Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Review

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"Travel benefits you can count on."

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x points on travel with this card, plus 25% more points value through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. Also earn 2x points on entertainment and dining!

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Card Summary Table

  • Card Provider
    Citibank
  • Card Type(s):
  • Card Focus:
    • Airlines
    • Car Rental Agencies
    • Dining
    • Entertainment
    • Gas (Driving)
    • Hotels
    • Local Transportation
    • Travel (General)
  • Card Bonus & Info
    • Earn 30,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open
    • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
    • 2 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Dining Out & Entertainment
    • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of ThankYou® Points you can earn with this card
    • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Redeem ThankYou® Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards and more
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Annual Fee
    • $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Rewards Center
  • Goes Well With
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Typical Users
    Food Lovers, Frequent Travelers, International Travelers
  • Customer Service Number

    888-248-4226

  • Login Link
  • Partners
    Amazon.com, Expedia.com, LiveNation.com, BestBuy.com, Wonder,  Virgin America Elevate, Virgin Atlantic, Etihad Guest, Qantas, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Flying Blue, Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Hilton Honors Worldwide, and JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Interest Rates ?
    • 15.24% to 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Late fees ?
    • Up to $35
    • Penalty APR of 29.99%
  • Balance Transfers
    • $5 or 3% of the amount of transfer (whichever is greater)
    • 15.24% to 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Cash Forwarding
    • $10 or 5% of the amount of transfer (whichever is greater)
    • 25.99% APR

The Ideal Cardholder

Whether for work or play, traveling is in your blood. But the last thing you want to do is spend money if you don’t have to!

The cost of airline tickets and hotel stays add up. That’s why you stay abreast of the latest credit card offers, always keeping an eye out for ways to reduce your travel expenses.

With the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you can rack up the points quickly and redeem them for travel rewards, gift cards, and more.

All the extra perks don’t hurt either!

Travelers Will Love the Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Travelers will love the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, because you can earn rewards for all types of travel purchases along with dining and entertainment!

Sign-Up Bonus and Earning Categories

There is not typically a sign-up bonus points or an  introductory APR. However, see current sign-up bonus in the card summary table above!

However, you will earn 3x points on all travel, including gas and anything you purchase at a gas station (like food and car maintenance services).

You’ll also earn 2x points on dining out and select entertainment, as well as 1x points for all other purchases. The card costs $95 per year, but it is waived in the first 12 months.

Bottom Line:  The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card earns 3x points for all travel, 2x points for dining and select entertainment, and 1x points for all other purchases. It costs $95 per year but the fee is waived in the first year.

Other Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Benefits

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, which is a nice savings since you typically don’t get any sign-up points.

Another neat benefit is that your ThankYou points are worth 25% more when you redeem then through the ThankYou Travel Center (compared to redeeming through the ThankYou Rewards collection).

As a card member, you also get to choose the due date for your monthly bill. You can pick any available due date, whether it’s at the beginning of the month, end of the month, or smack in the middle.

With the card, you get access to Citi Private Pass and Citi Cards with Apple Pay, which can be nice features if used frequently. Additionally, you get Citi Price Rewind, which acts as a price protection within 60 days of a purchase.

Additional insurances include Damage and Theft Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Travel Benefits

First, it’s important to note the breadth that the travel category covers. Not only does it include any airline or hotel, but also tours, gas stations, public transportation, taxis, cruises, tolls, campgrounds, and even boat rentals!

International travelers will appreciate the lack of foreign transaction fees, which is an effective savings of about 3%. Plus, the card has EMV chip technology to make global transactions secure and hassle-free.

They will also love the insurances offered with the card: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, and Lost Baggage Protection.

You also have access to a global concierge team 24/7. If you need help purchasing tickets, booking tables at restaurants, or making trip arrangements, the concierge team will be there for you anywhere in the world.

Finally, the points you earn with Citi ThankYou are transferable to a range of travel partners that cover all alliances and many major international airlines. You won’t have trouble finding a way to use your points!

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Drawbacks and Alternatives

The biggest drawback to the card is the typical lack of sign-up bonus points.

