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Citi Strata Premier Card Benefits for Active-Duty U.S. Military Members [2024]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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If you’re an active-duty military member and have a Citi-issued credit card, you’ll find our article on taking advantage of Citi military benefits of high interest.

Citi military benefits are based on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) passed in 2003 and the Military Lending Act (MLA) of 2006, which govern financial transactions involving military members. The benefits of these acts have far-reaching effects that can result in significant savings for military members.

In this article, we focus on how Citi applies the laws to one of its most popular credit cards, the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card.

For those active-duty military members who hold the card or non-active-duty service members considering the card, you’ll find the information in our article helpful for learning about the overall benefits and how you can receive Citi military benefits.

How Do the SCRA and MLA Work?

Serving in our nation’s military can have its challenges. Along with the commitment and sacrifices made, there is the potential for financial challenges.

The SCRA and MLA were passed to help alleviate some of those financial challenges. While initially the laws applied to financial transactions such as auto loans, mortgages, installment loans, and banking, credit cards were added in 2017. That’s when credit card issuers, including Citi, enacted financial policies to adhere to the laws.

The SCRA applies to credit cards acquired before active duty, and the MLA applies to credit cards acquired during active duty.

  • Interest rates on credit cards acquired before active duty are capped at 6% (SCRA).
  • Credit card interest rates acquired during active duty are capped at a special Military Annual Percentage Rate of 36% (MAPR), including all associated credit card fees (MLA).

How Citi Applies Military Benefits for Active-Duty Servicemembers

While Citi does not waive credit card fees for cards acquired during active duty, Citi will waive fees, including interest charges, for active-duty military members whose credit cards were acquired before active duty (and after September 2017).

Now let’s look at all the key benefits you’ll find on the Citi Strata Premier card, including Citi military benefits.

Citi Strata Premier Card Benefits for Active-Duty Military Members

Annual Fee Waiver

For active-duty military members, Citi will waive the annual fee of  $95.

Earning and Redemption Options

Welcome Offer

Once approved for the Citi Strata Premier card, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus of Citi ThankYou Points. You’ll need to meet minimum spending requirements within the period immediately after card approval.

If you’re active-duty military, remember that Citi military benefits, including the annual fee waiver, will not apply to cards acquired during active duty. You will, however, be eligible for the welcome offer.

Welcome offers vary, but you can expect to receive ThankYou Points worth hundreds of dollars.

Here’s a snapshot of the card’s most recent welcome offer:

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
70,000 points
$1,120
$95
21.24%- 29.24% Variable APR

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is a great all-around travel rewards card that allows you to earn big rewards on a variety of purchases like air travel, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and more, along with flexible redemption options, all for a modest annual fee.

Pros
  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel, other hotel purchases, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • $100 annual hotel benefit
Cons
    • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24%- 29.24% Variable APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Spending on the Card

You’ll find the Citi Strata Premier card an excellent everyday spending card with bonus earnings on purchases you might make regularly.

Here’s how you’ll earn flexible ThankYou Points on the card.

  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points per dollar spent at gas stations, EV charging stations, flights, hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores
  • 1x points on all other purchases

As you can see, everyday spending earns well on the Citi Strata Premier card. If those are the categories where most of your dollars are spent, ThankYou Points will accumulate quickly.

For example, $2,000 spent monthly in bonus categories would generate 72,000 ThankYou Points in a calendar year.

Let’s look at some options for redeeming the rewards you earned during the welcome bonus and spending on the card.

Redemption Options

Hotel Brosundet Alesund
Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Choice Privileges at a ratio of 1:2, redeemable at Hotel Brosundet Alesund. Image Credit: Hotel Brosundet

Because the Citi Strata Premier card earns flexible ThankYou Points, you’ll have several desirable options at redemption time.

Transfer to Airline or Hotel Partners

Transferring ThankYou Points to Citi’s airline and hotel partners can result in great value. There are more than a dozen airline partners and a few hotel partners from which to select.

For example, you can transfer ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines’s KrisFlyer program (at a 1:1 points-to-mile ratio) and fly business class domestic transcontinental on United for just 26,000 miles or to Hawaii for just 39,000 miles.

Another sweet redemption is to transfer ThankYou Points to the Choice Privileges hotel program and redeem them for free hotel nights. For example, the Hotel Brosundet in Alesund, Norway, pictured above, costs just 16,000 Choice Privileges points per night, or 8,000 ThankYou Points when transferred at a ratio of 1: 2.

Additional Redemption Options

You can redeem Citi ThankYou Points for 1 cent each in value via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal for flights, rental cars, cruises, experiences, and more. However, the value you receive may not be as good as utilizing airline and hotel transfer partners.

