The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers high rewards for everyday purchases like gas, tolls and parking and good-for-you splurges like amusement park trips, RV and boat rentals and airfare. Plus, if you earn the sign-up bonus of 40,000 bonus points, you can cover the cost of one round trip airline ticket, get up to $400 in gift cards or redeem your points for other rewards.
The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card’s best features:
Thanks to changes Citi® made in early 2015, you now can earn more points on travel (up from 2 points per dollar to 3 points). For most cards, this typically includes airfare, hotels and public transportation, but the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card also gives you rewards for gas — which adds up quickly, especially if you’re a chauffeur for the little ones, commuter, or road warrior. The changes also mean you get the 40,000 bonus points upfront after meeting the $3,000 requirement. Previously, customers had to wait until the second year to get a portion of this bonus.
Your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for air travel, cruises, hotels and car rentals through the ThankYou® Travel Center,Citi’s online booking tool. Do the basic math and a $400 purchase turns into 500 points — not a bad incentive to skip Kayak and Expedia.
No foreign transaction fees. The card also has several travel protection benefits, including chip technology for enhanced security, which is a bonus when traveling abroad.
One great card benefit is Citi’s 24/7 personal concierge service. Too busy to book your own travel? Use the service and a representative will book your flight and hotel. A rep can even make your restaurant reservations and help you find the perfect gift.
And if you’re an avid concert goer or sports enthusiast, use Citi® Private Pass® to purchase pre-sale tickets and VIP packages to concerts, sporting and various entertainment events.
While you can transfer points to different loyalty programs from airlines and hotels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a domestic carrier on the list. Unless you’re headed to Qatar (maybe to check out World Cup 2022) or Singapore on your next vacation, you’ll likely be underwhelmed by the rewards program. Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards Program only includes the following partners and international airlines:
The annual fee of $95 is in line with competitors, but you need to spend around $800 per month to offset the fee. If you’re a light credit card user, considering a card without an annual fee may mean more rewards for you.
Another drawback of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is that there’s some red tape on redeemable offers, so you’ll need to be strategic about redeeming points. Gift cards and flight redemptions will get you the most value, at 1 cent per point. Statement credits, shopping purchases and cash back offer less. To get the most benefit, redeem your points for air travel, cruises, hotels and car rentals through the ThankYou® Travel Center, where they’re worth 1.25 cents each.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card requires $4,000 in spending for the first three months compared to $3,000 for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers two times the points on travel and dining, while you’ll get three times the points on travel with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. Both cards eliminate foreign transaction fees and waive the annual fee the first year. (After that, it’s $95). However, if you prefer to use your rewards points on domestic travel, Chase Sapphire Preferred is the better option, because Citi ThankYou® Premier’s points transfer program only includes international airlines.
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card vs. Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express®
Sign-up bonus for the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is 25,000 membership rewards points after you spend $2,000 within the first three months. Like the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you get three times the points on air travel and two times the points on dining. One difference: the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers three times the points on gas, while the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card only gives you two. Though there’s no annual fee on the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card the first year, it’s more than double the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card after the intro period — $195 vs. $95. To offset the $195 fee, you’d have to use this card for most of your everyday purchases. If you’re a casual spender, Citi ThankYou® Premier offers better value.
If Citi® could mold the perfect consumer for its Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, it would probably be a suburbanite who commutes an hour to work every day, has date nights at a place sans coloring placemats and is game for a family RV adventure.
If you tend to use your credit card for everyday expenses like gas, tolls, parking, dining out and going to the movies, meeting the $3,000 threshold for the 40,000 sign-up bonus should be a breeze.