Citi Thank You (TY) points are one of the best transferrable currencies for international travel. Fortunately, Citi offers five cards that earn TY points. Their lineup includes both personal and business cards. This post presents my ranking of the Citi Thank You Points earning cards.
The cards are arranged from worst to best and the order is determined by how well each card earns points. Other factors like annual fees (or lack thereof) and redemption options were not considered for the rankings. However, sign-up bonuses were considered because they are a great way to earn points.
Co-Branded Cards and core Citi cards that do not earn TY points (such as the Citi Simplicity Card) are not included in this list. Cards that earn TY points are the focus of this post.
Special thanks to Wallers Wallet (H/T) who also ranked the American Express Membership Rewards Points earning cards in a recent YouTube video.
5) Citi Business Thank You Card
The Citi Business Thank You Card is the most underrated and least known Citi card. However, it ranks last because the other four TY point earning cards are better earners. This is Citi’s only core business credit card and prospective cardholders must apply in branch.
The Citi Business Thank You Card earns 3x TY points within quarterly rotating categories. Unlike the discontinued Citi Dividend Card, the category schedule remains the same every year. The 3x multiplier is paltry compared to personal cards that earn 5x points or 5% cash back within rotating categories.
Furthermore, the Citi Business Thank You Card comes with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned by spending $2,000 within the first three months. I wish that Citi would offer more points for that level of minimum spend. Plus, I wish that Citi would start offering online applications for this card. It could give Citi a chance to compete with Chase and American Express in the business card market.
4) Rewards +
The Rewards + Card is one of the most unique credit cards on the market. It’s the best earner in the industry for small purchases. But it’s mediocre among the Citi Thank You points earning cards.
The Citi Rewards + earns 2x TY points on Gas and Groceries. It also earns one point per dollar on non-bonus spend. However, all rewards earned are rounded to the nearest 10 points. This is huge for non-bonus spend under $10. Those purchases would earn one point per dollar on other cards. But on the Rewards +, they earn 10 TY points.
But not everyone makes small purchases that can benefit from such points rounding. This is especially true if you want to travel. Hotels, airfare, and other such expenses cost more than $10.
Moreover, the Citi Rewards + comes with a sign-up bonus worth 15,000 points. This bonus can be earned by spending $1,000 within the first three months. This bonus is similar to the one from the Chase Freedom, but the Freedom’s bonus requires half of the minimum spend.
3) Double Cash
I might get some negative comments ranking the Citi Double Cash third of five cards. But it does not come with a sign-up bonus despite its excellent earning structure. 2019 was a great year for the Double Cash as Citi allowed Double Cash rewards to transfer into Thank You Points. This change was very positive as the Double Cash became a staple among international travelers.
The Double Cash is a simple card. You can 2x TY points per dollar for every purchase. But you do not earn both points at once. The first half is earned upon making a purchase and the second half is earned upon paying your bill. This structure is Citi giving its cardholders incentive to pay their bills in full, which is a cardinal rule of credit cards.
However, a lack of sign-up bonus truly weakens the Double Cash. It would be ranked higher if it had a bonus even if it was weak. I hope that Citi adds a bonus worth 15,000 points (or somewhere in that area) for a $1,000 minimum spend in the future. That would make the Double Cash even better.
The Citi Prestige is an excellent earner with a great sign-up bonus. Even though it’s the only Citi card that comes with 5x categories, it ranks second because of its limited 3x categories and sign-up bonus.
The Citi Prestige earns 5x TY points on Dining and Airfare. It also earns 3x TY points on Cruises and Hotels; and one point on non-bonus spend. Having four bonus categories is fantastic, but not everyone stays in hotels or goes on cruises. However, Dining and Airfare are excellent categories for a lot of travelers.
Furthermore, the Prestige comes with a sign-up bonus worth 50,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months. This bonus matches that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Citi Premier ranks first because of its broad earning structure and because it offers Citi’s largest sign-up bonus. Ranking the Premier over the Prestige was a hard decision. But you can earn more points on different types of travel with the Premier’s plethora of 3x categories.
The Citi Premier earns 3x TY points on five different bonus categories: Gas, Groceries, Dining, Hotels, and Airfare. Earning triple points on so many categories makes the Citi Premier the best of the Citi bunch. This earning structure also makes the Premier one of the best mid-tier credit cards on the market.
Moreover, the Citi Premier comes with a sign-up bonus worth 60,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months. This bonus matches that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Plus, you are earning 10,000 more points than the Prestige for the same minimum spend.
Citi Thank You points are one of the best points currencies in the industry for international airfare. Fortunately, Citi offers five great cards that let you earn Thank You points in different ways.
This post presents my ranking of the Citi Thank You points earning cards based on earning opportunities. The list will look different if you take redemption options and annual fees into account.
I think if you considered the annual fees, the results for Prestige and Premier would be amazingly mundane.
Hi Enjoy Fine Food,
Thanks for reading PYCR! Either way the results are mundane between the Premier and Prestige Cards. I had a hard time ranking the Premier first. But the Premier’s general travel / gas category was the deciding factor. 3x on general travel / gas gives cardholders more opportunities to earn points than three specific travel categories.