At one time, you could earn points on purchases made with merchant partners through the ThankYou Rewards program, but that was eliminated in 2014 due to lack of response.

There are other Citi cards in the ThankYou program as well.

There’s no annual fee on the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, but it has fewer points categories. The Citi Prestige® Card comes with more perks, but carries a high $450 annual fee.

If you want a card that rewards you more for everyday spending, you could explore the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It has a $95 annual fee from the start, but an intro APR on purchases and transfers.

This card will earn 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets, 3% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and department stores, and 1% everywhere else.

If you travel frequently, you are probably better off with the points categories on the Citi ThankYou cards.

Bottom Line: The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card or the Citi Prestige® Card may be better options for you depending on your spending. If you want something with more at-home categories, try the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Final Thoughts on the Card

For frequent flyers, this is a great option since you’ll earn 3x point for all travel, which covers lots of different categories. You’ll also earn 2x points in dining and entertainment.

The annual fee of $95 is not too high, and it’s waived the first 12 months. Plus, you can earn rewards quickly when you accumulate points through your spending while dining out and on entertainment.

With a great range of travel partners to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to, you’ll have lots of flexibility with rewards on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

Great Card If

  • You fly for business and pleasure
  • You spend a lot in the travel category
  • You don’t mind paying an annual fee after the first year

Don't Get If

  • You rarely travel
  • You want access to a wide variety of airline loyalty programs

U.P. Pro Tips

Earn 3x points on a wide variety of purchases within the travel category. With the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, “travel” includes airfare, hotels, cruises, car rental agencies, travel agencies, and more.

The same is not true with the Citi Prestige Card, where travel only includes spending on airfare and hotels. Make sure you note this important difference!

Note the Differences in Citi ThankYou Premier
Note that there are differences in the travel categories between the Citi Prestige® Card and the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

How To Use the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card: The Upgraded Way™

Best Way To Maximize Points

You’ll want to stock up as many points as most points possible. We developed the following list of tips to show you how to get the most out of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and earn as many Citi points as possible

Tip #1: Ideally, you should use the card for all of your travel, dining out, and entertainment purchases so you can take advantage of the extra points.

Remember, the travel category includes gas, which means 3x points on fuel, food from gas stations, and any car maintenance done at a service station.

Tip #2: When dining out in a group, offer to put the tab on your card and let the others reimburse you with cash to earn extra points fast.

Tip #3: Book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, and cruises through the ThankYou Travel Center to get 25% more value out of your points.

Your points are worth 1.25 cents each with this option (as opposed to 1 cent each through Points Transfer.)

Tip #4: If you don’t have a Citibank checking account, open one so you can enroll it in the ThankYou Rewards program. You’ll earn bonus points once you set up a monthly direct deposit and qualifying bill payment for each statement.

Find out how many points you can earn for your account package here.

Tip #5: Unlike many other cards, there is no fee for adding authorized users to your card. So you can easily get points for their spending on top of your own.

Tip #6: If you have other Citi credit cards, combine the points on all of them into one ThankYou Rewards account. That way you’ll have a shot at redeeming for some bigger rewards.

Merge Your Citi ThankYou Points
Merge all your Citi ThankYou Points into one account from your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, Citi Prestige® Card, and Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card.

Best Way To Redeem Points

You have quite a few options for redeeming Citi ThankYou® Premier Card points. Outside of using the Travel Center, they fall into 2 categories: paying with points and transferring points.

Whether you pay with your points or transfer them, their value will be static at 1 cent each. When you book through the Travel Center, you’ll be redeeming at 1.25 cents per point.

The following list of tips should help you get the best value when redeeming your Citi points.

Tips for Redeeming Citi ThankYou® Premier Points

Tip #1: Even though points are valued more highly through the Travel Center, you might not always get the best deal (although there are no blackout dates). Compare prices from the Travel Center and ThankYou airline partners to see which is better.

Citi has a variety of participating air travel partners, which listed in the table below. You’ll notice there is a 1:1 ratio for all of loyalty programs except Virgin America Elevate and JetBlue TrueBlue.

