I’ve never given Citibank’s ThankYou Rewards program too much attention simply because I had been fully content with my existing credit card strategy. But I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by the Citi ThankYou Preferred card. It is Citi’s no annual fee introduction into the ThankYou Rewards program and also a very unique credit card.
Why the ThankYou Preferred should be in your wallet
The ThankYou Preferred card is nothing more than the no annual fee version of the ThankYou Premier card. But both cards share one unique bonus spending category that I find very valuable, both in everyday life, as well as on the road:
- no annual fee
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
- 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 3 months
- 0 percent APR on balance transfers in the first 12 months
- $95 annual fee
- 3x points on travel, including gas
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
- 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months
- No foreign transaction fee
The common denominator of these two cards are the dining and entertainment categories. I’m particularly interested in the latter because I already have the dining section covered. We spend much more on entertainment than we may realize, and the Citi ThankYou Preferred card covers much of that spending. That monthly Hulu or Netflix charge is covered, same for that last museum trip, movie, amusement park visit or Statue of Liberty tour. The truth is that when we travel, we want to relax, eat good food, explore and be entertained. Naturally, as points collectors, we also want to be “rewarded” for as much of that as possible. So if you already have a pretty good handle on the travel and gasoline categories, the ThankYou Premier is the card for you. It fills that entertainment “void” and doesn’t cost you a dime. Also, with 14 retail and travel partners, in addition to current promos on Hilton HHonors and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club rewards points, the Citibank ThankYou Rewards system is a good program to get acquainted with. The ThankYou Preferred does limit you to one cent per point in the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal, but that portal needs to be seriously revamped before it can be competitive with its Amex and Chase counterparts anyway. Fares in the ThankYou Travel Portal are regularly higher than in competing travel portals. This is the main reason I only consider the ThankYou Rewards program for its transfer partners, which includes Flying Blue.
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When you should skip the ThankYou Preferred
In short, if you carry either the ThankYou Premier card or the Citi Prestige card. Both also give you double points on dining and entertainment, and then so much more. Whether or not either of these cards is right for you depends entirely on your needs, interests and also credit card strategy. I have personally concluded that the ThankYou Premier would find redundancy inside my wallet. I value Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards still a little higher (mainly due to their superior travel portals) than Citi’s ThankYou Rewards and, therefore, prioritize those cards instead. But if you’re already heavily invested in ThankYou Rewards points and/or see a bright future for their value, it may be a good idea to skip the Preferred and go straight for the Premier, as that is a solid travel card that covers a multitude of bonus spending categories. Also, if you need a card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, the ThankYou Preferred is not the card for you.
The Citibank ThankYou Preferred is one of the most underrated credit cards on the market. It holds tremendous value even as a bottom-tier ThankYou Rewards card. The 2x points in entertainment cannot be beat and it alone is reason enough to invest in the ThankYou Rewards system.
What do you think about this review? Am I on to something with my assessment of the ThankYou Preferred or did I miss the mark? Please comment below and follow us on our social media pages.