Best Citibank Credit Cards

What is the Best Citi Credit Cards?

Citibank, which is part of Citigroup is one of the largest financial institutions and has consistently been one of the top credit card issuers. The company offers an excellent cash back credit card, high signup bonuses and robust rewards rates, but determining the right card for you will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits. Citi has no-annual-fee options, great signup bonus options, especially for travelers and solid points programs.

Discover the Best Credit Cards

About Citibank

Citibank is the retail division of the financial services giant Citigroup. Citigroup was formed in 1998 when Travelers Group merged with Citicorp.  Citibank was established in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later changed its name to the First National City Bank of New York. Citibank provides credit cards, checking and savings accounts, personal loans, mortgages, and lines of credit.

Citibank has a major presence online as well as retail location. Citibank has 2,649 branches in 19 countries, including 723 branches in the United States and 1,494 branches in Mexico. The majority of the U.S. branches are concentrated in major urban areas including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami.  Citi has several private label credit cards as well as co-branded cards with large companies such as Costco, ExxonMobil, Staple and Home Depot.

Who Should Get a Citi Card?

Citi has several different types of credit cards, focusing on cash back, traveling and business as well as many different types of perks. All of the Citi cards require that you have good to great credit. If you have fair or poor credit, there are other credit card issuers that will provide you with a basic card that will provide some perks. Citi is a trustworthy credit card partner and has the backing of a global financial giant.  The most popular Citi credit cards are cash back reward cards, which provide some of the best rewards in the business.

Tips for Citi Credit Cards

Before you apply for a Citi credit card, it’s important to figure out what you want out of your card and evaluate your spending habits. Citi not only has several of its own robust reward credit cards, it also has a number of co-branded cards with some travel brands gas stations and warehouse shopping giants.  If you use a specific gas station, then you should consider one of their co-branded cards.  If you don’t Citi has some excellent reward cards that are geared toward travel.  Citi also has cash back cards, so if you don’t travel a lot and spend money on everyday items, then there is a card issued by Citi that is right for you.

The Best Citibank Credit Cards

Best Cash Back Card

Citibank boasts one of the best cash back credit cards on the market.  The card has a robust 18-month balance transfer, with zero interest and offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay off your balance. This means you receive 2% cash back on all purchase where you pay off the entire balance.  If you are paying off your balance every month, you are receiving 2% cash back on everything your purchase. This is the highest rate on the market and describes why this cash back card is the most popular cash back card on the market. In addition, there is no annual fee for this card.  There is no limit on the number of purchases you can receive cash back, which eliminates spending caps.

Citi makes the process very simple, as you have 3-choices to receive your cash back. You can either receive a statement credit, a check or gift cards from as a way to redeem your rewards. The key to successfully using the Citi Double Cash Back card is to avoid running a balance. The interest rates after the initial 18-month zero percent on a balance transfer are 14.74% to 24.74%, which can eliminate the benefits you receive from your rewards.

Best Credit Card to Reduce Your Debt

The Citi Simplicity Credit Card is the best card the company offers to help you reduce your debt.  First, the credit card offers an 18-month zero-percent interest rate on balance transfers. The rate climbs to 15.24% – 25.24% following the first 18-months following your balance transfer. There are no late fees ever, which is a great benefit for people that do not have a regular stream of cash.  So, if you are a freelancer or work odd jobs and are not receiving a regular paycheck every two weeks or month, the no late fees can really come in handy.  Most credit cards have a hefty penalty for late fees, which makes this credit card an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their debt.

Best Credit Cards for Travel

Citi has several co-branded credit cards that are focused on travel. The benefits are robust but you need to stay loyal to the co-branded company to achieve those benefits. If the partners that Citi teams up with are not the favored travel companies you should look for an alternative travel credit card.

Hotel Stays Credit Card

The Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card is a co-branded card that has robust bonuses. The card provides approximately 1.5% rewards on spending in addition to free night stays for new cardholders. If you spend $2,500 during the first 4-months you will earn a 2-night stay at any hotel in the Hilton chain.  This value can be worth more than $700 depending on the hotels you choose. Additionally, you can earn another free night in subsequent years if you spend more than $10,000. The card has an annual fee of $95 per year, which means that you need to spend a lot to make the card worthwhile. If you are not a Hilton Honor member or do not use Hilton hotels, you will be better served with other credit cards.

