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Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Annual Fee: $0
Credit Required: Excellent
Rewards Program and Signup Bonuses*:
- 0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.24%-23.24% based upon your creditworthiness.
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment.
- 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases.
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited ThankYou Points.
- Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more.
- Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology.
- No annual fee
0% for 15 months
Intro Balance Transfer
0% for 15 months, plus 3% Transfer Fee
13.24% - 23.24% Variable
The Citi ThankYou Preferred is one of the most popular rewards cards out there with 2x points on dining and entertainment with no annual fee.
For those willing to pay an annual fee, you can earn addition ThankYou points with the ThankYou Premier card. The Premier card provides 3x points on travel and gas for a $95 annual fee. (Since the ThankYou Premier consider gas to be a travel expense, we also rate it as one of the best gas rewards cards available.)
Comparing ThankYou Preferred and ThankYou Premier
Here is a quick side-by-side comparison of the ThankYou Preferred versus the ThankYou Premier cards:
Citi ThankYou Preferred
- No annual fee
- 2x points on restaurants and entertainment
- 1x points on everything else
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Citi ThankYou Premier
- $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
- 3x points on travel (including gas)
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
- 1x points on everything else
What's to Like About the No Annual Fee Preferred Card
The ThankYou Preferred is the no annual fee ThankYou card.
Most of your spending will earn just 1 point per dollar, although you do earn double points on entertainment and dining. This can give the card some value as it has no annual fee, and the other card benefits may be helpful, like extended warranty, price protection, and purchase protection.
Unfortunately, ThankYou points don't have the best value.
Unfortunately, most redemption options have a value of less than one penny per point. You get the best value on high-value gift cards and travel certificates at 1 cent per point. Your points are only worth 0.5 cents each when redeemed for cash back (10,000 points for $50 cash back) or 0.8 cents when shopping through Amazon (10,000 points for $80 purchase).
There are plenty of other cash back cards with no annual fee and more generous rewards.
A better alternative to the ThankYou Preferred is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited card currently has a $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 during the first three months. Plus you earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases - without rotating categories.
Citi ThankYou Premier: A Good Deal for International Travelers
The Premier version of this card used to offer a better value with a bonus per miles flown, an anniversary bonus, and airline ticket discounts. There was also a sizable 50,000 point sign-up bonus that was reduced and then dropped completely in 2016. So keep in mind the sign-up bonus for this card will likely return in the future.
With the ThankYou Premier card, you earn 3x points on travel expenses, including gasoline, and your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem for airfare, car rentals, cruises, and hotels through the travel center.
Despite the negative changes, it still has something to offer for some travelers. Despite the low value of Citi ThankYou points, the ThankYou Premier card may be a good fit for you, even with the $95 annual fee, if you transfer your points to partners or consistently redeem your points through the Citi Travel Center.
In fact, if you put some strategy into your transfers and redeem points for expensive flights, you can get a slightly better value for your points. Sometimes there are even transfer bonuses to some partners like Hilton and Virgin Atlantic.
If you frequently use with one of Citi's airline or hotel partners, the Premier card can give you a great return, especially considering you can still earn elite-qualifying miles and airline awards as usual because it's as if you're buying a ticket, not redeeming points for an award seat.
Citi ThankYou Premier vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Premier card is most comparable to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The CSP card also has a $95 annual fee, but offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months -- a value of $625 when redeemed for travel through Chase.
While the Sapphire Preferred only offers 2x points on travel and dining, you can transfer points to a wide variety of hotel and airline partners. Plus, Chase tends to offer more domestic partners than Citi, although Citi's list of partners has grown in 2016.
To decide which card is best for you, compare their travel partners and consider which airlines and hotel brands you use the most.
However, the ThankYou rewards program still remains less generous than the competition when looking at both your ability to earn points and the value of those points after you earn them.
This leaves the ThankYou Preferred and Premier cards as average offerings, and left behind by far superior rewards cards available in the marketplace.