Citi Revamping Earning Structure For Premier and Preferred Cards

Citi is revamping its Premier and Preferred cards. Citi Premier gets new earning categories, and spending points on paid travel will no longer be as lucrative (making points-to-miles transfers the only good option). Citi Preferred is getting new bonus categories.

Currently Citi Premier offers,

  • 3x on on travel including gas stations, as well as airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, public transportation, tolls, and parking
  • 2x on dining and entertainment

Beginning August 23, 2020, it will earn 3x at supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout), 3x on air travel, hotels and gas stations. And it will introduce a $100 credit on a $500+ hotel stay (excluding taxes and fees) once per calendar year when booked through

It will be losing 3x earning on other travel (non-air, hotel, gas) which means it will no longer earn 3x on cruises, tolls, or parking. It will also be losing 2x on entertainment. (Existing cardholders will keep these bonus categories until April 10, 2021.)

Effective April 10, 2021, cardmembers will no longer receive 1.25 cents per point on travel booked through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center. The value will be reduced to 1 cent per point.

They plan to continue offering a 60,000 limited time bonus offer after making $4,000 in purchases with the card in the first three months of account opening, and are not changing the annual fee.

Meanwhile effective August 23, 2020 existing Citi Preferred cardmembers will earn 2x on cable and popular streaming services and on live entertainment (but social distance!) in addition to the current 2x on restaurants.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yet another negative change. I just got the Premier card for the 1.25 cents redeemed for travel to increase the value of the Citi Double Cash card I already owned. I guess I’m going to redeem all my points before April next year or only plan on using them by transferring them to airlines.

  2. Sounds like largely a downgrade? I’ve been waiting for the right time to jump into Citi’s currency but every new update seems like a new reason to be glad I didn’t take the bait. Am I interpreting this right?

  3. It’s good to see an issuers other than Amex offering a multiplier on Groceries. If they keep the $95 annual fee and don’t have the fee credit hoops to jump through like Amex is a clear competitive advantage. Looks like the spend on Groceries will be uncapped, unlike Amex?

  4. What’s the point of TY Preferred? Citi Double cash will earn a straight 2X TY pts now.

    Even Premier is questionable now. An incremental 1X pt for air, hotel, gas, supermarkets, and dining vs the double cash card for a $95 fee, I’m not really seeing the appeal here anymore…

    I suppose any TYP lineup I’d have in the future would be DC, Rewards+, and prestige.

  5. @Gary Do you think that Amex will be rolling out something similar for the Gold and Platinum cards?

  6. If I understand Gary correctly (I don’t see any link or documentation on my Premier account) – for existing cardholders, this is a pretty great deal through at least April 2021 – you keep all existing categories, get a bump to 3x dining, and keep the 1.25 cent redemption option. Past April 2021 it depends on your use pattern.

  7. I like the Premier bonus categories as is; I’m not likely to benefit from the bonus spend category changes because I already have the Amex Gold Card. Although I mostly redeem ThankYou Points for airline miles transfers, it is most disappointing that online air and hotel redemption rates have been cut from 1.25% to 1%. That was always a solid backup option.

    Lets see how viable the ThankYou airline transfer partners are after emerging from Covid-19

  8. Man, I guess amex really defined the state of play with the gold (and later green) refresh. Namely, high point multipliers in exchange for no easy > 1cpp cashout/guaranteed redemption option.

    I wonder if Chase will respond with a CSP refresh. It is an extremely stale card, and the 1.25cpp portal and the CSR’s earnings multipliers presumably limit the CSP’s multipliers. Of course, in turn the CSR’s multipliers are presumably limited by the 1.5cpp portal option.

    On another note, does anyone know if redeeming 50k+ TY points on the travel portal for a hotel will trigger the $100 credit?

  9. Thanks for the update.
    FYI, a contradiction: you say: “Beginning August 23, 2020, it will earn 3x at supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout), 3x on air travel, hotels and gas stations. ”
    Then in the next paragraph “It will be losing 3x earning on other travel (non-air, hotel, gas) “.
    So, will the Premier be gaining or losing 3x on hotels?

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