Where Do Citibank Cards Stand With All the Recent and Upcoming Changes?

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My two favorite Citibank cards are the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and Citi® Double Cash Card.

AAdvantage Business Card: Strong Initial Bonus and Doesn’t Count Against 5/24

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is offering 70,000 AAdvantage miles after $4,000 in purchases in the first 4 months. It has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $99. It’s one of only two Citi small business cards I’m aware of, and Citi’s small business cards don’t count towards your 5/24 total at Chase. Of course you get first checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries and preferred boarding on American flights.

Citi Double Cash is a Double Threat

The Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee and earns 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay for the purchase). That makes it one of the best value cards (strong rewards with no or low annual fee) and one of the very best cash back cards.

It gets better though because with the points are expected to become transferable to ThankYou points September 23.

Premier and Prestige For Fast Earning, Transfers to Airline Miles

With Citibank eliminating nearly all of their extra travel and purchase protections from almost every product they issue, paying for airfare and other large purchases is somewhat less advisable using their cards.

Citi clearly thinks most customers won’t notice, or it won’t move the needle on their spending. It’s a gamble since they’re probably saving about $3 per cardmember per year.

Still the Citi Premier card earns points quickly and at a good price point. You earn 3 points per dollar on travel (including gas) and 2 points on restaurants and entertainment. It’s a competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which is only two points on travel and doesn’t include gas or entertainment, but has a bigger initial bonus offer and in my view better airline transfer partners.

Meanwhile the premium Citi Prestige card has transformed itself from a great benefits card to a really strong points-earning card. Long gone are American Airlines Admirals Club access and the ability to spend points towards American Airlines tickets at 1.67 cents apiece, as well as the lucrative golf benefit. Gone too is the ability to make unlimited fourth night free hotel reservations. But earning with the card is super strong: 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants, 3 points on hotels and cruise lines.

I expect these cards will make the most sense paired with a Citi® Double Cash Card going forward.

Costco Retains Some Protections

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a strong no annual fee (with your paid Costco membership) cash back card. Earnings are 4% on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter; 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com. It still has extended warranty and damage and theft protection which is unique in the Citi portfolio.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is the business version of the above with no annual fee (with your paid Costco membership) and 4% on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter; 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. For what it’s worth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that two somewhat obscure hotels I was interested in, in rural Laos, appeared as qualifying for the Prestige “four nights for the price of three” benefit when I checked online earlier today. I’ll still probably cancel the Prestige card because of its deterioration in other respects. But in this very limited data sample, the 4/3 cutback wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.

  2. @Steve where they a decent price compared to other sites? That seems to be my problem. I go lots of places that don’t have chain hotels so booking through an OTA is not an issue for me but when I check the Citi portal prices they are more often than not higher than other OTA’s which reduces and sometimes eliminates the 4/3 benefit.

  3. How long do I have to wait after cancelling a Citi Aadvantage Business Card before getting another bonus? Same question for the Barclay’s card if anybody knows.

  4. Problem is Citi transfer partners. There are some sweet spots, but overall for the average points enthusiast looking for one or two trips a year, Amex or Chase makes more sense even if earning is slightly lower.

  5. I’m sitting on 177k Citi Prestige TYPs, want to drop the card, but don’t have an immediate use for the points. What are others in this position doing? I do have a o/w back from Hong Kong in my future, but don’t want to be forced to book it right now.

  6. Is it really worth the extra 1/2 percent from the nominal 2% Citi Double Cash World Elite MasterCard compared to a myriad of 1.5% no annual fee cash back credit card alternatives to have a World Elite card with the higher swipe fee but with no added benefits as of September 2019; hard to understand, scripted, and generally ineffective overseas customer service; a foreign transaction fee; and now with the dubious option of converting cash to points with many redemption options worth less than one cent per point and limited transfer partners? Seriously?

    It is a no brainer to cancel this card and every other Citi card except perhaps the Costco card. Why would one keep the Citi Premier or Prestige when AMEX and Chase are still offering travel insurance benefits? Why deal with poor customer service when relying on a premium travel rewards credit card?

    The Citibank Double Cash was the best cash back card when it was released. No more. I was one of the earliest to acquire the card and used it frequently top of wallet. It has since been cancelled due to the September 2019 changes and erratic Citi credit card changes and customer service.

  7. @ Gilettti — I’d suggest you convert your Thank You Points into gift cards. When I wanted to close my Prestige Card, I used all the remaining points to purchase American Airline gift cards which have NO expiration date. Worked beautifully for me.

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