Review: Citi Premier

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The Citi Premier card has always been known as a great card for those who spend a lot at gas stations. But as of June 2, 2020, changes to the card have turned the Premier into an excellent tool for earning Citi ThankYou Points in many bonus categories. Below we cover why this no-frills card likely deserves a spot in your wallet.

Current Offer

You can earn 60,000 bonus Citi ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. The card comes with a $95 annual fee, and has no foreign transaction fees.

If you choose to apply for the card, remember that Citi has a few application rules to keep in mind. Citi will not approve you for more than one card every eight days, and two cards every 65 days. Also, you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus if you opened or closed another ThankYou Points-earning card like the Premier, Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, or Prestige within the last 24 months.

 

Earn Rates

Citi recently announced some positive changes to the Premier’s earning structure. These changes were scheduled to take effect starting August 23, 2020, but were moved up to June 2, 2020. Before June 2, the Citi Premier earned 3x points per $1 spent on travel, including gas stations, airfare, hotels, car rental, public transportation, tolls, and parking. The card also earned 2x points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and on entertainment, and 1x point per $1 on all other purchases.

As of June 2, the following changes came into effect: the Premier earns 3x points per $1 spent at supermarkets, but no longer earns 2x points per $1 spent on entertainment. The card now earns 3x points per $1 spent at restaurants, instead of 2x points. Also, the Premier’s “travel” bonus category has changed to “air travel and hotels,” and covers airlines, hotels, and travel agencies. Cards opened before April 10, 2020 will continue to earn 3x on travel and 2x on entertainment through August 23, 2020. Here's a breakdown of the changes and timing to help you keep everything straight:

As of June 2, cardholders who applied before April 10, 2020 will earn:

  • 3x points at restaurants
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • 3x points on travel, including gas stations (until April 9, 2021, after which cardholders will earn 3x on air travel and hotels and 3x at gas stations)
  • 2x points on entertainment (until April 9, 2021)

As of June 2, cardholders who applied on or after April 10, 2020 will earn:

  • 3x points at restaurants
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • 3x points on air travel and hotels 
  • 3x points at gas stations
  • 2x points on entertainment (until April 9, 2021)
  • 1x point on all other purchases

Citi ThankYou Points, like other transferable points currencies, offer incredible value through the several transfer partners, which include Air France/KLM, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Etihad Airways.

Benefits

The Premier's main strength is in its points earning potential, since this no-frills card does not offer many benefits. But starting on August 23, 2020, the Premier will offer $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more when booked through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU. This benefit will be available once per calendar year.

Our Analysis

The Citi Premier has always been known for two things: earning 3x points from spending at gas stations and earning 2x for spending on entertainment. Few cards can beat the Premier for gas station spend, and entertainment as a category is quite rare. But with the June 2 changes, what will the card be known for?

As of June 2, the Citi Premier became a well-rounded card that earns 3x points per dollar spent on four major bonus categories. The card also remains one of the top cards for gas station spend at 3x points. These changes elevate the Citi Premier from a niche card for gas station spend to a great card that challenges the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Green Card in the mid-tier category.

In fact, from a points earning perspective, the Citi Premier competes well against the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Green Card in both the number of bonus categories and points per dollar earning potential. For the CSP’s $95 annual fee, you earn 2x points on dining and travel (which does not include gas stations), and 5x points on Lyft rides. The Amex Green Card has a higher annual fee of $150, earns 3x for travel and restaurants worldwide, and comes with a number of benefits that include statement credits. Yet for the Citi Premier’s $95 annual fee, you can earn 3x points on more spending categories than either of the CSP or the Amex Green Card. Having gas stations and supermarkets as bonus categories makes the Citi Premier standout against the competition. Bottom line: among credit cards with a sub-$100 annual fee, the Citi Premier offers the highest bonus points per dollar across the most bonus categories.

Final Thoughts

The recent changes to the Citi Premier have made the card a well-rounded tool for earning ThankYou points. As of June 2, 2020, the card earns 3x points on restaurants, air travel and hotels, gas stations, and supermarkets. Even better, those who had the card before April 10, 2020 will still enjoy 2x points on entertainment and 3x on travel through April 9, 2021. No other card with a $95 annual fee offers these many bonus categories, especially at 3x points per dollar.

What are your plans for the Citi Premier? Do you have it? Are you getting it? Let us know on our Facebook group!

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