Changes coming to the Citi Premier card

The Citi Premier card was once my go-to card for all travel purchases with 3x ThankYou Points earnings.  However, Citi gutted many of the card's valuable travel benefits last September, including worldwide car rental insurance, trip/delay interruption, and baggage insurance.  Gone were also purchase protection including Citi's legendary 2-year extended warranty, price rewind, return protection, and damage/theft protection.  Even though TYP are still one of the more valuable points currencies out there, the Citi Premier has lost its flavor mostly due to the elimination of purchase and travel protection benefits.  Fortunately, I was able to benefit from their worldwide car rental insurance last year in New Zealand before the benefit was stripped.  Today, Citi announced some further significant changes to the Citi Premier card.



Changes to bonus TYP categories

Since inception, the Citi Premier has earned bonus TYP on the following purchases:

  • 3x on all travel
  • 3x on gas
  • 2x on dining
  • 2x on entertainment
As of August 23, 2020, the bonus categories will be changed to the following:
  • 3x on airfare and hotels
  • 3x on gas
  • 3x on dining
  • 3x at grocery stores
So the dining category will be upped from 2x to 3x, and grocery stores will also be added to the 3x category.  However, entertainment and travel not associated with airfare and hotels will be dropped to 1x.  The new spending bonus categories are pretty solid and well-rounded as it covers many everyday purchases as well as travel and gas.  The Amex Gold card may be the only other card that can compare with its 4x on dining at grocery stores and 3x on airfare.

Earn 3x bonus TYP on grocery store purchases

Elimination of 1.25 cents per point redemption

Citi Premier TYP can be redeemed for travel purchases via Citi's thankyou.com travel portal for 1.25 cents per point.  However, as of April 10, 2021, Citi Premier TYP will no longer have this benefit and can only be redeemed for 1 cent per point, which is the same as redemptions for other purchases.  It's good that Citi is giving a one year advance notice on this, and they also probably figure that not many of us won't be traveling this coming year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transfer Citi TYP at a 1:1 ratio to Eva Airlines Infinity MileageLands

Though it was nice getting a 25% additional value for travel redemptions, this method of points usage isn't the best for most as TYP can be transferred at a 1:1 to ratio to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs.  For example, TYP are the only transfer partner to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, which can be redeemed on United Airlines for domestic flights including Hawaii for only 7,500 miles each way in economy and 12,500 miles each way in first class.


Addition of $100 annual hotel credit

As of August 23, 2020, the Citi Premier will be getting a $100 hotel credit that can be used for hotel purchases of $500+ through thankyou.com.  However, this isn't really anything to be excited about since hotel rates can be significantly more expensive at thankyou.com than direct from the hotel or with other travel agencies.  In addition, most hotel groups don't offer elite benefits for bookings not made directly with the hotel.

Get a $100 annual hotel credit for hotel purchases of $500+ at thankyou.com

Applying by April 10, 2020

Existing Citi Premier card holders and those who apply by April 10, 2020 will be grandfathered into the current earnings structure, earning 3x on all travel and gas and 2x on entertainment and dining until April 2021.  However, cardholders by April 10, 2020 will also receive the new bonus categories of 3x on grocery stores and dining effective August 23, 2020, which means that they can have the best of both worlds in terms of bonus earnings structure.

Bottom line

It's good to see Citi switch things up a bit with their Premier card, which was originally designed to go up against the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Gold cards.  I would say that the bonus category changes are a plus, whereas the elimination of 1.25 cpp redemption is a definite negative, and the $100 annual hotel credit will probably be useless to many.  As a reminder, the current sign-up offer for the Citi Premier is 60,000 TYP points after $4,000 of spending in the first 3 months, which is one of the better offers out there.

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!



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