CNN Underscored evaluations monetary merchandise corresponding to bank cards and financial institution accounts based mostly on their total worth. We might obtain a fee by the LendingTree affiliate community in case you apply and are accredited for a card, however our reporting is at all times unbiased and goal.
Whereas our alternative for the very best first journey rewards bank card has lengthy been the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked Card, in case you’re already gotten that card otherwise you’re unable to use for Chase bank cards on account of that issuer’s software guidelines, there’s at the moment a powerful runner-up to contemplate: the Citi Premier® Card.
Not solely is the Citi Premier a strong contender in its personal proper — particularly proper now for causes that we’ll get to in a second — however in case you’re excited by journey rewards, it probably ought to be the primary Citi card you apply for earlier than contemplating another Citi bank card. Sure, even our benchmark Citi® Double Money Card.
Why? Let’s dive into the Citi Premier and the applying guidelines associated to it so you’ll be able to see firsthand why we expect it ought to be on the prime of your checklist when on the lookout for a brand new Citi bank card.
Proper now, new Citi Premier card holders can earn 80,000 bonus factors after spending $4,000 on purchases inside the first three months after opening the account. Not solely is that the very best bonus supply we’ve ever seen on this card, it’s the very best bonus you’ll be able to at the moment get on any Citi bank card.
Precisely how a lot are these 80,000 factors price? Properly, the Citi Premier earns factors often known as Citi ThankYou Rewards, which will be simply redeemed for reward playing cards or for any flight booked by Citi’s journey portal at a price of 1 cent per level. That makes the cardboard’s sign-up bonus price $800 at a naked minimal, which is a good haul for a card that solely has a $95 annual payment.
Nevertheless, with a bit little bit of effort, you will get much more worth in your factors than that. That’s as a result of Citi additionally lets you switch your ThankYou factors to any of its 16 companion airline loyalty packages, which briefly contains American Airways’ AAdvantage frequent flyer program by Nov. 13.
Now by November 13, you’ll be able to switch factors from the Citi Premier card to American Airways.
Whereas utilizing your factors this fashion requires some further effort and suppleness, you’ll be able to probably get way more worth in your rewards, particularly in case you redeem them for first or enterprise class flights. That’s why frequent flyer web site The Factors Man values Citi ThankYou factors at 1.7 cents apiece. At that price, the 80,000 bonus factors on the Citi Premier are price a whopping $1,360 towards journey.
Granted, there are some bank cards outdoors of Citi providing 100,000-point bonus presents or extra, it’s necessary to needless to say not all factors are created equal, and 100,000 factors on some playing cards are price lower than the 80,000 factors on the Citi Premier.
Additionally, some playing cards require a ridiculous quantity of spending to earn the whole sign-up bonus — as a lot as $15,000 in some circumstances. However the $4,000 spending requirement on the Citi Premier breaks down to simply $1,333 a month for every of the primary three months you’ve gotten the cardboard.
Just like most main banks, Citi has guidelines on how usually a buyer will be accredited for a bank card. Though Citi doesn’t restrict the variety of playing cards you’ll be able to open, it does have restrictions on what number of playing cards you’ll be able to apply for inside a given time.
General, you’ll be able to solely apply for one Citi bank card each eight days, and a most of two Citi playing cards each 65 days. That coverage covers all the issuer’s bank cards, together with airline, journey rewards and money again choices.
Appears fairly simple and simple to know, proper? Besides that Citi additionally has a 24-month “card household” rule. This implies in case you’ve opened or closed any card inside particular households of Citi playing cards prior to now 24 months, you received’t be capable of obtain a sign-up bonus when making use of for a brand new card from that very same household.
That rule is a bit more sophisticated, so let’s take a look at it utilizing the Citi Premier for example. The Citi Premier earns Citi ThankYou factors, making it a part of the household of Citi playing cards that additionally earn ThankYou factors, which incorporates the Citi Rewards+® Card and the no-longer-available Citi Status Card.
So in case you open a Citi Rewards+ card, you received’t be capable of additionally get the sign-up bonus on the Citi Premier card till 24 months have elapsed. And for the reason that Citi Premier presents a a lot greater sign-up bonus — 4 occasions as excessive because the Citi Rewards+ card — and higher rewards, you’ll need to be sure to use for the Citi Premier card first.
It is necessary to know the applying guidelines in relation to getting Citi bank cards.
