Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card Review
If you have an affinity for "going out", Citi's ThankYou Preferred card has a lot of nice perks. Learn more in this review.
Do you sometimes think you spend too much money on having fun?
Like going out for dinner?
Or going out for entertainment like a movie, a sporting event or a concert?
If that's your lifestyle you don't have to feel guilty anymore about having fun.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is a card that lets you earn Citi ThankYou Reward Points with every purchase you make.
You earn double the points when you spend on dining out and entertainment with the card.
For all other purchases, you earn one point for every dollar spent.
You can then redeem your ThankYou Reward Points for gift cards, electronics, and other products through the ThankYou Rewards program.
It offers a sign-up bonus of 15,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months and has no annual fee.
There are two other Citi ThankYou cards. The first is the Citi ThankYou Premier card. This card is similar to the Citi ThankYou Preferred card but it also gets you triple the points when you use it for travel (including gas). There is also a bigger sign-up bonus (50,000 bonus points when you make $4,000 in purchases). But there is a $95 annual fee (although this is waived for the first 12 months).
The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students helps students build credit while also getting reward points. They get 2,500 bonus sign up points after spending $500 in the first three months. Like the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card, they get two ThankYou points for every dollar spent on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. There is a 0% intro APR that lasts for seven months.
Other Citi Credit Cards
The Citi Simplicity Card doesn't earn you any ThankYou Reward Points.
Its main plus is that you don't get charged a late fee for a late payment, and you don't get slapped with a penalty APR rate if you're ever late.
It has a 21 month period for its 0% intro APR rate on purchases and balances.
That's quite long compared to the 12-month intro rate for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.
If you have limited credit or no credit you can provide a security deposit and get a Citi Secured Mastercard. You don't earn any points and there are no introductory offers but you can start building your credit by using this card.
The Citi Double Cash Card earns you cash back rather than ThankYou Reward Points. It also has no annual fee. You earn 1% for every dollar you spend, and then when you pay off your balance you get another 1%. So you are earning 1% two times on every purchase (once you've paid it off). There are no introductory bonus offers with the Citi Double Cash Card.
There are four Citi credit cards that earn you air miles travel points for American Airlines instead of ThankYou Reward points — called the Citi AAdvantage cards.
The first type is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. You get 30,000 American Airline AAdvantage bonus miles for signing up if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months after you open one. The annual fee is $95 (waived in year one) and there is no 0% intro APR.
The second is the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. The massive sign up bonus for this card is 75,000 AAdvantage air miles. But you have to spend $7,500 on the card in the first three months to get the bonus. It has a huge annual fee of $450 and it's not waived in the first year. But this could be worth it if you travel a lot since the card gets you priority boarding and check-in. You also get membership in American Airline's travel lounges around the world
The third is a business credit card called the Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard which gives you 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage air mile points if you spend $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months.
And finally, there is the Citi AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard. This one offers 25,000 bonus air mile points after you buy just $750 in the first 3 months. It has a 0% APR rate for the first 15 months. And there is a $50 annual fee that's waived for the first twelve months.
A few other credit cards offered by Citi give you travel rewards. The Citi Prestige Card earns you ThankYou points that can be redeemed for travel through the ThankYou Travel Center. You get 40,000 bonus ThankYou Rewards points for signing up if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. But you also get a $250 air travel credit every year. Cardholders can go to many airport lounges, and you get a free 4th night with any hotel stay. Although this card has an annual fee of $450 the travel rewards could make it worth it. You earn triple the points on air travel and hotels and double the points on dining and entertainment. The Expedia+ Card and the Expedia+ Voyager card both earn points for booking travel via Expedia.com. The Expedia+ card gets you 15,000 Expedia bonus points for signing up if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. And there's no annual fee. The Expedia+ Voyager card gives you a 25,000 sign up bonus if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. But there is a $95 annual fee.
