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Citi Premier Card Review: Designed for All Spending With Focus on Travel Rewards

Our review of the Citi Premier Card looks at the card's rewards program, fees and other card benefits that focus on everyday spending habits and travel rewards.
(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Charging everyday purchases to a credit card could be rewarding if you're earning points on what you spend.

The Citi Premier Card is designed for spenders who want to earn ThankYou points on groceries, dining, gas and everything in between.

Though it has an annual fee it's not as high as some other premium rewards cards you might consider.

You also have the option to transfer points to selected travel partners for more flexibility. There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

If you're interested in an all-around rewards card to help you pile up points, here's more on what the Citi Premier Card offers.

Citi/ Premier Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Earn 3 points per $1 at restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on air travel and hotels
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy an annual hotel savings benefit worth $100 off a $500 stay
  • Transfer ThankYou points to participating travel partners
  • You don't get travel extras like airport lounge access or a fee credit toward Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • While the annual fee is low you may prefer a card with no annual fee at all

Earn ThankYou Points on Travel, Everyday Spending

The Citi Premier Card could be a good fit if you're looking for a card that's equally rewarding when you spend on travel and everyday purchases.

With this card, you can earn:

  • 3 points per $1 at supermarkets
  • 3 points per $1 on gas
  • 3 points per $1 at restaurants
  • 3 points per $1 on air travel and hotels
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

This card also comes with an impressive introductory welcome bonus. This can help you pocket some ThankYou points right off the bat.

You will, however, need to meet a minimum spending requirement and other requirements to qualify.

Redeeming rewards

When you're ready to redeem your ThankYou points, you have plenty of options for doing so.

You can apply your points toward:

  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Shopping at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com
  • Merchandise, including electronics
  • Charitable donations
  • Statement credit
  • Cash back

You also have the option to transfer ThankYou points to participating airline loyalty programs. Transfers are available with a minimum of 1,000 points and there's no fee.

Participating airline loyalty programs include:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • InterMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Points transfer on a 1:1 basis. So if you transfer 1,000 ThankYou points to JetBlue, you'd get 1,000 TrueBlue miles.

There is an exception for transfers if you're using them for the Shop Your Way program. One ThankYou point is worth 10 Shop Your Way points so you get a little boost in value if you're using them to shop partner retailers.

Keep in mind:

Once you transfer points, you can't get them back.

So if you make a transfer, then decide to cancel or change your travel plans, the transfer isn't reversible.

Save Money on Travel With Added Benefits

The Citi Premier Card offers benefits to help you earn rewards on everyday purchases. But it also comes with a few noteworthy travel features.

Annual hotel savings benefit

As a cardmember, you can take advantage of an annual hotel savings benefit.

This benefit is worth $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more.

This excludes taxes and fees but you can use this benefit once per calendar year. You'll just need to book through thankyou.com.

Citi Entertainment

Citi Entertainment can be a valuable extra if you spend on entertainment while traveling or staying closer to home.

With this feature, you can get access to exclusive ticket sales for selected events. That includes dining, sports, concerts and more.

What Else Do You Get With the Card?

The Citi Premier Card rounds out its list of benefits and features with the following:

  • Digital wallet capabilities
  • Authorized users at no additional charge
  • Contactless payment capabilities

This card doesn't have quite as many bells and whistles as some rewards cards on the market.

But, it could be a good choice if your main goal is earning points on travel and other spending.

Card Fees

The Citi Premier Card does have an annual fee. But at $95, it's not as steep as what some rewards cards charge.

If you're on the fence about whether you should pay an annual fee, consider how often you plan to use the card. The more you spend, the more points you could earn since rewards are unlimited.

And some of the card's features could make up for the fee.

For example, the $100 hotel savings benefit you can get each year could easily cancel out the cost of the fee.

Of course, think about where you spend the most. If you tend to charge online shopping more often than groceries or travel, for example, this may not be the card for you.

Citi Premier Card vs. Other Rewards Credit Cards

The Citi Premier Card is just one card you might consider for earning points on purchases. If you need some other cards for comparison, here are three to consider.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn points on travel and dining.

Specifically, you can earn 2 points per $1 on those purchases. Through April 30, 2021 you can also earn 2 points per $1 on up to $1,000 in grocery purchases each month. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1.

What makes this card unique is the value you can get when you redeem points. When you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they're worth 25% more.

And you can also transfer them to Chase travel partners on a 1:1 basis. This gives you even more flexibility when redeeming rewards.

Compared to the Citi Premier Card, the annual fee is the same, at $95. So if you're stuck between these two cards, consider whether you'd like to earn a higher number of points on purchases or get more value when you redeem.

Read the Chase Sapphire Reserve card editor's review.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card keeps rewards simple.

With this card, you earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on all purchases, every day. There are no rewards tiers or rotating bonus categories to juggle. Rewards are unlimited so the more you spend, the more you earn.

You can redeem rewards for travel at any time, with no blackout dates or restrictions. You also have the option to transfer miles to one of more than 10 travel partners. Or you can use your miles to shop through PayPal.

There's no foreign transaction fee for this card but there is a $95 annual. You do, however, get up to a $100 fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, something the Citi Premier Card doesn't offer.

Read the Capital One Venture Rewards Card editor's review.

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card may be a rewarding choice if you want to earn more points on grocery purchases.

This card offers:

  • 4 points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year
  • 4 points per $1 at restaurants and on takeout
  • 3 points per $1 on flights booked directly with the airlines or through amextravel.com
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

As a cardmember, you get benefits like a $120 annual dining credit, access to The Hotel Collection and personalized travel services. That could make it a good fit if you primarily spend on travel.

In terms of the annual fee, this card is the most expensive alternative of the three included here. It has an annual fee of $250. But you could earn that back the first year if you qualify for the introductory welcome bonus.

Final Verdict

The Citi Premier Card may be a good card to consider if you want to earn the same level of rewards on travel and everyday spending.

While this card does have an annual fee, it's not outrageous.

And the annual hotel benefit can make help to make up for the fee each year.

If you're interested in this card for travel, take a second look at the list of travel partners to make sure your preferred airlines are listed. If not, you may want to consider a different travel rewards card instead.