Citi AA Advantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

American Airline is the only airline co-branded card that Citi offers. This card is primarily used to earn additional American Airlines miles, which will allow you to take free flights of getting upgraded seats. If you are not a customer of American Airline, you have no use for this credit card. This card also requires significant spending as the cost per year is an eye-popping $450. This card is geared to the frequent traveler, as some of the benefits come in lounge access and free checked bags. The card earns 2-miles for every dollar spent at American Airlines or US Airways, and 1-mile per dollar on all another spending. The card also offers a robust signup bonus which can range from 50-100 thousand miles.  This will allow you to take at least one flight free of charge depending on whether you are traveling to.

Best for College Students

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students is a great choice for college kids who are looking to build their credit while earning rewards.  You can earn 2-thank you dollars for every dollar spend on entertainment and restaurants. Additionally, you can earn 1-thank you point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. The card does not have an annual fee and has a signup bonus where you can earn 2,500 bonus points if you spend at least $500 in purchases during the first 3-months of opening an account.  You can redeem your Thankyou points as a statement credit or gift card, which will give you the best bang for your rewards.  Other options such as merchandise are available but are not as lucrative.

Best Card for Gasoline

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card is a robust cash back card on specific purchases, which can add up quickly. You can earn 4% cash back on eligible gasoline purchases globally including gas from Costco up to the first $7,000 and then 1% for all purchases after you have reached the cap.  So if you spend $14,000 per year on gasoline, you will receive 4% cash back on your gasoline purchases. You can get 3% cash back on all restaurant and travel-related purchases. Additionally, you can receive 2% cash back on all purchases at Costco. Lastly, you will receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. This card can also be used as a business card, and if you travel a lot by car, and entertain and eat out, you can significantly boost your cash back, and exceed the cash received on the Citi Double Cash Back Card. The cash back that you will receive will be in the form of a certificate from Costco. You will then have to go to one of their warehouses to get cash, merchandise or a check.

There is no annual fee for the card but you do have to maintain a Costco membership which runs approximately $60 per year. You must redeem your rewards at Costco and maintain your membership. If you don’t actively shop there this could be a detriment.

What is the Best Citi Credit Card for You?

Prior to choosing a Citi credit card, you should evaluate your spending habits to see where you will get the best bank for your buck. Citi focuses on cash back and co-branded cards, which casts a wide net. If you want a travel card, but do not use one of their partners, such as Hilton or American Airlines, then you should find a travel reward credit card that customized to your needs.

How to Apply for a Citi Credit Card?

You can apply for a credit card online, or on the phone or at a Citibank retail branch location. For those with good to great credit, you will likely have an answer very quickly, along with a credit limit. For those who have borderline credit, the answer will come slightly slower as an underwriter evaluates your financial situation.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Citi Card?

Before you choose a card you should evaluate your spending habits and determine which card is right for you. Citi credit cards require good to great credit and mainly focus on cash back.  Most of the travel card has annual fees so it is important that you map out your spending habits before you choose a specific Citi credit card. If you live in an area where Citibank has retail branches and ATM’s then opening an account might be a logical consideration if you are looking to get a credit card from Citibank.

If put your everyday expenses such as gasoline restaurants on a credit card, then their cash back Costco card is very attractive. If you travel but need flexibility then their co-branded cards are not the right fit, but if you are a frequent customer of Hilton or American Air their credit cards become very attractive.

Conclusion

Citi offers a wide range of credit cards that can be used for many different types of spending habits with a focus on everyday shopping as opposed to traveling. Citibank is part of Citigroup which is a large financial services company that has both consumer and institutional divisions. The Citi credit card division falls under Citibank, which has retail branches throughout the globe.

The most lucrative of the Citi credit cards are the cash back cards. If you are looking for a cash back card that rewards you for all purchase regardless of the category then the Citi Double Cash Back card is the most attractive of nearly all the cash back cards on the market. Citi also issues co-branded cards, some for cash back and some for travel. The Costco cash back card is excellent for those who drive a lot and eat consistently at restaurants. Their co-branded cards for hotels and airline travel are good but not great. They also offer a very solid credit card for college kids that offers rewards and allow them to build their credit history.