Pros: ThankYou Points for purchasing and flying, 24/7 VIP Concierge Service, Online Account Management, Great Security.
Cons: Long application process, Not much benefit for non-flyers.
The Citi PremierPass MasterCard was one of the special credit card lines that Citibank began to offer a few years ago. Everything about the card, from the application to the shiny, glossy design, sets it apart from all the other credit cards offered by Citibank. In essence, the Citi PremierPass is the elite card designed to maximum benefits for purchases and flying and targets people with great credit scores.
Indeed, getting your hands on a Citi PremierPass will be an impressive feat in and of itself. Not only is it impressive that your credit score check passed Citibank’s rigorous credit standards for the card, but it would also mean that you’ve managed to jump through the many hoops of the application process. Although the website for the PremierPass line of credit cards is on its own website, the application process is far from smooth. I had to wait much longer than the promised 30 days to hear back from Citibank and had to fill out a detailed form with personal information. The application process was a nightmare for me. I’ve had much better experiences applying for credit cards such as the No Hassle card offered by Capital One. However, in the end, I believe that the difficulty in attaining the Citi PremierPass contributes to its elite status among credit cards.
What exactly do I mean by elite?
First, the Citi PremierPass has its own website that advertises and promotes its features and functions. It is easy for everyone to go on the site in their own spare time to read and understand the tiny script that is usually printed on the back of credit card offers in the mail. The website is designed in an easy-to-use way and is very clear and effective in making information clear.
Second, there is an entire customer service department devoted to the Citi PremierPass line with its own unique customer service number. This makes it very convenient when calling customer service. No longer will you have to go through multiple machine-automated questions trying to figure out which department to get you to.
Third, there are heightened security checks during calls to customer service. I distinctly remember how I paused during a call once to remember my social security number fully and they transferred me to the fraud protection line. If nothing else, be sure to have your information handy!
Fourth, the card is extremely glossy and shiny. Pulling it out makes me feel good. Yes, it does. Perhaps, the whole point of making the application process as selective as possible does have its rewards.
Fifth, as a Citi PremierPass customer, you are considered a VIP and Citibank offers a 24/7 VIP concierge service that provides free customized reservations and itineraries. It’s an entirely complimentary service that helps you with making restaurant reservations, give you entertainment recommendations, and assist you with party planning and personal shopping.
The features of the Citi PremierPass really set it apart from its competition.
It’s important to note the differences between the PremierPass and PremierPass – Elite, which are both offered by Citibank. The elite version of the card has a $75 annual fee with a ton of extra benefits. I only have the normal PremierPass (guess I’m not that elite). However, I will also provide the features for the Elite version as a tool for comparison and give a recommendation for which card to use after the discussion.
The basic premise of the Citi PremierPass (and Elite) is to earn ThankYou Points which are redeemable for real life items such as Gift Cards, Books, CD’s, Concert tickets, etc. Think of ThankYou points as reward points. Citibank has, over the years, successfully developed the ThankYou Network. This network allows customers to create a ThankYou account and password and then combine all their ThankYou Points from Citibank credit cards or bank accounts in a convenient fashion.
Citibank calls points from purchases, Purchase Points, and points from flying, Flight Points. These Purchase and Flight Points are equivalent to ThankYou Points in the ThankYou Network, but have a different name to help differentiate the sources of your points for future reference. Points expire at the end of two years from the month in which they were earned.
The regular Citi PremierPass allows you to earn 1 Purchase Point for every $1 on all purchases and 1 Flight Point for every 3 miles you fly. There is a 100,000 ThankYou Point limit per calendar year and a max of 50,000 from flying.
The Elite Citi PremierPass earns you 2 Purchase Points for every $1 on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, commuter transportation and parking merchants. All other purchases earn 1 Purchase Point for every $1. With regards to flying, the Elite card earns 1 Flight Point for every mile you fly. The Elite card also increases the per-calendar year limit of ThankYou Points to 200,000 with a max of 100,000 from flying.
So far, these features sound exactly like any other rewards card out there. However, what sets the Citi PremierPass apart is that it allows you to gain points also on tickets you buy for other people with a minimum purchase price of $299. Therefore, even if you rarely or do not fly at all, you still have a great way of earning points by purchasing airplane tickets for your friends and family.
Another feature that makes Citibank’s rewards program worth looking into is its incentive programs with affiliates. If you shop online through the ThankYou website, you have the opportunity to earn extra points per dollar you spend. For example, on Valentine’s Day, there were offers for flower purchases on Teleflora, 1-800 Flowers.com, and the like for up to 15 ThankYou Points per dollar spent. These bonuses are widely available for an assortment of stores. If you do end up applying for and getting the Citi PremierPass, check out the Bonus center on the website.
Other Useful Tools
Customers are given the opportunity to set their own billing cycle start dates when they first receive the card. This feature is quite common and the standard in the credit card industry now. Tailoring to the customer’s needs is a surefire way to do good business.
As with all credit cards, customers can add authorized users to their account. This addition process is actually a great way for people to build credit safely and credibly. Just be sure you trust the person you add to the account.
Online account management is also very useful and not to mention, green. With many companies switching to paperless statements, online account management certainly is appealing. It updates faster and more accurately reflects your day-to-day transactions in a timely manner.
Rates and Late Fees
The variable APR for the Citi PremierPass is either 10.24%, 13.24%, or 16.24% depending on your credit history. The Cash Advance APR is 25.24%. All rates are variable.
There is also a $15 late fee for bills past due up to $100; $29 on balances between $100 and $250; and $39 for balances above $250.
The Citi PremierPass is a great credit for people that purchase and fly often. Personally, I use the regular one and not the Elite version and have never run into problems with reaching the points limit. Although the initial application process took a while, it was well worth the wait. The extra returns on flying mileage and the convenience of having those points combined with the points I earned on purchases was very convenient.
This is my Personal Finance entry into the Around Epinions In 80 Days Write-Off.
This is also my Personal Finance entry into the Let's Talk About Money Write-Off.