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Travel Freely is all about maximizing your free travel in the easiest way possible. The Citi Premier has been in Travel Freely’s “Top 5” for a long time. Now, this card is even better with its increased offer of 80,000 points.

Update 7/8/21! With the new 80,000 points offer, if I was planning a trip to Europe in the next few years and/or already have a Chase Sapphire and need to look beyond Chase Ultimate Rewards, I would be all over this card. – Zac

Citi Premier sign-up bonus is at 80,000 points 60,000 points

60,000 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Highest signup bonus ever for this card! An excellent rewards card with a great signup bonus and 3x spending categories. This card is comparable to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but with different transfer partners.

I talk a lot about the Chase Sapphire Preferred as our #1 overall card, and if you don’t have the “CSP”—stop reading this post and go here! But, it’s time to meet our #2 ranked card: Citi Premier.

If you are familiar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, then think of the Citi Premier as Citi’s version. It is VERY similar. The Citi Premier acts as an Uno Wildcard that earns “ThankYou” points that can be used for lots of different types of travel: airfare, hotels, rental cars. Additionally, you can transfer ThankYou points to Citi’s airline transfer partners.

Here’s why the card is worth it:

1. Redemption Options

Earn huge value when transferring your points to one of Citi’s transfer partners for business class to Europe. It takes some research, but it’s very possible. This is on my mind because I recently booked $10,000 worth of business and first class tickets for Europe via Citi partners. I booked a $6,200 business class flight on Air France for 72,000 miles and $4,120 first class suite on Emirates for 85,000 miles. Other people have been able to book Delta business class for as little as 50,000 miles when using Citi partner Virgin Atlantic to book Delta flights via Virgin’s website.

b) Earn over $800+ in free travel when using the travel portal to redeem, OR $800 cash back. For beginners, if you decide that you don’t want to transfer your points to one of Citi’s transfer partners, we recommend redeeming cash back instead of using the Citi portal. This is because the value is the same at 1 cent per point, whether you use the portal or redeem cash back—so, there’s no real upside to the portal. You’ll earn $800 in the form of statement credits or direct deposit, and you can use that money to book directly with the airline or hotel. Also, you might find that using the Citi portal limits you to who you can book with or getting elite benefits. With cash back, you’ll still use your points for travel, but just in a different way.

Zac_Emirates Suite

My first-class suite on Emirates from Milan to JFK.

2. Great value with transfer partners

One of the best ways to make use of your signup bonus is to transfer your points to one of Citi’s many airline partners for a great value. Some of our favorite redemptions are:

  • Virgin Atlantic for short nonstop Delta flights
  • Virgin Atlantic for nonstop Delta flights to Europe for around 50,000 points one-way in business class
  • Cathay Pacific for One World flights (AA, Alaska, British Airways, etc.)
  • JetBlue
  • Emirates for first class
  • Air France for business class to Europe
  • Avianca for United and other Star Alliance flights

Hawaii_Citi Premier

3. Hawaii for dirt cheap

People have been successful in transferring ThankYou points to Turkish Airlines to book very cheap flights to Hawaii using points (the flights are United Airlines, but you use Turkish miles to book the flights). Fair warning, it can be difficult to make this happen. So, do not believe other sites when they say this is easy to do. It takes some research, but it is possible. I did this in 2020 to book 3 roundtrip tickets to Maui for 45,000 points total! Unfortunately, I had to cancel due to Covid.

4. Earn 3x points on lots of expenses

Apart from the signup bonus, the spending categories on this card rival those of some of the top travel rewards cards out there. From your everyday spending to your travel expenses and dining out, you’ll quickly rack up points on purchases with this card. 

  • 3x on Dining, Gas, Groceries
  • 3x Airfare and Hotels
  • 1x on everything else

CellPhoneProtection_Citi Premier

5. Purchase protections:

a) Extended Warranty: This card has been my go-to card when we buy our cell phones and computers. We’ve gotten 2 cell phones replaced because we were still under 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. Extra tip: I also bought our Macbook with this card at Costco. Citi’s extra 24 months will kick in after Costco’s extra warranty.

b) 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.

6. Extra value: $100 hotel credit 

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.

Zac’s Advice: What would I do?

I would absolutely get this card with this new high offer. That said, I would also encourage you to use the points whenever possible. They are a bit harder to use than Chase points. So, don’t let them sit around waiting for the “best” way to use them. Just transfer to partners you love, redeem for cash at 1:1, or use the travel portal when you can.

Citi Premier Application Tips


a) 24 Month Rule (ThankYou Cards): To get bonus on any ThankYou card, you must wait 24 months after receiving a new cardmember bonus or closing any ThankYou card account. This applies to Preferred, Premier, Prestige, and Rewards+.

b) Velocity Rules: Citi will approve 1 personal card per 8 days and 2 personal cards per 65 days.

c) Already have the Citi Premier? Citi allows you to get this card again (even if the card is still open). To get this card, you must not have received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier/Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, or closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months. Translation: 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.

Want to apply?

Please consider using our link below:

60,000 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Highest signup bonus ever for this card! An excellent rewards card with a great signup bonus and 3x spending categories. This card is comparable to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but with different transfer partners.

To check on your application status, call 800-763-9795 (personal card application status) 7am-midnight EST 7 days a week

If denied, call reconsideration here: 800-695-5171 (personal), and consider using our article for help:

Want to do more research? Check out our Citi Premier Complete Guide.

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