The Citi Premier card is Citi’s premier travel rewards credit card that earns valuable and flexible ThankYou points. It competes with other premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex Gold Card, and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It is the primary card for Citi with excellent spending categories and the ability to transfer to airline partners 1:1. This guide has everything you need to know about the Citi Premier, its benefits, and how it fits into the Thank You Rewards ecosystem.
Citi Premier Application Tips
Citi Application Tips
Check application status here.
Should you apply?
The Citi Premier card typically has a reasonable welcome bonus that can yield a good deal of travel with transfer partners. It also has excellent bonus categories for ongoing spend in the most common categories. Ironically, Citi removed most travel protections from this card a couple of years ago, making it hard to consider this a primary card in a travel rewards card strategy, but as a means of diversifying your points it can be a very good choice.
If you are eligible (see next section), the welcome bonus on this card certainly makes it worthwhile for at least the first year.
Are you eligible?
To get this card, you must not have received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+®, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months. If you currently have one of those cards and would like to close it to get a new Premier card, be sure to open your new Premier card before closing any of those other cards.
How to apply
You can find the current best welcome bonus information below. Click the card name to go to our Citi Premier card page to find more information and a link to apply.
After you apply, call 1-866-252-0118 to check your application status.
If your application is denied, definitely call for reconsideration (800-695-5171). It’s surprising how often denials can be changed to approvals just by asking.
Citi Premier Perks
Ironically, this travel card carries few travel perks ever since Citi eliminated the various travel protections on almost all of their cards in September 2019. The key perks that remain on the Premier card are:
- Transfer Points to Partners: Points can be transferred one to one to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.
- $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit: Once per year you can apply a coupon for $100 off on an after-tax hotel booking of $500 or more. Unfortunately, you have to book through Citi’s ThankYou portal, which is notoriously overpriced and does not allow access to hotel member rates, AAA rates, or other discounted rates. In other words, this perk won’t save you a full $100 in many situations.
- No foreign transaction fees
The Citi Premier no longer includes any travel protections. There is no rental car insurance, no trip delay or cancellation benefit, no lost baggage insurance, etc. Benefits that are pretty standard on most travel cards are completely absent on the Premier.
- Extended Warranty: Citi extends the manufacturer’s warranty by 24 months on items with a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less. This is the best extended warranty coverage of any issuer.
- Damage and Theft Protection: Covers your new purchases for 90 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per calendar year.
Citi Premier Earn Points
This card earns valuable Thank You points. Here’s the current welcome offer:
Citi Premier Redeem Points
Cardholders can redeem points for 1 cent each either as statement credits or as cash back.
From there, you’ll insert your bank information and confirm the total number of points that you’d like to redeem in the form of cash back.
Redeem points for travel: 1 cents per point
Points can be redeemed for travel through the Citi ThankYou portal at a rate of 1c per point. Note that hotels booked through ThankYou.com will not earn hotel rewards. Worse, hotels booked through the portal often won’t offer you elite benefits even if you have status. Furthermore, hotel pricing through ThankYou.com is often higher than what you’ll find elsewhere (particularly so if you’re booking a hotel where you would otherwise have access to a member rate or discounted rate like AAA or a corporate code. Note that you can not access any of those discounted rates through ThankYou.com).
First, you’ll want to log into your ThankYou Points Portal.
Once in the portal, you’ll want to click the “Travel” tab near the top of the screen. From there, you can book flights, hotels, car rentals, and even cruises.
Here, you can easily search for your preferred booking. In the portal, you’ll earn 1 cent per each ThankYou point.
One of the best use of Thank You points is to transfer points to airline partners in order to book high-value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight award before transferring points. Points transfer at a ratio of 1:1 as shown in the list of transfer partners below. Keep in mind that while transfers are instantly posted to most loyalty programs, transfers to Singapore Krisflyer and Turkish Miles and Smiles are not instant.
To transfer points, you’ll want to be logged into your ThankYou Portal. From here, navigate to the “More Ways to Redeem” tab.
