Over the last couple of years, Citi has adjusted its credit card portfolio in an attempt to stay competitive with Chase and American Express. It’s probably time to take a fresh look at whether your current Citi credit cards are working for you, as well as whether any new Citi cards may be worth adding to your wallet. Today we’ll examine some of the best cards from our partners from Citi’s sizeable portfolio so you can decide.
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- Citi Premier® Card — Best sign-up bonus
- Citi Custom Cash℠ Card — Best for flexibility
- Citi® Double Cash Card — Best for flat-rate earning
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® — Best for American Airlines lounge access
- 3X Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- 3X Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- 1X Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Why we chose it
The Citi Premier Card is one of the best starter travel rewards cards due to its gracious amount of bonus spend categories. You’ll not only earn triple points on air travel and hotel, but also on restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations — offering plenty of opportunities to earn on your everyday purchases. Best of all, your points are flexible and can transfer to a variety of frequent flyer programs in every airline alliance. Finally, enjoy an annual $100 hotel savings benefit through Citi on single-stay bookings of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees). Read our full review of the Citi Premier Card.
- 5% Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.
- 1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Why we chose it
The Citi Custom Cash is the most flexible cash-back card on the market, allowing you to earn 5% back on your top eligible spend category on up to $500 spent each billing cycle. Read our full review of the Citi Custom Cash.
- 2% Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Why we chose it
When it comes to everyday spending, it’s hard to beat the Citi Double Cash Card. You’ll earn up to 2% back on every purchase, and you can now redeem as cash back or by converting rewards to ThankYou points with an eligible card. Read our full review of the Citi Double Cash Card.
- 2X 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 1X 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
Why we chose it
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the best for those who fly American Airlines and want Admirals Club lounge access. It also gives you helps you earn and maintain elite status and comes with priority perks. Read our full review of the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
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|Card||Best for||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|Citi Premier® Card||Best sign-up bonus||60,000 points||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Best for flat-rate earning||N/A||
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||Best for Costco members||50,000 miles||
Best Citi credit cards
Citi Premier® Card: Best sign-up bonus
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $1,020 based on TPG’s latest valuations.
Rewards: You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets and 1 point on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $95
Benefits: There are many reasons to get the Citi Premier® Card. A top reason is that the Citi Premier is a member of the ThankYou Rewards program, which means you can transfer your points to any of Citi’s airline transfer partners. Plus, there’s no fee to add authorized users to your card, no foreign transaction fees and you can tap to pay since you’ll get a contactless chip-enabled card.
You’ll get a $100 hotel savings benefit once per calendar year when you book a hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com (excluding taxes and fees). The Citi Premier also provides access to Citi Entertainment, so you’ll have the ability to purchase tickets to thousands of events before the general public can buy them.
For more details, see our card review of the Citi Premier.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Best for earning extra points
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Rewards: 5% cash back on your top eligible spend category up to $500 spent each billing cycle; 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $0
Benefits: This card tailors to your lifestyle spend rather than sticking to rigid bonus categories. You’ll earn an industry-leading 5% on your top eligible spend category each month, on up to the first $500 in purchases. The categories range from restaurants to fitness clubs to home improvement stores and beyond, so you’ll be able to earn maximum cash back for no annual fee.
The deal gets even better if you pair your Citi Custom Cash with a premium Citi Card, such as the Citi Premier or the Citi Prestige® Card. You can combine your cash-back earnings and turn it into ThankYou points, making them transferable to Citi’s 15+ airline partners.
The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
For more information, check out our card review of the Citi Custom Cash Card.
Citi Rewards+® Card: Best for earning extra points
Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 ThankYou bonus points after you spend $1,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This bonus is worth $200 in gift cards at Thankyou.com, although if you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige it’s worth $340 based on TPG’s latest valuations.
Rewards: 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 you spend per year (1x after that) and 1x on all other purchases. Your points are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase with no caps. So, if you buy a cup of coffee for $2.31, that’s rounded up 10 points. And, if you spend $10.99 on lunch, that rounds up to 20 points.
Annual fee: $0
Benefits: You’ll get 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. If JetBlue is your airline of choice, you can transfer your points directly to its TrueBlue loyalty program at a ratio of 5:4. Otherwise, you can get 1 cent per point in value when you redeem for gift cards. However, if you pair the Citi Rewards+ with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, the earnings can be combined into a single ThankYou Rewards account, thus making them transferable to Citi’s airline partners.
The Citi Rewards+ may be right for you if you’re looking for a contactless card that allows you to tap to pay. Note that the Rewards+ has a 3% foreign transaction fee though, so you’ll want to leave it at home when leaving the U.S.
For more information, check out our card review of the Citi Rewards+ Card.
Citi Double Cash Card: Best for flat-rate earning
Sign-up bonus: There isn’t a sign-up bonus on this card, but it does offer an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers made within the first four months of card opening (then a 13.99% – 23.99% variable APR applies), for a fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Rewards: 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy; 1% when you pay)
Annual fee: $0
Benefits: This is a no-frills card, but 2% cash back on all purchases makes it a good choice for an everyday spending card, especially because it comes with no annual fee. The cash back you earn can be redeemed as a check, a statement credit, a gift card or be deposited into your banking account. For these reasons, it has made our list of the best cash-back cards.
