Credit Cards

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

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Last updated on March 26, 2019

Today’s Citi ThankYou® Premier Card does not offer the same enticing bonus once available. For a period of time, new users were treated to a sign-up bonus of 30,000, 40,000 or even 50,000 ThankYou points. The sign-up bonuses may return in the future, but for now, the benefit is no longer available. Without the sign-up bonus, the question is whether this card is worthwhile to own.

Citi has replaced the sign-up bonus with a different type of reward. For the first 24 months of owning the card, Citi is providing cardholders with two ThankYou points for every dollar spent on all expenses. So if you consistently spend $2,000 each month on the card, you will almost achieve the same as a 50,000 ThankYou point sign-up bonus, but it will take two years for it to pay off.

After the first 24 months, all purchases earn one point per dollar except for purchases at supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations, commuter transportation and parking merchants. At these locations, if retailers are properly categorized, cardholders will earn 1.2 points per dollar.

When other cards offer more enticing rewards programs, like five percent cash back in certain spending categories, there’s a question of whether a program like this is worthwhile.

The issuer does offer a few other perks with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.

  • There are no spending caps for earning ThankYou points — bonus or otherwise — so in some circumstances, you can be better off with this card than with a card offering limited five percent cash back or five points per dollar.
  • Your points are worth 33 percent more when you spend them using Citi’s travel agent. The ThankYou Travel Center allows 10,000 points to convert to $133, and that is a significant increase to your effective cash back rate.
  • When you buy airfare with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, Citi will increase your ThankYou point balance based on the number of miles you fly.
  • In the first year of your membership, Citi will provide a free companion ticket for a flight within the contiguous United States, which could be worth as much as the card’s annual fee, detailed below.
  • For foreign purchases, there are no additional fees. Combine this with the above benefits for purchasing airfare, and this card might be most ideal for international travelers.

Citi’s benefits come with a negative feature. This card carries an annual fee of $125, and if you would like to add an authorized user to the account, the fee is $50 per user. These fees are waived for the first year, but all that means is that you will need to pay after twelve months of owning the card rather than when first enrolling. There are some circumstances where annual fees are worthwhile, but this is a high fee in comparison to other cards offering similar benefits.

While Citi also provides a travel agency for booking flights and other transportation, I wouldn’t book anything without comparing their fares with other sources, like Kayak. This card may be less worthwhile and the bonus less valuable overall if you need to overpay for your flight in order to receive the benefits.

As of the time of writing, the standard APR for purchases on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card is 13.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% based on creditworthiness. These rates seem high when compared to the less than 1% the credit that the Federal Reserve offers banks, so you can be sure Citi isn’t losing money on this deal. No one should ever be forced to pay interest rates as high as 22.99%, so if you choose to apply for membership, make sure you’re doing so with the understanding that the only away any rewards program is worthwhile is if you pay your credit card balance in full and on time every month. One mistake — or one emergency — can destroy all the benefits you could possibly earn from this card.

If the Citi ThankYou Premier Card sounds like something you’d like to own for its benefits, given the potentially high interest rate and the annual fee due after twelve months, apply for the card today and get a fast response from Citi.

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