Is the Citi Premier card worth it? You bet – I’ve kept mine for 4+ years

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Citi is an MMS advertising partner

One of the best ways to gauge the ongoing value of a card is not how popular it is for new applicants, but rather how often people keep it after the first-year glow of a big travel card bonus wears off.

The Citi Premier℠ Card is a keeper for many – in fact, several of us on the MMS team have kept it for years (I’ve had mine for over four and use it frequently). It comes with a hefty increased welcome bonus of 60,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. But it’s the Citi Premier’s benefits and perks that make it so compelling as a long-term card.

It’s got excellent bonus categories like travel (including gas stations), entertainment and dining. So is the Citi Premier worth it? For the average traveler, absolutely. I’m certainly not getting rid of mine any time soon. I’ll share why the Citi Premier has stayed in my wallet year after year and why it’s one of best Mastercard credit cards for most travelers.

The information for the Citi Premier has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Citi ThankYou points are great for booking Singapore Airlines business-class seats. (Photo by Zach Griff.)

Is the Citi Premier Worth It?

When you open the Citi Premier Card, you’ll earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The great thing about Citi ThankYou points you earn with the Citi Premier is their flexibility. For anyone who applied for the card by April 10, 2020, your points are worth 1.25 cents each towards airfare, hotels, rental cars and cruises booked through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, so the welcome bonus alone is worth $750 in travel (with no blackout dates). However, this perk is only valid until April 10, 2021, then points will only be worth 1 cent each for the same redemptions. And if you apply for the card right now, you’ll only get 1 cent per point for ThankYou portal redemptions.

And you can potentially get much more value by transferring your points to Citi’s airline partners for award flights. For example, you could move Citi ThankYou points to partner Singapore Airlines and book award flights on any Star Alliance airline, including United Airlines, Lufthansa and Air Canada. The Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee, but it’s worth it for the welcome bonus and perks.

Here are a few reasons why I’ve kept (and will continue to keep) the Citi Premier for so long.

Excellent card for earning ThankYou points

Anyone who applies for the card right now, will earn points at the following rates through August 22, 2020,:

  • 3x points on travel including gas stations, airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, parking, tolls and much more
  • 2x points at restaurants and on select entertainment like amusement parks, museums, sporting events, movies and more
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

These old spending categories will apply through April 10, 2021, if you had the card or applied for it by April 10, 2020. For all cardholders, the following spending bonus categories will apply as of August 23, 2020:

  • 3x points on airfare, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else

Flexibility for booking award flights

Being able to move your points to over a dozen airline transfer partners if you find an award flight is an invaluable perk. You can convert ThankYou points into any of these airline miles at a 1:1 ratio:

  • Aeromexico
  • Avianca
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • Emirates
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

This is particularly valuable for business and first-class tickets which would otherwise cost thousands of dollars.

World Elite Mastercard benefits

This is a World Elite Mastercard and comes with many extra perks just by having that designation. For example, when you link this rewards credit card with your Lyft account you’ll earn a $10 credit when you take five rides in a calendar month.

Read our World Elite Mastercard benefits guide to learn more about what perks are available with this card.

What about other Citi ThankYou cards?

Before you jump on the Citi Premier, there’s another card you could consider because it can make all of your other Citi ThankYou points more valuable.

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card has no annual fee and one incredibly powerful perk that pairs perfectly with other Citibank credit cards that earn ThankYou points. With the Citi Rewards+ card you’ll get a 10% points rebate on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. If you pair this card with the Citi Premier and combine your ThankYou accounts the 10% rebate will even apply to points transferred to airlines.

But, you can’t these cards close together, because Citi limits the sign-up bonuses you can receive within the ThankYou cards family. Citi says:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+SM, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi PremierSM or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

Another great card to pair with the Citi Premier is the Citi® Double Cash Card. The Citi Double Cash is a top cash-back credit card that earns 2% back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay). But if you pair it with the Citi Premier you can convert your cash back into ThankYou points (one dollar = 100 ThankYou points) and then transfer those points to airline partners. Plus, the Citi Double Cash isn’t limited by Citi’s ThankYou card restrictions.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

Is the Citi Premier worth it? I certainly think it is, especially if you want to diversify your miles and points arsenal and collect incredibly valuable (and flexible) Citi ThankYou points.

