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Citi PremierPass Elite Makes Me Smile


It amazes me that more people haven’t heard of the Citi PremierPass Elite Card. Perhaps Citi hasn’t done a very good job marketing the card? Or maybe it just isn’t pretty enough? I don’t know what the deal is, but if you love to fly and you haven’t heard of this card, you’re missing out. I happen to think it’s one of the best airline rewards cards out there for someone with good credit who travels often and is willing to pay a reasonable annual fee. It makes me smile every time I use it. Here’s why.

I purchased two airline tickets a few weeks ago for a total of $500. My wife and I were flying from coast to coast, so the round trip mileage was about 5,000 miles each. Since we purchased the tickets with our Citi PremierPass Elite Card, we earned 10,500 points in our Citi ThankYou Network rewards program (10,000 miles flown + $500 spent). We also received 10,000 miles in our individual frequent flier accounts. How awesome is that? In addition, during the trip we received 2 points for every dollar we spent at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores, plus we earned 1 point for every dollar we spent on all other purchases. Believe me, the points rack up fast with this card. And unlike other airline rewards cards that make it next to impossible to redeem your points, PremierPass points can be redeemed on any airline with no blackout dates.

This airline rewards card also offers a complimentary companion ticket when you buy a qualifying ticket though Spirit Incentives, a travel agency used by Citi. You call them up, tell them what flight you need, and then they search the internet for the best price. If the base fare is more than $299, you qualify for a free companion ticket. That’s right, the beloved ‘twofer’. I have used this service several times, and it really is a superb deal. I don’t know of any other credit issuer that offers a comparable reward.

If my infatuation with accruing miles and points bored you above, here’s a brief summary of the cards benefits:

  1. Earn 1 point for every mile you or someone else flies on any airline
  2. Earn 2 points for every dollar you spend at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores. Earn 1 point for every other dollar you spend.
  3. Get a free companion ticket when you buy a qualifying ticket.
  4. Points never expire, and you can use them on any airline with no blackout dates. The ThankYou Network has other goodies you can redeem points for as well.

Do you have personal experience using airline rewards cards ? If so, we would love to hear your opinion too!

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past twenty years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

Visit 's Google Plus profile for more.


Anonymous's picture

I discovered your site on faves.com bookmarking site…I like it and gave it a fave for you, I’ll be checking back regularly...

Anonymous's picture

I found your post comments while searching Google. Very relevant especially as this is not an issue which a lot of peaople are conversant with....

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the information. Any other posts or blogs you can recommend on credit cards?...

hakan's picture

I have citi premier elite for couple of years and use it when I fly. I get points to miles as well as points for dollar value for tickets when you fly.

Anonymous's picture

Even the gurus will agree with what is being said here. I am glad I found it....

Baxter Strum's picture

I don't agree with you. I got my Citi credit card and I tried to buy tickets from New York to Los Angeles. The tickets were $255 on the Delta website, while the lady at Spirit Incentives (866-553-2082) offered me ONE ticket with $540. It doesn't make sense.

Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Thanks for the comment Baxter. I know Citi and Spirit recently revamped their entire rewards program, and it has certainly gone downhill to some extent. It's just not like it used to be, and I suspect it may get even worse over the next few years...

Anonymous's picture

Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

BP's picture

Wow, if this card is this great then I will apply for it so that I can have one.

Esther's picture

Hi all,

Just adding some additional info and updates left out in Joshua's post based on my personal experience.

I have been a premier pass elite card holder for 2 years and 6 months. I use this card for everything, i now have about 120,000+ thank you points and that is an equivalent to about a $1200 value. If you don't already know how the thank you points work, you can redeem them for anything, including cash to your bank account, credit card statement credit, debit visa gift cards, store or restaurant gift cards etc... to find out more about the rewards go to thankyou.com

One thing not mentioned by Joshua is, if you like to SHOP ONLINE, you can go to the Thankyou reward site under bonus center and look up merchants you shop with online and depending on the merchants, you can even earn up to 30 points for every $1 ONLINE. (popular merchants include: Macys, t-j maxx, sears, Overstock.com, apple itunes etc... for a list of all bonus center ONLINE merchants go to shopping.thankyou.com/viewallmerchants.aspx )

Here is a little info on my experience:

I bought my friend a ticket on my card to France that he paid me back for and the best thing about it is i didn't even have to be the traveler. I got the double points for the purchase of the trip on Expedia($600 trip cost and double points= 1200 points) and i also earned the 16,000+ thankyou flight points in miles he flew.
Thoughts for your dollar, 10,000 points = to $100 value. i got $180 free dollars just with this transaction.

