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If you’re looking for your next versatile credit card to add to your wallet, it’s worth considering the Citi Rewards+® Card or the Citi Premier® Card. As Citi products, they both allow you to collect ThankYou points, which you can redeem for gift cards, travel, and more at ThankYou.com.
Each card has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and figure out which card is best for you and your lifestyle. Here is an in-depth comparison to guide you in your decision.
|welcome bonus||20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening||60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening|
|Reward rate||2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases||3X points in restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel; 1X points on all other purchases|
|Introduction AVR||0% intro APR for 15 months (from account opening date) on purchases and balance transfers (13.49% to 23.49% variable APR after)||Variable APR from 15.99% to 23.99%|
Highlights of Citi Rewards+ vs. Citi Premier
Welcome Bonus Winner: Citi Premier
While the Citi Premier requires you to spend $4,000 over three months to get its welcome bonus, compared to $1,500 over three months for the Citi Rewards+, the math works out to 15 points per dollar in value with the Citi Premier and 13 points per dollar in value. value with Citi Rewards+.
If you are able to spend the money, choosing to apply for the Citi Premier gets you more points for your dollar. However, you must be prepared to spend around $1,334 per month to qualify for this bonus. If you can’t, opting for Citi Rewards+ might be the best option.
Reward Rate Winner: Citi Premier
The Citi Premier also wins this round due to the variety of 3X award categories it offers. As a cardholder, you earn 3X points for spending at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels, and air travel. All other expenses earn you 1X points.
In contrast, the Citi Rewards+ earns you 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations, but is capped at $6,000 in purchases per year (and drops to 1X points thereafter). And, you get 1X points on all out-of-category purchases.
Citi Rewards+ offers a helpful rounding feature, which means every purchase you make is rounded up to the nearest 10 points. Plus, as a cardholder, you get 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. (Note that the maximum number of points you can earn with the point return feature is 10,000.)
Overall, the Citi Rewards+ still doesn’t offer the same level of rewards for all spend as the Citi Premier.
Annual Fee Winner: Citi Rewards+
With no annual fee, Citi Rewards+ is the big winner in this category. Conversely, the Citi Premier has an annual fee of $95 which is not waived in the first year. Before making a quick judgment on this map, keep in mind that with so many ways to earn points, you’ll likely get your money back. You only have to spend $267 per month in 3X categories to offset the fees.
Foreign Transaction Fee Winner: Citi Premier
The Citi Premier doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the US, which is pretty standard for most travel credit cards. On the other hand, Citi Rewards+ charges a 3% fee on all foreign transactions. If you travel outside of the US frequently, the Citi Premier might make more sense for you. Alternatively, you can simply choose to swipe another card you own when traveling abroad.
Which card pays the most?
With a wider range of categories that earn higher rewards, Citi Premier has the potential to earn more money than Citi Rewards+ for most people, even those who don’t travel.
Example of Citi Premier vs Citi Rewards+ spend
Let’s imagine that your expenses for the month break down as follows:
- $500 on groceries
- $200 on hotels
- $350 on flights
- $150 on gas
- $100 on restaurants
With Citi Rewards+, you’ll earn 1,000 points for gas, 300 for groceries, and 650 for the rest of your purchases, leaving you with a total of 1,950 points. As usual, each point is redeemed for 1 cent, so your rewards are worth around $19.50.
With the Citi Premier, you’ll earn 1,500 points for groceries, 600 for hotel stays, 1,050 for flights, 450 for gas, and 300 for restaurant purchases. That totals 3,900 points (worth $39).
Note that even though the Citi Premier comes out on top with double the rewards earned, the Citi Rewards+ rounding feature and 10% points benefit can definitely boost your earnings over the course of the year.
Why should you get the Citi Premier?
The Citi Premier is a well-rounded travel card for the tier it’s in. There’s a wide range of categories you can earn 3X points in, and it’s pretty easy to earn enough rewards to offset the annual fee.
In addition to the strong rewards structure, you get access to a $100 annual hotel benefit. This benefit can be used for a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you use your Citi Premier Card and book through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU.
Plus, owning the card gives you access to World Elite Mastercard benefits, which include:
- World Elite discount and access programs for hotel stays and other travel packages
- $5 Lyft credit after three rides (once a month)
- 5% cash rewards on HelloFresh orders, usable on future purchases
- Free ShopRunner membership, offering free two-day shipping and free returns with over 100 online retailers
- World Elite Concierge for 24/7 personal assistance
Each ThankYou point can be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point, unless redeemed for travel. According to monthly assessments of The dot guy, you can earn up to 1.7 cents per point by transferring your ThankYou points to a Citi Travel Partner.
If you don’t have an upcoming trip, you can redeem your points for a wide selection of things, including:
- Cash back and statement credits
- Payment credits, including mortgages, student loans, or online bill payment
- Gift cards
- Shop with points on popular retailer websites including Amazon and PayPal
- Transfer points to another account or charity
Recommended credit score
To take full advantage of this card and maintain a lower APR, you’ll want to have a good to excellent credit score. Anything from 670 to 850 would be ideal for this card.
Why should you get Citi Rewards+?
Although Citi Rewards+ has a welcome bonus and lower rewards rates than Citi Premier, it’s still a good card for everyday purchases.
The rounding feature of the Citi Rewards+ card and the 10% points return benefit are not to be overlooked. Plus, like most Citi cardholders, owning Citi Rewards+ gives you access to Citi Entertainment experiences and Mastercard benefits like $0 liability and identity theft protection.
The biggest downside to Citi Rewards+ is that the card technically earns base ThankYou points, which just means you can’t transfer points earned with this card to Citi travel partners. However, you can still book travel through Citi’s portal for the value of 1 cent.
To get the most out of Citi Rewards+, consider pairing it with another rewards credit card that lets you earn increased rewards on transferred points (hint: the Citi Premier might be a good option).
Recommended credit score
Similar to Citi Premier, you’ll want a good to excellent credit score (670-850) before applying for Citi Rewards+.
The bottom line
The Citi Premier is the better card between these two Citi credit card options. It has more reward categories, earns standard thank you points, and offers a larger first-year welcome bonus. But if you eventually want to own both cards and combine them, it can help you earn increased rewards on transfer partner trips.
Whichever option you choose, neither is a bad card, and you can reap the rewards of both if you use them wisely.