Here’s the Milelion’s review of the Citi PremierMiles Card, one of the oldest miles cards in Singapore, and the best connected in terms of transfer partners. But if you only have space for one general spending card, is this the right one for your wallet?
|💳 tl;dr: ★★★★|
|It may not be the highest-earning general spending card, but transfer partner variety, lounge access, and the opportunity to buy cheap miles are compelling reasons to hold a Citi PremierMiles Card.|
|The good||The bad|
|This Citi PremierMiles review forms part of my collection of credit card reviews. I’m constantly adding new ones, and you can browse the entire collection here.|
Overview: Citi PremierMiles Card
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the Citi PremierMiles Card.
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a||Points Validity||No Expiry|
(First Year Free)
|10,000 Citi Miles
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$26.75|
|Local Earn||1.2 mpd||Points Pool?||No|
|FCY Earn||2.0 mpd||Lounge Access?||Yes- 2 x Priority Pass|
|Special Earn||7 mpd on Agoda, 10 mpd on Kaligo||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
Do note that Citibank recently started issuing all new PremierMiles cards on the Mastercard network. Existing Visa cards can continue to be used until expiry.
Unlike the Citi Rewards card, there’s very little difference between the Visa and Mastercard versions anyway- the main difference is that the Citi PremerMiles Mastercard does not earn any points for GrabPay top-ups, while the Citi PremierMiles Visa does.
In this review, we will be referring to the Citi PremierMiles Mastercard, but again, almost everything here applies to the Visa version as well.
How much must I earn to qualify for a Citi PremierMiles Card?
When it first launched in 2007, the Citi PremierMiles Card was positioned closer to the mass affluent end of the spectrum with an S$80,000 income requirement. Cardholders even received an invitation to join Citigold (the bank’s privilege banking program) for a year with a reduced AUM requirement.
Those days are long gone, and today, the Citi PremierMiles Card has been repositioned as an entry-level credit card with a S$30,000 income requirement, the MAS-mandated minimum.
If you don’t meet the income requirement, it may be possible to place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with Citibank and get a secured version of the card, with a credit limit of roughly 80-90% of the fixed deposit amount. This was the case in the past at least, and you should call up Citibank if you’d like to explore this option.
How much is the Citi PremierMiles Card’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
The Citi PremierMiles Card has an annual fee of S$192.60 for the principal cardholder, and no fee for supplementary cards. The first year’s fee is waived for the principal cardholder, and there is a perpetual waiver for all supplementary cards.
Paying the annual fee gets you 10,000 miles in return, which means buying miles at ~1.93 cents each. Depending on how much you value a mile, the card could potentially pay for itself. That said, it’s certainly possible to buy miles at a lower threshold, as we’ll see below.
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
Citibank periodically runs sign-up bonuses for the Citi PremierMiles Card, with offers for both new-to-bank and existing customers. New-to-bank customers are defined as those who do not currently hold a principal Citibank credit card, and have not in the past 12 months before application.
Here’s the current sign-up bonus available:
|🎁 Current Sign-Up Bonuses/Gifts|
Option A: Spend S$9,000 within 3 months from card approval and pay the S$192.60 annual fee to get 45,000 miles (T&C)
Option B: Spend S$4,000 within 3 months from card approval to get 18,000 miles. Enjoy the first year free (T&C)
Option B: Enjoy the first year free
|Offers valid till 31 Jan 2021|
Do remember that SingSaver periodically offers cash gifts of up to S$300 for new-to-bank customers, so be sure to watch The Milelion’s main page for when those go live.
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|1.2 mpd||2.0 mpd||7 mpd on Agoda
10 mpd on Kaligo
Citi PremierMiles Card members earn 1.2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent in Singapore Dollars, and 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent in foreign currency (FCY).
1 Citi Mile is worth 1 airline mile, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 1.2 mpd for local spending, and 2.0 mpd for FCY spending.
Those aren’t the highest rates in the market, but they’re fairly competitive compared to other general spending cards at the S$30,000 income level.
|Local MPD||FCY MPD|
|UOB PRVI Miles||1.4||2.4|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||1.1||2.0*
|BOC Elite Miles||1.0||2.0|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||1.2||1.2|
|*June and Dec only, otherwise 1.1 mpd|
All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, so using your Citi PremierMiles Card overseas represents buying miles at 1.63 cents each.
Prepaid Agoda hotel bookings made via this link will earn a bonus 5 mpd when booked before 30 June 2020 and stayed by 31 December 2020. This, when coupled with the 2 mpd rate for FCY spending, works out to a total of 7 mpd.
Alternatively, cardholders who make hotel bookings through Kaligo by 31 December 2020 will earn a total of 10 mpd.
When are Citi Miles credited?
Citi Miles are credited when your transaction posts, which generally takes 1-3 working days.
How are Citi Miles calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the Citi Miles earned on your Citi PremierMiles Card.
|Local Spend||Round down transaction to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1.2 Round to the nearest whole number|
||Round down transaction to nearest S$1, then multiply by 2.0 Round to the nearest whole number|
This means the minimum spend required to earn miles is S$1.
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate:
|Local Spend||=ROUND (ROUNDDOWN (X,0) *1.2,0)|
||=ROUND (ROUNDDOWN (X,0) *2,0)|
|Where X= Amount Spent
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for Citi Miles?