This is a really great and prestigious card.
Something else not mentioned by Joshua or Citibank, you will get a gorgeous looking priority pass card membership in the mail that wasn't mentioned anywhere on their site. I got the priority card after 1 year of using the premier pass card. Apparently with the premier pass elite card you get a free membership to priority pass, which if you got by itself cost $99 annual membership fee. Priority pass is a airport lounge club membership that gives you access to 600 executive airport lounges worldwide. Priority pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. To find out more go to prioritypass.com.

This is the best travel reward card out there and the only one that lets you double dip on the miles you fly and have the biggest access to the airport lounges worldwide.

2 Memberships for the price of 1, i just love this card and cannot stop talking about it.

I hope everyone found this information helpful.

Why this is the best card out there, if the case is that you assumed i was some rich person who could afford to spend $120,000+ in 2 years and 6 months to earn 120,000+ in reward points which is usually the case for most reward credit cards, you are wrong. I am your average person with an annual salary of $30,000. I could never earn or spend this much even with 4x my annual salary because as an average person i have loans to pay that does not involve swiping a card. If you can find me a better card that can earn me more than $40 back each month, which i am now on an average, let me know.(calculations below)

(2 years and 6 months= 120,000+ points = value $1200+ and divide by 30 months = $40 a month )
Keep in mind my annual Membership fee is $75 a month for the premier pass not included in this calculation, if included my earnings is still about $33.75 a month.(calculations below)

($1200- $75 1st year - $75 2nd year - $37.5 6 months = $1012.5 and divide by 30 months = $33.75 )

Also do keep in mind this is what i earned with this card but not to mention how much more discounts this card provides like companion travel, free airport lounge membership, Your very own VIP Concierge Service(more info go to citipremierpass.vipdesk.com/sign_in.asp), all the protection and insurance this card comes with + get special access to purchase tickets to some of the hottest concerts, premium events, and exciting experiences through ticket presales and get premium seating at concerts + VIP experiences with music artists, and more.

If you spend more than me and get rewarded less, it is time to switch your credit card.

After all the positive, there is 1 negative that has changed since Joshua's post, the thankyou points will now expire in 3 years from the time it is earned.
Still works out for me, i have been with this card for 2 years and 6 months and have $1200+. Points can be redeemed anytime and rewards starts as little as 100 points. to learn more about the thankyou rewards program go to thankyou.com.

LASTLY I want to mention that Customer service experience has been Great with Citibank all the way around, no long waits on the phone and be it a representative from thankyou rewards or for my Premier pass credit card it has always been a wonderful experience comparable to American Express.

You get what you know.
Do your research, read your fine print and you will soon realize you play a huge role in your own experiences.

Credit cards are good for emergencies and a Great way to save money without paying interest, if you think otherwise, you need to re-evaluate your financial management.


Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Thanks for you comment Esther. I've never heard anything about the free Priority Pass membership before, and I've been an elite cardholder for years as well. I know they have different levels of membership, some that still require additional payments per visit, so I'll have to take a closer look into that.

Rebecca's picture

The Priority Pass is only given to PremierPass card holders upgraded to the World Elite Level of benifits. This is not to be confused with the PremierPass Elite level World Card. Not all Elite level World cards have been up graded to the Elite Level World Elite MasterCard. You will not find the Priority Pass listed on the Citi website because the World Elite upgrade is by merrit only. Citi has chosen some prefered Card holders and upgraded them automaticaly. If you want to know if your credit card is a world level or a world elite level card call MasterCard Assistance at 800-622-7747. Priority Pass will allow access to the airport lounge for a small co-payment of $27 per person per visit. this is a huge savings over the $50 0r $60 day pass rate at most lounges. And you do not need to be flying on an associated airline. Example American Airlines passangers can enter the participating lounge even if that lounge is a Continental or executive vip lounge. Your guests will also be admitted into the lounge at the same $27 fee. (be aware that the fee is charged every time your card is swiped even if you swipe it in the same day. Before leaving the lounge make sure that you will be readmitted without the need to swipe the card again.