Once on the “Points Transfer” page, you’ll find a list of all of Citi’s transfer partners from which you can choose. As mentioned above, it’s best practice to confirm award availability on the airline’s website before you proceed with transferring your points.
After selecting your preferred airline, you’ll be prompted to select the total number of points you’d like to transfer. Citi requires that you transfer a minimum of 1,000 ThankYou points, up to 550,000 ThankYou points.
Combine points to transfer to partners
You cannot transfer points directly from a Citi Custom Cash or Double Cash card to airline partners, but you can pool points with a Citi Premier and then transfer the points to airline partners. Points can be transferred to the loyalty accounts of the primary cardholder or any authorized user on the account. For more on this, see the “Managing points” section below.
|Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time||Best Uses|
|AeroMexico ClubPremier||1:1||Almost instant||AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner such as Air France or Delta and then book AeroMexico with one of those programs.|
|Avianca Lifemiles||1:1||Almost Instant||Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices|
|Air France / KLM Flying Blue||1:1||2 days||Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.|
|Cathay Pacific||1:1||24 hours||Cathay Pacific has a fairly generous distance based award chart and allows multiple stopovers. Fuel surcharges can be very high on certain routes. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren’t available.|
|Emirates||1:1||Almost instantly||Emirates offers a miles calculator instead of an award chart. But you can find some great offers such as trips to Japan via JAL business class for only 145,00 miles, etc.|
|Etihad Airways||1:1||6 days||Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others. For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.|
|EVA Air1||1:1||2 days||If you want to fly one of the best business class products in the sky, the best way to snag EVA flights is with their own miles since they release more award space to their own members. One-way business class flights from the US to Taipei cost 75K to 80K miles. Fuel surcharges are very low on these routes.|
|Jet Airways||1:1||Almost Instantly||JetAirways JetPrivilege miles are useful only for a few very specific cases such as certain flights to Hawaii for as low as 15K (30K business) one-way, or to the Caribbean or Central America for as low as 10K (20K business) one-way. Details can be found here.|
|JetBlue TrueBlue™||1:0.08||Almost Instantly||JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket.|
|Malaysia Airlines||1:1||2 days||No good uses for these miles.|
|Qantas Airways||1:1||2 days||Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. Compare award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)|
|Qatar Airways||1:1||2 days||No good uses for these miles.|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||2 days||Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.|
|Thai Airways||1:1||4 days||No good uses for these miles|
|Turkish Airlines||1:1||1- 2 days||Miles & Smiles offers an incredible sweet spot award: 7.5K one-way anywhere within the US, even to Hawaii. Many awards cannot be booked online, but can be booked via email.|
|Virgin Atlantic® Flying Club||1:1||2 days||Virgin Atlantic miles can be usefully thought of as a way to get a discount off Virgin Atlantic flights (high fuel surcharges make the flights far from free), but there are some better uses. Use miles to upgrade paid flights or to fly partner airlines. A fantastic use is to fly ANA in business or first class thanks to Virgin’s generous ANA partner award chart. Or, if you can find saver level Delta awards for nonstop international travel, you can often book through Virgin Atlantic far cheaper than with Delta directly.|
Other ways to redeem points
Our blog post, Citi ThankYou Points Complete Guide, details the many ways you can redeem your Citi ThankYou points.
Through the ThankYou portal, you can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, merchandise, or experiences. With this approach, you’ll usually get 1 cent per point value. One exception is that Citi occasionally offers gift cards at a discount so you may be able to get better than 1 cent per point value during a gift card sale.
You can also use points to pay some merchants directly (Amazon.com for example). Don’t do this. These options offer very poor value. Further, they may compromise the security of your account (i.e. if someone hacks into your Amazon account, they might spend your Thank You points – causing you a headache in getting your points reinstated). The only time it is worth using points this way is when Amazon runs a coupon to save when using points: you can sometimes use 1 point to save $15 off of $50 or something like that and in those cases it might make sense to use only 1 point, though it’s best to de-link your points from Amazon after utilizing the discount.
