Best Citi Credit Cards of 2019
Citibank offers both simple cash back cards as well as specialized cards for families or travelers. Because there are so many choices, it’s important to compare features and evaluate your spending to select the best Citi credit card.
Citibank is one of the country’s oldest banks, but today it’s especially well-known for the versatile array of credit cards it offers.
From simple cashback cards—such as the Citi Rewards+ card—to specialized cards for families—such as the Costco Anywhere Visa Card—to cards for travelers—such as the CitiBusiness or AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard— almost everyone can find a card that’s right for them.
Whether you’re an existing Citi customer or want to find out if Citi cards are right for you, these are the best Citibank credit cards you’ll want to consider.
- Best for Cash Back Rewards: Citi Double Cash Card
- Best for 0% APR Balance Transfers: Citi Simplicity Card
- Best for Costco Members: Costco Anywhere Visa Credit Card
- Best for Flexible Travel Rewards: Citi Premier Card
- Best for Frequent American Airlines Flyers: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Best for Casual American Airlines Flyers: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Best for Businesses That Travel: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
- Best for Businesses With Costco Memberships: Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card
- Best for Students: Citi Rewards+ Student Card
- Best for Rebuilding Credit: Citi Secured Mastercard
Best for Cash Back Rewards: Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash Card
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 15.74% – 25.74% variable APR
- Benefits: Earn cash back twice with 1% back on purchases and 1% back when you pay for those purchases
- Sign-Up Bonus: 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months
True to its name, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cash back on all your purchases when you charge goods or services and then another 1% when you pay those purchases back. It doesn’t get any more straightforward than that, and 2% cash back is a great rewards rate for a no annual fee credit card. The card is meant for those with good to excellent credit.
Although the Citi Double Cash Card has no sign-up cash bonus, it does offer a generous 0% introductory rate on balance transfers for 18 months. In order to qualify, you have to transfer the funds to your card in the first four months of owning the card. But you will have to pay a 3% balance transfer fee.
Unfortunately, there’s no 0% introductory interest rate on regular purchases with the Citi Double Cash back card. The interest rate on the card starts between 15.74% and 25.74% and the interest rate on cash advances is 27.49%.
If you make a late payment or your payment is returned, get ready to pay a 29.99% penalty APR. The penalty rate could apply indefinitely after you make a late payment, so be careful to make all your payments on time if you get this card.
The card also charges a 5% fee for cash advances and 3% for balance transfers and foreign transactions.
Best for 0% APR Balance Transfers: Citi Simplicity Card
Citi Simplicity Card
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 16.99% – 26.99% variable APR
- Rewards: N/A
- Sign-Up Bonus: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months and purchases for 12 months
The Citi Simplicity Card is meant for those with good credit, and it was created to offer the most affordable credit card fees and APR possible. It has no late fees, no annual fee, and Citibank’s longest 0% introductory APR.
The card offers a 0% intro APR for purchases for the first 12 months after you open the account, and a long 0% APR on balance transfers for 21-months from the date of the first transfer. If you use the card to buy something or transfer a balance from another account, you won’t pay interest during that entire period. That’s a more generous balance transfer rate than most 0% APR cards. However, take note: this rate only applies to balance transfers if you transfer the balance within four months of account opening. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with the regular variable APR.
The Citi Simplicity card has little to offer besides the 0% introductory rate. There’s no other sign-up bonus, no rewards program, and you have to pay a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater. There’s also a 5% fee for cash advances or a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use your card outside of the United States.
Best for Costco Members: Costco Anywhere Visa Credit Card
Costco Anywhere Visa Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 17.49% variable APR
- Benefits: 4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide for first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases, 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com, 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Sign-Up Bonus: None
The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa credit card is an excellent card for Costco members with good to excellent credit. The card offers 4% cash back on the first $7,000 you spend at eligible gas stations worldwide, including at Costco. It also gives 3% cash back for restaurant and eligible travel expenses worldwide, 2% back on purchases from Costco and Costco.com, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is a competitive rewards card, and the limit on the bonus 4% back on gas is higher than most competitors.
Another big benefit is that Costco members pay no annual fee for the card aside from their Costco membership fee itself, and there are no foreign transaction fees, either. The card also provides great perks such as a damage and theft purchase protection plan that can cover repairs or refund your money if your purchases are damaged or stolen within 120 days of your purchase.
There’s also an extended warranty available for purchases and worldwide car rental insurance to cover you in case you rent a car and incur damages or theft. Jetsetters will also appreciate the worldwide travel accident insurance as well as emergency assistance services while they’re abroad.
Cash back must be given as an annual reward certificate on your account, which means you have to wait a long time to get your cash back.
There’s also no 0% introductory APR for either purchases or balance transfers on the card, and there’s a balance transfer fee of 3%, so this isn’t a good option if you were planning to use the card to pay down debt or to finance a large purchase that you don’t pay off right away.
Best for Flexible Travel Rewards: Citi Premier Card
Citi Premier Card
- Annual Fee: $95
- APR: 18.24% – 26.24% variable APR
- Benefits: 3x points on travel and at gas stations, 2x points at restaurants and on entertainment, 1x points on all other purchases
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
The Citi Premier card provides a hefty signup bonus on any airline with no blackout dates as long as you book through the ThankYou Travel Center. Cardholders also benefit from a generous rewards program with triple points for travel purchases including at gas stations, hotels, and airfare. And, when points are redeemed on airfare, they’re worth 25% more.
Redemption of points is easy with the Citi Premier Card, as points can transfer to participating airline loyalty programs for added flexibility. You can also redeem points for gift cards or can shop with points at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com.
In addition to these benefits, you also get access to Citi Concierge service and Citi Private Pass, which include presale tickets to special events. And when you travel abroad, you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees for using your card.
The card has no 0% bonus introductory offer and there’s a balance transfer fee of 3%. There’s also $95 annual fee which may not be worth it if you aren’t a frequent traveler. Finally, you don’t get some of the perks other travel credit cards provide, such as free companion tickets or free baggage on flights or a statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Best for Frequent American Airlines Flyers: Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Annual Fee: $450
- APR: 17.99% – 25.99% variable APR
- Benefits: 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1x mile on other purchases
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 10,000 miles after spending $40,000 in purchases within the first year
The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard provides reasonable rewards for American Airlines travelers, including 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles if you meet spending requirements as a new cardholder and 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.
These bonuses and rewards rates are decent, but not great for a card with such a high annual fee. Where the card shines, though, is in the other benefits it provides. Cardholders get AdmiralsClub memberships (worth up to $650) for themselves and for authorized users; free first checked bag on domestic flights for you and up to eight travel companions; a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; priority boarding on American flights; priority check-in and airport screening for you and eight guests; and a 25% savings on in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
All of these perks can more than make up for the annual fee if you travel on American Airlines fairly regularly. You’ll need very good to excellent credit to qualify.
The card has a high $450 annual fee, and the rewards program isn’t nearly as flexible as you’d get with some other travel cards. If you don’t shop with American Airlines, you can’t earn double rewards. And you’ll only get the most value from the rewards, plus all of the card’s other benefits, by traveling on American.
You also have to spend a lot to earn the 50,000 mile signup bonus, especially compared with competitor cards.
Finally, the card doesn’t offer any introductory APR period, and there’s a balance transfer fee of 3%.
Best for Casual American Airlines Flyers: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Annual Fee: $99 (waived first year)
- APR: 18.24% – 26.24% (variable)
- Rewards: 2x miles on purchases at American Airlines, gas stations, and restaurants, plus 1x miles everywhere else
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 within three months
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard offers ample perks including a 60,000-mile sign-up bonus after just $3,000 in spending during the first three months, as well as double miles for American purchases and for spending at gas stations and restaurants.
Cardholders also get other advantages including a free checked bag for you and a companion on domestic flights, preferred boarding, 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines, and a $125 American Airlines flight discount if you spend $20,000 on your card during the first year and renew your card for another year.
The card doesn’t provide some of the benefits that more expensive American Airlines cards do, such as AdmiralsClub membership. But it still has a $99 annual fee, although that fee is waived in the first year.
Cardholders also have to spend $3,000 to earn the bonus and will be limited in redeeming points with American Airlines and participating partners if they want the most value for their rewards. Other general-purpose travel cards provide more flexibility.
