The Citi Premier credit card has a special place in my heart. It was my real rewards earning credit card.
I did have a Sheetz credit card while living in Virginia in 2005 and I would sadly spend enough at Sheetz to earn $25 gift card rewards once every few months. That $25 was not chump change since I was making $10 an hour at the time working as a reporter at the Hanover Herald-Progress, but I digress.
I opened my Premier card in 2007 and for a few years, I used Citi Thank You points, earned with the Premier and other Citi cards, to rack up nearly $6,000 worth of travel and gift cards. Nowadays, Citi cards usually don’t offer enough in the way of ongoing rewards to make them worth keeping long term.
That’s the case with the Premier card. It has a $95 annual fee (though it’s waived the first year). It gets you 3% back on gas stations and travel as well as 2% back on restaurants and entertainment. Certainly not bad, but Chase Sapphire Preferred has the same annual fee and similar cash back categories. The difference: Chase UR points are much more valuable than Citi Thank You points.
The Citi Premier card is one I’d recommend solely for the signup bonus, which is certainly worthwhile: 50,000 Thank You Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Those points are worth $625 for flights booked through thankyou.com, which basically offers all the same flights you’d find on Expedia or you can redeem the points for $500 in gift cards.
The verdict: get the signup bonus (application link here), book your free flights, toss the card in your sock drawer and then cancel it before the annual fee hits for year 2. Two years after you close the card, you can apply again and receive the bonus again. This is a beautiful game, isn’t it?