Airline Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
Asia Miles*1:1
Etihad Airways**1:1
EVA Air1:1
Air France/KLM Flying Blue1:1
Garuda Indonesia1:1
Malaysia Airlines1:1
Qantas Airways1:1
Qatar Airways1:1
Singapore Airlines1:1
Thai Airways1:1
Virgin America1:0.5
Virgin Atlantic Airways1:1
JetBlue TrueBlue1:0.8

*Asia Miles includes 20 airline programs such as Air New Zealand, Mexicana, Air China, Gulf Air, and more.
**Etihad includes nearly 40 airline programs such as JetBlue, American Airlines, Air France, SAS, Air New Zealand, and more.

One last thing to note is that the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card was previously unable to transfer points to transfer partners at all. Now, cardholders can do so at a reduced rate.

For instance, the JetBlue rate is 1:0.5 for cardholders versus the 1:0.8 with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

Tip #2: One of the most impressive benefits of the card is that you earn points on airline tickets purchased with your points.

In other words, you receive 3x points on every $1 you would have spent if you weren’t using points to purchase the ticket!

Tip #3: Don’t forget about hotel stays. For every 1,000 points you transfer to the Hilton Honors program, you receive 1,500 bonus points. It’s a simple way to earn free hotel stays in no time at all.

Tip #4: While ThankYou points are only valued at 1 cent when redeeming for gift cards and merchandise, this can be worth it if you have a lot of points to spend.

Use your points to shop on Live Nation, Amazon.com, and Expedia.com with the Shop with Points program.

You can also make purchases on the Best Buy app and Wonder app with your card, and then receive statement credit within 24-48 hours based on the points you’ve earned with Pay with Points.

Tip #5: Redeem points to pay your bills online by enrolling a Citibank checking account to your ThankYou account. You also have the option of combining points and cash.

Tip #6: Chances are you use your card to pay for items like groceries, clothing, dining, gas, utility bills, etc. With Select and Credit, you can get statement credit for purchases you’ve already made!

Tip #7: Enroll in PointWorthy and you can donate to IRS-approved nonprofits with your points or your card. Using your credit card earns you points for each dollar you donate.

Partners

Card Math

So far in this review, we’ve examined the benefits and redemption opportunities associated with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. Hopefully you have found it useful!

In this next section, we will explore the value of the card based on the numbers to determine how much financial value the card has.

A Quick Recap of the Card

Let’s start with a quick summary of the card’s fees and earning potential in the following table:

Annual Fee:$95/year after the first year
3x Categories:Travel
2x Categories:Dining and Entertainment
1x Categories:Everything Else

Comparing Value With Our Spending Families

Using our model spending families, we will see how making purchases with the card can pay off over a year.

Because we never listed a category for entertainment, we will take 10% from the Other category to cover this expense.

FamilyTravel*DiningEntertainmentAll other monthly expenses
Kennedys$7,600$8,000$2,270$27,430
Jetsons$16,600$12,800$2,610$30,490
Hartnells$25,100$5,000$7,260$80,340

*Remember, travel includes airfare, hotels, and gas stations

Next, we’ll use the above spending amounts to calculate how many points were earned for each family.

FamilyTotal 3xTotal 2xTotal 1xTotal Points
Kennedys$7,600 / (22,800)$10,270 / (20,540)$27,430 / (27,430)70,770
Jetsons$16,600 / (49,800)$15,410 / (30,820)$30,490 / (30,490)111,110
Hartnells$25,100 / (75,300)$12,260 / (24,520)$80,340 / (80,340)183,160

So, our model families earn 70,700 to 183,160 points. Spending more in the bonus categories can increase the total points even more!

Alternatives to the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Let’s take a look at how the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card compares to a couple other similar cards.

Vs. Citi Prestige® Card

As we mentioned earlier in the review, the Citi Prestige Card is another option, albeit one with a $450 annual fee. Of course, it also has an airline travel credit of $250 that can remove some of the sting.

A great thing about this travel credit is that in addition to being able to apply it to a ticket, you can also use it toward flight-related expenses charged to the card, like award taxes and fees.

The Citi Prestige Card earns bonus points in almost all the same categories as the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. However, it also has premium perks like a free 5th night when you book a minimum 4-night hotel stay.

