Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
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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 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.
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.
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 Premier card, including Citi military benefits.
For active-duty military members, Citi will waive the annual fee of $95.
Once approved for the Citi 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:
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
You’ll find the Citi 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.
As you can see, everyday spending earns well on the Citi 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.
Because the Citi Premier card earns flexible ThankYou Points, you’ll have several desirable options at redemption time.
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.
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 ~ 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.
If you acquired your Citi 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.
Citi travel benefits can provide savings and desirable amenities during your travels.
Here are the travel benefits you’ll find on the Citi Premier card.
Book your hotel stay of $500 or more via the ThankYou.com site and receive a statement credit of $100 each calendar year.
Book your hotel stay with Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services and receive complimentary daily breakfast for 2, early check-in/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.
As an active-duty servicemember, foreign transaction fees are automatically waived. However, the Citi 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 ~3%. If you spent $1,000, you would save $30 in fees.
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.
Pay for an eligible item with your Citi 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.
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.
Now that we’ve reviewed the potential benefits of the Citi 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.
Citi has the following general definitions of who qualifies for military benefits.
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 Premier card and continue to request benefits for your current card.
As a reminder, while you can apply for the Citi 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 Premier card while not on active duty:
You can request Citi military benefits if you acquired a Citi 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:
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:
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
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.
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.
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.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a great Citi’s cash-back rewards card designed specifically for Costco Members.
Active-duty military members and veterans who want to join Costco can receive a free digital gift card when purchasing a Costco membership.
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 Citi 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.
Citi will waive credit card fees, including the annual fee on the Citi Premier card, if the card was acquired prior to active-duty service.
You will earn ThankYou Points when spending on the Citi 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.
No. Citi removed car rental insurance and other travel insurance benefits from the card in 2019.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.