For years, Citi has sat in the shadows of bigger banks like Chase, American Express, and even newcomers like Capital One when it comes to travel rewards credit cards. It’s time for that to change.
A few months back, Citi increased the welcome offer bonus on the Citi Premier® Card to 80,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. That’s up from the standard offer of 60,000 points for the same spending requirement and it matches the largest offer we have ever seen on this card. But it is only available for a limited time … though we’re not sure when it will end.
Combined with some of the lucrative and unique ways to use Citi ThankYou points, this big bonus should officially put the Premier card on your radar if you’re in the market for a new travel card. Beyond the big welcome bonus – it’s one of the best bonuses on the market right now – it’s one of the only travel rewards credit cards that offers a category spending bonus at gas stations, which might help take some of the sting out of high prices at the pump.
Read on for everything you need to know about the Citi Premier card and why it’s a worthy addition for your wallet.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier® Card.
Full Benefits of the Citi Premier® Card
Welcome Bonus Offer
For a limited time, you’ll earn 80,000 Citi ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. That’s up from the standard bonus offer of 60,000 points for the same spending requirement, matching the best offer we have ever seen on this card.
Category Spending Bonuses
Citi Premier cardholders earn 3x points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and at hotels on an unlimited amount of spending. It is arguably one of the most well-rounded cards when it comes to category bonus spending – especially when you consider the card only has a $95 annual fee.
You’ll earn 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Annual Hotel Credit
The Citi Premier® Card offers an annual $100 hotel credit every calendar year. But there’s a hitch.
The credit is valid only a single hotel stay of $500 or more that is booked through the Citi ThankYou travel portal. But it triggers automatically, similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $50 annual hotel credit.
If you find a way to put this benefit to use, it should be enough to justify the card’s $95 annual fee.
The card charges an annual fee of $95 and it is not waived in the first year of card membership. It also does not charge foreign transaction fees.
Great Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points
Like other transferrable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Venture Miles, Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for travel or on gift cards through the Citi Travel Portal. Each point will be worth one cent each. So the 80,000-point welcome bonus is worth $800 when used this way.
But you can do much better by transferring points to partner airlines. Citi has a stable of 18 different airline and hotel transfer partners. ThankYou points transfer to all of them on a 1:1 basis (with the exception of Choice Hotels which transfers on a 1:2 basis), so these 80,000 Citi points will net you 80,000 airline miles.
Here’s the full list of Citi transfer partners.
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||1:1||12-24 hours|
|EVA Air||Airline||1:1||1-3 days|
|Qatar Airways||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
|Thai Airways||Airline||1:1||4-7 days|
|Turkish Airlines||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
This is a mixed bag. We’ve traditionally considered ThankYou points the clear loser behind both Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and even Capital One Venture Miles. There’s plenty of overlap between these programs with transfer partners like Emirates, Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, and Air France/KLM Flying Blue. But then there are gaps.
Most importantly, you can’t transfer these points to one of the big three U.S. airlines. Amex has Delta and Chase has United but unfortunately, you cannot transfer Citi points to American Airlines – even though Citi offers many co-branded American credit cards.
Above all else, there are some great niche uses for ThankYou Points you won’t find with other points programs. Qatar miles are a great way to book fantastic Qsuites business class. Qatar charges a reasonable 70,000 miles and $100 or so for a one-way flight from the U.S. to the Middle East.
But perhaps the best option here is Turkish Miles & Smiles, as Citi is one of the few ways to earn these miles. Using Turkish miles, you can book roundtrip flights from the mainland out to Hawaii for just 15,000 miles roundtrip – or 25,000 miles in business class. Booking these flights is a convoluted process, as you’ll need to find the award availability and likely either call or email Turkish to book. But at that price, it’s worth the work.
Turkish also charges just 45,000 miles for one-way business class flights from the U.S. to Europe on Star Alliance carriers like United, Swiss, and (of course) Turkish itself. That’s tough to beat.
Read our full review of Turkish Airlines Business Class on the 787!
These are, of course, just a few of the great ways to use Citi ThankYou points. Make sure to check out our post on the best ways to use them.
Who Is Eligible to Apply for the Citi Premier 80K Bonus Offer?
Citi doesn’t have incredibly strict requirements to open their credit cards like some other banks do – nowhere near as bad as the Chase 5/24 rule. But if either of these statements are true, you won’t be able to get the Citi Premier Card:
- If you have received a welcome bonus on the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier, or the Citi Prestige in the past 24 months, you will not be eligible to apply.
- If you have closed any of the cards mentioned above in the past 24 months, you will not be eligible to apply.
Finally, Citi will only approve you for one Citi card every eight days – and two cards in a 65-day window. If you have previously applied and been approved for multiple Citi cards within that time period, you will not be eligible.
And keep in mind: Credit cards are serious business. As tantalizing as an 80,000-point bonus may be, it’s not worth it if you can’t spend the $4,000 required to earn them responsibly – without digging yourself into debt.
Citi is out with a big new welcome bonus offer on the Citi Premier Card. You’ll earn 80,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. That’s up from the standard bonus of 60,000 points for the same spending requirement and it matches the largest offer we have ever seen on this card.
But it is only available for a limited time. And while we don’t yet know how much longer it’ll be around, don’t wait if you are thinking about applying.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier® Card.