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Best Citi Credit Cards of 2024

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Updated April 4, 2024

Citi is one of a handful of credit card issuers in the U.S. offering multiple credit cards to fit just about any lifestyle. This is a good thing, but it makes choosing the best Citi credit card for your situation a challenge. We’ve sifted the options so you don’t have to. Below are seven top Citi credit cards that should satisfy a variety of different types of cardholders.

Best Citi credit cards: Summary

Our recommendations

Best for balance transfers: card_name

card_name

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

The card_name offers balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration and intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration. This is one of the largest 0% intro annual percentage rate (APR) windows of any credit card on the market, making it a top choice for those looking for an extended respite from the high interest charged by other credit cards. A balance_transfer_duration_months breather will help you pay off your balances faster, potentially saving you thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of debt you have.

Unfortunately, the card doesn’t come with any other notable benefits. It also doesn’t earn any rewards for your spending. Still, with annual_fees annual fee, it’s worth keeping year after year simply to bolster your length of credit history (which accounts for 15% of your overall FICO credit score). Just make sure to use it once every six months or so to avoid closure due to inactivity.


Best for rewards: Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

The Citi Premier® Card earns flexible rewards, called “Citi ThankYou points,” which can be redeemed for cash or transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs for free travel. The card also offers one of the all-around best collections of bonus categories.

You’ll earn three points per dollar with restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels, and air travel (and one point per dollar for everything else).This easily covers the majority of spending for many budgets. Also note that the card is currently offering 10 points per dollar for hotels, rental cars, and attractions booked through the Citi Travel Portal through June 30, 2024.

The card incurs a $95 annual fee, which will eat into your yearly profit from swiping. Nevertheless, the value in travel that you can squeeze from the card’s points can be well worth it.


Best for cash back: Citi Custom Cash® Card

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

The Citi Custom Cash® Card takes all the brainpower out of maximizing your cash back credit card. It tracks your spending for you, identifies the eligible bonus category you’ve used the most each billing cycle, and awards you 5% cash back for those purchases (up to $500 per month, then 1%). Eligible categories include grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, drugstores, live entertainment, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and select streaming services, travel, and transit.

What’s more, it’s one of the few rewards credit cards that approve those with “fair" credit (defined by FICO as credit scores between 580 and 669).


Best for travel: card_name

card_name

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

American Airlines flyers will appreciate the lengthy travel benefits of the card_name. It comes with the first checked bag free for you and up to eight companions on the same domestic travel reservation; priority boarding, check-in, and screening; and American Airlines Admirals Club airport lounge membership (with Admirals Club access for authorized users). These perks can make your travel experience much more enjoyable.

Here’s the caveat: You’ll pay a annual_feesannual fee for the privilege of holding the card. This is higher than the average credit card fee, but when you consider that a yearly Admirals Club membership costs up to $850, the card’s value is clear. In short, if you’d otherwise purchase an Admirals Club membership, this card is a no-brainer.


Best for students: Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Citi Double Cash® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

Citi Double Cash® Card is one of the best credit cards for everyday spending. It earns 2% on all purchases (1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay off that purchase). The ability to receive a minimum of 2% back is excellent, particularly for those with sporadic spending habits that don’t often fall into common credit card bonus categories.

This is another rewards credit card open to people with “fair" credit. If you’re a student—or non-student—with a credit score that still needs some work, the Citi Double Cash® Card could be a good fit.


Best for building credit: Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card

Citi

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card

Credit score needed
Fair, Good
Annual fees
$0
Bonus rewards
N/A

Whether you have a messy credit history or none at all, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card is a good way to build your credit profile. It’s a secured credit card, which means that you’ll have to submit a refundable security deposit to Citi (between $200 and $2,500) before you can open one. Your credit line will equal the amount of money you choose to submit.

The card doesn’t earn rewards for your spending or offer any benefits with real value. Still, if you need to build your credit, this card is worth a look. After exhibiting responsible payment habits, your credit score should improve, and then you should be able to open a more lucrative card.


Best for wholesale club shoppers: card_name

card_name

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Bonus rewards
bonus_miles

Despite its name, card_name is useful for far more than just Costco purchases. Most notably you’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and electric vehicle charging stations (for up to $7,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1%). You’ll also receive 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel, including Costco Travel. You’ll receive 2% back with Costco online and in the store and 1% back for everything else.

The card comes with two annoying restrictions.. First, only Costco members can open one. Second, you can only redeem your rewards once per year (specifically, in February) for either a lump sum of cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses.


Best Citi credit cards compared

Card nameBonus rewardsAnnual feesCredit score needed
bonus_miles
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles
$95
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles
$0
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles
$0
credit_score_needed
N/A
$0
Fair, Good
bonus_miles
annual_fees
credit_score_needed

Methodology

When selecting the best Citi credit cards, we examined characteristics such as return rate, welcome bonus, intro APR, and accessibility. We considered several different lifestyle situations, such as students, travelers, and those new to credit, to distill Citi’s large list of cards down to the most valuable options.

How to choose the best Citi card for your needs

Determine your eligibility

The first step you should take before researching Citi credit cards is to check your credit score. Many Citi credit cards require that you have “good” credit to qualify, while a select few accept applicants with “fair” credit or a limited credit history. If your score hampers your eligibility, it’s good to know early.

