If you’re looking for a travel credit card with an annual fee under $100, the Citi Premier® Card should be near the top of your list. This card costs just $95 per year, yet cardholders can earn 3X points in everyday spending categories and a generous welcome offer, to boot.
The rewards you earn with this card are flexible enough to redeem for cash back, statement credits, gift cards or even payments to a student loan or a mortgage. You can also redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points for travel (including hotel stays) through the Citi travel portal or for transfers to Citi’s airline and hotel partners.
The Citi Premier Card even comes with one premium travel benefit that offsets the annual fee. With the annual hotel savings benefit, cardholders can reduce the cost of an eligible resort stay by $100 once every calendar year.
This guide will explain exactly how the Citi Premier’s $100 annual hotel savings benefit works. But first, take a look at the rewards rate and welcome bonus details of this popular travel credit card.
Citi Premier Card highlights
- Welcome bonus: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Rewards: 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases; 1X points on all other purchases
- annual fee: $95
- Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
- Foreign transaction fees: none
What is the Citi Premier Card’s $100 hotel savings benefit?
According to Citi, the Citi Premier Card lets you enjoy an annual $100 discount on a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you use your Citi Premier Card and book through either thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU .
With that in mind, the annual hotel savings benefit is more of a travel discount than a free night. However, getting $100 off a hotel or resort stay or $500 or more is the equivalent of getting up to 20 percent off. And, who doesn’t want to save money on hotel stays?
Interestingly, the $100 annual hotel savings benefit can be used for vacation bookings made with cash or a combination of Citi points and cash. This means you may be able to pay for at least $500 of your stay in cash, see the $100 hotel savings benefit reduce your bill, then use Citi ThankYou points to cover the rest.
How to use the $100 hotel savings benefit
The annual hotel savings benefit is available to cardholders once every calendar year, and it’s good for single hotel stays of $500 or more, excluding charges for taxes and fees. Taking advantage of this perk requires you to book your hotel stay through ThankYou.com or by calling 1-800-THANKYOU.
To receive the $100 off, you have to prepay for your hotel stay with your Citi Premier Card. Once the discount is applied to your booking, you can use Citi ThankYou points to cover any costs that go over the minimum $500 booking requirement.
You can cancel your hotel booking if the property offers a flexible cancellation policy, and the $100 hotel savings benefit will go back into your account so you can use it within the remainder of the calendar year.
Note that we said calendar year and not card member year. This means you could apply for the card during the fall, use the hotel savings benefit before January 1st, then immediately use it again after the new year begins.
Other rules that apply include:
- Reservations must be made by the primary cardmember, although reservations can be made in the name of the primary cardmember or authorized user.
- Vacation packages do not qualify for this benefit.
- The $100 annual hotel savings benefit cannot be combined in the same transaction with the Citi Prestige® Card’s complimentary fourth-night free perk (if you have both Citi credit cards).
- This benefit cannot be combined with any other promotions or discounts.
How does this benefit compare to hotel credits offered by other travel cards?
The fact the annual hotel savings benefit is a discount can be a little disappointing, yet this perk is fairly on par with those offered by similar travel credit cards. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with the same $95 annual fee and fairly similar bonus categories, yet users only get a $50 annual hotel stay credit for use through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Then again, this discount is applied to any hotel booking through the portal, meaning you don’t have to spend $500 or more just to use it.
Premium travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offer annual travel credits worth $300, yet these cards charge much higher annual fees of $550 and $395, respectively.
There are also hotel credit cards that offer free nights, either the first year or after your cardmember anniversary. However, rewards earned with hotel cards are a lot less flexible than Citi ThankYou points.
Is the Citi Premier’s $100 hotel savings benefit worth it?
If you’re signing up for the Citi Premier Card and typically stay in a few hotels each year, the annual hotel savings benefit can be worth it. Just remember to shop around and compare hotel pricing on sites other than thankyou.com. After all, using the $100 hotel savings benefit won’t leave you better off if you pay a lot more for the booking than you would pay elsewhere.
And, either way, the Citi Premier Card is definitely “worth it” the first year due to the sign-up bonus. The welcome bonus you can earn is worth $600 in gift cards and other rewards, so you can more than make up for the annual fee—regardless of the annual hotel savings perk.
The bottom line
The Citi Premier Card’s $100 annual hotel savings benefit is just one of the reasons to sign up for this card, yet there are plenty of others. For example, you could sign up to only pursue the welcome offer, or because you want to earn 3X points in so many categories. You can also choose this card because you want to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards points, which can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, travel and more.
Even so, it never hurts to compare other travel credit cards and their benefits before you apply. While you may miss out on an annual hotel stay discount, other cards offer perks you might like better.