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Citi has really upped their game this year to compete with American Express and Chase, in particular with their cards which accrue ThankYou points, which is their transferrable points currency.
The following two cards have proven especially lucrative:
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
- Earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening
- $95 annual fee, waived the first year
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening
- $450 annual fee (though tons of perks which help offset it)
I’ve written mostly about the Citi Prestige Card lately, though figured I’d also talk a bit about the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, as it’s a great card for maximizing everyday spend and “pooling” ThankYou points.
Why I’ve talked so much about the Citi Prestige® Card
I’ve written so much about this card because I think it offers the all around best value proposition of any card. This card comes with so many usefeul perks which help offset the annual fee, including:
- A sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months — those points can be transferred to one of their airline transfer partners, or be redeemed for $800+ worth of flights on American
- A $250 annual airline credit
- Access to American Admirals Clubs
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
On top of that, the card is rewarding for everyday spend, unlike many other “premium” credit cards (which are more focused on perks than return on everyday spend). The Citi Prestige Card has the following bonus categories:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining out and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
The way I see it, when you factor in the $250 airline credit (which can even be applied towards airfare) that essentially lowers the “out of pocket” to $200 per year. The number of benefits you get for that is incredible, between Admirals Club access, Priority Pass access, the fourth night free hotel benefit (which has saved me thousands of dollars this year alone), etc.
Why the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is also worth considering
What makes this card awesome?
Great sign-up bonus
The card offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening.
Keep in mind that you can be approved for both the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige Card and earn the sign-up bonus on both cards, for a total of 90,000+ points.
Just keep Citi’s policy in mind when it comes to applying for new cards:
- You can only apply for one Citi card every eight days
- You can apply for no more than two Citi cards every 65 days
So as long as you wait at least eight days between applications, you should be able to get approved for both cards. I have both cards, and consider them to both be worthwhile.
Great for everyday spend
On top of that, the Citi Premier Card offers better bonus categories than the Citi Prestige Card, as follows:
- 3x points on travel
- 3x points on gas
- 2x points on dining out and entertainment
- 1x point on all other purchases
While the Citi Prestige Card “only” offers 3x points on air travel and hotels, the Citi Premier Card offers triple points on all travel purchases (car rentals, parking, etc.), including gas. That’s a much broader category.
In terms of the potential to accrue points, this card is significantly more lucrative than the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which offers 2x points on travel and doesn’t include gas, and doesn’t offer 2x points on entertainment).
Along with the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, this is one of the two cards I put most of my day-to-day spend on. Between the two cards I earn:
- 4.5x points at supermarkets
- 3x points on travel and at gas stations
- 2x points on dining
- 1.5x points on everything else
I’d say that’s a return on everyday spend which is pretty tough to beat.
Stacking the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier
As I said above, you can earn the sign-up bonus on both the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card. That’s potentially 90,000+ points upon completing minimum spend. Just make sure you space out the applications by at least eight days, and don’t apply for more than two Citi cards in a 65 day period.
But the sign-up bonuses aren’t the only potential benefit of having both cards. When it comes to redeeming ThankYou points, you can transfer them to one of Citi’s airline partners, like Air France FlyingBlue, Singapore KrisFlyer, etc., or you can redeem them towards revenue travel on American.
One of the best values is redeeming those points for revenue travel on American, though the rate at which you can redeem towards that varies based on which card you’re redeeming points through. Points earned on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards travel on any airline, while points earned on the Citi Prestige Card can be redeemed for 1.33 cents each towards travel on any airline, or 1.6 cents each towards travel on American.
The good news is that Citi lets you combine points, so you can transfer the points from your Premier to your Prestige, which would allow you to redeem all those points for 1.6 cents each towards travel on American. The process of redeeming them is pretty straightforward, and can be done directly through Citi’s website.
While I’ve spoken a lot about the Citi Prestige® Card lately, there’s also tons of value to be had with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, especially if you’re looking for a card which will help you maximize your return on everyday spend. Like I said, it’s one of the two main cards I use for everyday spend.
The best part is that the two cards complement one another nicely. Not only can you pool points between the two cards, but if you have both then the Citi Prestige Card increases the value of the points you earn on the Premier Card.
At a minimum, the two cards will get you ~$1,600 towards travel on American after completing minimum spend, which is pretty incredible.