After recent changes, the Citi Premier Card is a points-earning powerhouse that offers significant rewards on common household purchases, a variety of useful airline transfer partners, and some of the best extended warranty protection available. Here’s a quick rundown of all of the benefits the Citi Premier card offers.

Will it earn a place in your wallet?

What Benefits Do You Get With the Citi Premier?

3X Bonus Categories

The Citi Premier is one of the most well-rounded credit cards on the market, offering 3X bonus points on major household expense categories – supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants – as well as air travel and hotels, making it a solid card both at home and on the road.

If you opened your Citi Premier card before April 10, 2020, you’ll also get 3X ThankYou Points on other travel purchases (e.g. cruises, taxis, public transportation) and 2X ThankYou Points on entertainment purchases until April 9, 2021. Accounts opened on or after April 10 will stop getting bonus points for those categories on August 22, 2020.

$100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

Starting August 23, 2020, you’ll get a $100 discount on a prepaid hotel reservation of $500 or more booked through the Citi ThankYou travel portal. You can use the $100 discount once per calendar year, and you can pay for your reservation with cash, ThankYou Points, or a combination of the two.

Note: if you also have the Citi Prestige card, its 4th Night Free benefit cannot be used on the same reservation.

Purchase Protection and Extended Warranties

When you purchase an item with your Citi Premier Card, you automatically get some coverage if something goes wrong. If the item is stolen or damaged within 90 days of purchase, Citi will pay to repair or replace it (up to the amount you paid with your card or ThankYou points), up to $10,000 per covered incident and $50,000 per year.

For anything you buy that has a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less, Citi will add 24 months of coverage – even if the original warranty was only for 30 days!

World Elite Mastercard Discounts

The Citi Premier unlocks special promotions with Lyft, Postmates, Boxed.com, and Fandango. When you use your Premier card, you’ll get a $10 Lyft credit when you take 5 Lyft rides in a calendar month, $5 off orders of $25 or more with Postmates, 5% back in Boxed.com Cash Rewards, and double Fandango VIP+ points. While these benefits aren’t exclusive to the Citi Premier – they’re available on any World Elite MasterCard – they still bring additional value.

Transfer Partners

Our favorite thing about Citi ThankYou points is that you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to your choice of sixteen airline partners. Some of our favorite options for redeeming Citi ThankYou points include:

  • Avianca LifeMiles, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, for booking flights on Star Alliance airlines like United and Lufthansa.
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which has some great deals for Delta flights, and has interesting opportunities with its eclectic group of global partners including Air New Zealand and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
  • Air France–KLM Flying Blue, which also works well for booking flights on Delta and other SkyTeam airlines.

The range of airline partners that you can transfer your ThankYou points to brings a ton of flexibility when planning your travels.

Redeem Points via the Citi Travel Center for 1.25 Cents Each

In addition to transferring points to partners, you can also spend them directly on airfare, hotels, rental cars, and cruises in the Citi Travel Center. Until April 9, 2021, your points are worth 1.25 cents each when used this way (they’ll drop to 1 cent per point after that).

This can be particularly useful when airfare is cheap and, since these are cash tickets, you’ll earn redeemable miles as well.

This benefit is exclusive to the Citi Premier – other ThankYou cards only get you 1 cent per point in value for travel redemptions.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

While this is standard for credit cards with an annual fee, it’s particularly important for frequent travelers, since foreign transaction fees (around 3% in most cases) can add up quickly if you use a card that charges them. (It also makes this card particularly useful for extended trips or living abroad, since the Premier is one of the only cards that offers bonus points on grocery purchases outside the United States).

What Other Cards Should You Consider in the Same Price Range?

When it comes to cards that cost around $100 and allow you to transfer points to airline partners, the Citi Premier has two main competitors: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the American Express Green Card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2X Ultimate Rewards points on travel and restaurant purchases (1X everywhere else) and allows you to transfer points to 10 airlines and 3 hotel programs, including two exclusive and valuable partnerships: United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt. It also offers protection for rental car damage; delayed, interrupted, or canceled trips, and baggage that is delayed, lost or damaged.

The American Express Green Card offers 3X Membership Rewards points on travel, transit, and restaurants. While its annual fee is slightly higher at $150, it also offers a $100 annual credit on CLEAR (expedited access to airport security and event venues) and $100 towards airline lounge passes through LoungeBuddy. It also offers trip delay, baggage, and rental car protections.

When Would It Make Sense to Pay for a More Expensive Card?

The Citi Premier’s diverse bonus point offerings mean that identifying a more expensive card to replace it depends on what your spending priorities are.

If you’re looking to earn more rewards on groceries and restaurants, the American Express Gold Card offers 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and 4X at restaurants worldwide, plus 3X on air travel. Its $250 annual fee is largely offset by a $100 annual travel credit and up to $120 per year ($10 per month) in credits for select restaurants and delivery services.

If you’re looking for enhanced travel rewards and benefits, the Citi Prestige may seem like the obvious choice. It offers 5X ThankYou points on restaurants and air travel, and 3X on hotels and cruises, and its $495 annual fee comes with perks including a $250 annual travel credit, Fourth Night Free on up to two hotel reservations per year when you book through the ThankYou travel portal, Priority Pass for airport lounge access, a Global Entry enrollment credit, and cell phone insurance.

However, we think the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card from American Express are often better options for frequent travelers because they offer trip delay insurance, cancellation coverage and baggage insurance, while Citi does not offer trip protections on any of its cards.

When Does a No-Annual-Fee Credit Card Make More Sense?

The Citi Double Cash Card is a popular no-fee companion to the Citi Premier, and can also be a good starting point if you’re not ready to pay an annual fee. The Double Cash earns an effective 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill on time.

You can convert your cash back into ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent per point. If you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige Card – this would give you access to all the airline transfer partners.

If Chase Ultimate Rewards is a better fit for your travel plans, you can take the same approach with the no-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card. That card earns 1.5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent (marketed as 1.5% cash back) on all purchases. Points earned with the Freedom Unlimited can be combined with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card and then transferred to airline and hotel partners.

Bottom Line

Thanks to some great bonus categories (and a hefty sign-up bonus) and valuable airline partners, the Citi Premier provides a lot of value. While we probably wouldn’t suggest skipping the Chase Sapphire Preferred (and other Ultimate Rewards cards) because of the Chase 5/24 rule, it could easily earn a place in your wallet as you progress through your points journey.