Milecards

Citi ThankYou Premier Review: OK, but missing a U.S. airline transfer partner

Pros

Debating a Citi ThankYou Premier card? If you spend a lot on travel and dining expenses (think $500 or more a month), consider it, otherwise options like the Citi Double Cash (with no annual fee and double cash on everything you purchase) are a better deal.

Read on for details on the pros and cons of the Citi Premier.

A big intro bonus. Citibank is willing to give you a lot of value to get the card and start using it.

3x points on travel. Few cards can match the earning power of the ThankYou Premier on travel spending, even including purchases at gas stations. Travel spending includes plane tickets, hotels, car rentals, Air BnB rentals, train tickets, and more.

2x on dining and entertainment. Getting double points on dining isn’t unusual, but adding entertainment is a nice bonus, for things like movie tickets, theater tickets, or trips to amusement parks.

OK value for your points. With a Premier card your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you use them for travel, so 10,000 points is worth $125 off of travel you book via the Citibank travel website. Through the website you can book flights with most airlines, which makes your points work like cash, so you don’t have to worry about finding ‘award’ seats or other restrictions.

Flight delay coverage. If a flight you book with the card is delayed for 12 hours or more, you can get up to $500 reimbursed for things like hotel nights, cab fare, or meals. Most delays are caused by weather, and when that’s the cause, airlines don’t have to help you with a hotel room or meals at all, leaving you high and dry. With this benefit, you’ll be covered.

Cons

No U.S. airline transfer partners. The biggest weakness of the card is that there are no opportunities to transfer your points to real airline miles with U.S. based airlines like American, Delta, United, or Southwest. This would be a no brainer card for a lot more people if Citi and American Airlines came to agreement to allow point transfers from the Citi ThankYou points program.

A $95 annual fee. For a card with big dining and travel bonuses, an annual fee is par for the course, but without a good set of U.S. airline transfer partners it’s harder to justify keeping the card after the bonus.

You don’t always get the lowest fare. When you use your points for travel, you need to book via Citibank’s online travel portal at ThankYou.com. Unfortunately that site doesn’t always show the lowest fares for flights, so you may end up getting less value from your points than you expect.

Car rental coverage isn’t primary. With the Citi Premier, if you rent a car and end up with damage, you can get covered for up to $100,000, but there’s a catch. You need file a claim with your own insurance first if you have a policy of your own. And if your own policy applies, you’ll have to take that hit before the coverage from Citi kicks in. That’s not different than most cards, but a few cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and United Explorer Card, give you ‘primary’ car rental collision coverage when you rent. That means if you have a damage claim you don’t have to file one with your own insurance company at all.

Overall Rating
3/5 Stars   
Key Features
  • Earn 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening –  redeemable for $400 in gift cards, $500 for airfare, or other great rewards.
  • Earn 3X ThankYou Points on Travel including Gas,  2X ThankYou Points on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1X ThankYou Points on Other Purchases
  • ThankYou® Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through thankyou.com, as compared to gift cards
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points
  • Annual Fee: $95 (fee waived for the first 12 months)
 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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2 thoughts on Citi ThankYou Premier Review: OK, but missing a U.S. airline transfer partner

  1. Judy Sherwood

    I have a Citi thankyou Premier card. My husband and I are going on a trip. If we are unable to go because one of us gets sick, does my card reimburse us for any non-refundable expenses? I understand your Prestige card will reimburse up to $5,000 per person of non-refundable expenses, but I don’t know if the thankyou Premier card does that also.

    Please let me know.

    Reply

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