You can downgrade to the Rewards+ or Custom Cash Card even if you already have one.
- Cancelling your card resets the clock for earning another ThankYou point signup bonus. You aren't eligible if you've opened or closed account within the last 24 months. Product changing, rather than cancelling, shouldn't reset the clock. But sometimes it does and there is really no rhyme or reason to it. You should theoretically be able to product change to any other Citibank personal credit card.
- If you don't already have one, the Rewards+ and the Custom Cash Cards are compelling product change option. The Rewards+ gives you a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year. The Custom Cash Card earns 5x points on up to $500 spend in whichever category you use it for the most each billing cycle. With either card, you aren't missing out on much in the way of a signup bonus, but since you bonuses from the Custom Cash Card don't interfere with bonuses from the other cards, you might want to apply for it directly.
- You can wait to cancel your card until after the annual fee shows up on your statement. As long as you cancel within 30 days of the statement closing date, Citibank will refund the fee. After 30 days, you can receive a pro-rated refund by downgrading to a lower-priced card, such as the Rewards+.
- You might be able to receive a retention offer to keep your card. It could be enough to make it worthwhile to keep the card.
Note that without a Premier Card (or Prestige Card), you can't transfer your points to travel partners. If you don't have one and you downgrade your card to one of the no-annual-fee options, you'll hold onto your points and can redeem them for 1 cent each, but you'll need to upgrade back or otherwise get one of these cards in the future to regain the ability to transfer your points to partners.
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