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It was back in the middle of June that Citi first raised the welcome bonus on the Citi Premier® Card to an impressive 80,000 points and as that’s the best bonus that this card has ever offered, and as this is the best card that Citi issues, it continues to be more than a little surprising to find that it’s still available… but that’s great news if you haven’t yet got the card.
The Citi Premier® Card
I’m not going to go into huge detail here as that’s best kept for a full review, but what I will do is highlight what this great card offers and how it fits into my wallet.
- Successful new applicants can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after they spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening their new account.
Note: Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for a Citi Rewards+®m Card, a Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, a Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® Card, or a Citi Prestige® Card, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.
- 3 points/dollar at restaurants
- 3 points/dollar at supermarkets
- 3 points/dollar at gas stations
- 3 points/dollar on air travel booked directly with airlines
- 3 points/dollar on hotel bookings made directly with hotels/chains
- 1 point/dollar on spending in all other categories
- Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com, once per calendar year.
- Transfer points to a wide number of other loyalty programs in a 1:1 ratio (more details)
- No foreign transaction fees
Why I love the welcome offer
I value ThankYou points at 1.5 cents each based on the value that I know I can get out of them with relative ease (usually through transferring them to an airline loyalty program and then booking premium cabin travel) and that, in turn, values this new welcome bonus at a very impressive $1,200.
Compared to a lot of people, my points valuations are conservative, so I stand by my claim that getting $1,200 of value out of this welcome bonus isn’t tricky. But even if you were to dismiss my valuation entirely, the fact that Citi will let you redeem points at 1 cent each if you use them to purchase gift cards via the ThankYou portal, means that at the very least, the welcome bonus is worth $800.
That’s an effective rebate of 20% on the $4,000 of spending needed to trigger the bonus and that’s pretty fantastic for a card that costs just $95 to hold.
Why I love the Citi Premier® Card
I don’t think that I could ever suggest that someone’s wallet would be complete if they just held the Citi Premier® Card (mainly because Citi-issued credit cards don’t offer any meaningful insurances or protections that you get with a lot of other cards) but as a standalone offering, it’s pretty impressive – it rewards spending very well in a lot of key categories.
- The 3 points/dollar for spending at restaurants applies to dining worldwide and because Citi’s definition of a “restaurant” is very broad, I’ve had bonus points awarded for spending at pubs, bars, food trucks, and numerous small eateries around the world as well as at the more usual places like restaurants and diners.
- The 3 points/dollar for spending at supermarkets is probably my favorite benefit because it’s from grocery shopping that I earn most of my ThankYou Points. Unlike American Express, Citi will award “supermarket” bonus points for spending at a wide range of stores that sell groceries (from small corner shops to big multi-national chains) and because Citi awards bonus points on supermarket spending worldwide (another thing that Amex doesn’t do), I can use my card wherever I am in the world and know that my grocery spending is earning me a good return.
- The 3 points/dollar at gas stations is another great benefit of the Citi Premier® Card because, as with the restaurant and supermarket categories, Citi awards bonus points on gas station spending worldwide. With gas prices now almost out of control, it’s important to have a good card in your wallet that rewards gas station spending regardless of where you happen to be (home or abroad) and the Premier® Card does that job very well.
Personally, I don’t use my Citi Premier® Card to book flights or hotels because I prefer to use credit cards that give me solid travel protections when I’m paying for my trips… but that doesn’t mean that these are earnings rates that should be dismissed.
For someone who already has a rock-solid travel insurance and so doesn’t need to worry about the cover that their credit card offers, the Premier® Card can be a fantastic card to use to free up space in their wallet.
The Premier® Card would cover flight bookings, hotel bookings, all dining, all groceries, and all gas spending and that doesn’t leave very many major spending categories unserved. How many other $95/year cards can claim that?
Lastly, I love the Citi Premier® Card for the points that it earns me in some very useful loyalty programs.
Yes, the Premier® Card only earns ThankYou Points and doesn’t earn miles or points in any other program, but because ThankYou Points can be transferred (in a ratio of 1:1) to 14 airline loyalty programs and 2 hotel loyalty programs, every time I use my Premier® Card I can think of my earnings in terms of the currency that I plan to convert my points into.
- When I know that I need points/miles for a short-haul flight I think of my Citi Premier® Card earnings in terms of the Avios that I’ll get from Citi’s partnership with Qatar Airways (see how to transfer Avios from Qatar Airways to British Airways)
- When I know that I need miles for a great American Airlines redemption I think of my Citi Premier® Card earnings in terms of the miles that I’ll get from Citi’s partnership with Etihad (find out how to use Etihad miles for great American Airlines awards).
- When I know that I need miles to fly to Asia in style, I think of my Citi Premier® Card earnings in terms of the points/miles that I’ll get from Citi’s partnership with Virgin Atlantic (to book amazing ANA premium cabin awards) or with Singapore Airlines.
Those are just a few examples, and I could give you a lot more.
Because I’m never very far off planning a new trip and because I’m often thinking about places that Joanna and I would love to visit, I rarely ever think about any of my transferable currency earnings (e.g. Citi ThankYou Points) in simple terms – I always view them in terms of the currency that I’ll be turning them into and in terms of what that currency will pay for.
There’s something nice about paying for a meal or for a week’s groceries and knowing that a by-product of that spending is a bucketful of points that will go towards saving me a considerable amount on my next trip, and possibly even allow Joanna and I to travel in a style that we would not otherwise have paid for. That’s a big reason why the Citi Premier® Card is in my wallet right now.
For the time being, the welcome bonus for the Citi Premier® Card continues to be set at 80,000 points with a $4,000 spending target in the three months after opening a new account and for a card as good and as useful as this one, that’s a great welcome bonus to be offered.