You get 2% cash back when you purchase at Costco
There is no annual fee but you do have to pay your annual Costco membership fee
You also get 4% cash back on gas purchases and 3% back on travel and dining
For all other purchases, you get 1% cash back.
Finally, the AT&T Access Card from Citi gets you 2 ThankYou points for every $1 you spend when you shop online for retail and travel purchases. You get 10,000 bonus ThankYou Reward points when you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Benefits of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
The biggest benefit of the Citi ThankYou Preferred card comes when you spend on dining and entertainment.
That's why they call it the ideal card for dinner and a movie.
You get twice the points when you spend on dining and entertainment than you do with other purchases.
For dining and entertainment, you get 2 points for every dollar you spend.
For everything else, it is 1 point per dollar spent.
When it comes to dining, the double points are collected on everything from fine dining restaurants to fast food chains. You get double points for buying coffee at a café, and even for paying your bar bill when you use the Citi ThankYou Preferred card.
There are lots of entertainment options that earn you double points.
You get two points for every dollar spent when you buy tickets for live entertainment, live theatre shows, music concerts, live sports events, and movies.
You even earn points at amusement parks like zoos, aquariums, the circus, and carnivals.
When you go to a tourist attraction like a museum or an art gallery you get twice the points.
Even entertainment media purchases like record store sales, video rentals, and on-demand internet streaming media on the internet count towards your double reward points.
There are also a few other benefits in addition to getting ThankYou Rewards points.
If you ever wonder if you've paid the best price for a purchase but don't have the time to compare there's something called Citi Price Rewind.
The service checks competitors' prices for registered items you've bought and if they find a lower one within 60 days of the purchase they refund you the difference.
It's like a built-in lowest price guarantee and you don't have to do any work!
Another benefit you get with the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is called Citi Private Pass.
This gives cardholders special access to early presales for tickets to concerts, sporting events, and dining experiences.
You also get access to VIP packages.
Citi Private Pass members also get complimentary movie screenings!
You also get extra insurance protection with the Citi ThankYou Preferred card.
Damage and theft protection is included in case something you buy gets stolen or needs to be repaired.
Manufacturer's warranties are extended when you buy something on the card.
Travel protection includes coverage if you cancel or interrupt a trip.
You get travel accident insurance and car rental insurance worldwide.
Other benefits include some added convenience.
You can use Apple Pay on your phone with the card, which lets you pay at over 200,000 stores with just the touch of your phone.
And they have something called Citi Concierge, where you can talk to experts who can help you make decisions for shopping, travel, dining, and entertainment.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Versus Other Reward Cards
There are several rewards credit cards that are competitive with the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns double Chase Ultimate Reward points on travel and double points on dining while earning one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
There are no bonus points for entertainment like with the Citi ThankYou Preferred card.
It has an attractive 50,000 bonus point intro offer if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
But there is a $95 annual fee that's waived in year one.
The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card gets you triple the points if you buy airfare directly from the airline.
You get double points when you book travel through the amextravel.com website, as well as for dining and for gas station and supermarket purchases.
But you don't get extra rewards for entertainment and there is a $195 annual fee that's waived in the first year.
One advantage the Citi ThankYou Preferred card has over most of the other reward cards is that you aren't charged an annual fee.
The Venture from Capital One card has no annual fee for the first year but then you are charged $59 each year after that.
Its strongest feature is that you earn unlimited 2 points per dollar on all purchases no matter what they are.
So you are getting the same rate as the Citi ThankYou Preferred on dining and entertainment, but the rate also applies to everything else! And you get a big 40,000 point bonus for signing up once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
The best intro offer out there is the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card.
It also has no annual fee.
And you earn 1.5x miles on all purchases.
But for every mile you earn within the first year, it gets doubled.
So if you earn 30,000 points it turns into 60,000 in year one.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Rates
The Intro APR Rate for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is 0% for purchases and balance transfers.
That rate doesn't apply to cash advances, which are charged at a rate of 26.24% from the beginning.