Aside from the increased bonus of 60,000 Citi ThankYou points you’ll earn after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, it comes with a slew of ongoing benefits and perks that make it worth keeping, like excellent earning rates on common expenses and the flexibility to redeem your rewards with 16 different airline partners.

I’m keeping the Citi Premier for the long haul. If you have the card, let us know how you like it and your favorite ways to use it.

For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign up for our newsletter here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

Subscribe
Notify of
9 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rick
4 months ago

I love the new Premier changes that take place in August. I am getting rid of annual fee cards and have decided that going forward I will only keep my Sapphire Reserve and Premier as my annual fee cards. My CSR and Freedom combo will give me 3x UR on all travel on dining and 5x UR on quarterly bonus categories (this quarter I am getting 5x on groceries). My Premier and Double Cash combo will give my 3x TY on gas and groceries (including international groceries when I stay at AirBnbs), and 2x TY on all other non-bonus spend.

Marty
4 months ago

I have the Prestige that I’ll keep until Jan 2021 and then cancel when the AF hits. I’d like to apply for this card though. Does that mean the verbiage of canceled cards would only kick in when I close the prestige? So, after I’d close that, I couldn’t get another Citi bonus for 2 years after I close that?

Rick
Reply to  Marty
4 months ago

Yes. Assuming it has been two years since you received your Prestige bonus you will need to apply for your Premier before cancelling the Prestige to receive a Premier bonus. When to are ready to cancel your Prestige you should downgrade to the Double Cash or Rewards Plus cards. If you downgrade to the Rewards Plus your Prestige TY points will remain safe. If you downgrade to the Double Cash, you will have to use your Prestige TY points within I believe 60 days of the downgrade. This is because the Double Cash is not considered a TY card. If you decide to downgrade your Prestige now you will receive a pro-rata refund of your annual fee as a statement credit on the new card.

Leslie
1 year ago

is there a way to determine if I’m eligible for a sign on bonus? excluded if opened or closed account in last 24 months, I haven’t kept track of this info

George
1 year ago

The 3X on travel, and the fact that all the travel protections apply to my in-laws, are huge benefits to me. The earnings from just one pair of RT flights covers the annual fee, and they visit at least once a year. The insurance saves them money, as they can opt for much cheaper travel insurance. Since they have no access to CCs that offer rewards or insurance, it’s a win-win.

The shopping benefits are great, too. Price Rewind is awesome for big purchases, and the Extended Warranty terms are up there with the best of them. I’ll gladly give up 1.5 MR/$ (Amex EveryDay Preferred w/30 transactions/month) in exchange for 1.0 TYP/$ and greatly increased protection.

I can’t see the value others see in the main alternative, the Sapphire Preferred. 1 point/$ on travel (2 points/$ on gas) is a lot to give up for primary CDW in the US and a couple domestic transfer options (Southwest, United). I’ll gladly transfer to Singapore (also MR, UA partner), and cautiously to Avianca (also MR partner), for Star Alliance flights – especially with economy flights to both Europe and Hawaii costing less via SQ, and domestic flights often costing less via AV. Also, UA miles are extremely easy to earn from other activities like shopping through their portal, Chase Visa Rewards, MileagePlus X, etc. Their own CC offers 2X on restaurants, too, and provides a lot of useful (some would say necessary) benefits for a low annual fee. As for Southwest, it’s really not my (or most others’) airline of choice…

Rick
Reply to  George
4 months ago

George,

So of course since your post last year Citi has gotten rid of all travel protections while the Sapphire Preferred has kept all travel protections. So yes, the Premier still offers 3x for travel versus 2x for travel offered by the CSP, but the CSP has all the travel protection. What are you doing now?

Norman
1 year ago

Jasmin,

Looking to apply for this card again (previously had it and downgraded to Preferred in 2016, which i’m probably gonna then convert to a Rewards+ once I get a new Citi ThankYou card). Really just trying to get the sign-up bonus, as I already have the Prestige, which already has higher multiples on the categories I use the most (dining and travel).

Have you had any experience getting a retention bonus on this card? I would keep it after one year if they at least give a spend challenge or something similar to make up the $95 annual fee. If not, i would just as soon downgrade the card when the annual fee became due.