Citi Bank Credit Card Trifecta
I have to admit, I am a points hoarder. I stockpile points, I store them for a rainy day. I try to make sure I am earning the highest possible return on my spending. In the last 4 years I’ve earned over 700,000 Citi Thank You points. When I tell people how many points I have, they usually say, “Oh you’ve traveled a lot.” Yes I have traveled a lot, but that is not how I earned so many points. The truth is you can earn more points on the ground than in the air, thanks to credit cards. Citi credit cards have some pros and cons. First lets start with the Con’s. They don’t have the type of travel benefits that are found on Amex or Chase cards, such as travel insurance, trip cancellation or airport lounge access. Citi doesn’t even have a hotel credit card. The Pros are their cards can earn in certain categories 3 to 5 points per dollar. They also have 16 airline transfer partners and just added Wyndham and Choice hotels as transfer partners. I earn about 80,000 points per year by using these cards.
The Citi Premier cards earns 3 points per dollar on Gas, Dining, Groceries, Air Travel and Hotels and it also is currently the only Citi credit card that gives access to all of their transfer partners. It does have a $95 annual fee and is the only card in this list with an annual fee. In my setup I only use the Premier card for Gas and Dining. I average about 7,500 points earned in these categories per year. I don’t use it for booking flights because I have the Amex Platinum card that earns 5 points per dollar on flights and I use my Marriott and Hilton Amex cards at hotels.
The Citi Custom Cash card earns 5 points per dollar on the first $500 spent in the category that you spend the most money in per month. You can earn a total of 2,500 points. The categories are, Restaurants, Gas, Groceries, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drug Stores, Fitness Clubs, Live Entertainment. The way I take advantage of this is I exclusively use it for Groceries and once I spend over $500 I start using my Premier card until the next billing cycle. I actually have 2 Citi Custom Cash cards and I try to spend $500 on each and per month which would earn 60,000 points per year. I throw in a gift card every now in then to make sure I get over the $500 limit. I have another Citi card that I plan on Product Changing later this year to the Citi Custom Cash which would give me the opportunity to earn 90,000 points per year collectively on the three cards.
The Citi Double Cash is a basic card, it doesn’t have any special categories, it doesn’t offer any signup bonus. It earns 1 point per dollar when you make a purchase and 1 point per dollar when you pay your bill. This card is good for spending on purchases that don’t fall into any of the categories that earn bonus points on other cards. I mostly use the Double Cash for paying bills online, cable, cell phone, insurance, electric etc. I average about 15,000 points earned per year with this card.
There are a couple other options. The Citi Prestige card and The Rewards+ Card. Citi is no longer accepting new applications for the Prestige card. It seems like are focusing more on the lower level travel cards. It has a $495 annual fee but offers a $250 travel statement credit which is really easy to use. It earns 5 points per dollar on Dining, Airlines and Travel Agencies, and 3 points per dollar on Hotels and Cruise Lines. The Rewards+ has no annual fee. It has a couple neat features, it rounds up your points to the nearest dollar, so if you spent $2 you will earn 10 points. It makes sense to use if you have a lot of low cost transactions. It also gives you 10% back on the points you redeem up to 100,000 points (10,000 points earned).