Citi Premier Manage Points
Combine Points Across Cards
If you are the primary account holder with multiple cards, you can combine ThankYou Rewards accounts. When your points are combined, they can then automatically be redeemed at the same value as your best card. For example, if one of your cards is the Premier card, you will be able to transfer points to airline partners even if the points were earned on a card other than the Premier card. Similarly, if you combine other cards with the Rewards+ card, you’ll get a 10% rebate on all award redemptions (up to 10,000 rebated points per year) even if the points originated from a different card. If you have both the Premier and the Rewards+ card combined together and you transfer 100K points to a partner program, you’ll get 10,000 points back.
There are some disadvantages to combining points:
- You lose the ability to pick and choose which points are used when you redeem awards.
- You lose visibility into how many points remain with each card.
The above disadvantages become important when you want to cancel a card: when you cancel a card, all points earned from that account are lost after 60 days. It’s best to downgrade to a no-fee ThankYou card rather than canceling outright. That way your points are safe.
Share Points Across Cardholders
Citi generously allows people to transfer ThankYou points to anyone else, for free. There are two “catches” to this:
- Shared points expire after 90 days. Make sure you have a specific near-term use in mind before transferring points.
- 100K limit: Each member may share up to 100,000 points per calendar year. Each member may receive up to 100,000 points per calendar year.
Why this is valuable:
- A friend or family member with a Premier card can book travel for you in order to get the 20% point discount.
- If a friend has airline elite status with one of Citi’s transfer partners with which you want to book an award, you may be better off transferring points to your friend who can then transfer the points to the airline partner and book the award for you (to get free award changes, for example).
How to Keep Points Alive
There are several situations in which you may have Citi ThankYou Rewards points that will expire:
- Points earned by a credit card account expire 60 days after canceling that account.
- Points transferred to your account expire after 90 days.
- Points earned from some older credit cards expire in a set amount of time after points were earned (e.g. 3 or 5 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned).
- Points earned from some credit cards expire if your credit card account has no purchase activity in 18 months.
- Points earned from Citibank banking products expire 3 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned.
Credit card points: how to keep points alive
With most credit card points (except with some older credit cards which are no longer available), points remain alive until you cancel the card from which they were earned. Once you cancel the card, points expire after 60 days.
Combining accounts does not solve the problem. When you combine multiple ThankYou accounts, it’s natural to assume that as long as you keep any ThankYou Rewards credit card open, your points will be safe. That’s simply not the case. Citi keeps track of where each ThankYou point came from. If you cancel a card, the points earned on that card expire after 60 days. Period. They are not known to reinstate points.
The best way to preserve your ThankYou points is to keep your credit card account alive. If you don’t want an annual fee, then call to downgrade to a no-fee ThankYou card. There is a side benefit to this approach too: Your no-fee card may be eligible for occasional lucrative retention offers.
Citi Premier Lifecycle
How to meet minimum spend requirements
Once you are approved for a Citi card, you generally have three months to meet the required spend in order to get the welcome bonus. If your usual spend isn’t enough, consider using the Plastiq bill pay service to use your card to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card (rent, mortgage, contractors, etc.). Note that Mastercards like the Premier card can be used to pay a greater range of payees than Visa or Amex cards. Click here to read the many ways you can meet a minimum spend requirement.
Keep, cancel, or product change?
Is this card worth keeping in the long run? The main reason to keep this card around long term is as a way to transfer points to airlines and other programs. If you want to transfer ThankYou points to partners, you’ll need the Premier. If you don’t need that capability for a while, consider downgrading to a no-fee ThankYou card. Note that the Double Cash is not a ThankYou card. Downgrading to the Double Cash will count as having closed your Premier card in terms of Citi’s rules for the welcome bonus (in other words, you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus again on the Premier card for 2 years after downgrading to a non-Thank You card like the Double Cash). Instead, consider the Rewards+ card.