The Citibank PremierPass credit cards offers higher point earnings for frequent travelers, but comes with a steep annual fee. And, most cardholders were recently nailed with a steep increase in interest rate even if they had good credit. Do the PremierPass pros outweigh the cons?
Earn Points Citi Premier Pass Card
The basic Citibank rewards points chart looks like this.
- 2 ThankYou Points earned for ever $1 spent at Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Drugstores, Parking, and Public Transportation like subways.
- 1 Thank You Point earned for all other $1 spending.
- 1 Thank You Point earned for every mile flown on any airline, including other people whose tickets you bought with the card.
ThankYou Points Redeem Chart
|Points / $||Travel Reward*||Spending Required||Cash Back Equivalent|
|Grocery, Parking, Drugstore, Gas||2 Points / $||20,000 points (for $200 ticket)||$10,000||2%|
|Everywhere Else||1 Point / $||20,000 points (for $200 ticket)||$20,000||1%|
|50 / 50 Split||1.5 Point / $||20,000 points (for $200 ticket)||$15,000||1.5%|
* Since there is no fixed flight option anymore, I tested a couple of flights through the booking system and it appears that tickets are pricing at approximately 100 points per dollar.
Reward Value is average unless you maximize shopping at the 2 for 1 points locations.
Thank You Points Earned For Flying
Of course, the value of this particular card is not in its spending rewards which are mostly average, but rather in the value of getting ThankYou Points for flying on any airline.
If you few from Denver to Chicago, that is 903 miles, or 903 points earned for flying. A round-trip ticket makes it 1806.
If you make that trip one a month for a whole year that is 21,672 ThankYou points, enough for a $210 plane ticket, and that is without using any of your points earned without flying. In this case, the $210 reward will cover the $75 annual fee.
To put it another way, you have to fly at least 7,500 miles per year to cover the cost of the annual fee and turn this credit card from a money loser into a break-even rewards card.
Update: How to use Citibank rewards points for free thank you miles flights.
Citibank Rewards Cons
Citibank ThankYou Rewards recently ended their fixed point option for flight ticket rewards, so budgeting the points is now tougher. In order to find out how much a flight costs, you have to log into Expedia via the ThankYou Points website and enter flight information like you were going to buy a plane ticket online through Expedia. What you get back are trip prices in points instead of dollars.
The major drawback of this process is that the online travel agencies are well known for a scam which involves changing the price at the last minute before you buy a ticket. They get away with this by saying that the system you are looking at is just the reservation system and that it might not be up to date. Only when you enter your credit card information does it check the real system that has the actual fare you have to pay. So, the price can suddenly go up once you try and actually book the airfare.
For rewards this is particularly unpleasant because after you’ve carefully crafted a travel plan that allows you to use your points for a vacation for 2 to Hawaii, you’ll suddenly be informed that the flight is going to cost you 44,000 points instead of 38,000 points. Multiply that across 2 tickets and you can see how big of difference there is between 88,000 points and 76,000 points.
Annual FEE and Expenses
$75 annual fee is terrible on virtually all credit cards, but frequent travelers might make it up with this card.
Interest rate is quoted as 13.24% Variable, but many customers with 740+ credit scores reported getting their rate increased without cause to over 16%, so beware about the Citibank credit card interest rate quotes.
Is Citi PremierPass Credit Card Worth It?
The answer for all credit cards with an annual fee is NO. In this case, there can be some value here but only if you travel a lot. The extra 1 point per mile flown can add up quickly for frequent travelers.
Difference Between Citi PremierPass and Citi PremierPass Elite
There is a Citi PremierPass basic card (non-Elite). It has no annual fee, but is a basic, no frills, reward card with a standard 1 point for $1 point earning schedule. You do get 1 point for every 3 miles you fly on tickets you buy with the card, but that won’t add up to much unless you fly a lot, in which case you are going to be better off with the Elite card.
Find a more robust card if you aren’t going to go for the elite level on this one.
Check out more detailed credit card reviews here on Finance Gourmet.