Vs. Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card

If you don’t want a high annual fee (or any fee at all for that matter), the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card may be more your speed.

Instead of using the ThankYou Rewards program, you would redeem points for stays in the Hilton Portfolio or for deals with program partners.

The Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card earns 6x points for Hilton hotel stays, 3x points for purchases at gas stations, drugstores and supermarkets, and 2x points for all other purchases. That’s not bad!

Making a Choice of Credit Card Can Be Tough
Choosing whether the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is the right card for you can be difficult. Do some rough calculations and see where you spend your money to find where you will earn the most points!

Math Conclusions and Final Value

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card gives you the potential to earn mega-points that can be redeemed for a wide range of rewards. The $95 annual fee is reasonable, and it is waived for the first 12 months.

If you put all of your monthly spending on the card, you can really score major points!

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

Points for travel must be transferred in increments of 1,000 points, and you may transfer up to 500,000 ThankYou Points at a time.

There is no fee to transfer points, but once a transfer is made it cannot be canceled or reversed.

Citi ThankYou points post to your monthly statement at the end of each billing cycle. They do not expire as long as you have an open Citi account that earns ThankYou points.

Eligible accounts include the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, Citi Prestige Card, and this card.

If you close your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card account and do not have another open Citi credit card, you have 60 days to use your points.

Other Unique Features

Citi Price Rewind – Automatically searches for the lowest prices on purchases you register into the system. If a lower price is found within 60 days of the initial purchase date, you may receive the difference.

Trip cancellation & interruption protection – Get reimbursed for non-refundable trip expenses like change fees if unforeseen events get in the way of a trip paid for with the Citi card.

Lost baggage – If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged by the common carrier, you can receive a refund of the purchase price of the missing items, or the cost to repair or replace anything that was damaged.

Worldwide car rental insurance – Coverage against theft or damage to a rental car when you decline the rental company’s collision loss/damage insurance.

Worldwide travel accident insurance – Receive financial assistance in the event of an accident.

Travel & emergency assistance – You can get assistance with emergency travel arrangements, travel issues, medical and legal referral and more 24/7, both before and during your trip.

Damage & theft purchase protection – If purchases made with the Citi card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for NY residents), you are reimbursed the cost of repairs or given a refund.

Extended warranty – Adds 1 year to a regular warranty.

Unauthorized charge protection – $0 liability on unauthorized charges

Citi.com/Apple Pay – Pay in-app or at over 200,000 stores with the iPhone6, or in-app with the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Female Taking Photo of Temple: Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock
Light Bulbs: Ruslan Grumble/Shutterstock
Rail Lines Converging: Portb/Shutterstock
Choosing a Door: alphaspirit/Shutterstock

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Apply Now Full review

FAQ

Is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card worth it?
The card earns 3x points on travel, 2x points and dining and entertainment, and 1x points on other spending. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

ThankYou points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, and gift cards. Overall, it is a good card for everyday spending.

How do I redeem Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Points?
Redeem Citi ThankYou points through the Citi ThankYou Rewards program for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more.

When do Citi ThankYou® Premier Card points expire?
There is no expiration date for Citi points as long as you have an active account.

Is there a limit to how many ThankYou points I can earn?
No. There is no limit to the number of points you can earn with the card.

How do I use the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card for travel rewards?
Transfer ThankYou points in increments of 1,000 to participating airline loyalty programs. Additionally, you can book flights, rental cars, hotels, and more through the ThankYou Reward Center and receive 25% more value for points earned with your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

What is the annual fee for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card?
The annual fee is $95, and it is waived for the first 12 months.

Which is better, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card?
The Citi Prestige Card has more perks, such as a free 4th night when you book a minimum 4-night hotel stay and $250 airline travel credit. It earns 3x points on airlines and hotels and 2x points in dining and entertainment.

You also receive a points value of 1.25 for flights booked through the Travel Center. However, the Citi Prestige Card has an annual fee of $450.

In comparison, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card earns 3x points in all travel categories, which is a much larger pool than the Citi Prestige Card, as well as 2x points in dining and entertainment.