Find bonus categories that complement your spending

Citi credit cards come with a wide variety of bonus categories; others provide a flat return rate for all spending. Still others trade the ability to earn rewards for a low APR offer.

If you’re looking for a rewards credit card, find one that best compensates you for your everyday spending. For example, if you regularly travel by car, you’ll likely want a credit card that offers bonus rewards for gas station and restaurant spending.

Weigh ongoing benefits with annual fees

If a Citi credit card charges an annual fee, don’t get it unless it provides more value to you than you’re paying each year. Any credit card that doesn’t save you more than its price tag is not cost effective.

Choose rewards that fit your goals

Credit card rewards typically fall into two categories: cash back and travel rewards. If you’ve got travel aspirations, stick to Citi credit cards that earn airline miles or transferable points. If you simply want a rebate for your everyday spending, go for a cash back credit card.

Alternatives to Citi credit cards

More about Citi credit cards

How to apply for a Citi credit card

Applying for a Citi credit card is no different than applying for any other card. You must provide personal details such as your address, income, and Social Security number. You also may need to input your housing situation and debts.

Citi often approves or declines applications immediately. However, if it needs to verify information, the process may take several days.

What are the interest rates on Citi credit cards?

Citi credit cards tend to offer variable interest rates somewhere between 18% and 30%. This is a common range across all card issuers. However, Citi is notable for its 0% intro APR offers, providing multiple credit cards with up to 21 interest-free months.

What credit limit can I get with a Citi credit card?

The credit limit you receive from a Citi credit card is entirely dependent on your credit profile. You may receive as little as $500 if your credit score isn’t exceedingly high, while data points suggest that it’s possible that the most creditworthy applicants can receive as high as $50,000 or more.

Citi ThankYou Points

Citi’s proprietary rewards currency is called “Citi ThankYou Points.” Many Citi credit cards collect ThankYou Points, even those that are marketed as cash back cards.

Again, you can redeem Citi ThankYou Points for either cash back, at a rate of one cent per point, or airline miles and hotel points, which can bring a much higher return. Cards with no annual fee that earn points can transfer them to the following partners at varying ratios:

  • Choice Privileges (2 to 3)
  • JetBlue (5 to 4)
  • Wyndham (5 to 4)

However, if you hold the Citi Premier card, you can transfer your rewards to a much healthier list of travel partners:

  • AeroMexico (1 to 1).
  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM) (1 to 1).
  • Accor (2 to 1).
  • Avianca (1 to 1).
  • Cathay Pacific (1 to 1).
  • Choice Privileges (1 to 2).
  • Emirates (1 to 1).
  • Etihad (1 to 1).
  • EVA Air (1 to 1)
  • JetBlue ((1 to 1).
  • Leading Hotels of the World (one to two).
  • Qantas (1 to 1).
  • Qatar (1 to 1).
  • Singapore Airlines (1 to 1)
  • Thai Air (1 to 1).
  • Turkish Airlines (1 to 1).
  • Wyndham (1 to 1).
  • Virgin Atlantic (1 to 1).

Does Citi have a preapproval process for its credit cards?

Many banks provide the ability to check a specific credit card to see if you prequalify. Citi is one of the few major issuers that doesn’t offer this feature. However, you may receive targeted flyers in the mail suggesting that you’ve been preapproved for a specific credit card. This is because Citi periodically checks for you and sends you offers for which it thinks you’ve got a good shot at approval.

Can you combine points on Citi credit cards?

You can combine points If you have two or more of the following Citi credit cards:

  • Citi Premier.
  • Citi Double Cash.
  • Citi Custom Cash.
  • Citi Rewards+®.
  • CIti AT&T Points Plus®.

In fact, by transferring any of these points to the Citi Premier card, you can then turn the rewards you have earned with any of these cards into airline miles and hotel points.

What to do if my application is denied

If your Citi application is denied, you can reach out to Citi’s reconsideration line at (800) 695-5171. These agents may be able to explain the reason for the declined application. In some cases you may be able to alleviate any concerns with a quick explanation. Citi may decline your application for many reasons and calling the reconsideration line is far from a surefire approval tactic, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.

TIME Stamp: Citi credit cards offer top options for most financial situations

Whether you’re interested in free airfare and hotel stays, cash back, or a 0% intro APR, Citi issues a credit card that’s up your alley. And most of its credit cards incur no annual fee, so you can keep them year after year without paying for membership.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the easiest Citi card to qualify for?

The easiest Citi credit card to qualify for is the Citi Secured Mastercard. This is because it’s a secured card, which demands a refundable security deposit upon account opening. The card is meant for those with bad credit or a limited credit history.

Which Citi card should you get first?

If you’re just beginning your credit journey, you should open the Citi Secured Mastercard first, because you don’t need a credit history for approval. If your credit is more established, the Citi Double Cash is a popular choice.

Are Citi cards hard to get?

Citi cards are no harder to get than those issued by other banks. In fact, two of Citi’s best credit cards—the Citi Double Cash and Citi Custom Cash—approve applicants with “fair” credit (FICO credit scores between 580 and 669), which is below average.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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