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Citi announces new rewards and benefit changes for the Citi Premier Card starting this summer

Citi expedited a new rewards structure and benefit changes for the Citi Premier Card to June 2020 (previously August 2020). CNBC Select reports on what we know.

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The below offer for the Citi Premier® Card is no longer available.

Note: This post has been updated to reflect that Citi expedited the date for some of the Citi Premier® Card rewards changes to June 2, 2020 (previously August 23, 2020).

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Citi announced on April 8 that consumers can expect new rewards and major benefit changes for the Citi Premier® Card starting in summer 2020. But due to the evolving needs and spending habits of consumers amid the coronavirus, Citi accelerated the timeline of new benefits for Premier cardholders to June 2, 2020 (previously August 23, 2020).

This card was primarily a travel card, but now offers competitive restaurant and supermarket rewards, plus cardholders will soon be able to benefit from a money-saving hotel benefit.

"As our cardmembers' needs evolve, we want to ensure we're evolving with them and offering products that best meet their spending habits and deliver exceptional value," Lora Monfared, general manager of proprietary rewards products at Citi, said in a statement.

"As such, we're excited to be launching a new rewards structure on our Citi Premier Card ... to provide additional earning potential within the categories that matter most to our cardmembers."

The Citi Premier Card will be undergoing several changes over the next year. The first part launched nearly three months early, on June 2, 2020, and the last part will launch on April 10, 2021. The exact changes will differ between existing cardmembers and new cardmembers, which we break down for you below.

Citi Premier Card rewards and benefit changes

Starting in the spring and continuing into the summer, the Citi Premier Card is due to roll out some big changes for both existing cardmembers and new cardmembers, and they will be completed by next spring.

Starting June 2, 2020, both new and existing Citi Premier Card members will earn a higher rewards rate at restaurants (3X per $1 spent) and supermarkets (3X per $1 spent). But some benefits will be extended for existing Citi Premier Card members through April 9, 2021 (which we outline below).

There will also be a new hotel benefit come Aug. 23, 2020. Both new and existing cardmembers will receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) once per calendar year through Thankyou.com. This is a great way to offset the cost of staying at a hotel for several nights.

Often with new benefits, some old perks are removed, which will be the case for the Citi Premier Card. For existing cardholders (those approved before April 10, 2020), bonus rewards on other travel (such as cruises, tolls and parking) and on entertainment will be lowered to 1X (from 3X and 2X, respectively).

And all cardholders (both new and existing) will only have through April 9, 2021 to receive 25% more value on points redeemed for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals through the ThankYou Travel Center.

Here's a rundown of the changes taking effect over the next year, broken down by existing and new cardmembers.

Citi Premier Card member changes on June 2, 2020

Citi Premier Card members can take advantage of these new rewards rates that were expedited to June 2, 2020 (from Aug. 23, 2020):

  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants (previously 2X)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets (previously 1X)

Existing Citi Premier Card member changes on Aug. 23, 2020

If you're a Citi Premier Card member approved before April 10, 2020, these changes will apply to you. The following changes will take effect on Aug. 23, 2020:

  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent on air, hotel and gas stations (the same as before)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent on other travel, such as cruises, tolls and parking (through April 9, 2021)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants (previously 2X)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets (previously 1X)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent on entertainment (through April 9, 2021)
  • 1X ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases (remains the same)
  • $100 annual hotel benefit (new)
  • 25% more value on points redeemed for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals through the ThankYou Travel Center (through April 9, 2021)

New Citi Premier Card member changes on Aug. 23, 2020

If you become a Citi Premier Card member on or after April 10, 2020, these will be your benefits starting on Aug. 23, 2020:

  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent on air, hotel and gas stations (no longer includes other travel, such as cruises, tolls and parking)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants (previously 2X)
  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets (previously 1X)
  • 1X ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases (entertainment now earns 1X, previously 2X)
  • $100 annual hotel benefit (new)
  • 25% more value on points redeemed for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals through the ThankYou Travel Center (through April 9, 2021)

Citi Premier Card benefits ending on April 10, 2021

  • 3X ThankYou points per $1 spent on other travel, such as cruises, tolls and parking (for existing cardmembers)
  • 2X ThankYou points per $1 spent on entertainment (for existing cardmembers)
  • 25% more value on points redeemed for airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals through the ThankYou Travel Center (for all cardmembers)

Though Citi is ending or lowering some benefits for the Citi Premier Card, cardmembers stand to gain more rewards for spending on groceries and restaurants.

The Citi Premier Card does have a $95 annual fee, but using the new $100 annual hotel benefit offsets it each year. If you don't plan on using that perk, you can consider alternative rewards cards that have no annual fee, such as the Citi Double Cash® Card, which offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. (see rates and fees.)

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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