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How to choose your next Citi travel card (2020 guide)
A rundown of Citi travel cards, including our "best of" picks.
Chase and American Express products often dominate in the travel space, but a travel card from Citi — a finder.com advertising partner — might be well worth a look too.
To choose the right card, consider whether you want a product for ThankYou Points, American Airlines, Costco or Expedia. Then think about the bonus rewards you might earn.
Our pick for a Citi ThankYou rewards card
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Compare Citi travel credit cards
Citi travel card overview
There are 12 Citi travel cards that offer either rewards redeemable for travel or bonus rewards for travel spending.
These cards can be split into four categories: cards that let you earn ThankYou points as well as cobranded American Airlines, Costco and Expedia cards.
In the following sections, we’ll cover the benefits of each Citibank travel card and pick our favorites in each category.
Cards with ThankYou Points
ThankYou Points are Citi’s in-house rewards. You can redeem them for multiple items, including flights, hotels, gift cards, merchandise, statement credit and charitable donations.
You can get the highest value from your ThankYou Points by transferring them to Citi’s travel partners, which include JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and more.
Best Citi travel card: Citi Prestige® Credit Card
This is Citi’s flagship card, and it’ll set you back $495 a year. But for the price, you’ll earn a stellar 5x points on air travel and restaurants, plus great rewards in other travel categories.Airport lounge access and a strong annual travel credit are welcome, though expected, perks. The card’s real standout feature is its complimentary-fourth-night at a hotel benefit, which can easily offset the annual fee.
Runner up: Citi Premier℠ Card
This Citibank travel card more than holds its own against the fan-favorite Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is an impressive feat.It offers better rewards than its rival, including 3x points on travel and 2x points on entertainment and dining out. It also allows point transfers for great reward flexibility.
For gas and groceries: Citi Rewards+℠ Card
You’ll earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 per year, then 1x points. This isn’t bad, but you’ll find top-of-the-market grocery and gas credit cards from other providers.If the card’s point rounding and point rebate catch your eye, consider your annual spending and see whether those features will produce substantial returns.
For students: Citi Rewards+℠ Student CardThe information about Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
For eligible AT&T, retail and travel purchases: AT&T Access Card from CitiThe information about AT&T Access Card from Citi has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
American Airlines cards
Look into a Citibank travel card in this category if you’re a regular American Airlines flyer, or if you want to save your rewards for flights on the carrier.
Read this before applying for an American Airlines credit card
American Airlines has one disadvantage versus its biggest competitors, Delta and United. While you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Delta and Chase Ultimate Reward points to United, there’s no major credit card that allows direct point transfers to American Airlines.
Here’s what that means: If you get a cobranded American Airlines card from Citi, you have fewer options to supplement your rewards via a general-rewards card. Consider the rewards you’d earn with your American Airlines card and how long it might take to earn enough for an award flight.
Also, consider whether you’re set on flying on American Airlines, or whether you might be just as happy with Delta or United. In the latter case, you can still find great cobranded cards.
Best American Airlines card: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
This isn’t the premium American Airlines card, but it’s the “just right” option for most travelers. It offers American Airlines perks you won’t get elsewhere, such as your first checked bag free and preferred boarding on itineraries with the carrier. It also offers 2x miles not just on American Airlines purchases but also on restaurants and gas.
Airline card for business: CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
No-annual-fee airline card: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardThe information about American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
For loyal American Airlines flyers: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
This is American Airline’s flagship card, and it can be an automatic pick for the carrier’s most loyal flyers.If you’re a diehard fan of the Admirals Club lounges, this card is an easy choice. Otherwise, you’ll find better rewards — as well as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit — with other travel cards. Plus, the less-expensive Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers many of the same American Airlines-specific perks.
If you prefer simple cashback rewards, try the Costco credit cards. Before applying for one, make sure you have a Costco membership.
Best for Costco (personal card): Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Business Costco card: Costco Anywhere Visa® Business CardThe information about Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
There’s one Expedia card, which offers accelerated rewards at the online travel agency (OTA) and complimentary status in the company’s loyalty program.
Best for Expedia customers: Expedia® Rewards CARD from CitiThe information about Expedia® Rewards CARD from Citi has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
Though you’ll earn 3x points on Expedia purchases, points are worth around 0.7 cents apiece. That means you’re earning a 2.1% rewards rate on Expedia spending — still good, but not as impressive as you’ll find with some other travel cards.You might find the complimentary boost to Expedia Rewards Silver more useful. It offers special perks at VIP Access hotels — such as spa credits and free breakfast — as well as 10% more points on bookings.
How we chose our best credit cards
For many of our “best” picks, we chose products with the highest rewards rates. This is an important factor because it consistently generates value for a cardholder.
Rewards rate isn’t the only deciding factor, however. We also placed heavy emphasis on each Citibank travel card with perks you can’t find with other products. In these cases, premium cards aren’t always the best option if their features are replicated elsewhere. A lower-priced option may be a better value for more consumers.
What’s changed in 2019
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card — which has traditionally lagged behind other premium cards — is now a force to be reckoned with. Its revamped rewards structure can be incredibly valuable, and its fourth-night-free benefit is getting a second look from many consumers.
Unfortunately, the fourth-night-free benefit is now capped at twice a calendar year, though it’s still be a great deal.
How to compare Citi travel credit cards
What type of card do you want?
It can be helpful to decide which of the four categories of Citi cards appeals to you. If you’re a loyal customer of one of Citi’s cobranded partners, you might like an American Airlines, Costco or Expedia card.
Otherwise, you might like a card that offers ThankYou Points, which will give you more flexibility for reward redemptions.
Consider whether you want to pay an annual fee. An annual-fee card might offer better rewards, but a no-annual-fee card will let you accrue travel rewards without the pressure of offsetting your card’s cost.
What type of rewards do you want?
Cash back is simple, and its value usually doesn’t change. Points, on the other hand, can be more complicated, as you won’t know their true value until you redeem them. While they can represent more headaches, they can offer more value than cash back.
Each Citi travel card offers bonus rewards for certain categories. To get the most out of your card, you’ll want the bulk of your spending to match with those categories.
If your normal spending will bring you few bonus rewards, consider another card.
A signup bonus can sweeten the prospect of getting a credit card. Annual-fee cards tend to have higher signup bonuses than no-annual-fee cards.
For more products, check out our guide to the best travel credit cards.
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