While our choice for the best first travel rewards credit card has long been the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, if you’re already gotten that card or you’re unable to apply for Chase credit cards due to that issuer’s application rules, there’s currently a strong runner-up to consider: the Citi Premier® Card.
Not only is the Citi Premier a solid contender in its own right — especially right now for reasons that we’ll get to in a moment — but if you’re interested in travel rewards, it potentially should be the first Citi card you apply for before considering any other Citi credit card. Yes, even our benchmark Citi® Double Cash Card.
Why? Let’s dive into the Citi Premier and the application rules related to it so you can see firsthand why we think it should be at the top of your list when looking for a new Citi credit card.
The Citi Premier is offering a record-high 80,000 bonus points
Right now new Citi Premier card holders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months after opening the account. Not only is that the highest bonus offer we’ve ever seen on this card, but it’s the highest bonus you can currently get on any Citi credit card.
Exactly how much are those 80,000 points worth? Well, the Citi Premier earns points known as Citi ThankYou Rewards, which can be easily redeemed for gift cards or for any flight booked through Citi’s travel portal at a rate of 1 cent per point. That makes the card’s sign-up bonus worth $800 at a bare minimum, which is a great haul for a card that only has a $95 annual fee.
Related: You can now earn 80,000 bonus points with the Citi Premier credit card.
However, with a little bit of effort, you can get even more value for your points than that. That’s because Citi also allows you to transfer your ThankYou points to any of its 16 partner airline loyalty programs, which temporarily includes American Airlines’ AAdvantage frequent flyer program, through Nov. 13.
While using your points this way requires some extra effort and flexibility, you can potentially get much more value for your rewards, especially if you redeem them for first or business class flights. That’s why frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents apiece. At that rate, the 80,000 bonus points on the Citi Premier are worth a whopping $1,360 toward travel.