You can also redeem ThankYou Points for gift cards, shop at select merchants, transfer points to Sears Shop Your Way, or make a charitable donation. Remember that some of these options can result in a value of less than 1 cent each for your points.

We value ThankYou Points at about 1.6 cents each when optimally redeemed for travel, so don’t settle for less than 1 cent each if you need other redemption options.

Bottom Line:

ThankYou Points earned on the Citi Strata Premier card offer flexible redemption options, including purchasing travel, transferring points to airline and hotel partners, gift cards, shopping, transferring to Sears Shop Your Way, or making a charitable donation.

Citi’s 0% APR Military Benefit

If you acquired your Citi Strata Premier card before active duty, you can take advantage of the 0% APR period that stays valid during your active duty service.

You will not be charged interest or fees on your credit card account during active duty.

Travel Benefits

Citi travel benefits can provide savings and desirable amenities during your travels.

Here are the travel benefits you’ll find on the Citi Strata Premier card.

Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

Book your hotel stay of $500 or more via the ThankYou.com site and receive a statement credit of $100 each calendar year.

Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts Benefits

Book your hotel stay with Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services and receive complimentary daily breakfast for 2, early check-in and late checkout, an upgraded room when available, and an on-site amenity worth at least $100. In addition to finding deals on flights, cruises, and experiences through the website, you can gain preferred access to sporting and entertainment events.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

As an active-duty servicemember, foreign transaction fees are automatically waived. However, the Citi Strata Premier card may be a card you keep beyond your active-duty service, so it’s good to know that it never charges foreign transaction fees.

Foreign transaction fees usually are around 3%. If you spent $1,000, you would save $30 in fees.

Shopping Protections and Benefits

If something goes wrong with an eligible item you purchased with your card, shopping protections can provide protection. Shopping benefits can help you save money.

Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty

Pay for an eligible item with your Citi Strata Premier card and receive coverage of up to 90 days from the purchase or delivery date for damage or theft. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per incident, up to $50,000 per calendar year.

For eligible items with manufacturer’s warranties of 5 years or less, the warranty can be extended for up to 24 months. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per item.

Citi Merchant Offers

It’s easy to earn cash-back statement credits by making purchases with select retailers and service providers that post offers in your Citi card account. Log in to your online card account and select Citi Merchant Offers to find offers you can use.

Qualification and Applying for Citi Military Benefits

Now that we’ve reviewed the potential benefits of the Citi Strata Premier card for military members, let’s review the qualifications for Citi military benefits, how to apply for the card, and how to request benefits once you’re approved.

Who Qualifies for Citi Military Benefits?

MLA Website
You can access a wealth of information via the MLA website. Image Credit: USA.gov

Citi has the following general definitions of who qualifies for military benefits.

  • Full-time active-duty military members of the 5 military branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, National Guard)
  • Reservists on federal active duty
  • National Guard members called to active duty by the president, the secretary of defense, or state orders for a period of 30 or more consecutive days
  • Servicemembers absent from active duty due to covered illness (SCRA)
  • Commissioned officers of NOAA or the Public Health Service
  • U.S. citizens who are members of an allied nation’s military service
  • Spouses or dependents of the servicemembers listed above

Once you’ve determined you’re qualified for Citi military benefits, you’ll want to visit the MLA website to check your active-duty status to ensure it is reflected accurately. This is the same database financial institutions use to validate your status.

After verifying your status, skip the next section on applying for the Citi Strata Premier card and continue to request benefits for your current card.

How To Apply for the Citi Strata Premier Card as a Military Member

As a reminder, while you can apply for the Citi Strata Premier card while on active duty, the card will not qualify for Citi military benefits. Only cards acquired before active duty qualify.

Here are some tips for applying for a Citi Strata Premier card while not on active duty:

  • Know Your Credit Score: You will need a good to excellent credit score, generally considered 670 or better, to be approved for the Citi Strata Premier card. We recommend a score of 700 or above to increase your approval chances.
  • Review Citi’s Card Application Rules: Citi limits how many cards you can apply for within a certain period of time. And, although there is no limit to how many total cards you can have, a maximum amount of credit will be extended to you. Be sure to review the rules before applying.

How To Request Citi Military Benefits if You’re Active Duty and Have a Citi Strata Premier Card

Citi Military Benefits Page
Calling Citi is the best way to start applying for military benefits. Image Credit: Citi

You can request Citi military benefits if you acquired a Citi Strata Premier card (or any Citi credit card) before active duty and after September 2017. The easiest way to request benefits is to contact its Military Response Unit at 877-804-1082 and speak with a customer service representative.

