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I recently got the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which was very exciting since it was my first card with such wide bonuses in many categories. Over the past months this card has taken the front seat and I’ve been constantly utilizing it near my credit limit. Meanwhile, my other cards have been taking a break. In this post I’ll list the top-eight reasons I love this card.
The sign-up bonus
The card is currently offering 30,000 points after spending $3000 in the first three months. That’s a great sign-up bonus.
3x points on all travel
While many American Express cards earn 3x points or higher on airfare purchased directly with airlines, only cards from Citi and Chase earn points across many types of travel. This has proven incredibly valuable for me, since I can earn 3x points on 90% of my spend. Flights booked anywhere online, hotels, Airbnb, taxis, busses, trains and more — and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be that way. It gets even better if you charge hotel meals to your room since they will earn 3x points when you pay your bill at the hotel reception.
2x points on restaurants and entertainment
In addition to the generous travel earnings, this card gives me 2x points on all my spend at restaurants, even outside the US. I didn’t appreciate the value of this before I had the card, but now I’m amazed that Citi can even detect tiny back alley places in Bangkok as restaurants, and rewards me for it. In addition, I earn 2x points at movie theaters, amusement parks and more — all over the world! That’s unique to Citi.
$95 annual fee (waived the first year)
Do these earning rates sound familiar? That’s because they are. The Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve have similar earning rates on spend. However, one thing they certainly don’t have is the sweet little $95 annual fee. Essentially, I’m earning most of the same rewards as I would on a $450/year credit card as I am paying 1/5 of the price for my Citi Premier.
No foreign transaction fees
Since I “technically” live in Sweden, this is a must! I’m saving hundreds of dollars a year on foreign transactions fees alone, and don’t think I could ever go back to paying a premium of 2-3% on my other cards when abroad. Wherever I am in the world, I can use this card for free.
It’s a Mastercard
While it’s not often acknowledged, Mastercards have their perks over some other card issuers. Almost all merchant around the world accept these card types, including online stores. In the months I’ve had this card, it has never failed me. Even in rural parts of India ATMs and stores would accept Mastercards if they had a foreign card option.
Trip delay/cancellation protection
While not quite as good as the Citi Prestige® Card, the Citi Premier offers generous trip delay protection. If you have a delay of 12 hours or longer, Citi will reimburse you for all costs incurred due to the delay, including alternative flights, hotels and food. I used to assume all credit cards offered protection like this until I was dealing with a 23-hour delay last summer. The credit card I’d paid my ticket with had no protection whatsoever. It was incredibly frustrating and I’m glad I won’t have to deal with that again.
In addition, the card protects you in the event of weather or airline strike delays, in which EU compensation does not apply. Many times, hold times can be hours long when airlines are dealing with systemwide delays, and forget trying to get support at the airport. Being able to make your own plans, charge them to your Citi Premier and retroactively claim reimbursement can be a weight off your shoulders.
However, be sure to check the terms of your cardmember agreement for exact details of the protection.
Baggage delay protection
If the airline will not compensate you for purchases after baggage delays, the Citi Premier offers up to $100 per passenger for delays that exceed six hours. Since my bags seem to be cursed, and get lost all the time, this will definitely come in handy.
The card itself
Many issuers offer metal premium cards nowadays. Though the Citi Premier isn’t metal, the front of the card has an optical allusion giving the logo a cool 3D look. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people double-take when I’ve handed them my card.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. I don’t think there’s a more rewarding card in the $95 annual fee range. It’s also worth noting that I was approved for the card with a credit history of only 18 months at the time, and quite a high credit utilization.