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For Canadians that dabble in US credit cards, there is one credit card that doesn’t get enough attention – the Citi Premier Card. While its best to start off your US credit card journey with American Express, many start chasing after credit cards issued by Chase as soon as they’ve built enough US credit history because of the 5/24 rule, overlooking other credit card issuers, like Citi.
Spectacular earning rates
Sure, Chase offers some great cards, but when it comes to earning rates, the underrated Citi Premier packs a big punch – checkout these multipliers:
What’s more is these multipliers apply to purchases world-wide and with no caps. Ever go dine at a restaurant and take out your Cobalt, Scotia Gold or US Amex Gold card, only to find out the restaurant doesn’t accept Amex? Well, this card will ease your frustration, because it’s a Mastercard with a respectable earn rate on eats and drinks.
Another benefit of this card is it comes with no foreign transaction fees. Combined with the high earning rates on many categories – makes it a great card as a daily driver and an essential travel companion. Once you’re at your destination, you can use it to earn the 3x multiplier to fuel up your car rental and to pay for your eats and drinks, without worrying about paying that pesky 2.5% fee that’s common on many Canadian credit cards.
The Citi Premier earns a flexible points currency, called ThankYou Points, which can be transferred to no less than 14 airline partners and 2 hotel chains! You can also redeem your ThankYou Points for a statement credit, gift cards or even cash out your points. From the perspective of a Canadian, its best to transfer your points to an airline partner, because there are so many that we don’t have access to through our Canadian credit cards. Thanks to Citi ThankYou points, this opens up the possibility for us to diversify our points currencies, and to top up our points balance for an airline partner that is hard to earn points for in Canada, such as the Singapore Krisflyer program.
|SINGAPORE AIRLINES KRISFLYER
|QATAR AIRWAYS PRIVILEGE CLUB
|VIRGIN ATLANTIC FLYING CLUB
|AIR FRANCE KLM FLYING BLUE
|TURKISH AIRLINES MILES & SMILES
|THAI ROYAL ORCHID PLUS
|QANTAS FREQUENT FLYER
|TRUE BLUE JETBLUE
ThankYou Points airline transfer partners that transfer 1:1
Hotel credit benefit
The card also comes with an annual $100 credit if you book a hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through Cit’s ThankYou portal. If you plan to use this benefit, make sure to first compare the pricing of the portal against other hotel booking services to determine which one has the most competitive pricing.
How it stacks
|US AMEX GOLD
|# of Airline transfer partners
|# of hotel transfer partners
|Eats and drinks
|4X (US only capped to $25K)
|3X (select online groceries only)
|3X (Amex Travel)
1X (outside Amex Travel)
|5X (Chase Travel portal)
2X (outside portal)
|5X (Chase Travel portal)
2X (outside portal)
|3X (select streaming services)
|Other earn rate
|Earn 10% points back on account anniversary date on purchases made previous yr.
|$100/annual hotel credit booked via Citi portal for hotel stays of $500 or more
|$10/month uber (US only)
$10/month select dinning (US only)
|$50/account anniversary year hotel credit booked via Chase portal
|Foreign transaction fee
The American Express Gold takes the lead on the number of airline transfer partners, and it has the highest earning rates when it comes to dinning and groceries along with the largest credits. However, when you look closer into the details, the high groceries earn rate of 4x is limited to US supermarkets and is capped to $25K annually. The dinning credits on the Gold card apply only to a handful of restaurants in the US. The earn rate is a paltry 1x if booking flights outside of Amex Travel and hotels also only earn 1x points regardless of where they are booked. Finally, the Gold card comes with an annual fee that’s more than double the fees on the Citi Premier and CSP.
The CSP comes with an impressive 5x multiplier for travel, but only if booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards (UR) portal – otherwise the earn rate drops to 2x. While the CSP also earns 3x on groceries, it is limited to online groceries only and excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs like Costco. An interesting feature that CSP has its account anniversary bonus of 10% back in points based on purchases made on the card the previous year. While CSP has the least number of airline transfer partners, it is the only one of the three that transfers to the World of Hyatt hotel program, which many people value.
The Citi Premier has many multiplier categories, minus the limitations and inflexibilities found on the Amex Gold and CSP (need to book via Amex Travel or Chase UR portal to earn better multipliers for travel). There’s no cap on groceries, you don’t need to buy them online, and can purchase them in any grocery store around the world as long as Mastercard is accepted as a payment method to enjoy the 3x earn rate. It’s also the only one among the three that has a 3x earn rate for gas.
If you buy a lot of groceries, dine often or you’re a frequent traveler, then look no further. For a non-premium credit card, the Citi Premier is highly rewarding, with high acceptance that you can even use it at a Costco (not that you should!). This card won’t break the bank, with an annual fee of $95 – deserving a spot in your wallet.