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The best Citi credit cards of May 2021

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The best Citi credit cards in 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.

Citi also boasts a credit card with one of the longest intro APR offers available today, making Citi a popular card issuer for debt consolidation and balance transfers

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 available now. Here are our picks for 2021.

Regular APR

15.99% – 23.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Strong welcome bonus
    • Generous bonus categories
    Cons
    • 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 60,000 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
    • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 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 based on the fact 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 lets you earn a very sizable initial bonus of 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three 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 common pandemic expenses, as well as for travel down the road.

    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. 

    Best Citi credit card for travel: Citi Prestige® Credit Card

    Annual Fee

    $495 for the primary cardmember

    Regular APR

    16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • 4th Night Free hotel benefit can save you lots of money if you maximize it
    • Annual travel credit of up to $250 that applies to eligible purchases automatically
    • Lots of bonus categories for earning points
    • Cell phone protection
    Cons
    • High annual fee
    • Citi points aren’t the most convenient option for many travelers
    • $250 travel credit (applies to most travel purchases)
    • Priority Pass membership
    • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck every 5 years
    • 4th night free on any hotel stay (twice per year starting Sept. 1)

    The Citi Prestige® Credit Card offers a ton of important travel perks including a complimentary fourth-night free hotel stay you can redeem up to twice per year, airport lounge access with a Priority Pass Select membership, up to $250 in annual travel credits, and up to a $100 statement credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This card comes with all the redemption options the Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers as well, including transferring your points to Citi’s to airline partners.

    In terms of earning rewards, you can rack up 5x points on air travel and dining, 3x points on hotels and cruise lines, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. A $495 annual fee applies, but you can more than make up for this fee if you earn the big initial sign-up bonus and take advantage of all the ongoing travel benefits. 

    Regular APR

    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

    2% cash back on all purchases

    Intro APR

    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.

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Simple earning structure without confusing bonus categories
    Cons
    • 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.


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    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.

    This card also has a generous introductory 0% APR offer, which lets you pay 0% interest on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%. 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 Citi card with an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card

    Regular APR

    14.74% – 24.74% Variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Very long intro APR period for balance transfers
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • 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 14.74% – 24.74%, 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 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

    The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Credit Card offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (then a 14.74% – 24.74% Variable APR) — one of the longest of any card on the market right now (balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening).

    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 Citi card for airline miles: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

    Annual Fee

    $99, waived for first 12 months

    Regular APR

    15.99% – 24.99% variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Bonus categories help you earn miles on everyday purchases
    • Fee checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights
    Cons
    • $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.


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    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. 

    Regular APR

    15.24% (Variable)

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Generous cash-back categories, especially for gas purchases
    • No foreign transaction fee
    Cons
    • 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.


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    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    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 spending 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.

    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 and the Citi Prestige® Credit 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.  

    Holly Johnson is a credit card expert, award-winning writer, and mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting, and travel.

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