The following transactions are ineligible for Citi Miles, as per the general Citibank rewards T&Cs. I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Quasi cash transactions (MCC 6529-6540)
- Utilities payments (MCC 4900)
- Insurance (MCC 6300)
- Real Estate Agents and Managers (MCC 6513)
- Educational Institutions (MCC 8211-8299)
- Professional Services and Membership Organizations (MCC 8651-8661)
- Government Services (MCC 9000-9999)
- Top-ups to prepaid accounts like YouTrip
These exclusions mean that you can’t use the Citi PremierMiles Card for RentHero transactions, although CardUp/ipaymy will earn points as usual.
What do I need to know about Citi Miles?
Citi Miles never expire, so long as your card account is kept open. This isn’t a license to hold on to them indefinitely (doing so leaves you vulnerable to devaluations), but does give you some breathing room during periods like Covid-19.
Citibank has a general policy of not pooling points across cards. If you have 12,000 Citi Miles on the Citi PremierMiles Card and 25,000 ThankYou points on the Citi Rewards Card, you will have to pay two separate conversion fees. This also means that you’ll need to transfer all your points out before cancelling the card, or else forfeit them.
Citibank has the widest variety of transfer partners in Singapore, with 12 airline and hotel programs to choose from. This gives you access to some great sweet spots, like with British Airways Executive Club, Etihad Guest, and Turkish Miles&Smiles.
Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 10,000 miles.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Conversion Ratio
(Citi Miles: Partner)
Transfers cost S$26.75 per program, regardless of how many points are transferred.
Citi Miles can also be redeemed for cash rebates at a pretty dismal rate of 165 miles =S$1. It’s a far cry from the 100 miles= S$1 rate at launch (still poor, mind), and there’s no reason you should take this option.
Other card perks
Two free lounge visits
The Citi PremierMiles is a relative rarity in its segment for having lounge access. Cardholders receive two free visits per year, via Priority Pass. At one point in time, the plan was to switch over to Dragon Pass, but it appears that’s been abandoned.
|BOC Elite Miles||✖|
|UOB PRVI Miles||✖|
(2 per year)
(2 per year,
Visa version only)
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||✖|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||✖|
Do note that the allowance is tracked by calendar year. This is notably different from most other travel cards, which award free lounge visits by membership year.
In other words, if you get the Citi PremierMiles Card towards the end of the year, you could enjoy four lounge visits in quick succession (e.g in December then January, since your allowance resets on 1 January).
Only the principal cardholder is entitled to this benefit. Lounge entitlements can be shared with a guest, but once you exhaust your free visits you’ll be charged US$32 per additional visit.
Buy miles with Citi PayAll
- Condo Fees
- Electricity Bills
Citi PremierMiles cardholders normally earn 1.2 mpd on PayAll transactions, which represents buying miles at 1.67 cents each.
Until 31 August 2020, however, cardholders can earn a bonus 25% miles on Payall, or 1.5 mpd. This lowers your cost per mile to 1.33 cents.
For the avoidance of doubt, Citi PayAll spending does count towards sign-up bonuses and other Citi promotions. I’ve confirmed this multiple times through official Citibank channels. Unfortunately, Citi CSO quality is hit and miss, and some continue to misinform customers that PayAll spending is ineligible as it counts as a “bill payment”.
Ad-hoc miles purchase promotions
Citibank runs periodic miles purchase promotions, which allow Citi PremierMiles Card members to buy additional miles after hitting a certain minimum spend.
A recent promotion in early 2020 allowed cardholders to buy miles from 0.97 cents each:
- Spend at least S$7,500, then pay S$215 to buy an additional 21,000 miles
- Spend at least S$14,000, then pay S$515 to buy an additional 53,200 miles
An even better offer came in 2017, when cardholders could buy miles from 0.76 cents each:
- Spend at least S$3,000, then pay S$58 to buy an additional 6,400 miles
- Spend at least S$9,000, then pay S$238 to buy an additional 31,200 miles
I don’t know how Citi makes money on these campaigns, but they’re fantastic opportunities for cardholders to top up their balance a cut-rate price.
Complimentary travel insurance with above average coverage
|Accidental Death||Medical Benefits||Travel Inconvenience|
|S$1,000,000||S$40,000||Loss of luggage: S$1,000
Luggage delay: S$600
Flight delay: S$500
Trip Cancellation: S$500
Trip Interruption: S$500
Many cards offer complimentary travel insurance, but not all policies are made equal. I’ve done the analysis previously, and concluded that Citibank’s AXA policy offers some of the best coverage on the market.
First of all, it features up to S$40,000 of medical expense coverage, which many other cards (e.g AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend, DBS Altitude, UOB PRVI Miles) surprisingly do not. Secondly, there’s S$100,000 of coverage for medical evacuation, and third, it covers award bookings, provided the taxes and fees are charged to the Citi PremierMiles Card (travel insurance on some other cards does not kick in unless you pay the full fare with the card).
You’ll need to decide if you’re comfortable with the overall level of coverage, but in my opinion, this could give some stand alone travel insurance plans a run for the money.
Summary Review: Citi PremierMiles Card
Its earn rates may not be the highest in the market, but the Citi PremierMiles Card still has a lot going for it- the widest range of transfer partners, lounge access, the opportunity to buy miles at very competitive rates, and good travel insurance coverage.
Throw in non-expiring miles and a decent sign-up bonus, and it’s a strong contender for the general spending slot in your wallet.
It’s just a shame that Citibank doesn’t pool points among its cards, and I really don’t get the need to use two different points currencies (at least it’s not as bad as OCBC, which has three).
So that’s my review of the Citi PremierMiles Card. What do you think?
|An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives|
|A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist|
|A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential|
|Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards|
|Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars|