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The best Citi credit cards of September 2021:
The best credit card for you might not be a good fit for others, and some consumers are better off pursuing offers with a specific credit card issuer. Citi tends to work well for certain types of spenders, including people who want to earn a high rate of cash back and those who like the redemption options in the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.
If you’re looking for a new credit card and you’re a Citi customer already or want to become one, you should know about the top credit cards Citi offers. Here are our picks for 2021.
Best overall: Citi Premier® Card
15.99% – 23.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Strong sign-up bonus
- Generous bonus categories
- Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
- Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers
- Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
- 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
The Citi Premier® Card is our top Citi credit card for 2021 because the rewards you earn are so versatile, yet you don’t have to pay a pricey annual fee. With an annual cost of just $95 per year, this card is offering a record-high bonus of 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
You also earn 3x points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels — which makes the card worth considering for everyday expenses, as well as for travel down the road.
Read more: Citi Premier credit card review
The Citi Premier® Card doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees, and you can use your rewards for gift cards, statement credits, travel through the Citi portal, transfers to Citi’s airline partners, and even toward student loans and mortgages. You can also shop with points on Amazon.com or BestBuy.com. Most redemption options are for 1 cent per point, but you may get more value when you transfer your rewards to airline partners.
For a limited time, Citi has added American Airlines as a transfer partner — which makes earning Citi ThankYou points even more lucrative. When you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to applications), the transfer ratio is 1:1, but this option is only available until November 13, 2021.
Best for cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card
13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
2% cash back on all purchases
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- No annual fee
- Simple earning structure without confusing bonus categories
- Some cards earn higher rates of cash back on rotating categories
- No sign-up bonus
- If you don’t have any account activity for 12 months, unredeemed rewards can expire
- While it offers a 0% introductory APR for 18 months, that’s only on balance transfers, not purchases, so you can’t use it to fund a major expense without interest. After those 18 months, it’s a 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) APR.
- 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 Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
- 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 a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
The Citi® Double Cash Card allows cardholders to earn 2% cash back on everything they spend — 1% when they make a purchase and another 1% when they pay it off. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and you can choose from redemption options like a check in the mail or a statement credit on your credit card account.
Read more: Citi Double Cash card review
You can also convert the cash back you earn from the Citi® Double Cash Card into Citi ThankYou points and unlock most of the redemption options available on other Citi ThankYou cards. To transfer to Citi’s full list of airline partners, you’ll also need a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to applications).
This card also has a generous introductory 0% APR offer, which lets you pay 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by an APR of 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable). That makes the Citi® Double Cash Card a good option for debt consolidation, although you only earn rewards on purchases, and not on balances you transfer from other credit cards.
Best if your spending changes month to month: Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
13.99% – 23.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
$200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
0% intro APR for 15 months
- Flexibility to customize rewards by earning 5x points on up to $500 per billing cycle in your top spending category (from a list)
- Generous welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card
- No rotating bonus categories to sign up for or track
- Earn valuable Citi ThankYou points which you can redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more
- Only earns 1% back outside of $500 in top spending category each billing cycle
- Foreign transaction fee of 3%
- Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
- No Annual Fee
- Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.
The new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a great choice if your spending habits tend to change from month to month. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $500 in purchases in the eligible category they spend the most in each billing cycle (then 1%), and 1% on all other purchases.
The qualifying categories include everyday expenses that should appeal to most folks: restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
Read more: Citi Custom Cash card review
Although it’s marketed as a cash-back card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card actually earns rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which are worth 1 cent apiece for cash back, travel booked through Citi, gift cards, merchandise, and more. And again, if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants), you can pool your rewards and transfer points to airline partners.
Best with an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
13.74% – 23.74% Variable
Good to Excellent
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months from account opening
- Very long intro APR period for balance transfers
- No annual fee
- Charges a balance transfer fee
- No rewards (but that’s not the point of this card)
- 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
- With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
- Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (then a 13.74% – 23.74% Variable) — one of the longest of any card on the market right now (balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening).
Read more: Citi Diamond Preferred credit card review
There’s no annual fee, but you’ll pay a 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $5). While the card doesn’t earn rewards, it offers an excellent opportunity to pay off debt without any interest. During this time, every cent you pay on your bill will go directly toward the principal of your balance, which will expedite the process of paying down your debt.
Best for airline miles: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
$99, waived for first 12 months
15.99% – 24.99% variable
Good to Excellent
50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Bonus categories help you earn miles on everyday purchases
- Fee checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
- $125 American Airlines flight discount is nice, but you need to spend $20,000 in a cardmember year to earn it
- The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a winner for frequent flyers who like to fly with American Airlines and partners like British Airways, Finnair, and Cathay Pacific. Not only can you earn an initial bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, but you’ll earn 2x miles on eligible American purchases, restaurant, and gas station spending, and 1 mile per dollar for all other purchases you make.
Cardholder benefits include preferred boarding, 25% off inflight food and beverage purchases when you pay with your credit card, and a free checked bag for you and up to four companions on domestic itineraries when you fly American. This card comes with an annual fee of $99, waived for first 12 months.
Best co-branded card: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
- Generous cash-back categories, especially for gas purchases
- No foreign transaction fee
- You can only receive rewards once per year
- You need to visit a Costco location to redeem rewards for cash back instead of merchandise
- Discover one of Citi’s best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
- 4% cash back on eligible gas 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
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.24%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi could be a great choice if you’re a Costco member and you like earning cash back good for more Costco purchases. This card earns 4% back on eligible gas purchases on up to $7,000 in spe nding each year (then 1%), but you’ll also earn 3% back on dining and eligible travel. In addition to 1% back on regular purchases, you’ll also earn 2% back when you shop in the store at Costco or make purchases on Costco.com.
Read more: Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card review
This card lets you cash in your rewards after your February statement credit each year, and there’s no annual fee with a paid Costco membership. You also won’t pay any foreign transaction fees, and this card comes with extended warranties on eligible purchases that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Don’t forget about Citi’s sign-up bonus rules
Before you apply for a Citi credit card, it can help to understand the bank’s application rules. Depending on the card, you might not be eligible if you’ve earned a sign-up bonus, or closed a particular card or one within the same “rewards family” within the past 24 to 48 months.
The 24-month timeframe applies to Citi ThankYou Rewards cards like the Citi Premier® Card, whereas the 48-month language applies to American Airlines credit cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.
With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure you know when you last closed a Citi credit card before you apply. If you sign up too early, you won’t receive the bonus on these cards — even if you’re approved and you meet the minimum spending requirement.
Other Citi credit cards
Citi has some other great credit cards that missed the cut for our list, but depending on your needs and spending habits, they could be a great fit for you.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® : This is the premium American Airlines credit card, with a $450 annual fee and membership to the airline’s Admirals Club airport lounge program. If you fly American all the time, this could be worth it — especially because purchasing an Admirals Club membership can cost $550 or more, so it’s cheaper to get the card.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card : On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the AAdvantage MileUp card with no annual fee. If you want to earn American Airlines miles but you don’t fly frequently enough to warrant an annual fee, this is a good option.
- Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi : If you’re a small-business owner, the business version of Citi’s Costco card is worth considering.
Good to Excellent
Featured Reward 3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months
Credit Needed Good to Excellent
Featured Reward $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Credit Needed Good to Excellent
Holly Johnson is a credit card expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel. In addition to serving as contributing editor for The Simple Dollar and writing for publications such as Bankrate, U.S. News and World Report Travel, and Travel Pulse, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love.”
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.