Best for Businesses That Travel: CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
- Annual Fee: $99 (waived first year)
- APR: 17.99% – 25.99% (variable)
- Rewards: 2x miles per $1 spent on AA purchases, cable and satellite providers, gas stations, telecommunications merchants, and car rentals; 1x miles everywhere else
- Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 70,000 miles after spending $4,000 within four months
Businesses that spend on telecommunications services, American Airlines travel, cable and satellite providers, or gas will benefit from double miles through the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. The ability to earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after just $4,000 in purchases is also a very generous sign-up bonus.
The card comes with valuable travel benefits as well, including a free checked bag for the cardholder and four companions on American flights, preferred boarding on American flights, and a 25% savings on WiFi, food, or beverages purchased on American flights.
There’s a $99 annual fee for the card, although it’s waived for the first year, and the rewards program is more restrictive than for general travel cards.
The card is also lacking some of the valuable perks that come with more expensive Citi American Airlines cards, such as AdmiralsClub Membership and credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Best for Businesses With Costco Memberships: Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card
Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 17.49% (variable)
- Rewards: 4% cash back on the first $7,000 in gas purchases, 3% back on all restaurants and eligible travel expenses, 2% back on all purchases from Costco, and 1% on everything else
- Sign-Up Bonus: N/A
This card is excellent for small businesses with food and gas-related expenses, such as a local restaurant or catering company. It has the same generous cash back program offered by the individual Costco card described above: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in gas expenses, 3% back on restaurants, eligible travel expenses, 2% Costco purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases.
The card is affordable for businesses because there’s no annual fee as long as you have a Costco membership, and no fees are charged when traveling abroad.
There’s no 0% introductory APR, and cash back is redeemed for an annual credit on your account so there’s a long wait to reap rewards.
Best for Students: Citi Rewards+ Student Card
Citi Rewards+ Student Card
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 16.74% – 26.74% (variable)
- Rewards: 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1x points thereafter, 1x points on all other purchases
- Sign-Up Bonus: 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
The Citi Rewards+ Student Card is perfect for young people who haven’t yet built up credit. It offers a fairly generous rewards program. While you get just one point per dollar on most purchases, you round up to the nearest 10 points on the first 100,000 points you redeem annually. This significantly boosts the rewards rate you can earn on small purchases under $5 or $15. Plus, you’ll get double points on the first $6,000 spent at supermarkets and gas stations each year.
The card also has no annual fee and provides an account bonus of 2,500 points after new cardmembers spend just $500 within three months of opening the account. It’s a low welcome bonus, but also an easy one to qualify for.
The Citi Rewards+ Student Card doesn’t provide a 0% introductory APR on either purchases or balance transfers, and it charges a relatively high 4% fee for a transferred balance. You’re also also limited to earning double points on just $6,000 annually. However, the point-rounding feature helps make up for that limitation, and $6,000 may be more than enough room for students who eat in the university cafeteria as much as their own groceries.
Best for Rebuilding Credit: Citi Secured Mastercard
Citi Secured Mastercard
- Annual Fee: $0
- APR: 24.74% (variable)
- Rewards: None
- Sign-Up Bonus: None
The Citi Secured Mastercard is easy for anyone to get approved for, even with bad credit, as long as you can make a security deposit to serve as collateral against your credit line. You can get started with just a $200 deposit.
The card charges no annual fee, and it provides benefits including purchase protection, so you’re not liable for unauthorized charges. It also provides access to Citi Identity Theft Solutions, so you can get help restoring your credit score if your identity is stolen.
There’s no rewards program or new cardmember bonus for this card, since it’s meant chiefly to help you repair your credit. This is common for secured cards, although some of the best secured credit cards do provide rewards for spending. Also, the card has no 0% introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers, so you’ll start accruing interest as soon as you don’t pay your statement in full by the due date.
Choose the Best Citi Credit Cards for Your Situation
As you can see, you have many choices when it comes to the best Citi credit cards. You just need to pick the card that’s right for your situation after taking into account fees, rewards, and new cardmember bonuses.
Not satisfied? Check out our best credit cards for more options.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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