Clark Howard

5 Things To Know About the Citi Strata Premier Card

Are you looking for a travel rewards credit card that doesn't break your budget with a high annual fee?

The new card_name could be a fit for your wallet.

This card offers a lucrative welcome bonus offer, good everyday rewards categories and enhanced travel rewards for booking through the Citi Travel portal.

And the annual fee is just $95.

Does this offering have what it takes to compete with established cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as a solid travel card for under $100 per year? Let's take a closer look.

Citi Strata PremierSM Card: 5 Things To Know

This new credit card looks great, but here are five key things you should know before you decide to apply:

1. The Rewards Structure Is Favorable, Especially If You Use Citi Travel

Citi rewards your spending with ThankYou® Points. The points are enhanced by multipliers for spending in the following categories:

There’s no limit to the amount of points you can earn with the card and there is no expiration date on your earned rewards.

These points can be redeemed in several different ways, including Citi Travel bookings and online shopping. You can even transfer the points to select airline programs (though many popular U.S. airlines are not participating at this time.)

The simplest redemption method is cash back. The points are worth 1 cent per point in this format, meaning that you’re effectively earning 3% back on popular spending categories like travel bookings, gas, dining out and grocery shopping.

The 1% back on "all other purchases" is not great, though. You'd be better off spending with a no annual fee card that offers 2% cash back on those purchases.

2. The Welcome Bonus Offer Is Very Good, But Comes With a Catch

If you're searching for a good welcome bonus offer, this card offers a great opportunity.

In fact, it may be the most attractive feature of the new card:

"Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at"

Earning a $700 value for a welcome bonus on a $95 annual fee credit card is a solid return. But there’s a redemption caveat that may be a deal breaker for some consumers: You’ll need to redeem for travel rewards or gift cards.

You'll also want to make sure you qualify for this bonus. Citi says that Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a Citi Premier® or a Citi Strata Premier account in the past 48 months.

3. An Annual Hotel Benefit Could Effectively Cover the Cost of the Annual Fee

Even though this credit card does not charge $500 or more annually like some of the “top shelf” travel cards on the market, you may still find that $95 per year is more than you’d like to spend.

After all, there are plenty of great cash back credit cards available with no annual fee.

card_name offers a $100 travel perk with this card that may alleviate your concern:

"$100 annual hotel benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through Benefit applied instantly at time of booking."

Earning this $100 back annually effectively negates the annual fee, allowing you to maximize the value of the enhanced rewards structure and travel perks.

However, it’s worth noting two major hurdles to earning the credit:

  1. $500 per night (pre taxes and fees) is a very expensive hotel room. You shouldn't stretch on your hotel budget if more affordable options are available just for the sake of claiming the credit.
  2. You must book the travel through Citi Travel to earn the credit. While there are deals to be had in this portal, it may also limit you in your search for the best accommodations.

4. There Are No Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re going to be traveling abroad, it’s safe to throw this card into your wallet.

Citi does not charge foreign transaction fees with this card.

That means you'll be able to spend outside the United States without fear of being dinged for an additional 3-5% surcharge on every purchase you make. I believe this is a must-have feature for a good travel credit card.

Bonus tip: Make sure you pay in the local currency when swiping your credit card abroad. This will help you avoid more unnecessary conversion fees.

5. These 4 Additional Travel Perks Also Can Be Useful

Avoiding foreign transaction fees is an important feature for international travel, but there are some additional travel-related perks that can work at home as well as abroad.

As a part of the MasterCard benefits package associated with this card, you will get the following:

  • Car Rental Protection via MasterRental® Coverage
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection
  • Lost or Damaged Luggage Coverage

The car rental protection is a popular credit card perk for travelers looking for peace of mind, but it's becoming harder to find as credit card issuers scale back benefits packages. So, having that available on this new card is a definite plus.

Do you like what you see from the Citi Strata PremierSM Card? Will you be applying for it? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the community.

The post 5 Things To Know About the Citi Strata Premier Card appeared first on Clark Howard.

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