Citigroup is the third largest bank holding company in the United States, and Citibank is the consumer banking entity owned by this behemoth company. Sometimes, size is an advantage. Citibank’s size allows it to have a massive credit card division, branded as “Citi Cards.” The size helps the bank offer some of the best deals available among credit cards. Whether consumers are looking for a credit card with rewards, travel, balance transfer or overall credit card, Citi has options that should be able to fit most needs and many wants.
Keep in mind that rewards are only worthwhile for what I call “Type B” credit card users; those who pay bills in full and on time every month. If you use credit cards to buy things you can’t pay for right away, you will fall deeper in debt and you will pay for any credit card rewards through interest fees, late fees, and worse, high interest rates, particularly if you default. If you can’t pay the bill in full every month, skip this article now.
Citi offers a broad selection of credit cards. Here is a list of the better offers, and with each is a brief review including strengths and weaknesses. If you have a Citi-branded card that you believe should be added to this list, leave a comment below.
Citi consumer cards
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card. The Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card offers $100 cash back to consumers after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. This card also offers 5% cash back every quarter in categories that change and right now, the categories are on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks from 7/1/14 – 9/30/14. Enrollment each quarter is quick and easy. You can earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. With this card the total cash back you can earn is $300 per calendar year, excluding the $100 cash back with this offer. For more information see the Citi Dividend Card Reward Program Information. Citi includes a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, after that, the APR will be 12.99%-22.99% variable based on your creditworthiness.* The Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card has no annual fee. Click the card name link to see pricing details.
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®.Though airline and loyalty programs have gone through many changes over the years, mile-earning credit cards remain a no-brainer for frequent fliers. For a $95 annual fee (waived for the first 12 months), cardholders can earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of cardmembership. If you travel abroad, your card will be more widely accepted and secure with a built-in chip. Your airport experience is also made easier with your first eligible checked bag is free, 25 percent savings on eligible in-flight purchases and priority boarding with Group 1 privileges. With the competitive rates and perks offered by Citi, give this card serious consideration if your preferred carrier is American Airlines.
Citi Simplicity® Card. Citi offers consumers an excellent introductory offer with 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers with their Simplicity card. You’ll pay an industry-standard balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer; $5 minimum, but the generous 18 months that you would be saving on interest will likely be worth the fee. After the promotion is through, your APR will vary with the Prime Rate and currently ranges between 12.99%-21.99% based on your creditworthiness. In addition you have access to fast personal help twenty-four hours a day when you call about your card. What this card lacks in rewards programs (does not have one), it makes up for with its lack of fees. The Citi Simplicity Card does not charge an annual fee – ever, no late fee – ever and has no penalty rate – ever. So if you find that you occasionally need a little wiggle room when it comes to paying your credit card bill, this may be a good option for you.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card. Frequent visitors of Hilton Hotels will love the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card because it offers 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 in the first four months of account opening. Cardholders earn six HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar spent at participating Hilton properties within the Hilton HHonors portfolio,* three HHonors Bonus Points per dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, and two HHonors Bonus Points per dollar spent on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 Bonus Points. Citi offers new cardmembers 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after making qualifying purchases of $1,500 on the card within the first three months of account opening that’s redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other rewards. There is a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months. After the introductory period, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness.* For each balance transfer there is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer; $5 minimum. You can earn 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 you spend on purchases and you can earn 2 ThankYou Points on purchases spent on dining at restaurants and on entertainment. Then redeem your ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more and there is no expiration and no limit on the points you can earn. While traveling abroad enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Earn 20,000 Bonus Points has no annual fee.* *Check the card issuers application page for terms and conditions and additional information.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. The Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers cardholders one of the best balance transfer offers available today: a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. There is a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount of each balance transfer; $5 minimum. After the introductory period the APR will be a variable rate of 11.99%-21.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi is currently offering Citi® Easy Deals℠ where you can get what you want for less. You can earn Citi Easy Deals Points for the purchases you make with your card. Then redeem your points for great online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals. And if you have travel plans take advantage of the 24/7 concierge service to help book your hotel rooms, flights and more. And, just like most other Citi cards, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card does not come with an annual fee. The card also offers $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs. Citi’s ThankYou Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs strikes an ideal balance of a debt-reduction tool and a rewards card. With a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers, you can work on an existing balance interest-free for 15 months. After that, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs has an APR range from 12.99 – 22.99 percent to cover a large spread of creditworthiness. There is a balance transfer fee of 3 percent of the amount of each transfer; $5 minimum. A straightforward rewards program will earn you 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment and 1 ThankYou Point per dollar spent on other purchases. These points, which don’t expire, can be used for nearly anything – including gift cards, travel rewards, merchandise or even cash. There is no annual fee and if you travel you can enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology. If you’re in the market for a balance-transfer card that you’ll be happy to have in your wallet even after the debt is gone, take a closer look at the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs.
Updated June 19, 2014 and originally published May 20, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.