After the 12 month intro period, the APR rate for purchases and balance transfers is set between 14.49% and 24.49% based on your credit score.
If you make a late payment or your payment is returned, a penalty APR is charged up to 29.99%.
This penalty APR could be applied indefinitely.
Minimum Credit Score for Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
You should have a Good to Excellent FICO credit score if you are applying for a Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.
The average FICO score for approved cards is 740, and a typical lowest score is 673, which ranks as Fair.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Fees
Another strength of the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is that there is no annual fee, but there are several types of transaction fees.
The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer (whichever is bigger).
For cash advances, you are charged either a $10 or 5% transaction fee (whichever is bigger).
For foreign purchases, you get charged 3% for each transaction (in US dollars).
Penalties are $35 for either a late payment or a returned payment.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Bonuses
Signing up for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card earns you some bonuses.
The biggest one is 15,000 bonus ThankYou Points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.
15,000 points can be redeemed for $150 in gift cards, electronics or other products included in the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.
The other bonus is that you pay 0% Intro APR for the first 12 months on the things you purchase, as well as on balance transfers.
However, you have to make the balance transfer within the first four months of signing up.
What Citi ThankYou Preferred Cardholders Say
For cardholders who regularly spend on dining out and entertainment, the reviews are very strong.
They appreciate that they earn more points on items they would be spending on anyway.
Many reviewers say they signed up because of the bonus points.
For a lot of reviewers the reward points add up and they like that they can use them to shop for products on thankyou.com or redeem them for gift cards to common retailers.
The negative feedback from reviews includes those who find better reward points with other cards and people who complain about poor customer service.
Redeeming Your Citi ThankYou Reward Points
There are two ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou Reward points.
You can call 1-800-THANKYOU and a rewards program rep will help you redeem your points over the phone.
Or you can visit www.thankyou.com and browse all the products and options available, then shop or transfer to redeem for travel online.
Restrictions to the Citi ThankYou Rewards
There is no limit to the amount of ThankYou Rewards points you can earn.
However, if you are going to transfer them to another loyalty program (for example for airline air mile points) you have to already be enrolled in the program.
You can only use your ThankYou Reward points to pay online bills if you have a Citibank checking account.
Using Your ThankYou Reward Points
When you visit Thankyou.com you can shop with your points.
They have specific products you can use your points to purchase.
They include bags and luggage, cameras and camcorders, computers and electronics, home and garden stuff, kitchen and dining items, outdoor and sporting gear, and tools.
You can also shop with your points at other retailers who they've partnered with.
These include Amazon.com, Expedia for hotels, and Live Nation for concerts and live events.
You can also use your points at Best Buy, 1-800-FLOWERS, and to buy gift cards through the Wonder app.
You can also buy gift cards for dozens of retailers using your ThankYou Reward Points.
These include gift cards for Macy's, Target, Foot Locker, Victoria's Secret, iTunes and many, many more.
To redeem your ThankYou Reward points for travel, you can transfer them to many airline frequent flier programs and hotel points programs through Thankyou.com.
This includes TrueBlue points from JetBlue if you are a member.
For some travel providers, you even get bonus miles for making the transfer.
For example, if you transfer 1,000 ThankYou Reward points to Hilton Honors hotel points they give you 2,000.
If you transfer 1000 ThankYou Rewards points to Asia Points (for airlines operating out of Asia) you get 1,200 air mile points.
There is even the option to use your Citi ThankYou Rewards points like cash to pay your online bills.
Or you can use them as statement credits for eligible purchases made through the credit card.
If you go out a lot this card is a good fit for you.
Being rewarded for eating at restaurants, going to bars, seeing movies, and attending concerts is a dream come true for people with really active social lives.
But if your lifestyle doesn't include a lot of dining out and attending events, this card is probably not worth it for you.
If you are more of a travel person, you can find other cards that reward you for spending on travel.
There are so many things to consider when you get a credit card.
But definitely, consider your lifestyle and spending habits when picking this card.