The Best Citi Credit Cards – Comparing The Benefits and Perks

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Citi is the world’s largest issuer of credit cards. While largest doesn’t always mean the best, Citi delivers appropriately with consumer and small business credit cards for every need.

Citi has a credit card solution to match a variety of spending agendas, whether you want a rewards-earning credit card or want to manage small business finances while earning miles for travel (and they also frequently have personalized and pre-approved offers).

With so many choices, this guide can help you select the perfect Citi credit card.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from the collection of Citi credit cards and determine the best cards for your objectives.

Best Citi Credit Cards for Travel

  • Citi Prestige® Card

  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

  • Expedia+ Card from Citi

Bottom Line: If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll get the most benefit from the Citi Prestige Card because even with $450 annual fee, you’ll gain enough benefit from the $250 airline credit and Priority Pass lounge access to offset that fee. Since the annual fee on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card is waived the first year and only $95 after that, it’s a good choice for earning valuable ThankYou Points if your spending habits align with the bonus earning categories. 

Redeem the ThankYou Points earned on your Citi Prestige Card through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center for a hotel room with a view. Image by Christine Krzyszton.

Best Citi Credit Cards for Earning Rewards

  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card

  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card for College Students

  • AT&T Access Card from Citi

Bottom Line: If you want a rewards-earning Citi card with no annual fee, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card will work nicely. You won’t be able to redeem for travel benefits but you can receive a decent value of 1 cent per point when redeeming for gift cards. 

American Airlines
Citi issues several American Airlines AAdvantage Credit Cards

Best Citi Airline Credit Cards

  • Citi / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard®

  • Citi / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Bottom Line: If you fly frequently with American Airlines and want extensive travel perks, lounge access, and priority treatment, you can’t go wrong with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard®. A new annual household membership to the American Airlines Admiral’s Club lounge costs between $675 and $925 (depending on your American Airlines AAdvantage program status), so the membership alone is worth the $450 annual fee.

Citi issues several American Airlines credit cards, but there are additional American Airlines credit cards available. We compare the benefits and perks of all the best American Airlines credit cards in our comprehensive guide as well as the best ways to redeem American Airlines miles for maximum value.

Best Citi Credit Cards for Cash Back

  • Citi Double Cash Card

  • Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card

Best Citi Credit Cards for Cash BackBenefitsDrawbacks
Citi® Double Cash Card (Learn More)All purchases earn 1% cash back when the purchase is made, 1% when paid, no annual feeNo sign-up bonus
Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card 4% cash back gas stations worldwide including Costco gas stations, 3% cash back on travel and restaurants, 2% cash back at Costco, 1% cash back all other purchases, no annual fee, Visa® travel/purchase protection benefitsCash back rewards are paid annually, card is exclusively for Costco members

Bottom Line: Cash back is the most flexible type of reward you can earn, and the Citi Double Cash Card makes it easy with 2% cash back on every purchase you make. That’s about as simple as it gets and explains why the card is so popular. 

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card can be valuable to Costco members because it earns bonus cash back on a wide variety of merchants including gas stations, travel, restaurants, and at Costco. If you look at the earnings for gas stations alone, the 4% cash back equates to a 12 cent discount on each $3.00 gallon of gas.

Cash back credit cards earn the most flexible rewards currency, and that’s a great reason to have one in your wallet for everyday purchases. You’ll want to select a cash back card that matches up with your spending habits, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of cash back cards complete with their perks/benefits to consider.

Best Citi Credit Cards for Business

  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card

Best Citi Business Credit CardsBenefitsDrawbacks
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®2 miles earned/dollar spent on American Airlines, 1 mile/dollar all other purchases, free checked bag and preferred boarding on domestic American Airlines flights and for 8 companions, 25% off in-flight food/beverage, access to discounted award tickets, companion ticket after $30,000 in annual spending, Annual fee waived the first year, World Mastercard travel/purchase protection benefits$95 annual fee, high spend needed to earn companion ticket, must be a frequent traveler with American Airlines to benefit from the card
Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card4% cash back at gas stations worldwide including Costco gas stations, 3% cash back on travel and restaurants, 2% cash back at Costco, 1% cash back all other purchases, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, Visa® travel and purchase protection benefitsCash back rewards are paid annually, card is exclusively for Costco members

Bottom Line: If you’re a frequent business traveler with American Airlines, you’ll appreciate the travel perks available for you and your travel companions with the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. If your business shops at Costco, you’ll find a lot of value in having the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card with cash back earnings up to 4%, and it comes with no annual fee as long as you have a membership at Costco. 

