Here’s The MileLion’s review of the Citi PremierMiles Card, launched all the way back in July 2007 and still going strong.
Like the DBS Altitude and UOB PRVI Miles Card, the Citi PremierMiles Card was initially introduced as a premium product with a minimum income requirement of S$80,000 (cardholders were even invited to join Citigold for a year with a reduced AUM requirement). That income requirement fell over time, however, and today it’s positioned as an entry-level miles card, available to anyone who meets the MAS-mandated minimum of S$30,000 per annum.
But unless you’re a snob, more accessible doesn’t mean less desirable. With a great sign-up bonus, a wide variety of transfer partners, lounge access, and the opportunity to buy low-cost miles, the Citi PremierMiles Card can be a very compelling tool in your miles kit regardless of SES.
|Citi PremierMiles Card|
|🦁 MileLion Verdict|
|☑ Take It|
☐ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
|What do these ratings mean?|
|While it doesn’t have the best earn rates, the Citi PremierMiles Card’s transfer partner variety and Citi PayAll trump card make it a very valuable tool.|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
|Full List of Credit Card Reviews|
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|
|Miles with |
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$27|
|Local Earn||1.2 mpd||Points Pool?||No|
|FCY Earn||2 mpd||Lounge Access?||Yes: 2x Priority Pass|
|Special Earn||7 mpd on Agoda|
10 mpd on Kaligo
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
The Citi PremierMiles Card was originally issued on the AMEX, Mastercard and Visa networks. However, the AMEX version was discontinued in 2019, and since April 2020 all new cards have been issued on the Mastercard network only.
Existing Citi PremierMiles Visa Cards remain valid, and will continue to be replaced/renewed unless you expressly consent to switch to the Mastercard version.
|❓ What happens if I switch?|
|If you switch from the Visa to the Mastercard, any Citi Miles accrued on the Visa will be automatically transferred to the new Mastercard account|
In any case, there’s very little difference between the Mastercard and Visa. We’ll be referring to the Mastercard version in this review, but everything said here applies to the Visa as well unless explicitly stated.
How much must I earn to qualify for a Citi PremierMiles Card?
The Citi PremierMiles Card has a minimum income requirement of S$30,000, 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. Visit a Citibank branch 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$194.40 for the principal cardholder, and no fee for supplementary cards.
Cardholders can request a waiver of the first year’s annual fee, although this means they will only be eligible for a smaller sign-up bonus (see next section). Assuming you meet the definition of a new-to-bank customer, I’d strongly recommend paying the first year’s annual fee to enjoy the bigger sign-up bonus.
Annual fee waivers are at the discretion of Citi, and in my personal experience are fairly easy to obtain.
Should a waiver not be granted, paying the annual fee gets you 10,000 miles in return, which means buying miles at ~1.94 cents each. That’s certainly not the lowest price you can buy miles for, though it could still be worth it for some depending on how much you value a mile.
From now till 31 October 2023, new-to-bank Citi PremierMiles Cardholders can choose between two sign-up offers:
- 8,000 bonus miles with a minimum spend of S$800, with a first year fee waiver
- 30,000 bonus miles with a minimum spend of S$800, with payment of the S$194.40 annual fee
|❓ New-to-bank Definition|
| New-to-bank customers are defined as those who do not currently hold a principal Citi card, and have not in the 12 month period before application. Debit cards, supplementary cards and corporate cards do not count. |
The S$800 must be spent within the first 2 months after approval, otherwise known as the qualifying period. The qualifying period runs from the approval date and two full calendar months following that. For example, those approved on 15 August 2023 will have until 31 October 2023 to meet the minimum spend.
In other words, you actually have 2-3 months to hit the minimum spend, and should apply as early in the month as possible to maximise your time.
For the full details, refer to the following post.
If you already hold any principal Citi credit card, or cancelled one in the past 12 months, there is no sign-up bonus available to you. You will automatically be granted a first year fee waiver.
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||⭐ Bonus Spending|
|1.2 mpd||2 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 (SGD)
- 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.