You can also convert cash back earned on the Citi Double Cash card to ThankYou Points via a linked ThankYou account. TPG values this solid cash-back card as one of the best rewards credit cards on the market because of its solid earning and flexibility. You’ll need an excellent credit score to get the Citi Double Cash Card though, and you won’t want to use this credit card for purchases outside the U.S. because it imposes a 3% foreign transaction fee.
For more details, see our card review of the Citi Double Cash Card.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Best for Costco members
Sign-up bonus: None
Rewards: 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on everything else. Cash back is provided as an annual credit card reward certificate once your February billing statement closes, redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco Warehouses (including Puerto Rico).
Annual fee: No annual fee with your paid Costco membership
Benefits: With many consumers preferring cash-back rewards, the Costco Anywhere Visa may be worth a spot in your wallet. The card has no foreign transaction fees. Plus, your card doubles as your Costco membership ID.
For more details, see our card review of the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.
Official application link: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Best for American Airlines lounge access
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, this bonus is worth $700 according to TPG’s valuations.
Rewards: Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.
Annual fee: $450. There’s no fee for up to 10 authorized users.
Benefits: The card comes with a free Admirals Club airport lounge membership, valued at up to $650 for individuals or $1,250 for a household. The perk allows you to bring two guests or immediate family members into the club — and authorized users of the card also have access.
Plus, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation will get your first checked bag free when traveling on domestic American Airlines itineraries. You’ll also receive a credit of up to $100 to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fee every five years. Finally, you can take this card outside the U.S., since you won’t be paying foreign transaction fees.
For more information, see our card review of the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Official application link: Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines flyers
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Rewards: Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases, restaurants and gas stations, and 1x on everything else.
Annual fee: $99 (waived for the first year)
Benefits: The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select has many benefits. For example, you and up to four passengers traveling on your reservation receive your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries. You’ll also get a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 or more on purchases on the card during your membership year and renew your card.
To learn more, check out our full review of the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.
The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines business flyers
Sign-up bonus: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening. At 1.4 cents per mile, this bonus is worth $910 according to TPG’s valuations.
Rewards: Earn 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases, telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations, and 1x on everything else.
Annual fee: $99, but the fee is waived for your first 12 months
Benefits: The most valuable perk of this business credit card is likely the first checked bag free for you and up to four passengers traveling on your reservation on American Airlines domestic flights. You’ll more than make up for the fee if you avoid just four checked bag fees each year.
You’ll also get a $99 American Airlines Companion Certificate for domestic main cabin economy travel if you spend $30,000 or more with your card during a cardmembership year, renew the card and keep your account open for at least 45 days after your account anniversary date. You won’t need to pay foreign transaction fees if you use your card abroad.
For more details, see our full card review of the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select.
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
How we chose the best Citi credit cards
We reviewed Citi’s credit card lineup and studied their sign-up bonuses, rewards, perks and annual fees. This included both the cards that participate in the ThankYou Rewards program as well as the issuer’s cobranded card lineup.
Here are some aspects to consider when applying for Citi credit cards:
- The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards
- Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points for maximum value
- The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partners
- Amex vs. Citi vs. Chase: Which booking portal is best for hotels?
As always, head to the TPG cards hub to see the best credit cards currently available.
Recent changes to Citi Cards
Citi has made some significant changes to its cards over the last few years. Citi launched the Citi Custom Cash card in June 2021 and discontinued the application link for its ultra-premium Citi Prestige card. A few years ago, Citi eliminated many of the shopping and travel protections from its cards and refreshed the Citi Premier card — the list goes on. Some of the changes have been positive, such as improved earning, while some card benefits and perks have slowly decreased.
Frequently asked questions about Citi credit cards
Which Citi credit card is the best?
The best Citi card for you depends on what you are looking for in a card. But, three of the most popular Citi credit cards are the Citi Premier® Card for its earning and ability to transfer rewards to Citi ThankYou airline partners, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard for the benefits it provides while flying American Airlines and the Citi Double Cash Card for its earning on everyday spending.
What is the easiest Citi card to get?
Citi currently offers two credit cards that it classifies as “credit building credit cards”: the Citi® Secured Mastercard® and the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card. Although it’s unclear exactly what type of credit score is needed to be approved for these cards, they should be the easiest to get in Citi’s portfolio.
The information for the Citi Secured Mastercard and the Citi Rewards+ Student Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Does Citi give instant approval?
When you apply for a Citi card, you may be approved (or rejected) within a few minutes or you may need to wait a few weeks for a decision. If you aren’t instantly approved, you may still be approved once Citi processes your application further or by calling Citi’s reconsideration line.
Can I request a credit limit increase with Citi?
It is possible to request a credit limit increase online for most Citi credit cards. To check whether your card is eligible and request a credit limit increase if your card is eligible, log into your online Citi account. Hover over Services on the top navigation bar and click on Credit Card Services. Then, under Card Management, click on Request a Credit Limit Increase. You’ll be taken to a page that will either state you aren’t eligible or will ask for updated information on your total annual income and monthly mortgage or rent payment.
Citi may look a bit weaker next to its competitors after slashing most of its shopping and travel protections in late 2019, but it still has a solid lineup of credit cards ranging from a no-annual-fee, flat-rate, cash-back card to two luxury options that come with perks to enhance your travel experience. And, the AAdvantage-branded credit cards come with some nice benefits for American flyers as well as the ability to redeem the miles you earn on the card for travel on American and its partners.
Related: The best rewards credit cards
Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Katie Genter.