This card’s reward structure has gone through some changes in the past year — and more are on the way for April 2015. Our review will keep you up-to-date.
First things first: This card’s benefits have been overhauled in the past couple years. Here are the up-to-date details (as of April 2015):
- 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel (gas stations, airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies, commuter transit, taxis, limos, railways, cruises, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds, trailer parks, time shares, bus lines, RV rentals, boat rentals); 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent at restaurants and entertainment (sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores, video rental stores)
- 1 ThankYou Point per dollar on other purchases
- Points never expire and there is no limit to the amount you can earn.
- Your credit card points can be redeemed lots of ways in the Citi ThankYou program … travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back, and much more.
Is the card worth the annual fee?
On April 19, 2015, the card’s fee decreased from $125 per year to $95 per year (waived the first 12 months).
Getting 3 points per dollar for travel, could be a boon for frequent travelers — especially because your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem for airfares purchased through the ThankYou Travel Center. You also get a reasonable value of 1 cent per point when you redeem gift cards.
Plus, you can transfer your points to various partner hotel and airline programs. If you do so strategically and redeem for expensive flights, you might get even more value out of each point.
The value falls when you redeem for cash back or statement credits — your points will be worth 0.5 cents each. So if cash back is your game, consider a card that gets you a full 1 cent per point when you redeem for cash back.
You should also know that card has nixed a few of its benefits in recent years, in addition to eliminating its bonus per mile flown. It closed its bonus shopping portal that allowed you to earn extra points with partner merchants in early 2014. With 3 points per dollar on travel, earning an extra couple points via online shopping may not make a big difference to you, but it’s worth considering — especially because many other reward programs come with online malls that get you bonus points. The card also cut airline ticket discounts and its anniversary bonus a couple years back.
For a $95-a-year card, though. It’s not a bad value IF you consistently redeem through Citi’s program to get the extra value on airfares — or make use of the point-transfer feature. The card also has an EMV chip (a major perk for travelers in countries where EMV is the norm) and waives foreign transaction fees.
If you’re willing to pay $95 a year, though, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It offers only 2 points per dollar spent on travel but allows you to transfer your points directly to various partner airline and hotel programs. While the Citi Premier’s partner carriers are mostly international airlines, this card has more domestic ones, which could be more accessible and lucrative for you.
This post was written or last updated April 30, 2015.