These are respectable rates for its segment, though it’s starting to lag behind. In recent times, the newly-launched HSBC TravelOne Card and the refreshed DBS Altitude Card/OCBC 90°N Card have leapfrogged the PremierMiles.
|💳 Earn Rates for General Spending Cards|
(income req.: S$30K)
|Cards||Local Spend||FCY Spend|
|UOB PRVI Miles||1.4 mpd||2.4 mpd|
|HSBC TravelOne Card||1.2 mpd||2.4 mpd|
|DBS Altitude||1.3 mpd||2.2 mpd|
|OCBC 90°N Card||1.3 mpd||2.1 mpd|
|Citi PremierMiles||1.2 mpd||2 mpd|
|StanChart Journey||1.2 mpd||2 mpd|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||1.2 mpd||2 mpd*|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||1.1 mpd||2 mpd*|
|BOC Elite Miles||1 mpd||2 mpd|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||1.2 mpd||1.2 mpd|
|*In 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.
Bonus miles on Kaligo & Agoda
|Citi x Kaligo|
|Citi x Agoda|
Citi PremierMiles Cardholders who make hotel bookings through Agoda by 31 December 2023 (with stay date up till 30 April 2024) will earn an uncapped 7 mpd (T&Cs apply).
Do note that prices for bookings made through these links are likely to be inflated, compared to other channels (what’s going on is that Kaligo/Agoda are simply rebating some of the commission they receive from the booking in the form of miles).
It might still be worth it, depending on the price difference and how much you value a mile. However, you should definitely make a point of comparison shopping!
While both of these offers technically have end dates, they have been perpetually renewed for the past few years and can be considered evergreen until further notice.
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|
|FCY Spend||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. Because of this rounding policy, the Citi PremierMiles Card can potentially outperform a “higher-earning” card like the UOB PRVI Miles Card, depending on transaction size.
Earn rate: 1.2 mpd
|UOB PRVI Miles|
Earn rate: 1.4 mpd
|S$5||6 miles||6 miles|
|S$9.99||11 miles||6 miles|
|S$15||18 miles||20 miles|
|S$19.99||23 miles||20 miles|
|S$25||30 miles||34 miles|
|S$29.99||35 miles||34 miles|
|S$35||42 miles||48 miles|
|S$39.99||47 miles||48 miles|
If you’re an Excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate:
|Local Spend||=ROUND (ROUNDDOWN (X,0) *1.2,0)|
|FCY Spend||=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 full list of ineligible transactions for Citi Miles can be found in the general Citi 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 GrabPay and YouTrip
For the avoidance of doubt, Citi PremierMiles Cardholders will earn rewards for CardUp transactions- though they may prefer to use Citi PayAll instead (see below).
There is also no restriction on hospital transactions, making Citi cards one of the few remaining options for spending on this category.
What do I need to know about Citi Miles?
|❌ Expiry||↔️ Pooling||💰 Transfer Fee|
|No expiry||No||S$27 per conversion|
|⬆️ Min. Transfer||✈️ No. of Partners||⏱️ Transfer Time|
|10,000 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 (since all airline frequent flyer programmes will, over time, devalue), but does give you some breathing room.
Citibank has a 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.
Partners and Transfer Fee
Citibank offers a wide variety of transfer partners, with 11 airline and hotel loyalty programmes to choose from. This includes some programmes with good value sweet spots like British Airways Executive Club, Qatar Privilege Club and Turkish Miles&Smiles.
Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 10,000 miles.
|Frequent Flyer Programme||Conversion Ratio |
(Citi Miles: Partner)
Transfers cost S$27 per programme, regardless of how many points are transferred.
Citibank tells customers that points transfers will take 14 business days, but in reality it’s usually 24-48 hours for KrisFlyer, or 2-4 working days for other programmes.
