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The Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card are two of Citi’s most popular rewards credit cards because of their big sign-up bonuses, perks, and ongoing rewards potential. Both cards stand out for having multiple travel redemption options, including the ability to transfer points to Citi airline partners.
With the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. Alternately, the Citi Prestige® Card offers 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
If you’re considering either card, you’ve probably noticed the significant difference in their annual fees and cardholder benefits. The annual fee of $495 for the primary cardmember on the Citi Prestige® Card can be well worth it if you spend a lot of time on the road and can use perks like airport lounge access and travel statement credits. If you don’t travel as frequently, the Citi Premier® Card has a much lower annual fee, but still offers solid earning and perks whether you’re home or away.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
15.99% – 23.99% variable APR based on your creditworthiness
60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening
Citi Premier and Citi Prestige welcome bonus
The Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card both come with a generous welcome offer. However, the Citi Premier® Card comes out slightly ahead since you earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, whereas the Citi Prestige® Card only offers 50,000 points with the same spending requirement.
For this reason alone, the Citi Premier® Card could easily offer the best first-year value depending on your spending habits and how often you can take advantage of the Citi Prestige® Card travel perks the first year.
The Citi Prestige® Card stands out for earning 5x points on air travel and restaurants, along with 3x points on cruises and hotel stays and 1x points on other purchases. If you spend a ton of money on travel throughout the year, it’s easy to see how earning 5x points and 3x points in these categories could leave you ahead.
However, there are lots of reasons to get the Citi Premier card, including a lot more bonus categories than you might expect from a card with a $95 annual fee. The Citi Premier® Card earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels, and 1x points on other purchases. This makes the card a better deal if you’re staying home right now but want the flexibility to earn and redeem rewards for travel later.
Both the Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card earn Citi ThankYou points, which you can redeem in many different ways.
If you’re not traveling, you can shop with points directly at retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and PayPal. You can also use your points to cover recent purchases, redeem them for gift cards or cash back, or even use them to pay off your student loan or mortgage. The value you’ll get per point varies depending on the redemption — for example, you’ll get 1 cent per point toward student loans or gift cards, but just 0.8 cents when you use points at Amazon.
When you’re ready to hit the road again, you can use your rewards to book travel directly through the Citi ThankYou travel portal at a rate of 1 cent apiece. And there’s a potentially more valuable option — you can transfer ThankYou points to Citi airline partners like Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and JetBlue for award flights.
Comparing Citi Premier and Prestige benefits
Citi Prestige benefits
As you might expect, the Citi Prestige® Card offers more travel perks in exchange for its higher annual fee. Here are the main benefits to keep in mind if you’re considering this premium credit card:
- Airport lounge membership: This card gives you a complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, which is normally valued at $429 and lets you access more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world.
- Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: You’ll also get up to $100 credit toward the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, which you can use every five years.
- Complimentary fourth night hotel stay: Get a fourth night free hotel stay when you book at least four consecutive nights through ThankYou.com. This perk can be used up to twice per calendar year.
- Up to $250 annual travel credit: Qualify for up to $250 in credits toward any travel purchases every year you’re a cardmember. Through December 2020, your credit will also apply to restaurant and supermarket purchases.
- Banking relationship credits: Each year you have the Citi Prestige® Card and you have a qualifying CitiGold account, you’ll qualify for a $145 statement credit. You’ll also get a $25 statement credit for each authorized user on your account.
Citi Premier benefits
In terms of unique benefits the Citi Premier® Card offers, there is only one that stands out. Once per year, you’ll get a $100 discount when you book a hotel stay worth $500 or more (before taxes and fees) through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
Benefits shared by both cards
These cards don’t offer many overlapping perks, although there are a few. Here are the benefits you’ll receive no matter which of these Citi rewards credit cards you sign up for:
No foreign transaction fees
Both of these cards don’t add foreign transaction fees when you make purchases outside the US.
No limit on rewards and points don’t expire
You can earn unlimited rewards with either of these cards, and none of the bonus categories are capped. Plus, your rewards won’t expire as long as your account is open.
$495 for the primary cardmember
16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
Both of these rewards credit cards offer lucrative rewards, but the right one for you really depends on how much you’re traveling right now. You’ll earn substantial rewards with the Citi Prestige® Card if you spend a lot of money on travel and dining, and you’ll enjoy complimentary travel perks like airport lounge access, a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, and the fourth night free hotel benefit. Of course, you’ll also have to pay a high annual fee, and not everyone can justify the expense right now.
With that in mind, almost everyone can benefit from the Citi Premier® Card whether they’re traveling or not. The annual fee is much more modest, and you’ll earn 3x points in a broad range of pandemic-friendly categories like supermarkets and gas. When you start traveling again, you’ll earn 3x on airfare and hotels, too.