If you’re someone who wants to use just one credit card for most of your everyday purchases – but still earn a decent amount of travel points – the Citi Premier® Card might be worth your consideration. It awards three points for dollar spent on ordinary expenses such as purchases made at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and more.
Citi Premier® Card Basics
Here’s a quick rundown of the Citi Premier® Card:
What Kind of Rewards Does It Earn?
- Citi ThankYou® Points. These can be transferred to a participating partner for award travel or applied toward the cost of travel booked through Citi (or redeemed for gift cards, applied for purchases made at Amazcon.com or BestBuy.com, and more. We’ll discuss this more in a minute.)
Points Earnings on Eligible Purchases (There are no points-earning caps or limits!)
- 3X: Air Travel
- 3X: Hotels
- 3X: Gas Stations
- 3X: Restaurants
- 3X: Supermarkets
- 1X: Everything Else
Foreign Transaction Fees
Current Welcome Promotion
The Citi Premier® Card is running a limited-time offer promotion right now. New cardholders earn 80,000 ThankYou bonus points after spending $ 4,000 on eligible purchases within three (3) months of being approved for the card. (This is an increase from 60,000 bonus points.)
Even if you value ThankYou points at just a penny each, those 80,000 points are worth $ 800. But you can probably get much better value when transferring them to a travel partner and redeeming them for something fun like a first class or business class airline ticket.
Learn here how to apply for the special limited-time promotion.
Why the Card’s Simple Earning Structure May Appeal to Many People
A lot of us points and miles enthusiasts use an arsenal of credit cards to cover our various purchases. For example, I like the American Express® Gold Card when dining out because it earns 4X American Express® Membership Rewards® at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the US I’ll usually use my Chase Sapphire Reserve®® when buying airline tickets because it offers excellent trip interruption and cancellation coverage.
But I know plenty of people who just want to use one or maybe two credit cards. The idea of sorting through their wallet at the grocery store so they can find the best supermarket card isn’t worth it. They want a sort of a catch-all credit card that offers good rewards.
And I think the Citi Premier® Card fits the bill pretty well. It earns 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent at places you and I usually visit – such as supermarkets, gas stationsand restaurants. And the 3X on air travel and hotels is on par with several premium credit cards.
Yes, it carries a $ 95 annual fee. But that’s quickly taken care of with the card’s annual $ 100 hotel benefit (more on that in the next section). But if you use your card often – especially at the 3X bonus category merchants – you’ll be just fine. (If you’re dead set against annual fees, here are a bunch of cards that might be right up your alley.)
Here are a couple of the card’s main travel features.
$ 100 Annual Hotel Benefit
Citi® Premier Card allows cardholders to enjoy $ 100 off a single hotel stay of $ 500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through Citi’s ThankYou program. (You must pre-pay for the complete stay with your Citi Premier Card.)
Hotels generally don’t offer elite status benefits and points earnings for reservations booked through online travel agencies such as Citi ThankYou. But recouping the card’s annual fee (plus five bucks!) On a $ 500 hotel stay may be worth it.
Use Your Points for Travel
There are a couple of ways you can use your ThankYou points to pay for travel.
Book Through ThankYou’s Travel Service
You can book airline travel, hotel stays, and more through Citi’s ThankYou travel service. Apply your points (at a rate of one cent each) toward the cost of your trip. This method would make 100,000 points knock $ 1,000 off travel.
Transfer Points to a Travel Partner
When you see people post videos and pictures of themselves sitting in crazy awesome first class seats, there’s a chance they used a frequent flyer program’s points to book an award trip. So, that’s how ThankYou points might help you with a dream trip. (Remember that our friends at Point.Me have a fantastic search engine to help you find award travel prices. They also offer a personalized, one-on-one booking service if you need help planning your award trip. Use promo code EYEOFTHEFLYER for a free 24-hour trial on their self-serve plan.
You can transfer your ThankYou points to the following frequent flyer programs:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Jet Airways InterMiles (formerly JetPrivilege)
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
You can transfer your ThankYou points to the following hotel loyalty programs:
- Choice Privileges
- Wyndham Rewards
ThankYou points can also be redeemed for:
- Gift cards
- Statement credit
- Direct deposit
- Check by mail
- Shop with points at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com
- Use points to pay for recent purchases
- Donate to charity
- Use them with Sears Shop Your Way.
What Credit Card Should You Use for Other Purchases?
What should you do about purchases that don’t receive the Premier’s 3X categories? (Spending such as paying bills, buying stuff from Amazon, etc.) Here are three ideas:
(Our credit card partner, CardRatings, has a pretty extensive selection of available cards for you to search and browse.)
The Citi Premier® Card (learn here how to apply) is an excellent option for people wanting as few cards as possible to help them earn a respectable cache of travel points. It earns three points per dollar at everyday vendors such as supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants. (It also earns 3X on air fare and hotels.)
It carries a $ 95 annual fee – that can easily be earned back by using your $ 100 annual hotel credit and redeeming your points.
To see rates and fees for the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
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