If you need your points credited instantly, you can move them via Kris+ at a rate of 4,000 Citi Miles = 3,400 KrisPay miles. KrisPay miles can then be instantly converted to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:1 ratio.
|S$5 for new Kris+ Users|
|Get S$5 (in the form of 750 KrisPay miles) when you sign-up with code W644363 and make your first transaction|
There are pros and cons to this:
- Minimum conversion block is reduced to 4,000 Citi Miles, versus 10,000 Citi Miles if converting via Citibank’s rewards portal
- Transfers from Citi to Kris+ and Kris+ to KrisFlyer are instant
- Those 4,000 Citi Miles would normally be worth 4,000 KrisFlyer miles, so a 15% haircut is incurred
Should you choose to take this option, do note that it’s a two-step process. The first transfer is from Citi to Kris+, the second is from Kris+ to KrisFlyer. A big button will pop up after the first step prompting you to take the second.
If you do not convert within seven days, or spend any of the transferred miles, the balance will be “stuck” in Kris+, where they expire after six months, and are worth a mere 0.67 cents apiece.
Other card perks
Two free lounge visits
The Citi PremierMiles Card offers cardholders two free visits per calendar year, via Priority Pass.
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 a 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.
Here’s how this compares to other cards in its segment.
|Card||Network||Free Lounge Visits|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||Plaza Premium||4X|
|HSBC TravelOne Card||DragonPass||4X|
|Citi PremierMiles||Priority Pass||2X|
|DBS Altitude||Priority Pass||2X|
(Visa Version Only)
|StanChart Journey Card||Priority Pass||2X|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||N/A||N/A|
|BOC Elite Miles||N/A||N/A|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||N/A||N/A|
|OCBC 90°N Card||N/A||N/A|
|UOB PRVI Miles||N/A||N/A|
Buy miles with Citi PayAll
While this isn’t unique to the Citi PremierMiles Card, one of the best perks of holding a Citibank card is access to Citi PayAll.
Citi PremierMiles Cardholders can pay various types of bills with their card and earn rewards points, in exchange for a 2.2% service fee. 23 different categories of payment are currently supported:
|💰 Citi PayAll: Supported Payments|
The usual earn rate is 1.2 mpd, which given a 2.2% admin fee represents a cost per mile of 1.83 cents. However, Citi’s current promotion upsizes this earn rate to 2.2 mpd, which lowers the cost per mile to 1 cent apiece.
Make no mistake: Citi PayAll is Citibank’s ace in the hole. No other (legitimate) service out there offers miles as cheap as this, and even if your day-to-day spend is modest, you can easily top up your balance this way.
Here’s a simple illustration: at the current promotional rate of 1 cent per mile, a round-trip Business Class ticket from Singapore to Sydney would cost S$1,370 (137,000 miles) plus taxes. Assuming you can find Business Saver space, that is a phenomenal deal.
And if you’re a new Citi PremierMiles Cardholder, some additional good news: Citi PayAll transactions will count towards the minimum spend for welcome offers and other promotions, provided the service fee is paid.
I’ve written a comprehensive guide to Citi PayAll, so be sure to check out the article below.
Complimentary travel insurance
Complimentary travel insurance is offered by numerous cards, but not all policies are made equal. Some offer bare bones coverage, others are much more comprehensive.
Fortunately, the Citi PremierMiles Card falls into the latter category. Its HL Assurance-underwritten policy offers up to S$1,000,000 for accidental death and permanent disablement, S$40,000 for medical expenses, S$100,000 for emergency medical evacuation, and coverage for travel inconveniences like lost or delayed luggage.
COVID-19 medical expenses and hospital allowance are also provided for.
Coverage is activated when you use your Citi PremierMiles Card to pay for your round-trip airfare, or to pay for the taxes and surcharges on an award ticket.
Terms and Conditions
Summary Review: Citi PremierMiles Card
|🦁 MileLion Verdict|
|☑ Take It|
☐ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
While no general spending card is strictly speaking “essential” (since it’ll never be able to beat a specialised spending card for earn rates), I think the Citi PremierMiles Card just about sneaks into that bracket.
As great as the sign-up bonus, 11 different transfer partners, travel insurance coverage and lounge access are, the real trump card is Citi PayAll. I don’t know how long more Citi intends to throw money at it, but the opportunity to mint cheap miles is something you won’t find with any of its competitors.
It’s just a shame that Citibank doesn’t pool points, 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?