Here are your additional choices for requesting benefits:

  • Fax a cover page with your name, Social Security number, branch of service, active duty date, and supporting documentation to 866-533-0503
  • Mail the same information with supporting documents to Citi Military Response Correspondence Unit, Attention: SCRA Request, P.O Box 790398, St. Louis, MO, 63179

Once Citi approves your request, it can take 2 to 3 statement periods for benefits to be applied.

According to several confirmed data points published by Military Money Manual, a military-focused financial blog, you must have a balance on your card during the card statement period in which your annual fee hits to trigger the Citi fee waiver. According to MMM, this causes the 36% MLA interest rate requirement to kick in and waive the fee.

For questions and more information, you can visit the Citi SCRA website.

Remember, Citi only applies military benefits to those cards acquired before active duty. However, if you anticipate active duty in the future, you may be interested in some of the best Citi credit cards currently available.

Here are a few we recommend:

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!

Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
$200 cash back
$0
0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Fair to Excellent (580-850)

The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!

This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.

Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.

Pros
  • Uncapped 2% for every $1 spent (1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay)
  • Flexible redemption options
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • No bonus categories
  • 3% foreign transaction fees
  • Bonus Offer: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% – 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • Citi Double Cash® Card Travel Portal Limited Time Offer: Earn a total of 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rental, and attractions, excluding air travel, when booked through the Citi TravelSM portal on ThankYou.com or by calling 1-800-Thankyou and saying “Travel.” Offer is valid through 11:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) 12/31/2024.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 19.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each purchase
Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Why We Like the Card for Active-Duty Military Members

  • Waiver of card fees, including balance transfer fees, during the introductory 0% APR period and active duty. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% to 29.24%. Terms apply.
  • Waiver of foreign transaction fees for active-duty military
  • Up to 2% cash-back on every purchase (1% when purchasing and 1% when paying your statement on time, earned as ThankYou Points)
  • $0 annual fee, making the card a keeper beyond active duty service

Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.

Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.
Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
70,000 miles
$980
$595
21.24% - 29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a go-to card thanks to its exclusive perks and benefits for people who love to fly American Airlines. With a complimentary Admirals Club membership, free checked bags, inflight discounts, and the ability to earn Loyalty Points for every $1 you spend, there is plenty to love about the card.

Pros
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels
Cons
  • $595 annual fee
  • Doesn’t earn many miles on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 
Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

Why We Like the Card for Active-Duty Military Members

  • Waived annual fee of $595
  • Generous welcome offer
  • Complimentary access for the cardholder and immediate family, or 2 guests, to American Airlines Admirals Clubs
  • American Airlines benefits such as priority boarding, check-in, and airport screening, a free checked bag for the cardholder and travel companions, and bonus earnings on American Airlines purchases

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

None
$0
20.49% Variable

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a great Citi’s cash-back rewards card designed specifically for Costco Members.

  • Discover one of Citi’s best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Why We Like the Card for Active-Duty Military Members

  • 4% cash back at gas stations and EV charging stations, up to $7,000 each year in purchases
  • 3% cash-back on dining and travel and 2% cash-back at Costco
  • $0 annual fee for Costco members
  • No foreign transaction fees
Hot Tip:

Active-duty military members and veterans who want to join Costco can receive a free digital gift card when purchasing a Costco membership.

Final Thoughts

Unlike Chase credit card benefits for active-duty military members and American Express’ military credit card benefits, Citi limits military benefits to those credit cards acquired before active duty and after September 2017, when the SCRA and MLA acts were amended to include credit cards.

If you are on active duty and have a Citi credit card, you should, by all means, apply for military benefits.

If you are a military member on active duty looking for a travel rewards credit card, you may want to consider Chase and American Express options. Unlike Citi, Chase and American Express do not charge credit card fees for cards acquired during active duty.

With premium travel benefits and annual fees that will be waived by the card issuer for active-duty servicemembers, you’ll want to check out our best cards recommended for active-duty military members.

The information regarding the Citi Double Cash® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 
The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the Citi Strata Premier card a good card for active-duty military?

The Citi Strata Premier card earns flexible rewards on everyday spending, which can be a good fit for active-duty military members and their families. The card must be acquired before active-duty service to qualify for Citi military benefits and waiver of the annual fee.

Does Citi waive the annual fee for active-duty military for the Citi Strata Premier card?

Citi will waive credit card fees, including the annual fee on the Citi Strata Premier card, if the card was acquired prior to active-duty service.

How do ThankYou Points work?

You will earn ThankYou Points when spending on the Citi Strata Premier card. Once your monthly card statement closes, points are deposited into your ThankYou Points account and become available for redemption. As long as you keep your card account open, your points do not expire. ThankYou Points transferred to others’ accounts may expire in 90 days.

Does the Citi Strata Premier card have car rental insurance?

Yes. It has MasterRental coverage (secondary car rental insurance).

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About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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