Offering free wine every time you dine at a range of restaurants, two free airport lounge visits each year and inclusive travel insurance is the Citi Signature credit card, issued under the Visa Signature banner by Citibank.
Also on the cards: a nice serving of 75,000 bonus Citibank Rewards points for new customers which can become 37,500 frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia or Singapore Airlines, plus a high monthly earning cap on frequent flyer points that won't affect most users.
Citi Signature credit card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Above-platinum
- Card type: Visa Signature
- Loyalty program: Citibank Rewards
- Citibank Rewards airline partners: Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines
- Citibank Rewards points earned per $1 (domestic spend): 1.5 up to $20,000 per statement period; none thereafter until the next statement period commences
- Citibank Rewards points earned per A$1 (abroad): 1.5, uncapped and tier-free
- 1.5 Citibank Rewards points = 0.75 Virgin Australia Velocity points, 0.75 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles (minimum transfer of 20,000 Citibank Rewards points)
Fees, charges and interest: 3/5
- Annual fee: $199 in the first year, $395 thereafter
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (up to 4)
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.74% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.4%
- Minimum income requirement: $75,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $15,000
Earning points for free flights: 3.5/5
New customers who apply, are approved and spend at least $6,000 within the first 90 days will net a cool 75,000 bonus Citibank Rewards points, atop their usual earn of 9,000 Citi Rewards points on the same amount (1.5 points per $1).
All up, that's 84,000 Rewards points to kick things off, equal to 42,000 Virgin Australia Velocity points or 42,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.
Through Velocity, that's more than enough for four one-way upgrades from flexible economy to 'The Business' on Virgin Australia's Airbus A330 flights between Perth and either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane...
... while with Singapore Airlines, just 4,750 extra KrisFlyer miles proves enough for a one-way business class flight between Australia's east coast cities and Singapore, plus a payment to cover taxes, fees and carrier charges when you book your flight.
After these bonuses have come and gone, you'll continue to earn the equivalent of 0.75 Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on the card.
However, note that this card cannot earn Qantas Points – for that, you'll instead need to apply for the identical-looking yet different Citi Qantas Visa Signature credit card.
Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5
Use your Citi Signature card to pay for a return international flight before leaving Australia and you're automatically covered by the bank's complimentary travel insurance on that trip if it's of six months or less.
International return journeys booked using Velocity or KrisFlyer frequent flyer points are also covered if you've directly converted at least 30,000 Citibank Rewards points into 15,000 frequent flyer points with that program in the past 12 months.
That's handy as not all credit cards will cover you on trips booked using points, and is joined by the expected line-up of interstate flight inconvenience insurance, transit accident insurance, purchase cover, extended warranty protection and access to the guaranteed pricing scheme.
Airport lounge access: 2/5
Citi Signature cardholders can enjoy a free and ongoing Priority Pass airport lounge membership with two lounge visits included each year, after which they can continue using their Priority Pass card to access participating lounges at a cost of US$27 per visit.
You'd usually pay US$109 (A$142) for that basic membership plus US$27 (A$35) for each of those first two visits, making this perk alone worth more than you're paying in credit card annual fees – at least, in the first year.
Citi Signature credit card: the verdict
Pairing an annual fee of $199 in the first year with a reasonable sign-on bonus, Priority Pass lounge access worth A$212, free wine when you dine and a variety of insurance covers leaves no doubt that this card pays for itself up front.
However, those interested in earning frequent flyer points – particularly Virgin Australia Velocity points – won't be as impressed with the ongoing earning rate of 0.75 Velocity points per $1 (after conversion) when other cards like the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Visa churn out points at parity.
Come Year Two when the Citi Signature annual fee jumps to $395, the Westpac Altitude Black cards might prove a better fit with the same annual fee, comparable insurance coverage, the same Priority Pass lounge privileges and both an AMEX and a MasterCard on the one account.
Use that MasterCard in Australia and you'll earn the equivalent of 0.625 Velocity points per dollar spent – certainly lower than the 0.75 earned via Citi Signature – but overseas that jumps to 1.5 Velocity points per dollar spent, both uncapped.
The companion Altitude Black AMEX also lets you scoop up 1.5 Velocity points per dollar wherever it's accepted, which could boost your points balance even further.
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