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TravelBetter together: Why the Citi Strata Premier and Rewards+ cards are a...

Better together: Why the Citi Strata Premier and Rewards+ cards are a great pair


Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

Some things in life are better in twos — and that’s absolutely the case with the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card (see rates and fees) and the Citi Rewards+® Card (see rates and fees).

While the Citi Strata Premier is a great stand-alone travel credit card, you should consider adding the Citi Rewards+ to earn another sign-up bonus and more points on everyday spending.

This also works in reverse. If you already carry the Citi Rewards+, multiply your earnings by adding the Citi Strata Premier to your wallet and make your points more valuable. Citi ThankYou points are valued at 1.8 cents per point when you have the Citi Strata Premier, based on TPG’s valuations. Here’s the inside scoop on how this duo works.

Related: Why the Citi Rewards+ is great for college students

Earn two sign-up bonuses

For a limited time, the Citi Strata Premier features a public welcome offer of 75,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. On the other hand, the Citi Rewards+ offers 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening.

THE POINTS GUY

Just remember that Citi has an application restriction on its ThankYou rewards cards. Opening or closing a Citi ThankYou points-earning card will make you ineligible for a welcome bonus on another ThankYou points-earning card for at least 24 months.

If it’s been more than 24 months since you applied for the Strata Premier or the Rewards+ card, you’ll likely be eligible to apply for the other card and attain the sign-up bonus.

Related: How to use the CardMatch tool to get better welcome offers

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Improve your redemptions

On their own, the points on the Citi Rewards+ are worth 1 cent each when you redeem for gift cards. They’re worth even less if you redeem your points at Amazon or Best Buy (which we strongly advise you don’t do).

However, transferring your points to the Citi Strata Premier will unlock all-new redemption possibilities worth significantly more. The value increases from 1 cent to 1.8 cents (based on TPG valuations) because you’ll now have access to Citi’s suite of airline and hotel transfer partners, such as Avianca LifeMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

THE POINTS GUY

Plus, having both cards can make your redemptions more valuable in another way: the Citi Rewards+ Card offers 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year. Reports from online users have shown that if you have the Citi Rewards+ Card, you’ll also get 10% points back when you redeem ThankYou Points from a linked card. The two cards must be linked to the same ThankYou account for this to work.

If you have both cards, you can link your accounts and get the best of both worlds: 10% points back and access to many transfer partners.

Related: Better together: An ultimate guide to the best credit card pairings

Boost your points-earning

The next selling point of owning both cards is their complimentary earning rates.

With the Citi Strata Premier, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on:

You’ll also earn 10 points per dollar on hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

The Citi Rewards+ earns 2 ThankYou points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 per year (then 1 point) and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. In addition, Rewards+ cardholders can earn 5 points per dollar on hotel, car rentals and eligible attractions (excluding air travel) through the Citi Travel portal through December 31, 2025.

THE POINTS GUY

In general, you should use the Citi Strata Premier at supermarkets and gas stations (3 points versus 2 points per dollar) — but there are a few noteworthy exceptions. That’s because the Citi Rewards+ comes with an interesting value proposition: Every purchase you make automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points.

That means the Citi Rewards+ is a better card for smaller purchases — like a $2 chocolate bar or pack of gum at a convenience store — or purchases that don’t earn bonus points with the Citi Strata Premier. Here’s a table to illustrate how this benefit works in your favor:

Purchase Using the Citi Strata Premier Using the Citi Rewards+
$3 candy at the gas station 9 points (3 points per dollar on gas). WINNER

10 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).

$41 of gas at the gas station WINNER

123 points (3 points per dollar on gas).

90 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).
$6 pack of cookies at the supermarket 18 points (3 points per dollar at supermarkets). WINNER

20 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).

$68 grocery store purchase WINNER

204 points (3 points per dollar at supermarkets).

140 points (2 points per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).
$2 beer at a bar 6 points (3 points per dollar at restaurants). WINNER

10 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).

$8 glass of wine at a bar WINNER

24 points (3 points per dollar on restaurants).

10 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).
$42 haircut 42 points (1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases). WINNER

50 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).

$159 flight WINNER 

477 points (3 points per dollar on flights).

160 points (1 point per dollar plus round up to the nearest 10 points).

If the math is too much to manage, commit to simplicity and use the Citi Strata Premier to earn 3 points per dollar on bonus category purchases and the Citi Rewards+ to earn extra points on non-bonus spending.

Related: The best credit cards with points you can combine

Access Citi’s transfer partners

As discussed earlier, all the points you earn from the Citi Rewards+ can seamlessly be combined with your Strata Premier balance. Then, you can transfer your points to 19 airline and hotel loyalty programs. Most of Citi’s transfer partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio — so 100,000 ThankYou points can turn into 100,000 points or miles.

While you can read our extensive guide on maximizing Citi ThankYou points for travel, here’s a preview of some of our favorite ways to redeem them. Award tickets are subject to availability and may fluctuate in price throughout the year.

Delta One suite to Europe for 50,000 miles one-way

Transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to score a Delta One suite to Europe for 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles and only $5.60 in taxes and fees. Availability is typically very limited, but if you’re flexible on dates and can plan far in advance, you might be able to snag a fantastic award.

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

This is almost always a significantly better deal than booking the same Delta One suite directly through Delta using SkyMiles. Prices for one-way Delta One award tickets to Europe booked directly through Delta can be as high as 375,000 miles. For 375,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, you could book seven Delta One tickets to Europe.

Related: When and how to book Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Qatar Qsuite to Doha for 70,000 miles one-way

Another Citi transfer partner that can offer great value is the Qatar Airways Privilege Club program. One-way flights in Qsuite (the carrier’s business-class product) from any U.S. gateway to Doha, Qatar (DOH) require just 70,000 Avios, the loyalty program’s currency. You can also add connecting flights to other destinations, for additional Avios. The number of Avios required will depend on award dates, availability and destination.

Qatar Airways’ Qsuite. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

You aren’t limited to Qatar Airways bookings with Avios. After transferring your ThankYou points to the Privilege Club program, you can use them to book flights with airlines like British Airways and Aer Lingus. This is a great way to find even more amazing award flights.

Related: Everything you need to know about Qatar Airways Privilege Club

United economy domestic flight for 7,500 miles one-way

Stretch the value of your points by booking economy jaunts. Transferring your Citi ThankYou points to Avianca LifeMiles allows you to book United domestic economy flights for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. If you have a small number of ThankYou points, this is a great way to use them.

BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

You can also use your Avianca LifeMiles to book a one-way business flight to Europe on Lufthansa for just 63,000 miles. If you can’t secure a Delta One suite through Virgin Atlantic, this is another way to get to Europe on a reasonably priced award ticket.

Related: Your guide to United Airlines MileagePlus

Bottom line

Doubling down on one program can be beneficial for many reasons, but it’s especially worth it when you get to save up enough points for those dream redemptions around the world. The Citi ThankYou program is incredibly prolific, with over a dozen international partners spanning every airline alliance. With the unique ability to round purchases up with the Rewards+ card and the Strata Premier’s generous bonus categories, now could be a great time to leverage this dynamic duo as you look to plan future trips.

To learn more, check out our full reviews of the Citi Rewards+ and the Citi Strata Premier.


Apply here: Citi Rewards+ Card


Related: Best Citi credit cards

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