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Citi PremierPass Card Review

At the request of a reader, I’ve taken a look at the new Citi PremierPass Elite Card, a multi-airline rewards card similar to many other travel rewards programs out there, and it doesn’t look like all that impressive a program. There are four tiers to the PremierPass Card: basic, Elite Level, CitiBusiness, and a Citigroup Chairman (though only Basic and Elite are technically titled PremierPass). The PremierPass Card was actually SmartMoney Magazine’s pick as the best travel reward program, and in my review of their picks versus mine, I selected no alternative since I’m not a fan of travel reward cards.

Let us compare the Basic & Elite cards against the the Gold AMEX Delta SkyMiles Credit Card.

PremierPass Basic PremierPass Elite Delta Skymiles [3]
Annual Fee: $0 $75 $85
Point Accrual: 1 point per 3 miles flown, 1 point per dollar spent, points don’t expire if 1 purchase made in 3 years. 1 point per mile flown, 2 points per dollar spent at supermarket /gas stations/ drugstores, 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere, points don’t expire if 1 purchase made in 3 years. 1 point per mile flown on Delta, 2 point per dollar spent (always double points promotion),
miles never expire.
Sign On Miles: 10,000 points after $300 in purchases within 3 months 20,000 points after $600 in purchases within 3 months 17,500 points
Domestic Restricted* Coach (48 States) 25,000 25,000 25,000
Domestic Restricted* Coach (Hawai’i, Alaska) 35,000 35,000 35,000
Europe Restricted* Coach 50,000 50,000 50,000
Point Value Schedule: Schedule [4] Schedule [4] Calculator [5]

* Restricted means the flight must be booked 14 days in advance and requires a Saturday night stay.

The verdict is if you want a travel rewards card, go with the Premier Pass cards over any of the individual airlines cards. The mileage you need per ticket is identical and you get the flexibility of using multiple airlines, a benefit which is crucial given the recent financial struggles of major carriers. Also, with the basic having no annual fee, carrying this card won’t cost you any money, unlike the Elite or either of the two major airline credit cards.