The excellent news is our benchmark Citi Double Money Card isn’t a part of any Citi card household, and likewise has no sign-up bonus of its personal. So you’ll be able to safely apply for it after you get the Citi Premier — as quickly as eight days after in order for you it that quick. And these two playing cards really pair collectively very nicely, as a result of you probably have each, you’ll be able to convert the money again earned in your Citi Double Money into factors, and mix them with the factors you earn on the Citi Premier, supplying you with one massive pot of journey rewards.
In comparison with all the different Citi bank cards, the Citi Premier has essentially the most strong set of bonus classes. You’ll earn three factors for each greenback you spend on air journey, accommodations, gasoline stations, supermarkets and eating places (together with takeout), and 1 level per greenback on all different purchases. Plus, there’s no restrict to the variety of factors you’ll be able to earn.
This additionally brings up a second motive that the Citi Premier pairs nicely with the Citi Double Money Card. For the reason that Citi Double Money earns 2% money again on all the pieces you purchase — 1% while you make a purchase order, and one other 1% while you pay it off — and you may convert your money again to ThankYou factors while you even have the Citi Premier, you’ll be able to successfully maximize the rewards you’re incomes on all of your purchases by having each playing cards.
How? Properly, you probably have each playing cards in your purse or pockets, you’d pull out the Citi Premier everytime you’re making a purchase order in one in every of its bonus classes in an effort to earn three factors per greenback, and you then’d pull out the Citi Double Money Card for all the pieces else to earn 2% money again, which is successfully 2 factors per greenback while you convert the money again into ThankYou factors. That approach you’re at all times incomes not less than twice as a lot as the essential 1 level per greenback on all the pieces you purchase.
The Citi Premier can also be the one Citi card you’ll be able to at the moment get that, by itself, lets you switch factors to any of Citi’s 16 companion airways, probably growing the worth of your factors. The entire different Citi playing cards earn money again or “primary” ThankYou factors that may solely be redeemed for reward playing cards or used by the Citi journey portal at 1 cent apiece.
Citi ThankYou factors switch at a 1-to-1 ratio to all companions, which implies the 80,000 factors from the Citi Premier sign-up supply equals 80,000 factors or miles in any of those 16 airline packages:
Moreover, at occasions, Citi runs promotions for switch bonuses of 10% to 30% when transferring your factors to sure companions throughout sure time durations, which implies you will get much more bang in your buck. The one rule in relation to transferring factors is that they should be transferred in blocks of 1,000, and not more than 50,000 factors will be transferred at a given time.
Citi additionally makes it extremely simple to switch factors from one particular person’s ThankYou Rewards account to a different. This can be a nice function in case you’re seeking to mix factors amongst associates or relations. However that you must be sure you’re prepared to make use of your ThankYou factors earlier than you mix them with another person, as a result of factors shared with one other particular person expire 90 days from the date they’re acquired, and you may switch a most of 100,000 ThankYou factors in a calendar 12 months.
Each the Citi Premier and the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked have $95 annual charges, in order that they’re comparable in price. With the Sapphire Most well-liked, you’ll earn Chase Final Rewards factors, which switch to a distinct set of companions than Citi ThankYou factors. Chase presents three resort companions along with 11 airline companions, whereas Citi solely has airline partnerships out there.
Chase additionally presents extra home companion alternatives corresponding to United Airways and Hyatt accommodations, whereas Citi focuses on worldwide carriers. However Citi companions with many airways that don’t companion with anybody else, and it’s at the moment the one one of many main banks which have a switch partnership with American Airways. That partnership is scheduled to finish on Nov. 13, however it might be prolonged.
Chase Final Rewards has switch companions corresponding to United, whereas Citi’s switch companions are targeted extra on worldwide carriers.
The Chase Sapphire Most well-liked additionally presents many buying and journey safety advantages. For instance, in case your flight is delayed in a single day, inflicting you to must fly out the next morning, the Sapphire Most well-liked will reimburse you for any sudden out-of-pocket prices — corresponding to an evening at a resort, meals and taxis — as much as $500 per passenger.
Whereas the Citi Premier now not presents these nice-to-have perks, it does have extra bonus classes, and in some circumstances at the next price. For example, the Citi Premier earns three factors per greenback on journey purchases, the place the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked solely earns 2 factors per greenback until you e book by Final Rewards.
On the finish of the day, they’re each nice bank cards that you just’ll need to take into account in case you’re enthusiastic about incomes journey rewards for the primary time. Whereas the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked stays our favourite first journey bank card, the Citi Premier is an underrated contender, and will positively be the primary Citi card in your checklist. You’ll be able to even apply for each and diversify your factors — the final word approach to make sure you have the appropriate factors when seeking to go in your subsequent much-needed trip.
Discover out which playing cards CNN Underscored selected as our greatest journey bank cards of 2021.