Make timely payments and pay off any balances before the 0% APR period expires to avoid interest charges and fees.

 Best Citi Introductory 0% APR Credit Cards

  • Citi Simplicity® Card

  • ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card

  • Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Bottom Line: If you’re looking to transfer balances from high-interest credit cards and pay the debt off over time with 0% interest, any of these cards can help you facilitate that process. These cards also have promotional 0% APR periods for purchases, but only the Citi Thank You Preferred Card allows you to earn rewards on that purchase. 

Most credit cards charge transfer fees when making a balance transfer, so you’ll want to consider these charges before you make the transfer. It’s important to pay off transferred balances before the introductory period expires to avoid interest. You should also pay off purchases before the promotional rate expires to avoid interest charges and fees.

For more information on 0% APR credit cards, our comprehensive guide to the 10 best 0% APR credit cards has everything you need to know.

We also have a guide for The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards with 0% Intro APR. 

Best Citi Card for Building Credit

  • Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Best Citi Card for Building CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Citi® Secured Mastercard®Card activity is reported to the 3 major credit bureaus to help you build credit, no annual feeSecurity deposit required

Bottom Line: If you have little or no credit, a secured credit card can help you build a credit history. The Citi Secured Mastercard accomplishes this by reporting your payment activity on the card to all three credit bureaus, allowing you to see your credit score improve over time if you make your payments on time. 

Everything Else You Need to Know about Citi Credit Cards

Citi offers extensive rewards and benefits to cardholders, which can make it more valuable to become a cardholder. This summary provides an abbreviated look at what Citi has to offer. Review the complete benefit summaries and pricing information for each card individually before submitting an application.

ThankYou® Points

ThankYou® Points are a valuable rewards currency, but not all ThankYou® Points have equal value. Only ThankYou® Points earned on certain premium credit cards such as the Citi Prestige Card and the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be redeemed for travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. These ThankYou® Points are also the only ones that can be transferred to airline partners.

For everything you need to know to maximize Citi ThankYou® Points redemption, access our guide to the best ways to redeem ThankYou® Points for maximum value. 

ThankYou® Points earned on Citi cards without an annual fee can only be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise, statement credits/cash back, and used for charitable donations.

For some great ideas on how to earn ThankYou® Points and keep your points active, our expert has put together the best ways to earn lots of ThankYou® Points.

Citi Travel Protections and Benefits

  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption Protection
  • Trip delay protection
  • Baggage delay protection
  • Lost baggage protection
  • Roadside assistance dispatch service
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance

Citi Shopping Protections and Benefits

  • Damage and theft purchase protection
  • Citi® Price Rewind
  • Extended warranty
  • Return protection

Protections and benefits vary by Citi credit card, but you can generally expect Citi credit cards to offer these. Access the Citi Benefit Guide for a complete guide to Citi credit card protections and benefits. Mastercard® and Visa® protections and benefits will vary by Citi credit card.

How to Access any Citi Cardholder Agreement

You can access any Citi credit card cardholder agreement here. Select the family of credit cards you wish to access, such as AAdvantage, Costco, Rewards, etc. Or you can access the entire list by selecting “all.” Choose the specific credit card, and a PDF of that agreement will open.

You can access the cardholder agreement for any Citi credit card on the Citi website.

Final Thoughts

Citibank was founded in the early 1800s and started issuing credit cards in the 1960s, so the bank is a well-established institution.

They’ve created a fine collection of credit cards with products for every financial situation, so whether you’re just starting out, a frequent traveler, or a big spender, you’re sure to find the right Citi card to fit your financial objective.

FAQ

Can I have more than one Citi credit card?

Yes, you can have more than one Citi credit card. Citi will determine how many based on several factors including income, credit limit, and credit history.

What counts as travel purchases for earning ThankYou Points?

Citi defines travel purchases as those made directly with “airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, gas stations, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, timeshares, bus lines, motorhome/recreational vehicle rentals and boat leases and rentals.”

Which Citi card is the easiest to get approved for if I'm new to credit cards?

The Citi Secured Mastercard® is appropriate for bad or limited credit, but requires a deposit. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for Students does not require a strong credit history.

How much are the fees and interest on Citi credit cards?

Credit card issuers are required to disclose all fees and interest. Pricing information tables contain this information for each card. You can access all of the Citi pricing information tables here.

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