The Best Citi Bonus Cards

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

Credit card power users take advantage of this little thing called the signup bonus, and you can too. If you're not taking all expenses paid, luxurious trips to the Bahamas or Paris with your credit card bonus points, you aren't living your best life. The key is to find out which quality credit cards are currently offering a mouth watering bonus when you spend a certain amount during the intro period.

There are a number of credit cards from all kinds of issuers that offer enticing signup bonuses. Citi, the issuer we are discussing today, offers tons of cards with many great benefits both long term and short term. Many of the cards in Citi's catalog of offerings forego the signup bonus in favor of greater long term incentives. This is certainly true of the popular Citi Double Cash card, which matches your rewards with bonus points as you pay your balance down.

That said, Citi has several credit cards with enticingly big signup bonuses worth exploring. We've looked at more than a dozen and narrowed it down to the top two, but first a bit about Citi:

Citi's Bonuses Are Strong

Citi offers among the best credit card signup bonuses in the industry. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve made news last year when it offered an unheard of bundle of points, that bonus has now been reduced—giving the Citi bonus cards an edge.

One of the few signup bonuses that beats out the Citi Premier and AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite is the American Express Personal Platinum offer, but the minimum spend may deter some consumers. The Citi bonus offers are more widely available than the American Express Personal Platinum, though you will still need good credit (660-800s) to qualify for them.

Citi Has High Fees and Requirements

While Citi cards offer among the best signup bonuses of any credit card company, Citi does favor big spenders. The company offers some luscious bonuses that dare consumers to spend up to $6,000 during the intro period to unlock top-tier rewards. That sounds like it's about $2,000 a month in spending when you consider that the average intro period is three months. However, Citi has recently retooled its signup bonuses and on some cards, like the AAdvatnage card discussed here, now offer tiers of bonus points to appeal to lower spenders and longer intro periods to collect on a bonus in a graduated way that makes it more accessible. Also of important note, the two cards we are looking at today both have annual fees that are less than $100.

A Bit of Citi History

Citi offers a wide variety of bonus credit cards issued by Citibank, a subsidiary of Citigroup. The bank has more than 700 branches in the United States, located primarily in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

If you have been to New York City, Brooklyn, or New Jersey in the last few years, you may have seen Citi Bike stations and Citi Bikes on many a street corner. The bikes proved to be a huge success when they were introduced in May 2013, selling out 5,000 advanced memberships in 30 hours! It's creative marketing programs like this that Citi believes will help make its bonus credit cards top of mind.

Citi bonus credit cards will work best when traveling near and far

While Citi branches are mainly located along the coasts in large cities like New York and Los Angeles, Citi bonus cards can be used anywhere in the United States as well as abroad. If you travel on American Airlines, you'll get extra perks like a free checked bag if you use an American Airlines-branded bonus credit card. An added plus—the top Citi Bonus cards (the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite and Citi Premier) do not charge foreign transaction fees.

The Best Citi Cards With Signup Bonuses

Signup bonuses are always changing. Citi is no different. In fact, between October 2018 and January 2019, Citi retooled some of its card offerings, breathing new life into bonus incentives and making other changes where needed. There are two cards that stand the test of time when it comes to Citi bonuses:

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite
  • Citi Premier

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

This Citi travel card has a reasonable annual fee and offers big rewards, including an above average boon of points when you spend only a couple thousand dollars in the first months after opening the card. What's more, is you can unlock a second smaller bonus if you continue spending on the card and accrue enough of a balance over a six month period. Citi is unique in offering a card that has a tiered bonus, allowing consumers to get even more value over a longer period of time for continued spending. In addition to the unique bonus structure and above average rewards, look for these pros of owning the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite:

Pros:

  • Free checked bag
  • Preferred boarding
  • Savings on eligible in flight purchases
  • Travel protection
  • Potential to unlock a one time American Airlines flight discount
  • Get the most miles from American Airlines purchases, dining and gas stations
  • Conveniently pay with Citi and Apple Pay

Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier Card offers a signup bonus that's also above average and comparable in points to the AAdvantage. However, with the Citi Premier card there is no tiered bonus, you unlock all the points when you spend the minimum within a few months of opening the card. The minimum spend isn't anything to scoff at but it's not above average either, making the Citi Premier a great card for anyone who wants to make a large purchase with a creditor who will allow them to recoup some of their spend. The card does have an annual fee, but it's reasonable for a consumer card. Here are some more great things about the Citi Premier card:

Pros:

  • Get ThankYou points on all purchases with the most on travel expenses, including gas
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Citi Price Rewind
  • No limit on the amount of ThankYou Points you can earn
  • Damage and theft protection

The Citi App Makes It Easy

Download the Citi mobile app on your iOS or Android device, so you can manage your credit on the go. The well rated app enables you to:

  • View statements
  • Monitor recent transactions
  • Pay your bill
  • Report fraudulent activity
  • Book your next vacation

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Has the Best Bonus

If you made it this far, you may have realized we are making eyes with the Citi AAdvantage card. What we love the most about this card is it's unique tiered bonus structure that makes it easier for consumers to access two top-tier bonuses within the first year of ownership—one larger, one smaller. We also love the price, with an annual fee that's under $100 we feel like the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite offers consumers the best value for their buck. However, if you don't plan to travel or don't fly American Airlines, that value might be diminished. For those people, the Citi Premier card (formerly Citi ThankYou Premier) is a great consumer card with a low cost of ownership, high signup bonus and fantastic rewards.

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